Best Educational Toys for Babies
Your baby learns from every interaction he has with the world around him. Hearing your voice, encountering new sensations, and visual stimuli all help your baby learn. You can help your little one learn with interactive toys that grab his attention and give him new ways to use his developing senses.
You want to surround your newborn with soft and gentle fabrics and toys, but that doesn’t mean that infants can’t have fun toys, too. Even the youngest babies can enjoy brightly colored plush toys, especially if they include panels of contrasting textures and crinkling material. These toys stimulate three senses: sight, sound, and touch. Many of these toys include bonus features, like teething rings and clips that allow them to be easily attached to car seats and strollers.
Another fun sensory toy is a baby gym or play mat. These play mats include suspended mobiles that hang colorful objects just within baby’s reach—but he has to work for it! These hanging toys capture his attention and encourage interactions like reaching and grasping. With a baby gym, your child can work his muscles and boost hand-eye coordination. Some play mats and baby gyms have a musical component, so baby’s hearing is also stimulated.
Babies can begin to work on their problem solving skills through play. The simple act of stacking is a way to engage a baby in problem solving, whether he is stacking rings or blocks. There are many variations of ring stacking toys, from traditional plastic ring sets to plush rings to themed rings, like the Stack-a-Cake toy. Blocks, too, come in many varieties, including plush photo blocks with frames on the sides of the cube to be filled with pictures of family and friends. Playing with photo blocks can help your baby learn to recognize the faces of the important people in his life.
Once your baby has conquered stacking, a shape sorter can pose a new challenge to hone puzzle-solving and hand-eye coordination skills. Identify matching shapes, and fitting them through the appropriate holes, requires your baby to problem solve and work on shape recognition and fine motor skills. And when he’s done filling up the bucket, he’ll love to dump all the shapes out again.
The next time you visit your neighborhood super center, take a walk down the toy aisle and see which baby toys are available to help your child learn. You might be surprised at what you find, and just how valuable these toys can be for your little one.