There’s a purpose to all those sticky toys scattered all over the living room floor – believe us! While your little one is defiantly kicking down the tower of bricks you painstakingly helped them build and chewing determinedly on anything and everything in sight, these spontaneous moments are all shaping the way they interact with the world around them.
As a new-born, your baby may seem like all they’re interested in is the next feed or sleep. And when they’re awake, you might be mistaken for thinking they have little awareness of the world around them. But they’re very curious and hungry to discover their surroundings. Playing with your baby from an early age is a great way to boost their brain development – while building the bond between you both.
Below, we’ve listed some of the main ways they develop in their first year – and our baby toys that can help nurture their growth (and make playtime fun!).
What baby toys should I buy?Inky the Fish
Although their sight is still a little hazy in their first few months, brightly coloured objects are great for their stimulation. Black and white toys are particularly great, as the high contrast makes them easy for baby to see and will help them pick out differences in shapes and patterns.
Inky the fish is one of the characters in our fun fish family. And he’s super squidgy - perfect for little one to hold and chew (a terrific teething toy). Our fish are a brilliant way to bring bath time to life.
Mirrors are great for developing your little one’s cognitive skills. They love faces! But they don’t recognise their own self when they look in the mirror – in fact, they actually think they’re seeing another baby! Encouraging your little one to use a mirror is a great way for them to develop their social skills as they natter merrily to themselves. In the pool, we use the mirror as a teaching aid to give them confidence to lie on their back. So why not practise this at home with your little one during bath time? Take a peek at our Water Babies Learn videos to help you build your baby’s water confidence, wherever you are.
It’s never too soon to start reading to your little one. Reading helps them discover their voice, even if all you’re hearing is a stream of unintelligible ‘goos’ and ‘gaas’. Right from birth, they’re taking in the sound of your voice, which is why reading is a great way to develop their cognitive and social skills. They might not be able to get their teeth into a Bronte or Dickens, but they’re benefitting so much from sharing a book with you. Reading aloud with your little one teaches them about communication, develops their speaking skills and introduces concepts like numbers, letters, colours and shapes.
Our Bubba Bath book encourages your little one to count friends and make noises as Bubba spies monkeys, ducks and penguins. Oh, and it has won a boatload of awards too!
As your little one develops, so do their gross motor skills – we’re talking about those bigger muscles. As they grow, encouraging your little one to reach forward for toys will help strengthen their arms and develop their hand-eye coordination. We use these in the pool to help little ones develop their front crawl!
Play is powerful. It’s how our little ones learn about the world. And playing with your little one not only builds the bond between you two, but lets you release your own inner child! We’re sure that dolphin impression will come in useful again. Party trick, anyone?