Toys to Help Baby Grow and Learn...

21/07/2016 10:18 | Updated 21 July 2016

When a new baby comes into the world it seems inconceivable that this little creature will one day be walking around in the world on his own, but it does happen, and sooner than we think, and there is lots we can do to help them develop and grow in the best way possible. A simple, good quality baby toy can make a wonderful gift for a baby shower, new baby, or Christening as once all the new baby outfits no longer fit and the new born phase is over, your gift will come into its own.

Babies need different toys at different stages of development and so we have put together a quick guide to the best toys for each stage. When baby is first born they don't need much stimulation past close contact with mum but once baby reaches four to six months they start to develop more control over their limbs and can begin to explore the world around them. At this age their mouth is their main tool for exploration and teething toys are perfect, as they are an interesting texture to chew on and too big to be a choking hazard.

A toy such as a small wooden rattle or bell makes a great gift for this age and will continue to hold baby's attention for the next few months. Around eight or nine months baby will begin to move around and this is when the fun really begins! It's time for mum to batten down the hatches and move the cat food out of reach as junior starts to understand his environment by trying to put everything he finds in his mouth.

Toys that move with baby are great for this stage of development as following a toy car or a toy animal on wheels will help them to practice controlling their movement. Around ten months to a year baby will really start to play and there are a wide variety of toys that should keep them entertained, at least for a little while. They will begin some imitative play and may start to play with dolls and teddies in a simple way.

They will also love to put things in containers and take them out again or attempt to stack items, so stacking rings or cups are great for this stage of development. Their fine motor skills increase and they will enjoy more control over their pincer grasp meaning that toys where you have to thread beads around a maze will fascinate them. Finally they will begin to use toys as tools, and will love pounding pegs into holes with a hammer bench or pretend toy kit.

Colourful baby books are great to include in the toy box at any age. When they are little opt for board books that can take a bit of rough handling and chewing, they will enjoy a bedtime story, or simply looking at the colourful pictures and practicing turning the pages.

Watching a baby grow and develop and find their little place in the world is one of the greatest joys of parenthood and some well-chosen, good quality toys will help baby to reach their developmental milestones at the right time for them. Chosen with care and given with love, toys are the gift that will keep on giving. For ideas, visit Babyblooms.