Even before your baby is born, you are showered with all sorts of toys from rattles to brightly-colored balls, play mats and crib mobiles, and that’s just the beginning. In your excitement, you likewise purchase the latest knick-knacks and eventually find a closetful – more than enough toys for your baby to get his hands on until he turns one (and by then, there will be more toys to add to the collection!). While playing with toys can be both stimulating and fun, it is important to know which ones are appropriate for your newborn whose developmental skills are just emerging.
According to Dr. Maria Isabel Osabel-Quilendrino, a developmental pediatrician at the Philippine General Hospital, “Play is important because it impacts a child’s physical, social, emotional and cognitive development. Toys that are appropriate for small children are those that appeal to the senses and allow them significant interaction or manipulation given their limited motor capabilities.”
Here, Dr.Osabel-Quilendrino recommends basic and simple educational toys and tells us why they are best for babies 0-18 months old:
1. and 2. Mom and Dad!
Surprised? “The parents are the first and most significant ‘playthings’ of babies. They smell you, hear you, reach out and feel your body. You are the most interactive toy your baby can ever get,” says Dr. Osabel-Quilendrino.
Soft cloth books, especially those with different textures, are a visual and tactile feast. Dr. Osabel-Quilendrino explains, “It is never too early to introduce books to babies because they instill interest in reading and are perfect tools for expanding language experience and vocabulary.”
Babies are born with a grasping reflex, so a rattle can be one of his earliest toys which makes for a fun game of seeing how long he can sustain his grasp. Dr. Osabel-Quilendrino says that at around 4 months, your baby can voluntarily grasp, and at the same time, learn cause and effect from the sounds the rattle makes.