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Babies a New Life : Early Learning Giving my baby a good start (part 2) - Best toys for babies Helping your child develop

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Best toys for babies Helping your child develop

When your baby is born, you’re on a learning curve like no other. Alongside the focus on feeding and sleeping, you may also be wondering what she needs to learn and develop well.

Toys to cuddle

Every baby needs plenty of cuddles from you and they’ll love the comfort of a small soft toy, too. Cloth animals that are easy to grab, suck, and chew make ideal comfort toys for your baby. For safety’s sake check that any soft toys are suitable for newborns, and don’t overwhelm your child with too many.

Toys to make noise

Mobiles, musical toys, and rattles are great for getting your baby’s attention. Shaking a rattle to one side teaches her to turn her eyes and body to find things. Mobiles overhead motivate a young baby to reach up and practice coordinating her movements.

Reading

Speaking to your baby frequently promotes language development and gives a sense of closeness as you cuddle up for stories. As soon as your baby is born, you can begin reading or telling her stories about her environment and family. Begin your baby’s love affair with books by giving her cloth books from her earliest weeks, and board books during her first year. Don’t worry if books are scrunched and chewed at first; this is normal.

Playmates

It is too early for your baby to be interested in playing with other babies, but she’ll adore having you to play with. You hold a powerful interest for her, and your attention, interaction, and playfulness will be her delight. Whether you use rhymes like “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” make a game out of picking up the toys she’s thrown out of the stroller, or read to her at bedtime, you will be her favorite playmate.

Positions

Your baby will enjoy playing from all sorts of different positions—being held in your arms, on a rug on her tummy, lying on her back, or in a bouncy chair. Each position allows her to practice using her body differently as she plays. From five months, play a game of rolling around on the floor (on a rug or carpet) to strengthen her body in preparation for crawling.

Games

Your baby at a few months old will love playing games such as peek-a-boo with you. Try draping different fabrics on her body or gently on her face for her to pull off, and see her delighted reaction as you come back into view. Once she can sit, games such as rolling a ball to her and getting her to roll it back teach simple turn-taking.

Bold and beautiful

In her early weeks, your baby’s sight is fuzzy, so she will prefer high-contrast, bold, black-and-white designs on mobiles and in books. She’ll like looking at human faces, since the visual pathways in her brain respond well to strong patterns. She’s primed to prefer faces over other images.

Looking up

Looking at a brightly colored mobile will help your young baby focus and encourage her to reach up and swipe.

All about books

Reading to your child helps develop language skills, and is also good for bonding as you cuddle up together.

Comfort

A soft toy may be used as a security object, providing comfort and soothing when you’re not around.

Interaction

Playing games such as peek-a-boo will help your baby understand concepts such as object permanence, which means understanding that objects remain in place even when hidden.

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