Header 2: 0-6 months
• Even as a newborn, your little one is ready to play. They can’t see very far — but they’ll fix their eyes on objects about 20 to 30cm away. Get them toys that have bold, contrasting patterns, in colours like red, white and black.
• Your baby may also enjoy gazing at a cot mobile since it provides visual stimulation as it moves. Look for one that plays gentle music to calm and relax them. As they get older, they’ll probably move their hands and legs in an attempt to touch it (move it out of reach when that starts).
• By about 3 months, your baby will be able to grab little items for a few seconds. Get them a rattle or a squeaky toy. When they shake or squeeze it, it makes a sound and this helps them realise what their hands can do.
• Look for toys that have a range of different textures. They’ll be amused by noisy, crinkly items, as well as rough or furry surfaces. Help them distinguish between hard toys and soft ones. Bathtime is also great for play as they try to grab toys that can float and bob around in the water.
“Get your baby toys that have bold, contrasting patterns, in colours like red, white and black."
• Now that your munchkin is on their way to sitting up and moving around, you can get them a wider variety of toys. They’ll enjoy toys that demonstrate cause and effect — such as those that let them push a button and watch something pop up.
• Musical toys are great for this age. As their memory is growing, hearing that familiar Twinkle Twinkle Little Star play from their toy radio will make them laugh.
• Pull-along toys or toys that move when they push them can encourage crawling. If your baby is already pulling themselves up or cruising, you might want to get a push walker, so they can start taking their first steps.
• They now realise they can do quite a lot on their own. Stacking toys, shape sorters and building blocks help them develop their hand-eye coordination, while a simple pail and shovel at your next beach outing will give them a wonderful sensory experience.
• These days, junior loves activities where they can make things happen. Play at this age involves a lot of experimentation — “What if I drop this ball?” for instance.
• Since they’re now on the move, they’ll love ride-on toys. There are many varieties — from fire trucks to Barbie convertibles — but avoid the motorised ones as they take the fun out of getting them to move under Bubba’s own power!
• Puzzles are also a good idea at this age as these help your sweetie to hone their fine motor skills. Get those with big knobs and bright pictures to pique their interest.
• Anything your tot can fill to the brim or transfer into different containers will thrill them, too. This could be a cup in the tub or beans in a pan. This boosts their fine motor skills, too.
"Anything your tot can fill to the brim or transfer into different containers will thrill them."
• As their imagination and creativity are growing by leaps and bounds, get them a little art set. Crayons or watercolours are a wonderful way to teach colours and how to mix them to produce more shades.
• Your little one is now obsessed with doing “grown-up things”. Role-playing toys will stimulate their imagination and help them learn about the grown-up world. Kitchen play sets or musical instruments are fantastic ideas.
• Toddlers are obsessed with being like mummy or daddy, so a baby doll is an ideal toy to bring out their nurturing side. They’ll pretend to feed, change and rock it to sleep. It’s a great way to introduce a new sibling as well.
• Your mini-explorer will adore anything that brings them outdoors. A balance bike is a good way to train their motor skills and boost their ability to balance, while kites will provide hours of family fun.