As previously mentioned, toys like many baby items are marked by ages, but all babies develop differently and your baby maybe be ready for an item sooner than expected. This is why it is best to have developmental toys handy.
I presented my baby some toys for 3 months at 1 month, toys for 6 months at 4 months and so forth. The reason being is that they develop and change so quickly. They learn every single day and they view things differently daily. First they are laying, then sitting, standing, etc. So I wanted him to explore every toy before the box said he would be “ready to play with it”. It has allowed him to truly learn and get the most out of every toy because he has been able to view them in so many ways.
For example, Baby first lays on play mat and just stares at the gigantic hanging toys… months in he is tugging and pulling at them because they now look much smaller and less intimidating … he sits and now pulls them off and shoves them in his mouth…. he crawls or walks and hides them in places or fills other toys with them…. You get the point!
I have created a month-by-month toy guide for you so that you have an idea of how I presented such toys to my baby based off of what I felt was appropriate for his developmental stages.
1. Skip Hop (Basic) Activity Gym: Activity gyms give newborns and non-mobil babies something to daze and look at. They are kind of like crib mobiles, but stationary and closer to their face since babies can only see so far in the beginning stages. Many of them can convert in some way such as being a mat for babies to lay on their back to a tummy time mat. They encourage babies to reach for toys. I purchased the Skip Hop one because I liked the amount of cushion and support it provides. I also think it is the cutest with more intricate toys.
2. Fisher Price Kick and Play Piano: I purchased this activity gym because it helps babies discover their feet by playing music while they kick. Although the hanging toys are my least favorite, I love the piano and the fact that it grows with baby. The mat can be used for laying and sitting babies, while the piano is also removable and teaches colors, shapes, numbers and animals.
(My baby used both activity gyms equally. We kept them in different rooms so that he wouldn’t get bored of playing with them.)
3-6. Attachable car seat and stroller toys: These are a must for going out.
I also purchased a lit of extra pacifier clips that I constantly use to avoid my baby dropping toys or items on the floor especially in public.
7. Crib and Chair Mobiles: Now babies can see further and hanging toys keep them entertained for a good while. I have not purchased a crib mobile, but my son’s bassinet, swing and chair all come with one and by one month I was able to leave him in them for him to stare at while I went to do things.
8. Tummy Time Mat: There are many different mats to encourage babies to do tummy time (most babies hate tummy time). I purchased a water mat with floating fishes inside and it definitely helped for small amounts of time here and there.
9-10. Wrist and Feet Rattles: These help baby discover his/her hands and feet.
11. Small and Non-Heavy Toys: It is best to make sure your baby has a few toys that are small and very light. They begin to grab items with their hands around 2 months and their grip is still not very strong. My son loved this ball because it was not a heavy or solid item that he could not get his hands around. The holes on this ball allowed for a better grip when sticking his fingers inside. It wouldn’t slip out of his hands like any other ball would have.
12. Manhattan Winkle Box: This rattle is similar to the ball but slightly heavier. It serves the same purpose as the ball but also serves as a rattle and teething toy. You can start baby with the ball and then gradually move towards the rattle with a similar but heavier grip.
13-14. V-Tech Cow or Snug Bug: I like toys like these because they are small and the next best toy for babies to grab. My son started paying attention to lights around 3 months. These toys were perfect for him, because they are small enough to grab (hug) and they feed their curiosity with lights. They also teach them shapes and numbers, which is perfect for them to grow with.
15. Soft Books: Most soft books are made up of a cloth like material that sounds like a candy wrapper and contain chewable parts for teething babies. Many also provide different textures within the pages of the books for babies to explore their sensory skills and can be perfect for a great “first book”.
16. Nuby Teething Rings: Although there are many chewable toys for teething babies, you can always purchase a set of teething rings. Most sets such as the Nuby teething ring set come in packs of 3. They aim to individually target the 3 stages of teething such as front, side and back teeth.
17. Sassy Discover the Senses Gift Set: I found this little set perfect for my 4 month old. The name speaks for itself. For starters, the links can be used for a countless number of things. We also use them to attach other light toys to the car seat or stroller to avoid them falling down in public. We love using them to teach colors. The fire fly is a great teething toy while the ball/rattle is also very entertaining and a perfect size object to practice picking up slightly heaver items. Lastly, most babies begin to sit supported by 4 months and this set comes with a spinning item you can attach to any high chair or table top and entertains baby while trying to feed or have sit still.
18. Bright Starts Press and Glow Spinner: As previously, most babies are both intrigued by lights and sitting up by 4 months. Therefore, consider purchasing toys that will encourage baby to sit. This glow spinner encourages baby to sit and press in order for it to light up.
