Friday, September 4, 2009

5 tips for the best baby toys for 6-12 months.

Nearly over night sweet little babies has grow and changed so much that it can be hard to know what toys are best at ay given age. Are rattles still a good choice now that your baby can sit up? Or should you brows the local toy store looking for toys that are approved for the specific age that your baby is now? Well, despite what toy manufacturers would have you believe, baby development, and its relationship to the toys your baby plays with, is far from an exact science. I think that there are a few toys that seem to be a pretty good bet, but beyond the basics, it is 100% personal choice. You know your baby better than anyone and if you think your baby will enjoy playing with a certain toy, you are most likely right. Here are a few suggestions as a place to start from.

1. Lamaze Spin and Explore Garden Gym.
After your baby has a strong and stable neck, but before he is creeping and crawling all over the place, it is the perfect time for this toy. Rarely will I recommend a toy from a specific manufacturer, but to my knowledge, this is the only toy of it's kind right now. This toy might strike you as a bit odd the first time you see it because of the slightly elevated lady-bug in the center of the mat, but once you and your baby get the hang of it you will both enjoy exploring the circular "garden". Making tummy time more enjoyable for your baby is a constant struggle for parents, but this is one toy that many parents find helpful.

2. A ball.
Once your baby can sit up on her own for several minutes at a time, the magical toy that has existed for many a millennium can be introduced to your little pip squeak. Well, you can introduce a ball or two before now, but around the age of 6 months will be when your baby should start to engage with and really enjoy playing with a ball. Try rolling it to your baby while she sits with her legs crossed. When she picks it up tell her that she "caught" it. Then encourage her to roll it back to you. This type of play encourages the development of reciprocal play, the concept of taking turns and gives you an opportunity to build your little chickadee's self esteem as well as her vocabulary.

3. An electronic floor piano.
An electronic floor piano or a low-to-the-ground regular piano are toys that encourage tummy time while stimulating your little pianist's cognitive development. If the version you select is electric but not battery powered, I recommend that you closely monitor your baby while he plays with it in order to avoid the possibility of his becoming entangled in the cord or becoming interested in where it plugs into the wall. Another fun option is a cordless synthesizer. You can change the sounds from piano to marimba or even saxophone or human voice if you prefer. Just be careful about monitoring play with one of these because since they are generally not intended for babies, the keys or buttons might come off with rough use.

4. Toy remote control or cell phone.
Since your real remote control and cell phones are going to be favorite toys whether you want them to be or not, you can try to give your baby a safer option for these fun things. It may sound funny to offer toys to your baby that are such adult tools, but it is natural for babies to want to be like their parents from a young age. They look to you as the source for all things fun, interesting and good, so when they see you constantly talking into something covered with buttons that shows pretty pictures too, of course they want to play with it. Offering them their own version can save you both a power struggle and the hassle of having to replace your cell phone every few weeks.

5. A walker.
This is going to be my most controversial suggestion in this post. Infant physical therapists have come out pretty strongly against walkers, because of the tendency of little ones to begin putting weight on their legs before their bones are ready for it. However, after your baby is naturally beginning to creep and even crawl, pulling up onto furniture is a natural progression. As long as the walker is introduced at a developmentally appropriate time, and your home has been sufficiently baby-proofed for the added height that a walker gives, this is a wonderful way to let your baby explore her world while encouraging physical activity and giving you a little bit of a break.

Honestly, almost anything makes a great toy for a baby in the age range of 6 months to a year, the only real limitation you need to consider is for safety. Coins are shiny and make a great jingling sound, but they are germ-ridden choking hazards. Real cell phones are colorful and covered with neat buttons, but they melt down at the first hint of baby drool and they can come apart more easily than you'd expect. Plastics often leach questionable chemicals, especially those not used in baby-specific products and glass or wooden objects are breakable and can be finished with toxic chemicals respectively. When considering what to give your baby to play with, always ask yourself "what's the worst that could happen?" and if the answer is not good, choose something else. If you have found these tips to be helpful and informative, please forward this site to any new or expecting parents you know. Questions, comments and suggestions are always welcome. Happy parenting!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips for buying best baby toys for little one!! Electronic floor piano and remote control toys are best for them!!