Choosing baby toys

Advice on choosing toys for your baby, plus the opportunity to purchase a wide range of toys.
It is difficult to know which toy a small baby will like best, there are so many toys to choose from.

A newborn baby has very good hearing, but can only see a few inches in front of his eyes. His sight improves each day and you can help this by introducing toys with strong contrasting colours.

Small babies cannot focus in the same way as an adult, the edges of things are blurred to begin with, but your baby will greatly enjoy looking at brightly coloured toys. Try textured toys, mobiles with a colour contrast or light projecting mobiles.

Between 3 and 6 months a baby begins to support his head and is able to clasp and feel small objects and textures in the hand and pass them form one hand to the other. As your baby gets a little older he will begin teething and appreciate toys to bite and chew on such as teething rings.

As your baby's eye and hand coordination improves he is learning about cause and effect. Toys that 'reward' with music or surprises are a good idea, such as bells, rattles or toys which bang. Babies of this age will also enjoy simple construction toys they can hold easily, try stacking toys, bricks, blocks and balls.

From 6 months to a year babies enjoy rolling and sitting so balls can be a fun toy. He or she should also enjoy playing peek-a-boo and will love surprises. Toys with pockets to hide small toys or pictures will be popular.

When your baby starts crawling at around 8 months he will enjoy stretching for his toys.

From 9 months babies begin to cruise along the furniture and will begin to show interest in a push along toy, buggy or baby walker. Ride on toys can improve balance and co-ordination. Also try simple puzzles and jigsaws.

Babies from 9 to 12 months will also begin to recognise familiar toys. Look for books with pictures of familiar objects so you can point them out. Shape sorters will help your baby differentiate between different shapes. Also try a toy telephone so your baby can imitate you talking on the phone.

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