Toy & Gift Ideas for Baby

Developmentally Appropriate Toy & Gift Ideas for Baby (0-4 months old)

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If you are anything like me, the plethora of baby toys out there is completely overwhelming; the potential of wasted money and unused toys laying around the house seems inevitable. In this post I will share the developmentally appropriate toys that Taylor actually engaged with from 0-4 months old, and at which month I introduced them to her. Hopefully this will help you narrow down the field if you are in the market for your own babe, or a gift for someone else’s. Of course, every baby is different and will gravitate toward certain toys according to their individual interests, but I’d bet that most of these are universal baby favs!

In choosing toys for Taylor I asked three main questions:

  1. Based on research, which toys are best for development?
  2. Which toys will my baby actually engage with at what month/age?
  3. Which toy are not so completely obnoxious that I won’t be able to stand having them around?

A great source to answer the first question is a blog written by a Mama/Occupational Therapist:
Mama OT. She has great toy and gift guides that list items that will support the development of little ones at various ages and stages. I definitely bought Taylor several toys based on her advice. I also work with Occupational Therapists and School Psychologists regularly in my line of work, and the gifts they gave Taylor are also included in this list – I’d say they are pretty trustworthy sources for developmentally appropriate toys as well!

Month 1

During the first month of life newborns are sleepy little blobs of cuteness that can’t do a whole lot else but eat/poop/sleep, but it’s still important to introduce sensory stimulation – auditory, tactile, and visual. They can see objects 8-10 inches away but can’t make out details or the full color spectrum just yet. They also like to look at faces, especially Mommy and Daddy’s! I bought Taylor several black, white and red high contrast items that she was really into (she was particularly taken with the beaver on the  crib bumper shown below!).

Below are the 5 items she focussed on most during her first month:

Black and white crib bumper:

Baby Faces board book:

Black and white board books like this one:

Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo Activity Mirror:

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy:

Month 2

At 2 months old, colors and high contrast items are still super important to stimulate a baby’s visual senses. They’re starting to figure out the world a bit more by this point. This is a great time to introduce a play gym – you can rotate the hanging toys every few days or change your babies position to open up a whole new visual world. Play gyms, like the one I linked below, are also perfect for tummy time as there is plenty to look at and touch on the mat itself.

Here are some of items that we used a ton during Taylor’s 2nd month:

Set of rings (we use these to dangle toys from her stroller bar or bring objects on the play gym nearer to her vision/reach. She also just liked to watch a chain of rings dangled in front of her.):

High contrast books (ones with repetition, colorful picturesbath books, or indestructible/board books for teething later on are best):

Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball (she loves this ball even more now that she can grab and not just stare at it!):

Skip Hop play gym:

Month 3

At 3 months your baby will likely begin to touch, bat at, or even grab everything within reach. I tried to find toys I could place in her hands that she could hold onto as she developed this new physical skill. Here are a few toys that Taylor enjoyed and could easily grasp at this age:

Oball and Oball rattle:

Lamaze Musical Inchworm (this was her BFF for several weeks.):

Are You My Mother cloth book (T LOVES to pull the little stuffed bird out of the nest!):

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Activity Toy:

Month 4

During month 4 you’ll probably notice your baby’s improved hand-eye coordination, closer attention to the books you’re reading him/her, and the beginnings of understanding cause and effect. Your baby might even begin teething like Taylor did! As I write this, Taylor is in the tail end of her 4th month.

Here are the toys we added into the rotation this month that she has enjoyed playing with:

Lamaze Firefly Freddie (this is seriously the toy to replace all  toys for her right now – it even has a teething piece attached! We hook this up to the center of her play mat and she goes to town !):

Sassy Rattling Ring (we dangle this from her play gym using a few of the rings for easier access. Also great for early teethers):

Sophie the Giraffe (another awesome teether, plus there are cute board books to go along with her!):

Ring stacker:

Well, there you have it – our list of developmentally appropriate, engaging toys that aren’t too tacky : )

Up next in my developmental toy “to-buy” queue are a Play Cube and Play Table. I have my eye on these:


What toys did your baby like best? Help  me get ahead of the game – what toys did your baby and toddler really like from 4 months and older? Thank you!

xo, Ashley (1)

 

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