How To Buy Developmental Infant Toys

When buying developmental infant toys, keep in mind the stage the child is in and what interests them. Use toys as learning tools, by choosing toys that promote development. Most importantly remember that learning is fun!

  1. Safety first! Infants tend to get themselves into trouble quickly. They put just about everything they come into contact with in their mouths and put their fingers into things they shouldn't. Don't give your infant toys for older toddlers/children with small pieces to avoid choking hazards and be aware of the hidden dangers such as in heavy toys that can topple them or are too complex.
  2. Look for age appropriate toys. An infant develops at primarily the same rate other infants. Knowing what stage of development they are in is critical to providing the right toy. Most toys have months labeled on them such as 0-6 Months or 18 + Months. Follow these guidelines on the toy and you should be fairly safe.
    • Newborn-2 months. In the beginning babies are not very active. In their first couple of months, rattles or infant mirrors are appropriate.
    • 3-6 months. When they begin kicking around, play mats/learning gyms with hanging objects and flashing lights are good for them to kick start their learning interaction. Toys to encourage crawling are good for mobility. Your child will also begin to enjoy board books and touch and feel books.
    • 7-12 months. As your baby becomes mobile and can hold on to things, their interest will turn towards more complex objects. First introduce more active play toys such as stacking blocks, balls and activity centers. As they near one-year-old they will enjoy push and pull toys, ride on toys and early role-play items, such as play tools and plastic telephones.
  3. Stimulate. Infants want to explore their world. Their brain grows extremely fast in the infant stages and the toys they use will help promote cognitive development. Find toys that help develop sight, hearing and touch.
    • Sight - Infant eye-sight is minimal at first. Black and white objects are a good starter as they will be able to focus on it easier. Adding a range of primary colors is great after 2 months.
    • Sound - Babies love to hear different music and sounds. Classical music has been said to have a calming effect. Repetition is also good to advance memory skills.
    • Touch - Every parent knows that their infant will grab anything placed in front of her. Provide a range of textures including soft, bumpy, silky and others. Many toys, such as soft building blocks, often have different textured sides.
  4. Physical ability. Infants may develop strength at different rates, but it should only be slight. If your child isn't holding on to things like the baby next door, give her a little time and let her play with alternate toys that she is more comfortable with in the mean time.
  5. Promote learning and creativity. Your presence and interaction with your baby and even their toys is crucial in your developing child. Play with your baby and teach her how to handle toys and how they work. Then let her go at it on her own. You can be your baby's best playmate and teacher all at the same time!


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