Do Babies Really Need Toys?

Do Babies Really Need Toys?

Do Babies Really Need Toys?

Do young babies really need toys to play with? Yes, it is important for you to give your baby a variety of toys to play with in order to help them develop their motor skills and strengthen their core muscles.  So if you are currently expecting, you should add a few developmental toys to your baby registry.  As a mother of three children, I had had a handful of toys available for my children so that they could learn how to play them as they got older. I always picked toys that were safe for them even as a at a newborn.  Even if your child isn’t quite ready to play with the toys during those first several weeks, don’t worry they will eventually become interested in them.

Most babies are fascinated with looking around and exploring objects around them.  The ceiling fan was one of my youngest son’s favorite things to look at when he was a few weeks old. Once your baby is able to hold their head up without support, playtime is a great way for parents to interact and play their baby.

What Type of Toys Should I Purchase for My Newborn?

Your newborn infant’s vision isn’t fully developed when they are born. A newborn can see objects that are close up and they often enjoy brightly colored toys. You should always place toys between 8 to 12 inches from your baby’s face so that they can see them clearly.  Most babies enjoy looking at brightly colored toys, mobiles in their crib, ceiling fan,  or enjoy looking at themselves in a mirror.  If you are looking to purchase a few toys for your baby, I suggest that you get a few light hand-held items such as soft books, rattles, or teethers.

If your baby is younger than three months old, don’t expect your baby to be able to hold on to an object for more than a few seconds.  Babies don’t fully master the grasp reflex until 3 or 4 months old.  As your baby continues to grow, you will notice that they become more social and start enjoying playtime. You will want to have a variety of toys available that your baby can play with.  I personally didn’t like toys that make a bunch of loud noises or music because it tends to over-stimulate a newborn. However,  they make excellent learning tools for babies who are a bit older.

Why Does My Baby Need Toys?

Toys are needed to help your baby develop motor skills. These skills are an important part of their development. Your baby begins learning the world around them by using their 5 senses.  The 5 senses are: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.  How do the 5 senses help your baby refine these developmental skills?  Toys allow your child to explore the world around them in a safe and fun environment, helps improve their coordination, they learn how things work, they can learn how to use their imagination, learn to solve simple problems, share with others, and learn independence.

Most parents want their children to learn how to play independently so that they can get a few minutes to get things done around the house. Of course, with a young baby they often times want you to interact with them and be the center of attention. As they get older, most children learn how to entertain themselves.  Once your baby figures out how to play with toys, you will probably notice that most of them end up in their mouth.  This is normal and shouldn’t be discouraged as long as the toy or object isn’t dirty or can harm them.

Buying Your Baby Toy’s Doesn’t Have to Cost a Fortune

Don’t rush out to the store and buy your newborn a bunch of baby toys.  Most babies don’t play with their toys for very long before they gradually outgrow them.  If you don’t have money for toys, find some things that you already have around the house that is safe for your baby to play with.  In fact, as a mom it seems like my baby was more interested in playing with a box, the center of the toilet paper roll, or something else that was baby friendly that I had lying around the house.  I remember when my daughter was younger, that she used to love dumping out my drawer full of plastic tupperware lids all over the kitchen floor.  She would play with these for hours when she was about a year old.

As a budget savvy mom, there are plenty of ways to get your child a small toy collection without spending a ton of money.  You can find inexpensive toys at garage sales, consignment stores (make sure they check for recalled items), or ask friends if they have any toys that they would love to get rid of.  If you are buying used toys from places that don’t check for recalled items, make sure that you search the Internet for the item to ensure that it hasn’t been recalled. Be sure to toss out any broken toys so that your baby doesn’t hurt themselves.

Apps for Babies

My youngest son learned how to use my phone at a very early age and I have downloaded a few apps for him. However, most of those apps are too loud and over-stimulating. As a mom, if he is going to use apps I wanted him to have something that was beneficial to him. I want an app that helps him learn something or engaging him. If you haven’t tried Baby’s Brilliant, you should check it out. This app contains engaging and educational content that helps your baby learn. They feature content in the following categories: Educational, Entertaining, Lullabies, Nature, Classical, Night Lights, Popular Children’s Songs, and more. Your baby is like a sponge and is capable of learning things at an early age.

Baby's Brilliant App Screenshot

Now is a great time to introduce them to a foreign language in addition to the native language. I started teaching my youngest son sign language and by the time he was 8 or 9 months old he was able to sign back to me. Back to teaching your child a foreign language, Baby’s Brilliant can help you with that as well.

I love that I can hand this app open on my phone to my child, it has parental control’s set up inside of the app so that your child can’t make any in app purchases while playing. You can even set up your child’s favorite playlist too.

Learn More About Baby’s Brilliant

As a tech mom, technology isn’t going to go away and parents should embrace technology to allow their child the opportunity to learn. However, it is also very important that your baby is allowed to play with toys. Playing is an important part of your infant’s developmental milestones and allows them to develop all of their motor skills and develop their core muscles.  In fact, playtime is a great way to ensure that baby is getting an ample amount of tummy time in order to prevent flat head syndrome known as plagiocephaly.

Photo Credit: Free Digital Photos Serge Bertasius Photography

What is was your newborn’s favorite toy? Does your baby enjoy engaging in apps on your phone or tablet?

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11 responses to “Do Babies Really Need Toys?”

  1. Karen Dawkins Avatar

    My daughter is adopted from China, and she didn’t get her first toy until she met us. She had no idea what to do with toys. She had never explored things orally — other than her thumb. Not having toys earlier inhibited her ability to eat — her oral senses just didn’t develop naturally. Her first toys were an empty starbucks paper cup, an empty water bottle that crinkled and rolled as she tried to grasp it, and — unfortunately — electrical cords. We had to do some major baby proofing when we got home!

  2. Czjai Reyes-Ocampo Avatar

    One of my son’s first toys was the Learn-Along Leap from Leapfrog. He loved it a lot. 🙂

  3. Bismah Avatar

    I have to totally agree! Both our babies favorite toys to play with in the first months were stuffed toys with teethers and rattles attached.

  4. Rebecca @ Hip Homeschooling Avatar

    We don’t use apps with our babies. Or TV. We try to have them play with more natural toys or just crawl around and interact. Some things I can’t do without, a ball to roll back and forth and engage together. Blocks to build a tower, etc. But a lot of things you can just use around the house, a crinkly water bottle, tupperware and some spoons to put in and take out, etc. Innovative, and cheap! 😉

  5. Stefani Tolson Avatar

    All of my children have had toys since they were babies. They may not have played with them until they were a little older but they always had pretty things to look at.

  6. angie Avatar

    little ones like mine always had their favorites it was normally a teether of sorts that they could suck on and make their teeth feel much better
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  7. Tanj from A Travelogue Avatar

    Its funny how I always give toys to my nephew and niece and open it during Christmas, at the end of the day, they will play with the ribbons, the boxes (the non-expensive gifts/toys) we give them. That being said, I think regardless of, babies needs toys anyway, stimulates their brain.

  8. Shannon Gurnee Avatar

    I think that babies do need toys. They don’t need a ton of toys, but some toys are good for development. They help develop different senses.

  9. Jaime Nicole Avatar

    All babies have their own personalities and preferences but finding what stimulates them is so important! That said, you can’t go wrong with colorful cups – and the boxes that the toys you buy come in

  10. Valerie @ Occasionally Crafty Avatar

    I got so many toys as gifts for my first baby, and her favorite were simple rattles. The bright colors and fun noise did the trick!

  11. Franc Ramon Avatar

    It’s nice to expose them to educational toys and apps. They would be entertained and at the same time learn something in the process.