As a first time mom, it didn’t cross my mind that babies don’t automatically play with toys. That it comes on gradually as they age and hit milestones. I was super lost the first few months with how to keep my baby occupied after I realized that she just wasn’t interested in most things. I compiled a list of the top 10 toys that she does like, and at what age she started liking them. This list is best for newborn to 6 months. Everything on the list my little one is able to play with independently.
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I know that this is being sold as a tummy time mat but in those first days, my newborn wasn’t doing a ton of tummy time. Instead, I would lie her on her back and she would stare at the little toys hanging down. Some of them make noise so I positioned those on opposite ends so that she would move her head side to side to see them. This is a good sensory item to have in the newborn stage. Plus if you prefer neutral / earthy colors verse brights, this one is for you!
This was the first toy that she really got into. It was so fun when she realized that touching the piano keys with her foot would produce music & sounds. The piano can be used with the baby on their back, tummy or sitting up. At first we mostly used it with her laying on her back, with short periods of time on her tummy. Then I started to notice that when I laid her on her back, she would try to roll over on her own using the sides to push. Within a week or so of playing on this, she started rolling over! Not sure if it was the mat or she was just ready, but either way, it was wonderful to see.
I originally got this because some of the reviews said that their babies would jump themselves to sleep. And at 3 months, that sounded fabulous. While she hasn’t ever fallen asleep in the bouncer, this certainly does tire her out. It’s also adorable seeing her hopping in it. The bouncer comes with developmental toys attached to it and the seat swivels around so she can play with them. In the beginning she would just watch as we played with the toys for her, but around 4 months, she started touching them more and at 5 months she started to understand how each toy worked. We like to use this during the “witching hour.” You know that time of day, usually after 5PM, when your baby starts to get a little fussy and turns into a velcro baby.
So this isn’t technically a toy, but I highly, HIGHLY recommend this to everyone! Whenever Elora starts fussing a little, I can play this and she immediately gets transfixed by it. Even after seeing it dozens of times, she still loves staring at the little sea creatures “floating” around. I have this attached to her crib and it’s one of the tools I used to help her go down for her naps independently. After I place her in her sleepsack, I turn the soother on then shut off the lights and let the soother do it’s thing. She usually falls asleep within 5 minutes. It comes with a remote so you can shut it off from the door once your baby falls asleep. However it does have a drift off function where it will shut off on its own. It has 4 modes with melodies, lights and ocean sounds.
You can actually start using this pretty early on by placing it in your baby’s lap or in their hand. However, Elora really started grabbing and actively playing with it the day after she turned 4 months old. She is 6 months old now and she still reaches for this during play time. It’s light and very easy for the baby to grasp. It’s also soft so if she plays with it while on her back and accidentally drops it on her face, it doesn’t hurt her. We even play catch together with it! Well, sort of. I toss it into her lap, she picks it up and flings it down to the ground. I clap whenever she “catches” it and she laughs in delight.
Light up, musical toy bar with 3 modes and 3 languages. We bought this when Elora was around 4.5 months old. She loved watching the keys light up and listening to the music, but wasn’t quite able to do it on her own. She would slam her hands on a key and I would push a key on the other side without her knowing. At about 5.5 months she was able to properly push down on the keys to make them light up & play music. I also use this when we are practicing sitting up.
I’ve seen many people use these types of books starting in the first weeks. The black and white images help to stimulate the optic nerves and teach the baby’s eyes to coordinate with the brain. I didn’t know about these books then so we used cards. I actually bought this book for the crinkling noise that it makes; at around 4 months she started to really like that noise. This was around the same time when she started grabbing things so this book was perfect. She grabs it,, crumples it in her fist and flails it around. It’s great during tummy time, back time or even sitting in her rocker. I’ve heard it works to calm babies in the car also, but have not tried that yet.
By 5 months old, Elora was really great at grabbing things, but still not super good at pushing down on buttons. This worked well because she could activate the music by squeezing or shaking it, two things she was really good at!. It also got bonus points because the ears made her favorite crinkling sound when touched. It’s small enough to take with you on stroller rides or in the car.
We bought this after the Glow and Discover Light Bar but it was actually easier for her to play with. The buttons are much more sensitive on this one. It lights up, plays music and phrases. These are the exact type of toys that I originally thought I wanted to stay clear of since I read that wooden type toys are better for development. However, as a first time mom, I learned very quickly that you go with what works for you and your baby.
We were gifted this when Elora was a newborn and it has sooo much stuff in it! It includes a kaleidoscope electronic toy, rattle teether ring, tummy time mirror, black & white cards, ball with a rattle inside, and a board book. We used the mirror, cards and book right away. With a newborn I felt like a lot of “play” activities were showing her things and just letting her stare at it while moving it. We used the rattle teether, ball and electronic toy starting from when she was about 4 months and had started to reach for things. This makes an amazing gift!
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