Playtime is one of the best things you can put in your newborn baby’s schedule that will benefit them for life. Playing with your baby is a brilliant way to boost their physical, mental, and socio-emotional development. Plus, the time that you spend playing with them is priceless!
And to make playtime even more beneficial for your newborn baby, choose open-ended play.
Open-ended play is a type of play that does not require specific directions or a defined beginning, middle, and end. Also called free play, this kind of play does not expect a particular ending or outcome. Anything goes with open-ended play!
What’s amazing about open-ended play is that your baby can play with virtually anything — boxes, tools, household items, and art supplies. But it’s natural to want to get actual toys for your baby that are not only beneficial but also safe. In this case, here’s a list of 5 open-ended toys for your baby.
Your newborn baby’s hands will naturally grasp anything, so it’s good to hand them a rattle to help them practice their reflexes. Swinging the rattle back and forth develops gross motor skills, while touching the details develops fine motor skills and stimulates your baby’s tactile sense. Plus, the entertaining jingle stimulates their sense of hearing, too!
For your newborn baby, it is better to choose a soft knitted rattle over a hard plastic one that can cause harm to your child when dropped.
2. Building Blocks
Building blocks are classic open-ended toys that are great for any child at any age. Building blocks are great for promoting problem-solving skills as well as dexterity and fine motor skills. If you get them in different colors and textures, then they will be awesome for the development of your baby’s visual and auditory senses, too.
3. Plush Toy
A plush toy is an essential baby toy! Plush toys are wonderful for cuddling and snuggling with, but aside from that, they are nice toys to have for open-ended play. Your baby can use them for imaginative play like pretend play, where they can make up stories, places, and people. In other words, playing with plush toys boosts creativity and imagination!
When choosing a plush toy for your newborn baby, make sure that it is made of hypoallergenic and non-toxic material such as cotton to avoid irritating your baby’s sensitive skin.
4. Letters and Numbers
During the newborn phase, it seems like a long time before the first time your baby utters a word or a phrase. However, the things that you do — or the things that your baby does — lay the foundation for your baby’s linguistic development. For example, exposing your baby to letters and numbers through toys is a step toward letter and number identification, vocabulary building, and verbal communication.
5. Soft Balls
Finally, let your baby spend time having (a lot of) fun with soft balls! Balls, like building blocks, are great for all kids of all ages, but for your newborn baby, choose a soft one made of cloth. Playing with soft balls stimulates your baby’s tactile and visual senses. Also, they help promote the development of gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
There are so many ways to set the stage for open-ended play. And while it is true that your child can play with virtually anything, it’s also a good idea to get some key pieces that are made specially for newborn babies and their development, such as the open-ended toys on this list!