Toys and Learning Resources
When it comes to learning, babies are capable of more than you might think. For example, babies can learn sign language well before they are capable of speech, showing that they comprehend much more than you might think. Here, we will examine some toys and learning resources that you can consider buying for your baby.
We have mentioned blocks a few times in this book, and simply put, they are among the best learning toys for babies and even for toddlers. Your baby will learn many different things by playing with blocks, from colors and shapes to hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, building, problem solving, and more. As he or she gets older, blocks can even be used to teach the basics of math, balance, stacking, and more.
A ball is another deceptively simple toy. While we as adults think little of following a ball with our eyes or learning how to throw, these are monumental accomplishments for a baby. A simple ball can teach visual tracking, spatial awareness, and more to your baby, making it an essential part of a stimulating and pro-learning nursery.
Baby Sign Language
While most babies don’t say their first word until they are around a year old, studies show that they can learn basic sign language at an age of around six to eight months. While this language includes only basic words such as please and hungry, it allows babies to communicate when they are in distress without the need to cry and can be an excellent learning tool. Parents will find that there are countless books, DVDs, websites, and other resources dedicated to teaching babies how to sign.
Mobiles are great sources of stimulation and learning for babies that can be hung above a crib or anywhere else your baby spends a lot of time. Some mobiles spin in a circle and play music, keeping your baby entertained while stimulating both vision and hearing and teaching baby how to follow a moving object with his or her eyes.
A play gym is essentially a mat your baby can lay on while on his or her back with numerous items that dangle off of it for your baby to play with. These items may spin, squeak, or provide other sensory input. Not only does this provide tactile stimulation for your baby, but it encourages curiosity and improves both fine and gross motor skills.
Rattles and Teething Toys
Babies love toys that make noise, as well as toys that they can safely put into their mouths. Rattles are a great way to provide tactile and auditory stimulation, and as your baby gets to be just a little bit older, teething toys will become a necessity. Teething is very painful for babies, and teething toys can be placed in the freezer before being given to the baby to help soothe his or her sore gums.
By the time your baby is six months old, you will want to consider buying stacking toys. These toys help build fine motor skills while sparking your child’s imagination and creativity.
A Jack in the Box or Other Action and Reaction Toy
While this simple children’s toy may seem on the surface to be nothing more than a musical toy, it is actually a great way to teach your baby cause and effect. By winding the handle until the clown pops out of the box, your baby learns that it is his or her winding actions that caused the clown to come out. These kinds of action and reaction toys are ideal for children around the age of six months or older.
Walkers and Other Standing and Moving Toys
By the time your child is around nine months of age, you will want to consider toys that facilitate standing and walking around, such as walkers, riding toys, and small activity tables. These toys will help strengthen your child’s legs, build coordination, and ultimately help him or her learn to stand up and eventually walk.
Of course, these are only some of the many toys and learning resources available for babies these days. To make the most of any of these items, play along with your baby and make the experience an interactive one. Give clues when something is about to happen and talk with your baby as he or she uses the different toys and resources. Engaging your child as much as possible is the best way to create a brighter, happier child, and these toys are a great place to start.
Creating the ideal nursery can be a great step towards providing the right amount of stimulation for your baby. Ultimately, it is about balancing stimuli with a calming environment that is conducive to relaxation and sleep. With the right décor, furnishings, and learning resources, your nursery can be the ideal place to foster learning in your baby.