I’ve been asked to attend a local parent and toddler group run by @Greystonesmomma and share about developmental toys for babies and toddlers. I feel slightly overwhelmed at the idea as I feel I’m not an expert in this field. I guess I have been doing research when choosing toys for the past five years for my website and having got two children through this age category, also helps! So here goes…
0-2 Month Olds
Although it may appear that babies this age do very little other than eating, pooing and sleeping, they are also developing and it’s never too early to play with your child. Read them rhyming stories or sing them nursery rhymes. You may want to hold and cuddle them constantly but it’s important for them to learn how to stretch out (after nine months of being in a confined area!). Having an activity playmat makes a nice soft space for them. As they grow older, they will enjoy the bright colours and dangling activities that these playmats provide.
2-3 Months Old
At this stage, your baby may start to grip things in their hands. It could be time to introduce some soft or wooden toys that their little hands can grip and hold. I love these Heimess Touch Rings. As your child grows, these can double as teething rings and they will enjoy watching the cause and effect of the parts moving when they move the toy. These Pebblechild Crocheted Rattles would also work with this aged baby.
3-4 Months Old
Your child’s eyesight is constantly improving and now they will be able to appreciate bright coloured toys and reflections. They will enjoy looking at themselves in a baby-safe mirror even if they don’t recognise that it’s their reflection yet. This water play mat from Galt Toys is great for encouraging your child to have tummy time and strengthen their neck muscles.
4-5 Months Old
At this stage, babies start to learn cause and effect and they may start teething. These Squeakaboo toys are perfect for this age. Your child can grasp them and hold them. If they squeeze them, they squeak. If they shake them, they rattle. Different fabrics feel and sound different and there are lots of protruding areas for sore gums to munch on! They are also brightly coloured. A perfect sensory toy for this age.
6-9 Month Olds
By this stage, your child may be starting to sit up independantly. It’s good to encourage this by putting some simple toys in front of them that they can play with such as stacking toys.
9-12 Month Olds
Your child may now be crawling or attempting to move. To encourage this, it’s good to have a few toys that move, which your child can follow. Having a soft ball , a soft bowling set and some toys on wheels can do this. This pull along snail or pull along dog would make a lovely toy for someone this age. Also, your child’s pincher movement will be fine-tuning so they may be able to pick up items using their finger and thumb.
12 – 18 Months Old
During this time, your child might start to walk. Introducing push along toys or pull along toys at this age can be fun. This Wooden Cow Pull Along toy is very popular. Also, you could add to their collection of moving toys as they will now be able to fetch them themselves! Blocks are fun toys at this age, as are simple peg puzzles. These stacking cubes are great for helping your child understand ‘big’ and ‘small’ and figure out how to stack them but also how to fit them into each other. I stock a vehicles version and a forest version.
18 Months – 2 Years
Now that your child is this age, they may be showing an interest in scribbling. Make sure you have child-safe chunky crayons that their little hands can manage or chunky chalks. It can now be a good time to introduce some fun crafts. This Handprint Craft activity would be perfect for this age group. They can manage chunky piece puzzles and toys like shape sorters or the Caterpillar Threading Activity now too. Now might also be a good time to encourage their interest in music, sounds and rhythm. This musical table would make a lovely birthday gift.
2-3 Year Olds
By the time your child has reached 2, their little imagination will have started to take off and they will love toys that encourage that, like dress up, vehicles and play food. They will also start showing independence and enjoy problem-solving puzzles and music toys. Here are some developmental toys that they may like.
This is just a small selection of developmental toys for babies to three-year-olds. If you’d like to see my full selection, you’ll find them here. Or, if your child is three or older, I have a range for them too here!
Every child develops at different rates and every child has different styles of toys they like and don’t like. This blog is only a rough guide. I hope you’ve found it helpful.
PPS. You might also find my blog ‘Toys that help Language Development‘ interesting.