I recently had the pleasure of helping a very good friend of mine set up a space for her first baby. She was a little overwhelmed, and rightfully so.
Did you know that under "toys for birth to 24 months" on Amazon they have listed over 78,000 items?! There is SO MUCH ADVICE out there for new parents, and it's hard to know where to begin.
Good news, babies don't need more than a handful of toys to strengthen their senses, learn patterns, language, math, or understand how the world works.
In fact, offering more toys, especially those that have multiple buttons and batteries can do more harm than good.
The Work of the Newborn
Newborns are most concerned with themselves and their parents. They just got here and are trying to get their bearings. Infants don’t need toys before 3-4 months, they are busy enough making sense of what’s in front of them day to day.
Some of the best play objects for this age arn't toys at all! Any household items that are well-made without any small parts are fair game! Wooden spoons, silicone muffin cups, BPA-free plastic bottles (with lids and other small parts removed), cotton napkins, measuring cups are all excellent baby toys. Check for stuffing, beads, eyes, buttons, or breakage in any item you give to a young infant which could come off and be accidentally swallowed. And of course, you should always supervise your baby with any toy!
I've been able to find quality toys for infants at most major stores, and occasionally stumble upon a gem at a thrift store! Remember to look for well-made, quality materials that are pleasing to touch. Toys for this age need to be super simple visually and mechanically. Check the age recommendations if you are purchasing a toy with more than one part and make sure it can't be swallowed easily. (This includes doll eyes, buttons, puzzle knobs, etc.)
What are your favourite toys for newborns and young infants?
About the Author:
Leanne Gray, M.Ed has over fifteen years experience working with children in both public, private, and Montessori schools, and is AMI primary trained.
She's on a mission to raise a generation of kind, confident, responsible children, and does this through her work with families and schools. Read more here.