So your baby is six months old! Toys to help them develop better.
The world is an exciting place for everyone, but imagine if you are a small baby who is just starting to look around and seeing this world for the first time! Practically anything they see is new and we can engage them with simple toys that will stimulate all round development. It is essential that toys are age appropriate and help nudge the baby along in their growth curve.
Why do toys need to be age appropriate?
Ability to absorb skills differs between different ages. For instance, children at 6 months can hold up their heads and look around during tummy time. A rattle kept a little distance away would stimulate them to try and reach out for it. Getting them toys that can enhance their development will enable them to learn faster and absorb quicker.
Safety concerns: Small parts may not be safe for six months old as they tend to mouth everything and choking hazards should be kept away from them.
Ability to handle toys: Large, oversize toys may appear very cute, but for a baby everything in the world is large, so maybe a smaller, more easy to handle toy is just the right thing. Rattles are just easy to hold, raise above their heads and play with.
Baby proofing: Ever watched a six month old roll over? They are unpredictable and hence anything with sharp edges or something that can get trapped under them as they roll and poke and hurt them is dangerous.
Not just toys: As they grow babies are actually readying themselves for the real world. So they will look around and see how the rest of the adult world behaves. Reaching out and going to get things is one of the things that they learn at age 6 months. Anything that they can reach out to or safely crawl towards is a great idea.
WHAT MOST BABIES DO BY 6 MONTHS OF AGE:
It’s very exciting for parents to see their children grow into more social beings as babies begin to experiment with and recognize sounds. They may mimic sounds they hear, like “Ma, Da, Ba, Ah, Oh,” and even “No!”Your baby will use sounds to express emotion. At 6 months, your baby will begin to recognize familiar faces, reach and grasp for toys, and will soon be crawling.
Social and Emotional
- Knows familiar faces and begins to know if someone is a stranger
- Likes to play with others, especially parents
- Responds to other people’s emotions and often seems happy
- Likes to look at self in a mirror
- Responds to sounds by making sounds
- Strings vowels together when babbling (“ah,” “eh,” “oh”) and likes taking turns with parent while making sounds
- Responds to own name
- Makes sounds to show joy and displeasure
- Begins to say consonant sounds (jabbering with “m,” “b”) mother enjoying 7 month old infant
Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)
- Looks around at things nearby
- Brings things to mouth
- Shows curiosity about things and tries to get things that are out of reach
- Begins to pass things from one hand to the other
- Rolls over in both directions (front to back, back to front)
- Begins to sit without support
- When standing, supports weight on legs and might bounce
- Rocks back and forth, sometimes crawling backward before moving forward
TOY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR 6 MONTH OLD BABY
Wooden Keys and Rattles
Even before baby learns to coordinate their arms enough to grasp, they will enjoy looking at different toys around them! Consider those that can be attached to a toy arch, pram or bouncer.
To make it easy for baby to grasp, toys that have cut out areas and narrower areas such as wooden keys or rattles are great.
Toys with Contrasting Colors and Textures
Choose toys with contrasting colors to help your baby distinguish between light and dark colors. Toys with a variety of textures - those that crinkle, have soft textures and areas that are rougher - help your baby develop their sense of touch.
Opt for various textures, including toys that make a sound when shaken are great choices for this stage and will keep your baby interested for longer!
Soft Natural Rubber Toys
At about four months, most babies can easily bring toys to their mouth. Opt for toys that are soft enough for little ones to chew, are made from natural materials and are easy to clean! Natural rubber toys are a great option as they are safe for your baby to mouth. The smooth texture will also intrigue your little one.
Between four to six months, babies will learn to roll over from tummy to back. Placing toys around your baby during tummy time is a great way to encourage them to develop those gross motor skills like rolling. Sets like sensory blocks are great as they are small enough for your little one to hold and they will love working out how to make a noise.
Don’t forget that you are the most interesting thing in the world to your baby! They will love watching you talk to and engage with them. You will probably experience their first giggle at this stage which is so magical! For play time together, hand puppets are a great option. Your baby will love watching you move the puppet and listening to your voice. They are great for encouraging your baby to track objects with their eyes too.
What you can do to encourage your baby's development!
Share books together. They are never too young to be read to. As you read they learn about language. So be a regular reader and see them talk to you.
Point and name pictures. The world all new and everything is exciting. But do you know what it is called? Let them learn about the world this way.
Talk and sing to your child- Language development is at its peak now. Everything they hear is a new word. Use this time to sing and talk to your child. They will love the music and the words even if they make no sense to them right away.
Play with your child on the floor. When baby see, baby do. So get down to their level on the ground. Lie alongside them or across from them and encourage them to crawl toward you. Try and make it fun as you pretend as well.
Create a safe environment. – make sure the items and toys you share with them are safe, made from safe materials, have no pointed edges and are not too small or too large so as not to hurt them. Make sure they have safe space to be in.
Use big smiles and gestures. Remember, they are listening to you and watching you. So smile a lot, encourage them through your words and actions. It goes a long way.
Babies are just tiny humans. Add praise, good food and a stimulating environment and they will blossom into lovely full sized human beings, navigating the world beautifully.
We understand that you are concerned about doing the right thing and getting the right toys for your baby. Trust your instincts and you will do just great. Happy parenting.