If you’re like most new parents today, you are invested in your baby’s learning, looking for nursery décor and necessities to aid your child’s development. Educational baby toys are the best way to help your infant develop the senses of sight, hearing and touch. Here are the top learning toys for 0- to 1-year-olds that will entertain your baby while helping him or her develop those important skills:
1. Classic blocks – Blocks have been around for centuries, but that’s because they never go out of style. The educational aspects of these novelties lie in their dozens of uses, from stacking, sorting, throwing, passing between hands and other hand-eye coordination activities. Because there are an endless variety of blocks (soft to wooden, textured, light-up, musical, patterns to pictures, ABC’s to numbers), infants under a year can learn from the tactile surfaces, sounds, lights and patterns on many blocks.
2. Soft books – Soft books are a perfect educational toy for infants. These fabric-covered books are easy to grasp for babies, contain many textures, patterns and brightly colored pictures, and are a wonderful tool for parents to impart early reading skills to babies under 1 year old.
3. Rattles – The simplicity of rattles, the classic old-fashioned baby toys, are that they help infants understand cause and effect (shaking = rattling) and aid baby in learning to grasp and coordinate arm movements.
4. Electronic drums – There are various models of educational play drums for babies ages 0- to 1-year-old that teach infants about cause and effect, develop their hearing and hand-eye coordination and also light up, play music and teach babies the alphabet and numbers.
5. Electronic toddler trains – There are baby-sized trains available that are perfect for little ones just learning how to pull up and stand on their own. These petite models usually have handles for babies to grasp and pull on, have seats to climb into, are brightly colored and are educational in the sense that they play songs, light up and have a multitude of buttons to push and figure out what they do.
6. Ball popping walker – The classic “popcorn” walker, the timeless vacuum-looking push toy that pops balls inside when children walk, is another learning baby toy that allows children to develop their coordination and walking skills in a fun way.
7. Stacking rings and cups – An educational baby toy as old as civilization, any combination of stacking items is a great skill-building toy for infants. While stacking colorful rings around a pole or stacking and de-stacking cups, babies are learning about size, proportion, colors and counting, as well as developing hand-eye coordination.
8. Play keyboard – Babies are naturally drawn to keyboards. The ability to push a button and hear a sound is an automatic reward and begs baby to press more to figure out what happens next. Play keyboards, usually with a just a few keys, are perfect gift ideas for babies to learn about cause and effect, as well as expose them to musical instruments.
9. Play telephone – Any parent of young children knows that babies love to imitate adults, especially while using the phone. Babies will find anything they can to imitate a phone, from a spoon to a stuffed animal, to hold to their ear and pretend-talk. A play telephone is an excellent educational toy that will help infants to learn about social interaction and communication.
10. Light-up/musical activity attachments for cribs or strollers – Crib and stroller attachments have come a long way in recent years. Today’s toys may be shaped like worms or caterpillars, include mirrors, play classical music, songs or lullabies, have buttons to push, have vibrating parts or spinning parts, and teach infants about numbers and letters. Many even include places to put pictures to show baby and help them recognize their loved ones.
Remember, educational baby toys can also be the perfect birthday or holiday gifts. Not only will you be providing hours of entertainment for the little one, but the child’s parents will pleased and grateful that you considered their baby’s learning and development.