Babies require tender loving care. While we all agree that the best toys for babies are actually their parents, they still require the right toys to keep the sensory stimulation and to provide them with varied experiences. These experiences are what their brains will process and become the building blocks of their future growth and development.
If you don’t know yet how to choose the right toys for your baby, here’s how.
1. Check Toy Maker’s Age Recommendations
It is often necessary to follow the age recommendations of toy manufacturers. It is said that reputable toy makers go to great lengths designing toys that are appropriate for a particular age of a child. Unfortunately, they cannot do that with developmental appropriateness simply because different children develop at different rates. Nevertheless, the age of children typically provides a rough estimate of what they can and cannot do. So make sure the toy is appropriate for the age of your baby.
2. Choose One that can Stimulate Your Baby’s Senses
Babies learn best through their senses. It is therefore important to choose toys that help develop their senses. Moving toys, toys that light up, toys that play different sounds, and toys with different textures are often beneficial in this regard. Now, if you have a toy that can provide all of these, make sure that they do not also overwhelm your child. That is why it is often critical to examine the toy very carefully so as not to give your baby sensory overload.
3. Check Safety of Materials Used
Younger babies have a knack for putting everything in their mouths. It is therefore important to choose toys that are made of baby-safe materials. While we don’t necessarily want you to avoid plastics at all cost, just make sure that there are no additional harmful chemicals mixed into the finished product. Wooden toys are ideal. However, some companies do apply finishing chemicals so it should also be carefully assessed. Additionally, you need to check the individual components if there are sharp ends or even pinch points which babies can hold onto.
4. Check the Size of the Toy including Parts and Components
As we have already said, babies like to put everything they can get their hands on in their mouths. As such, it is often necessary to choose toys that are made of one solid construction than composed of different parts that can be broken. If the toy comes with a battery, then the battery should be encased and securely fastened so babies will not be able to pry them open. Also be careful with rattle toys that come with small beads. Make sure these won’t break easily and spill its contents. Next thing you know, your baby might have already ingested a component. How big is big? Well, experts recommend toy parts or components should not be smaller than 3 centimeters (1.25 inches) in diameter or 6 centimeters (2.25 inches) in length.
5. Choose Durable Toys
Closely related to the behavior of babies putting everything in their mouths, it is important to choose toys that will not break easily. Choose the best toys that are made of strong and sturdy materials that will be able to withstand the chewing habits of babies. Make sure the toy doesn’t have any strings that are longer than 18 centimeters or 7 inches and that it doesn’t contain parts that can turn into pinch points for your baby’s small fingers.
The choice of toys for babies is filled with safety concerns. Once these have been effectively addressed, you can then move on to the choice of developmentally- and age- appropriate toys for babies.