With the many choices of all kinds of toys in different sizes, colors, features and functions, it is quite difficult to buy a toy that is age appropriate for a baby.
Even for an infant, there are toys available that can talk, sing, walk, and do anything with a simple squeeze on any part of the toy’s parts. Most of the toys in the market are usually patterned from cartoon characters or children’s most watched television shows, with the higher priced toys usually being the bestsellers. The key to maximizing the value of toys you buy is to make sure, aside from the toy being fun to play with, it should be educational, durable, and should be age-appropriate to the child you are giving it to.
To buy age appropriate toys for a baby, do the following:
1. Get the exact age of the baby and if possible, know what he or she can already manipulate or do.
2. Decide on whether you want the toy to be useful to the child only for a particular purpose and developmental level, or you want the toy to be useful for several stages in the child’s development.
3. Look at this list of suggested toys you can choose from, appropriate to a baby’s developmental level:
- (0 - 2 months) – Infants enjoy toys with music, mobiles, soft cloth animals and stuffed toys with sounds. Items with bright colors, good to look at, and can be listened to are attractive.
- (2 - 4 months) – Babies at this age enjoy shakers, rattles, teethers, items that they can grasp, pick up and shake. Activity areas or gyms that have dangling objects they can hit or kick while laying on their back are fun.
- (4 - 8 months) – For an older infant, cloth or soft vinyl books are suggested. Some infants can already sit up and move around and enjoy pushing roly-poly toys that bounce back because of their round-bottoms. Large beads that pop up are also fun, together with ‘push and pull' toys.
- (8 to 12 months) – At almost a year old, babies this age enjoy large blocks, board books, and musical instruments like shakers, drums, and even a xylophone. Cuddly toys, boards and activity boxes are a hit to play with. Children at this age enjoy making things work by pushing a button to listen to a song, or make things pop out a window.
- (12 to 18 months) – To help a baby this age walk and explore, it is appropriate to give walking toys, like baby carriages, shopping carts, or ride on cars that can be pushed. They also love to play with blocks, shape sorters, balls, stuffed animals, soft dolls and toys that produce music.
4. Decide on the kind of toy you would like to purchase based on the developmental stage guide.
5. Check if the toy meets the safety standards set for manufacturing. This may include the type of paint used and parts included.
Having a good understanding of the type of toys that would be appropriate for a baby’s age, can help challenge his or her intellectual and cognitive skills without frustrating the child. If the toy given is age appropriate, the toy can help develop the skills the child needs to develop at his age Aside from the joy you are able to give the baby, you are also able to save money and enjoy the feeling of making the baby happy with the toy you gave.