Engaging Your Baby: Development Toys
By Valerie Stout Cyrus
New parents often find themselves so excited about their new baby’s arrival that they may forget about the many toys available to entertain and teach newborns. Since brain development begins very early in life, it makes sense to consider finding ways to help the process along while also making parenting considerably easier. Doing this also provides ways for babies to learn how to entertain themselves.
Mobiles are one of the most popular toys for infants. They instantly add a new dimension to the primarily horizontal view babies have. Mobiles with high contrast patterns and colors provide a great deal of wonder, entertainment and interest for new babies. There are now also take along models that can be clipped just about anywhere, such as to car seats and strollers. Most are designed with safety features so that when baby touches them, they can have another sensory experience to enjoy. Many mobiles also include pleasant melodies that serve to soothe the baby while away from home in an unfamiliar environment.
Activity mats are useful in a variety of ways. First, they provide a safe space for babies to enjoy being with the family or their parents. These mats also offer many ways to encourage a baby’s developmental process. For instance, people standing near or above the baby provide interest and amusement while they learn to focus. Some mats also include a way to hang toys from them.
Sensory toys that may be easily grasped, like rattles and soft items, are particularly fun for babies as they learn how to handle objects. Sounds encourage babies to develop these abilities when they see how each item responds as they touch or move it. In the beginning, rattles are especially appropriate for newborns, and there are a number of ankle rattles to encourage leg movement. Using this type of toy lets babies learn how to become aware of all of their limbs.
There is plenty of evidence that music aids in the education of children of all ages. New babies can learn very early how to appreciate the sounds of an MP3 player or music box. Babies generally respond to sounds in different ways. For instance, while certain types of music soothe and relax, more lively tunes can provide entertainment. When the brain hears these sounds, it stimulates growth that transcends to the rest of the developmental process.
Unbreakable mirrors for newborns offer fascinating reflections for babies to see. While they won’t know it is themselves, the familiar human faces they see usually provoke responses, especially when they smile at themselves. There are many ways to use them, such as propping them near changing tables or standing in front of them with the baby. Mirrors come on many other toys, such as overhead mobiles.
New babies in particular can find entertainment in simple, yet functional toys with bold colors that can evoke a response from them. At each stage of development, there are new toys to consider that make being a parent easier and being a baby more fun.
About the Author
Valerie Stout Cyrus is the mother of two children who often writes about parenting issues and child accessories that make infant care easier; such as Bright Starts toys for infants, which help to ensure that toys have developmental benefits for every milestone in the first twelve months of baby’s life.
Ms. Jensen is a leading advocate for families and children and was the founder and president of ACES, The Association for Children for Enforcement of Support.
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