5 Simple Toys & Games That Help Your Baby Learn
While your baby might never tire of peekaboo or rolling a ball on the floor, you might begin to wonder if there’s something else you could do that would not only entertain your baby, but also help her learn. Good news! There are a variety of toys and games available that can develop your baby’s brain and give you more options when it’s time for play.
#1: Make Music
Even very young babies are entranced by sound. What better way to engage your baby than with an age-appropriate set of musical instruments? A simple rattle, a wooden xylophone with a light mallet, and a tambourine can provide entertainment and teach your child cause and effect. When he strikes the xylophone with a mallet, note that it sounds different than the sounds he makes when he shakes his rattle. Music plays a huge part in babies’ brain development, and it’s a lot of fun. Together, you and your baby can create a symphony!
#2: Sorting Shapes
Sorting toys have been popular with parents for decades, if not centuries. You can find a shape sorting toy at any price point. Fisher-Price’s fun and colorful Baby’s First Blocks basket has 10 blocks that your baby can stack, sort, and drop into the basket, promoting hand-eye coordination and problem solving skills. Prefer a more elegant look for your baby’s toys? This gorgeous organic wood shape sorter achieves the same purpose with a more environmentally-friendly material. Regardless of which option you choose, your baby will learn as they play!
#3: Play Mat
While you might assume a play mat is simply a safe place to park your baby before they become mobile, this ingenious toy is so much more. In fact, a good play mat can provide educational fun for babies as young as 1-2 months, and the fun can continue past their first birthday. For example, Baby Einstein’s Discovery Seas Multi Mode Gym offers crinkly textures, eye-catching colors, and fun shapes to engage your baby; as they become more active, you can transform the mat into a crawl-through tunnel to encourage movement and problem solving. When your toddler outgrows the tunnel, you can transform this versatile toy once more to become a large plush storybook.
#4: Shoebox Fun
With babies, you’ve probably discovered that the simplest toys are often the most entertaining. (How many parents have grumbled that their babies had more fun with the holiday wrapping paper than the toys they spent money on?) Take advantage of your baby’s fascination with boxes and teach them about cause and effect as you hone their fine motor skills and their burgeoning vocabulary. Find a small shoebox and two smaller boxes to fit within it. Place a small, safe toy (think a small ball or a toy car) in one of the smaller boxes. Open and shut the larger box, repeating the words open and close as you do so. Encourage the baby to repeat after you. Allow your baby to open the lid herself— loosen the lid if necessary to make it easier for her. When she discovers the smaller boxes, repeat the process.
#5: Splish Splash
Babies love nothing more than to splash in the water! Lay a towel under the high chair and place a shallow bowl of water on your baby’s high chair tray. Offer an array of water-safe toys, and demonstrate the different splashes each toys makes when they’re dropped into the bowl. Alternately, sit with your baby on your lap and allow him to splash in a bowl of water that you’ve set in front of you. Regardless, your baby will enjoy learning more about cause and effect and improving his hand-eye coordination. (Of course, you must never leave your baby unattended around water.)
At ABC’s & 123’s Learning Centers, we’re delighted to be a part of your baby’s learning and development. Our focus on age appropriate curriculum and commitment to our three core attributes— knowledge, safety, and nurture— help your children prepare for academic success.
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