As we embark on another holiday season, our family begrudgingly asks, "what is on this gift list for this year?"
Our family knows that we are very particular about the toys that we get for our kids. First, we want to make sure that the toys don't hurt their development. Secondly, we would like it if the toys would enhance or further their development.
It seems as if there are more and more toys than ever before. But there are so many options that it is overwhelming. Therefore, I wanted to create this guide to empower you to pick the best toy possible to help build your baby's brain.
Best Toys for Newborns
Play is essential for the development of your newborn. Her brain develops through the exploration of the world around her.
Starting at 12 weeks after conception, primitive reflexes emerge to allow for the movement of the baby. In the last trimester, a baby can hear sounds and recognize the voice from which they are coming. At birth, a baby can see 8-10 inches, the distance from mom's breast to her face. By engaging these senses, you will build your baby's brain.
Here are the best five toys to get for newborn baby's:
This toy has many different features to help build your baby's brain. Its color pattern is specifically designed for newborns. The crinkly paper stimulates many senses. The tabs, elephant nose, and flap will encourage hand-eye coordination. Also, this toy will be able to grow with the baby as they continue to progress developmentally!
The vestibular system is the first system to fully develop in babies. It is how the baby knows where they are in space, and it helps them get into position for birth. A baby's first task is to learn how to operate in gravity. This exercise ball is a fun way for parents to help their new baby explore their new world. The tiny granules will also engage the tactile system, helping engage another aspect of their sensory system.
Tummy time is the first ladder up the ladder of learning. It allows your baby to gain muscle tone to control his head, which will lead to the development of vision. The movement patterns a baby performs on the floor will help wire the nervous system to achieve the same position and motion while standing. This wiring cannot be achieved while sitting in a baby seat.
Skin-to-skin contact is so important for a newborn's development. At birth, the baby has a hard time regulating their body to the outside world. They are dependent upon mom and dad to help them; babywearing is a great way to help babies achieve this. Also, as mom and dad adapt to life post-baby, a carrier can help free their hands.
The back to sleep campaign has had a massive impact on the quality of sleep in our babies. On their back, baby's are more prone to exhibit the Moro response. Swaddling helps improve a baby's sense of security, enhances the sense of touch, and sleep better. What new mom wouldn't want that?
Bonus: Toys to avoid
Any toys that alter or limit a baby's movement can significantly impair your baby's ability to build their brain. If your baby is forced to sit, stand, or walk before they are ready to handle being vertical against gravity, there will be significant impacts on development. If a baby's movements are restricted, they will not explore their world or allow their brain to build.
Best Toys for Infants
This is a broad category. From 2 months to 2 years, babies go through a tremendous amount of changes. During this time, a baby will go from
relatively immobile to walking and running
communicating by crying to speaking in two to three-word sentences
seeing outlines in black and white to full visual perception
This period also brings about huge transitions. Many times, moms have to go back to work. If mom can stay home, she is starting to fall into a rhythm and feel good enough to go back to doing the things she did before pregnancy and baby. But there are some significant pitfalls that we fall into during this period that may compromise our child's development.
So during this time, we have to be sure that we are providing the right tools for our kids to make sure they are building their brains as healthily as possible.
Reading to your baby cannot start soon enough. The more exposure that
kids get to books, the better off their development will be. Starting around three or four months, baby's will begin interacting with books on their own. They will begin to put them in their mouth and chew on them. As they get older, they will look at the pictures; eventually, they will start reading the words and story. These books are unique because they can survive all of those stages. As a bonus, they come in English and Spanish to start your baby's ability to speak another language.
As the baby gets up and moving, this toy can help explode your baby's brain development. Climbing will help strengthen motor development. Balancing will help your baby build their vestibular system. Climbing can help develop self-confidence as your baby will grow through fears.
Trampolines have a tremendous impact on so many different aspects of health. Bouncing enhances circulation, which helps release endorphins, stimulates the immune system, encourages focus and concentration, and improves balance and coordination.
Melissa and Doug can sponsor our house. We love their toys. They are made to enhance creativity, encourage learning, and build resilience. This specific toy is excellent for many reasons. It can be used to learn shapes, colors, and object permanence. This toy is a staple in our home.
These toys will provide a multi-faceted sensory experience. The book's crinkle pages will provide tactile and auditory stimulation; the teething ring and ball will help develop fine and gross motor skills, and the pictures will help your baby begin to identify different colors and animals.
Best toys for Pre-School aged Babies
During this age range, the vestibular system is really maturing, so kids are learning how to navigate gravity. When this system develops optimally, children have better concentration for sitting and learning, improved coordination and body awareness, and solidifies the development of hand-eye coordination.
Therefore here are some toys that can help build your pre-school aged baby's brain!
Balance bikes help develop both fine and gross motor skills. As children learn to navigate the bike, they will have to push using large muscles and balance using fine motor skills. Since the child has to balance, it is also helping them develop their vestibular system and spatial awareness, which has a huge window of opportunity during this period of development. As a bonus, using a balance bike usually helps kids learn to ride bikes more quickly.
This is a great toy that stimulates the vestibular system and supports the muscles responsible for correct posture, and develops a sense of balance. Balance and muscle tone develop from movement, and this is a great toy that will help build your baby's brain while they get to have fun and be creative!
The vestibular system has three planes that it operates in: vertical, horizontal, and tilting (as with cartwheeling). This swing can help develop two out of the three very quickly! Swinging and spinning do a fantastic job stimulating the vertical and horizontal planes of the vestibular system!
A foam balance beam challenges your child to learn how to navigate gravity to build better core strength and body awareness. Since the beam is low to the ground and soft, it will help your child's confidence grow in handling gravity with an unsteady foundation.
The first seven years, especially the first year, are extremely formative for a baby's future brain growth and development. If we can provide our baby's with the tools that they need to maximize their brain development and reduce their toxic stress, we will help set them up with a foundation of success for the rest of their lives.
If you like this information, please join us in our Facebook group Building your Baby's Brain, for more information just like this!