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How do infants play? A guide on buying toys for babies 0 to 6 months old.

You’ve just had a baby and know that play is important for your child. But you’re uncertain what toys you need to look for. How do you engage your child? What isn’t good for them? Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through what you need to be looking for while buying your baby toys and how you can make the most of playtime for your kid. 

Why is play important for infants?

Your newborn baby won’t understand words. They don’t know the associations we make in this world, how to interact with others, or how to use their developing limbs. They have no clue how to make sense of everything that they see, hear, taste, and touch. How do you teach them any of this? Enter playtime! 

Play is how your baby will learn to interact with this world. During the early stages of their development, play is most important because it is your only way to communicate with your child. 

Whether you want to teach them to identify sounds, move their cute little face and arms, or understand what an apple is, it has to be conveyed through a simple game and toys become essential aids or props. 

0-3 months: Ways your baby is developing right now

- Motor skills: Across the stage, your baby will learn basic motor skills such as rolling over, moving their arms and legs, and lifting and holding up their head. 

- Sensory skills: Your newborn’s sharpest sensory skill will be that of touch. They will slowly learn to look at and focus on faces and follow moving objects with their eyes. They will also enjoy listening to gentle sounds. 

- Communication: Your baby’s primary means of communication right now is crying. They will have different cries for different needs. They’ll gradually begin to show interest in faces, turn their head towards sounds, and smile in acknowledgement of what they are sensing.

How can play help a newborn?

For a newborn, play should be centred around getting them to hone their basic motor, sensory, and communication skills. This means using fun toys to get them to look up, follow sounds, and move their arms to reach for it. Soothing sounds, bright colours, and gentle touch are great ways to strengthen their sensory skills.

Best games and toys for newborns

Overhead toys: Your child will learn to focus as they observe the interesting shapes and colours while lying in their crib. These can also create pleasant sounds that help your baby fall asleep. You could even try a baby gym

Rattles: Rattles are one of the best toys for kids at this stage as they help in the development of many motor, sensory, and communication skills. You can shake it to get your baby's attention. Over time, they’ll learn to start looking for the source of the sound. Once they learn to focus, you can move it for them to reach out to and grab. Rattles also create a soothing sound that is good to calm your baby and help them follow auditory cues. Having a face on it or bright colours also encourages your baby to look up and focus. 

Time with you: More than at any other stage, playtime for your kid right now simply means you and them spending time together. You could play simple games like peek-a-boo or gently touching and tickling your baby in different places. Talking and singing to them is also a wonderful way to soothe them and help them connect with you. 

4-6 months: Ways your baby is developing right now

Motor skills: Your child will be able to start sitting somewhere along this stage of development. They may even be able to stand with support towards the latter half. They can easily roll around, and reach for objects and grab them.  

Sensory skills: Your baby will be getting used to sensory information. They are no longer overwhelmed by sounds or movement. They learn to explore more with their sense of touch. They begin to put objects or even their hands in their mouth

Communication: You will notice your child use more verbal communication like babbling to get attention at this stage. They will also notice sounds better and try responding to what they hear.

How can play help 4-6-month-olds?

At this stage, play can be a way for your child to explore the skills that they are developing. You can help them finetune skills such as their sense of touch and ability to listen and react to sounds. At about 5 months, infants also begin to develop consciousness. You may notice your child appears to soak in more. They also respond in a way that seems more aware than they were as newborns. Play is a great chance to further this awareness.

Best games and toys for 4-6-month-olds.

Rattles: Rattles are a good example of a toy that grows with your child. You can continue to use these to attract their attention, help them focus, and entertain and soothe them.

Teethers: Teethers are must-haves for a baby at this stage. Their teeth are beginning to grow and they’re uncomfortable. Chewing something helps them ease the discomfort. Since they cannot communicate clearly yet, access to this toy is also an easy way for them to soothe their sore gums without the added anxiety of conveying their needs. Natural wood teethers are the best choice as they are natural and contain antibacterial properties. They do not have the risk of chemicals that may come with rubber and silicone teethers. 

Plush toys: Plush toys are also toys that can be used across ages. They may now be drawn to a variety of plush toys since their senses of touch and vision have developed further. 

Time with you: Time with you is still key to your child’s play. You can keep objects at a distance for them to reach out to. You can now host fun skits for them to observe and enjoy. You can lift them and put them down gently like a ride. You can talk and sing much more to them, encouraging them to babble along!

Unsure what to pick? Write to us: care@shumee.in and we'll do our best to help. Happy parenting!

April 14, 2020 — Freelance Collaborator

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