The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), a professional membership organization that promotes high-quality early learning for infants to 8-year-olds, has a series of recommended, age-appropriate toys to help your child develop at his or her individual pace.
Read this guide to find the perfect items and toy ideas for each stage of your baby’s development.
Infants Through 6 Months
At this stage in your baby’s development, he or she will enjoy bright colors, distinct patterns, looking at people, and textures. Look for toys they can reach for and grab,and baby-safe items with faces.
Specifically, NAEYC suggests rings, rattles, soft squeeze toys, and textured toys. Babies will also enjoy simple songs and mirrors that they can follow themselves in.
At this stage, soft baby blankets are a perfect way to introduce touchable, natural fabric into your baby’s playtime, cuddling time, and story time. Look for blankets that are machine washable and made with soft, pre-washed fabric that your baby will love to touch and grab.
Babies 7 to 12 Months
Your baby is growing increasingly mobile in the second half of their first year. They’re rolling over, scooting, crawling, pulling themselves up, and trying to explore the world around them.
Since babies at this age are starting to discern words and objects, look for toys that help them explore and create. NAEYC suggests balls, toy cars, soft building blocks, and pull and push toys, which will encourage your baby to discover how things fit together, find hidden objects, and identify complementary parts.
At the end of a long play day, wrap your tuckered tyke in a soft receiving blanket as they drift off to sleep. A soft, gently textured blanket will make them feel cozy and secure, and a machine washable blanket will ensure it stays fresh and ready for every play session.
Lace up those sneakers! Your1-year-old will want to crawl, walk, climb, and explore the world around them—but they require a lot of supervision.
Encourage safe, unstructured learning with illustrated books, non-toxic arts and crafts, and items to facilitate creation and make-believe, including stuffed animals, toy tool sets, building blocks, large puzzles, and toy animals.
As your baby continues to grow and develop, they’ll gain more dexterity, control, and curiosity, including climbing, rolling and tumbling, and grabbing objects. Keep your baby occupied with toys for problem-solving and creativity, such as puzzles, blocks, pretend cook sets or tools, and musical instruments. They’ll also love stories with more details, such as faces, sounds, and rhymes.
Your baby will grow and develop an incredible amount in their first year. Support their curiosity, learning, and sense of exploration with safe, age-appropriate, non-toxic toys that can be cleaned easily. You and your baby have a lot of exploring to do together and finding the right toys will make playtime a valuable learning experience as well.Just remember to have a soft baby blanket on hand to snuggle baby up in after an afternoon full of fun or to use as a soft, safe play mat.
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