Q&A: what toys should I get to boost my four month old baby’s development?
A: Your baby will be developing rapidly in the first year of life and with the millions of baby toys out there it is difficult to choose what is appropriate. At four months your baby is learning the following:
1. Keeping his or her head up during tummy time (gross motor development). To foster this, keep doing tummy time and have baby toys that are on the mat or can be held in front of baby during tummy time. Move the toy around to help strengthen neck and head muscles.
2. Reaching out and grabbing things (fine motor development). As babies do like to grab things, shake them, hold them, and eventually put them in their mouths (to explore the object with all their senses) make sure that they are not a choking hazard. Choose plastic or rubber non toxic toys that are large and easy to clean without small parts that can break off. If you are using fabric toys, make sure they are washable and have no sewn parts that are choking hazards (i.e. button eyes on dolls, etc). The more textures and sounds there are on the toy, the better for your baby’s senses.
3. Recognizing faces and facial expressions (social or emotional development). Stuffed toys and dolls that interact are a good toy (see cautions above about choking hazards) as well as baby safe mirrors, or books with pictures of faces or expressions. Play with your baby and have encouraging words or expressions when they are learning or practicing a new skill.