Your baby takes delight in their toys, but toys are not just created for entertainment. Instead, they serve as instruments that help babies and children explore and understand the world around them.
A newborn child has needs that are greatly different from those of a 6-month old baby or a toddler. While an older baby may enjoy playing with manipulative toys such as blocks and nesting cups, an infant at around 3 months old will enjoy soothing music, soft and plush toys, and brilliant colors.
You see, a newborn baby needs their senses to be stimulated with sounds, and textures. And because their vision is still developing, it is greatly helpful to surround your baby with highly contrasting colors.
However, you also need to be careful and listen to your baby’s cues. If they are getting tired of the stimulation – or are nearly overstimulated – then you need to let them rest before they get overwhelmed.
Choosing Your Newborn Baby’s Toys
To address your newborn baby’s needs, you need to choose toys that are not only age-appropriate but also entertaining and stimulating. It sounds difficult, but remember that your baby does not need a lot of toys! With the right research, you will definitely find the perfect toy for your baby.
Here’s a list of our recommended baby toys for newborns to get you started!
1. Knitted Toys
As mentioned above, a newborn baby is nearsighted and cannot see beyond 8 to 12 inches away. To “see” and play with their toys, your newborn baby will need to bring them close to their face. Wooden baby toys may seem great, but they may not be appropriate for a newborn baby because they are hard and can harm your baby’s face if they accidentally drop their toys.
Instead, it is best to choose soft knitted toys for your baby, especially those that are made of 100% cotton. Cotton is an ideal material for infant toys because it is soft and hypoallergenic. It will not irritate your baby’s skin! Also look for knitted toys with expressive faces, interesting textures, and rattles or jingles to stimulate your child’s tactile, visual, and auditory senses.
2. Play Gym
Tummy time is a baby essential, and for this activity, you will need a comfortable but firm surface. It is a good idea to put your newborn baby on the floor with a soft play gym. However, not all play gyms are made equal! While you would aim to choose a play gym that stimulates your child’s imagination, at this stage, a “busy” activity mat can be too much for a newborn.
Instead, look for a play gym that is made from solid wood with water-based finishes, making it strong and safe. Make sure that the wooden baby toys hanging from it are securely attached so it won’t fall on your baby’s face. They should also come in high-contrast, black and white colors which are great for your newborn’s eyesight.
3. Knitted Rattle
Every newborn baby needs a rattle! Not only are rattles the perfect soothers, they also help stimulate an infant both visually and audibly. Oh, and swinging a rattle is good exercise, too! However, because a rattle is a hand-held toy, it is also best to stay away from hard plastic ones that can hurt your baby.
A soft knitted rattle is a good choice for newborns. Choose one that is made of premium cotton to make sure that it is not only soft but also hypo-allergenic and non-toxic. Aside from the jingling sound, a knitted rattle will also have an interestingly textured surface for your baby’s sensory development.
4. Musical Mobile
Your newborn baby spends most of their days time lying down, which means it is important to put something captivating above them to inspire their growing imagination. A musical mobile takes care of this, not to mention it will be a great addition to your baby’s nursery decor!
Get your newborn baby a musical mobile that comes with a sturdy plastic frame to keep it securely attached to their crib. It should also have soft and attractive dangling toys to keep your baby enthralled. Finally, stay away from musical mobiles with long strings which are a choking hazard. Go for short strings instead!
5. Cloth Book
Anyone will agree that if you want to raise a reader, then you should surround your baby with books. Start young! For newborn babies, a soft cloth book with organic sounds and textures is perfect. Aside from the story, these details will stimulate the senses of your budding reader.
A good cloth book stimulates your newborn’s tactile, visual, and auditory senses. The perfect choice will come with bold and brilliant colors and a lot of pictures. It will also have a variety of textures on the pages, some with crinkly sounds and some with squeakers.
6. Floor Mirror
Mirrors are a good newborn baby toy! Newborns love looking at faces, and the day they start discovering how they look is a milestone of its own. They will love looking and exploring the aspects of their faces, inspiring their imagination and piquing their curiosity. So get them an unbreakable floor mirror!
An unbreakable floor mirror is a baby essential and can be an indispensable baby accessory for tummy time. Look for a shatterproof toy mirror with a soft frame that is easy to grasp. A perfect floor mirror will come in contrasting colors, too, as well as interesting sounds and textures.
There are so many baby toys everywhere you look, but a newborn baby’s toys should fulfill specific needs and requirements. They should be safe, age-appropriate, educational, and stimulating at just the right level.