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toys 0-6 months

toys buyers guide

toys 0-6 months

Newborn babies spend a lot of their time sleeping, but once they start being a bit more alert, you'll be eager to get to know them better, play simple games with them and introduce them to some toys. Play comes naturally to babies and children, but you can make it even more enjoyable by encouraging your baby to play with a variety of toys and giving out heaps of praise when they learn new things.

birth to 3 months

  • They can follow moving objects with their eyes and turn towards sounds.
  • They are likely to cry at sudden loud noises. Their movements will gradually start to get smoother and stronger over the first three months
  • From three months, they should be able to lie on their tummy and start to support themselves on their forearms.
  • Newborn babies are born with a grasping reflex, so if you place something in their hands they will instinctively curl their fingers around it. By month two, they may start grabbing at things around them (time to tie your hair up) and by month three they may try batting and grabbing objects they see.

Suitable toys include baby rattles, cot mobiles, play gyms, cot toys, soft toys, musical toys and fabric books.

4 - 6 months

At this stage your baby's hand-eye co-ordination is improving constantly and she'll attempt at grabbing, touching and pulling objects around her. Baby rattles and toys will probably go straight into her mouth so make sure everything is clean! By six months she may attempt to grasp an object from behind her and might try passing an object from one hand to the other.

  • Babies will want to touch, hold, turn, shake and mouth objects.
  • They will start to learn cause and effect.
  • They can focus at different distances.
  • They will begin to become interested in and smile at mirror images.
  • They will begin to lift their head to look at things.
  • They should be able to roll over and sit with support.

Suitable toys would include baby rattles, cot mobiles, play gyms, cot toys, soft toys, musical toys and fabric books, plus activity mats and gyms with mirrors.

rattles

Bright colours will attract your baby. Soft fabric rattles are best for very young babies as lack of co-ordination may cause them to bump their faces with the rattle. Lightweight rattles are easier to hold and, as co-ordination develops, clear plastic ones will let your baby see what's making the noise.

cot mobiles

Choose bright shapes that move easily in a breeze or a musical mobile that plays a tune as it turns. You should hang cot mobiles within your baby's range of vision, but not within reach.

baby toys

Baby toys with different textures that make a noise when squeezed or pressed are great for babies to help them discover different sounds and feelings of fabrics and more. As well as buying brightly coloured baby toys, remember that newborn babies love looking at toys with high colour contrasts so black and white toys will appeal.

soft toys

Soft toys made from soft, plush fabric with embroidered facial features are perfect for newborn baby gifts. Babies of all ages love looking at faces (even their own in a mirror) because it is an image which is instantly familiar to them so toys with friendly faces work really well.

musical toys

Musical mobiles, musical boxes, wind chimes, squeaky toys and rattles will all interest your baby.

soft books

From an early age, your baby will enjoy looking at these brightly coloured books with cloth pages. Read or make up the story as you turn the pages to encourage interaction and learning.

play mats

Play mats are brightly coloured mats with different textured materials, squeakers and shapes to explore, whilst baby gyms consist of a floor-standing arch or fixture fitted. Many play mats have dangling rattles and toys, with some also having an integral play mat. Some come with their own carrying bag so you can take them with you when you go out.

baby mirrors

Baby mirrors are great for your baby to discover perspective and themselves! But only give your baby a purpose made, unbreakable nursery mirror to play with. Some baby mirrors are designed to be fastened to the side of a cot or attached to your pram or pushchair.

safety first

  • All toys should be safe, non-toxic and durable.
  • Keep fabric toys away from fire.
  • Remove labels, tags and ribbons before giving soft toys to your baby.
  • Toys with long hair or fibres are not suitable for babies under 12 months.
  • Remove soft toys from the basket or cot when your baby goes to sleep.
  • Always position cot mobiles out of baby's reach and remove from the cot as soon as your baby can sit up onto hands and knees.
  • Don't leave your baby to play unsupervised under a gym or activity bar.
  • Remove activity centres from the cot as soon as your baby can push up onto hands and knees, as it could become an aid to climbing.

Suitable toys would include all those listed above, plus activity mats and gyms with mirrors.