|Choosing the Right Baby Toy
Baby toys for this stage of learning are an important part of stimulating a healthy development. Babies
discover the environment through the senses of sight, touch, sound, taste and smell. Understanding the basic
characteristics of child development and safety issues will enable you to make an informed choice when
purchasing toys for your baby.
Baby toys should be developmentally and age appropriate. They should be safe, fun and motivating. During
the first few months of development, babies are unable to grasp objects with their hands, but enjoy exploring
with their eyes and ears. Baby toys that make noise or feature black-and-white or brightly colored images
are especially appealing. Once the baby can reach for objects, they enjoy toys that are textured and safe for
mouthing. Remember, to avoid dangerous entanglement, toys never should be hung or attached to a crib,
playpen, stroller, infant seat or around a child's neck with elastic, string or ribbon.
Choose toys that:
• have pieces that are too large to swallow
• are lightweight for handling and grasping
• have no sharp edges or points
• are brightly colored
• are non-toxic
Baby toys Promote Independence
At this level, babies develop the motor skills that enable them to play with toys in new and exciting ways.
When they can sit up, they enjoy toys they can manipulate bang, drop, stack up, put in and take out, and
open and shut. Once they can crawl, "cruise" (walk while holding furniture) and walk, they enjoy things that
move along with them. Baby toys that show cause and effect are also exciting at this age.
Here are a few general safety guidelines to help you make responsible choices:
Safety guidelines for baby toys:
• Children in this age group put everything in their mouths.
• Choose baby toys that have no removable parts, and no buttons.
• Baby toys must be smoothly finished, well rounded and fully washable.
• Look for sturdy construction. Babies will pull, twist and throw toys.
• Crib toys and pull toys should not have strings, straps or cords longer than 15 centimeters (6 inches) to
avoid the risk of strangulation.
• Crib gyms (baby toys which are suspended across the cot) should always be removed when the baby can
push up on their hands, or is five months of age, whichever comes first.
• Never let your baby play with balloons or balloon parts.
• Read toy labels and minimum age recommendations on the package.
• Discard all plastic packaging immediately.
• Supervise your baby at play.
Age Appropriate Toys for Babies
Babies enjoy looking at colorful toys, pictures and listening to soothing music. Baby toys should be visually
stimulating with different colors. Newborns prefer black and white, while primary colors appeal to babies 3
to 6 months of age.
• Mobiles and musical toys
• Bright pictures
• Soft squeezable toys and balls
• Unbreakable mirrors
• Baby swings
• Talking and singing to your baby
• Pleasant facial expressions
Four to seven months:
At this stage, babies show an interest in holding, touching and mouthing objects. Baby toys should
encourage exploration through different shapes, textures, sounds, colors and weights. Choose small
lightweight stuffed toys with additions (for example long bunny ears) for easy grasping.
• Rattles and musical toys
• Teething rings
• Soft cloth or vinyl baby books
• Toys with holes for easy gripping
• Interlocking plastic rings
• Stuffed toys
• Baby gyms
• Activity quilts
• Jolly jumper
Eight to twelve months:
By eight months babies are interested in exploring their surroundings. Baby toys that produce a movement or
noise when an action is applied to it are popular. Encourage eye-hand coordination and imitation with
stacking toys, nesting cups, and shape sorting play.
• Baby musical instruments i.e. piano or guitar
• Pop up toys
• Containers to empty and fill, such as cups and pails
• Stackable toys
• Bath toys
• Push/pull toys
• Baby books made of cardboard
• Large stuffed animals
One year old
Babies of this age become more involved in active play that includes crawling, walking, and running. Provide
toys that can be used for these activities. Baby toys for this age group should include manipulation of parts
like a shape sorter as well as cause and effect with buttons, dials and knobs. Encourage independent mobility
and other gross motor skills with balls of different colors and sizes. Encourage eye hand coordination with
fat crayons and coloring books.
• Building blocks
• Pretend play i.e. tools, dolls
• Big balls for throwing and kicking
• Push/pull toys
• Large picture books
• Drawing and coloring books
• “Peek a boo” game