There are plenty of toys out there for infants. Some are simple and some are infinitely complicated. It may seem difficult to pick out the best toys that are going to entertain your baby and not hurt your wallet. The best toys are brightly colored, offer multiple options, and will work for your child for the first year of there life. Also, they are easy to clean, because a lot of saliva goes onto those toys as they are used!
1. A swing: Swings are great for the growing infant. Not only can a swing act a way to put your child to sleep, but also many swings come equipped with toys, rattles, or other notions on the swing that will keep your child entertained while the swing soothes them. Fisher-Price offers a wide variety of swings. One of the drawbacks of swings is that they are somewhat expensive. A full-sized swing will probably cost around eighty dollars. However, your child may use the swing for up to a year, and if you plan on having other children the swing can be used again. Another concern with the swing is space. If you are already cramped in your home, consider one of the take along swings.
2. Bouncer: Along with a swing, a bouncer can be a great tool to use to get your infant to sleep. However, the bouncer often offers much more playing time than the swing. Fisher Price’s Kick and Play Bouncer offers hang down toys that a child will be able to observe, reach for, and kick and grab as they develop towards one-year old. The great thing about the bouncer is there is a vibration option that you can swing on that will gently vibrate your infant. Many infants enjoy this soothing option. Another great thing for the parent is a volume control on the music and sounds that are child activated. If it’s been a rough day, turn down the volume. This particular bouncer is only thirty-five dollars, which is a great price for all the different functions it offers. Many bouncers will be in this price range and will last until your infant reaches a certain weight limit. For the Fisher-Price bouncer, the weight limit is 25lbs.
3. Floor Mobiles/Discover Centers: These go by different names, but the basic gist is a standing mobile you put on the floor, while your infant lies under. A variety of toys can hang down for the infant to observe, reach for, and kick at, such as the Little Einstein Lights and Melodies Discovery Center. This version is a caterpillar, with adjustable legs and loops you can hang your own rattles or toys on to. Even very small infants love to look at the colors, and as they grow begin to reach for the toys and hit them or play with them, depending on the height of the sides. This particular toy runs thirty-five dollars at Little Einstein, but there are some less-expensive versions that might not include lights or music. The good thing about most of these is that they will interest your infant up until age one, if you adjust the height and change the toys accordingly. However, depending on how mobile your infant becomes, they may become increasingly disinterested with laying still under it!
4. Bath Toys: Bath toys can make bath time more fun and less of a hassle. Bath toys can also be used until they are worn out, as children rarely get tired of bath toys until they are school-aged. The Little Tikes Floating Fountain is a great choice because it floats by itself around the bathtub, regardless of the water level. You pull on a string and the frog is pulled toward his lily pad, and as he does so squirts water out of his mouth up to 18 inches high. Infants and toddlers alike will get much out of toys that squirt water and float on their own.
5. Rattles: You can’t go wrong with a brightly colored rattle that’s easy to sanitize. Rattles will be used to learn to grab, to learn to shake the toy to produce the sound, and sometimes even used as teething equipment (as any toy that can be brought to the mouth will be used to suck or chew on). A rattle may seem really simple, but sometimes the most simplistic toys are the ones your infant will get the most joy out of.
6. Plastic Keys: There is just something about a set of plastic keys that kids love from birth up to playing house at 3 years or 4 years of age. From infant to 12 months, a set of plastic keys will act as something to grasp, something to suck/chew on, and even a rattle. A colorful set of oversized, plastic keys is always a hit with this age group. And, though you can find them for fairly cheap, your child will likely play with them (in different ways) for years.
7. Mirrors: Infants are intrigued by mirrors. They love to look at themselves, even as they grow closer to twelve months. As they get older they begin to smile and make faces in the mirror. A great mirror is Learning Curve’s First Mirror, which is colorful, durable and adjustable to different ways to use the mirror-tummy time or crib time. One important feature is that it’s machine washable.
8. Dolls/Plush Toys: Your child, regardless if it’s a boy or girl, will enjoy playing with some softer, more huggable and squeezable toys as well. The important thing to consider when picking soft dolls or plush toys is to determine how easy it will be to clean. Make sure it is machine washable, and, especially with stuffed animals, doesn’t have any spots where crumbs could be collected easily.
9. Blocks: Blocks, especially soft blocks such as Fisher-Price’s Miracles & Milestones Mix and Match Blocks offer a wide variety of play for infants. Colorful and attractive, infants will observe and grab for the blocks. As they begin to master their motor skills they may attempt to stack the blocks, or merely arrange them or even throw them. Blocks will keep them interested. Again, a seemingly simple toy offers a lot of different options.
10. A Multipurpose Toy: A multipurpose toy offers a wide variety of functions. For example, Learning Curve’s Freddie the Firefly is a plush toy, with a rattle, mirror, pull string, noise making capabilities, and a teether. As your child develops and masters one skill-such as shaking so the clackers make a sound, or flipping the peek-a-boo mirror so they can look at themselves, they can move on to the next skill. A toy that offers a variety of options may seem over stimulating, but usually an infant is going to focus on one aspect at a time. So, a toy like this will last throughout their first year of development. And, these toys are usually small, so very inexpensive. Freddie the Firefly is only twelve dollars.
These ten toys will offer your infant hours of playing time from birth to twelve months, and even sometimes beyond. By lasting, they’ll give you and your child your money’s worth and give you plenty of smiles and new adventures with your infant.