We often get asked for advice on toys that promote development for babies and children, particularly coming up to Christmas time. Being World Prematurity Day (17 November), today we are focusing on toys that support the development of babies.
Soft, light rattles that make soft sounds are fabulous (bonus points if there have some different colours on them)! They can be used for engaging with a baby with the parent holding the rattle to get their attention, and as baby develops for them to hold and shake as well. Soft, light rattles make it easier for a baby to hold and manipulate themselves, and rattles with softer sounds mean they are less likely to startle baby.
2. Silicon toys
Silicon toys (like those from www.jellystonedesigns.com.au) promote the opportunity for baby to explore the items by putting them in their mouth safely. Silicon items are also smooth to touch, which can make them easier for babies to touch (and it makes them easy to clean)!
Books are lovely for babies and their families to engage in together! Books that are hard (board books) with bright colours and a short story make them easy for babies to engage in (and help with page turning as they get older) and make story time fun and easy for parents.
4. Stacking cups – older babies
Stacking or nesting cups are lots of fun for older babies. They also help them to develop their problem-solving skills, hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, wonder and amazement and engagement when playing with their family.
5. Musical instruments – older babies
Simple musical instruments like a drum help babies to develop their understanding of cause and effect. They are also great to developing joint attention, turn-taking, hand-eye coordination, and body awareness.