19-20. Baby Jumpers and Walkers: Babies are ready for walkers and jumpers once they sit by themselves without much support and can hold their head up. However, it is important to read the user manuals on such toys because you can review what the best settings are for your little one. They have stages for these and you want to make sure baby can bounce only when he/she can really CONTROL his or her head. You can also purchase a dual jumper and walker such as the one on image number 20.
21. Stacking Toys: Stacking toys provide great encouragement for sitting babies to multitask, move their arms around and find their balance. This helps teach them to not only sit without back support but to actually sit up on their own. A 6 month old may not begin stacking them right away, but such toys can still be introduced to them at this age and can also be used to teach them colors.
22-23. Wiggle and Roll Toys: Toys that wiggle and roll around and away from baby encourage them to crawl. These toys are perfect to introduce once babies can can sit up without support. They encourage babies to explore with their hands and balance. It teaches them to sit up on their own if they haven’t yet and crawl.
24. Tunnels and Ball Pits: Tunnels and ball pits are great for crawling babies to be entertained by. They give them something extra to explore and perhaps prevent them from exploring unauthorized areas of the home.
25. Climbing Foam Shapes: Climbing foam shapes are perfect for crawlers to fine tune their motor skills and to even practice advanced motor skills such as gymnastics. They serve many other purposes such as imagination play, stacking and building, cushions for playing and sitting, etc. I love these for reading as well.
26. Push Toys: Any kind of push toys promote walking. Consider push toys that grow with baby such as the one on image number 20 that crawlers could grow into.
27. First 100 Words: You probably already started reading to baby in utero. You can technically read any book to baby even the encyclopedia if you wanted to, because everything you read is just background noise and hopefully you are reading to increase baby’s vocabulary. However, most babies start to pay a little more attention and you can actually join in and play with them around 7 months. Before then they are playing by them selves and ignoring you for the most part. Seven months old is typically a good age to begin repeating words with images for them to recognize. This book seemed very obvious for me to purchase and read to baby. However, I do not expect baby to repeat words any sooner than 12 months old. Baby may not repeat the words but do not doubt that baby will begin to recognize what the items are or what they are called. This is also a great time to start repeating shapes and colors.
28. Stack of Soft Books: These are slightly different from the one posted on image number 15. I like these because all they have are pictures of things and their names. They come with different categories such as transportation, shapes, numbers, land animals, ocean animals, etc.
29. Battat B. ABC Party Blocks: I love these blocks because not only are they soft and stackable, but they also have removable shapes inside. They allow for exploring more sensory skills while teaching letters and shapes.
30. Drop-in Shapes: Any toys that require baby to drop-in, match or identify shapes is perfect for this stage to physically show baby what you are teaching him/her. I like to say the shape then outline it with my finer and then outline the hole before dropping it in.
31-32. Squishy Bath Toys and Hand/Finger Puppets: Squishy bath toys, puppets or any other figurines are also great for show and tell. For instance, with animals I like to say wha† they are, what they eat, where they live, what they do and anything else I know about each. I proceed by mimicking and maneuvering each animal to show what they are like.
33-34. Singing and Dancing Toys: There are many many many plush or solid-standing singing and dancing toys that also teach body parts, colors, shapes and numbers. Honestly, any are great for baby to learn while playing on his or her own. It is important for babies to have their own play time uninterrupted for learning and exploring. Such toys are perfect for that.
35. Cause and effect toys: Now that baby has fine-tuned most of his/her basic motor skills, I find that most 8 month olds are entertained by many cause and effect toys. A great toy is one where you can place onto a base a ball or a car that rolls and comes out from another end. Other toys that require you to push, pull twist, etc. for a reaction are great cause and effect toys as well.
36. Activity Cubes: You can introduce activity cubes to older babies that are 9+ months. They can typically crawl and/or walk around them and hover over them while balancing well.
37. Insert and Identify Toys: Any type of toy that asks baby to identify, match or select things such as colors, shapes and numbers is perfect for babies 9 month or older.
38. Pull Toys: Any type of toys that are meant to be pulling such as those on wheels attached by a string are great to encourage babies to walk.
39. Push Toys: Push toys are also great for walking beginners. They provide some sort of support and a lot of encouragement. Just be sure your baby is truly ready and can hold his/her weight up and not fall forward onto his/her face.
40. Play Cars and Toys on Wheels: If you are looking to purchase any play cars or toys on wheels, it would probably be best to wait for baby to walk. This is for safety reasons and so that they can enjoy them much more.
41-42. Pretend Play: Lastly, many babies will begin to take interest in pretend play around their first birthday. Introducing toys such as play kitchens or working benches can be a great idea.
I hope that I explained my self well while reviewing these toys. If not, please feel free to comment below and I will gladly clarify.
P.S. I don’t know whether I am always the one more excited to play with a new toy or my baby is.