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Stimulating Baby Toys

For a baby, play is about more than just passing the time in a pleasant manner. Play is how babies learn about the world around them and develop their mental, physical and intellectual skills. By choosing stimulating baby toys, you can help your baby do all this and still have fun at the same time.

When your baby is born, her visual acuity is limited. Consequently, you’ll see a number of toys for very young infants that are red, black, and white in color, because these colors provide high contrast and are easy for young, developing eyes to focus on.

As your baby begins to learn that she can control her movements, toys that she can interact with provide a beginning lesson in cause and effect. Babies love rattles, and eventually learn that when they move the rattle, it produces sound. There are also toys that are designed so you’re your baby can lie under them and interact with them by moving her hands or feet – these toys are often called play gyms or baby gyms. Not only do these help your baby grow intellectually, they encourage her to move more, developing physical skills and coordination.

Teething toys in a variety of textures are also a popular choice, and for good reason – in an infant, the neural pathways leading from the mouth to the brain are more developed than the neural pathways leading from the eyes to the brain. Because of this, a baby can more easily recognize an object by chewing on it than she can by seeing it. However, interesting textures aren’t only stimulating to the brain – they also help provide comfort to swollen and irritated gums. This is another lesson in cause and effect, because your baby learns – even if only at a subconscious level at this point – that she has some control over how she feels.

Texture is important in other toys as well. Babies love the silken feel of smooth wood, the rubbery texture of toys made of silicone, and the furry texture of blankets and stuffed animals. Babies also love to see things that change – think of the classic jack-in-the-box – and enjoy hearing toys that have sound or make music.

As your baby gets older and is able to sit up in the bath, you’ll find that she especially enjoys having some bath toys. Water is an entirely different medium for children to explore and they certainly enjoy doing so. From foam letters and numbers that stick to the wall, to rubber ducks that float and squirt, to different containers for dumping out water, your child will enjoy playing in the bath – with the right toys, she may even hate to get out!

Of course, one stimulating toy you must not overlook amongst all the flashing lights and moving parts is the most amazing toy your child will ever discover – her imagination. Be sure to choose toys that allow your child to use her imagination in new and creative ways. Building an effective imagination will help your child not only enjoy her play time more, but will help her as she grows and develops into a child and an adult.

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