Many new parents make the mistake of believing their newborn will not really need to play with toys. There are a lot of low quality toys out there with no real value to your child, so this is an understandable attitude to form. But believe it or not, your newborn is about to develop relationships with some of the objects around them. That ugly bendable flower with a smiley face some relative gets from the hospital gift shop could end up being your baby’s first friend. So weird, but it is true!
Now we know you are thinking, “Can newborns even see their toys?”. The answer is a yes, kind of! We will explain this later with an excellent toy recommendation.
Seriously Though, Do Newborns Need Toys?
The answer to this question depends on what you consider a toy! 0 to 3-month-old babies spend a lot of time looking up and around at changing light and the silhouettes of people and objects. As their eyes strengthen, newborns will begin to see more detail and recognise familiar faces and objects, including you!
Like most of us, newborn babies like what is familiar to them. Your little one will get to know the newborn toys hanging from their bassinet mobile or stuffed toys on their shelves. You will even begin to notice your baby talking (gurgling) to toys and focusing on them intensely. The best thing about this fun fact is that your baby can begin to choose and bond with what may very well become their favourite comfort toy.
Looking at toys is only the beginning. Encountering newborn toys with their hands and feet feeling different textures and hearing different sounds creates stimulating experiences to get the neurons in your baby’s brain firing. These simple experiences aid in the development of your child’s brain.
So yes, your newborn should have toys around them, but you may want to put a little thought into what you decide on.
What Are The Best Newborn Toys to Have Around My Baby?
The best newborn toys are nontoxic with absolutely no small pieces that can fall off and are approved for the use of 0+. Your baby will need toys that can hang above them when they are laying on their back or sit beside them to touch or see when they move their head to the side. Of course, you will be there to hold up toys and books. Still, there will also be short periods when your baby will enjoy cooing and moving its little limbs around, exploring the ceiling, cot, bassinet, or play mat surroundings.
We thought we would share a few of our favourite newborn toys that come highly recommended by parents and child development experts alike.
1. High Contrast Imagery Books
Newborn babies see in black, white and grey for the first five months of life. High contrast images are easier for babies to interpret and focus on. Your baby will find them fascinating and enjoy looking at them in a hard or soft book in your arms or propped up in the cot. Some great high contrast books are available, but we really like Baby’s Very First Cloth Book: Farm Theme, by Jo Lodge, Campbell Books.
This lightweight sensory toy doubles up as a teether for the months to come. We love that this toy is a mix of wood and food-grade silicone, offering interesting textures to touch chew on and is easy to grip for small fingers. Most importantly, your baby is less likely to knock themselves out with such lightweight materials! This toy is the perfect size to pop into your new nappy bag for the car seat, pram or on the go.
There is so much to love about these newborn toys. Any experienced parent will tell you that your baby will grow an attachment to the soft toys you place around them. Toys with faces are particularly appealing to babies as they gain the ability to focus. Apple Park has developed a range of baby dolls that are relatable and multicultural to suit all families. These dolls are designed to look just like the little friends your child will encounter in the park, shops, cafe or daycare. They are an excellent addition to your newborn’s toy collection, and with any luck, they will quickly become their favourite comfort toy to help them get off to sleep as the months and years progress.
This clever yet straightforward Montessori toy will engage your baby from 0 to 2 years or more. This stimulating collection of coloured balls will be fascinating to see and touch. The balls are threaded onto high-quality elastic to be shifted around easily with small movements. The uneven shapes created by this design make it easy for any baby to grip with two hands, giving them a tremendous hand-eye coordination workout!
So the best time to introduce your newborn to toys is straightaway! It is never too early or late to start growing your baby’s interest in the world around them. It is beautiful to watch and a joy for all parents to experience.