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We have a girl, currently 3 weeks old. When should we start thinking about any toys for her? Is there any sense for buying any toys for such a young baby? If so, what kind of toys would work best and for what reason?

I am aware that her senses and brain are not fully developed yet, still, I have no idea about newborn/infant toys so maybe I am missing something.

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The first 'toys' you will want are not things she will play with with her hands, rather things she will look at.

Infants can't see colors very well, and overall can't see anything nearly as well as older children or adults, so things with very sharp color contrast - at first, black and white only - with large, uncomplicated patterns are excellent. This can be as simple as a wall panel near the crib (in her eyesight) that has a large black and white checkered pattern. Crib mobiles in similar patterns are also good at a very young age. Mirrors are great - get the plastic kind, of course, not glass. Babies love mirrors.

You also will want to start tummy time around now, if you haven't already. Until she can hold her head up, a blanket will be just as good as anything else for this, but once she can hold her head up (which my first did around six weeks and my second could essentially from birth) it's nice to have a tummy time mat. There are many kinds of these, which usually involve some different textures/sounds in the mat itself (so, crunchy foil, squishy gel, etc.) for her to touch and feel/hear, strong bright colors or black and white, and sometimes a gym above the mat (the gym is less valuable at this age). We even had a musical one (which was essentially a huge piano, with giant "keys" built into the fabric). Even at six to eight weeks, a baby is able to interact a bit with the mat, which will help make tummy time more enjoyable.

As far as toys that she can actually hold, around 2 to 3 months is when grasping becomes possible to develop. That's probably when you would want to start getting toys of that kind. Simple rattles and other things she can hold (that are thin and light enough). Infant-safe stuffed animals. That sort of thing. If you are using a daycare or have friends with slightly older children, I highly recommend paying attention to what she likes to play with somewhere that has a lot more toys (daycare, for us); this allows you to pick toys that are appropriate for her simply by seeing what she likes.

  • What's interesting is that once infant's reach around 3 months old they stop preferring black and white {article might not work for all, as I get access through my university}, preferring reds and yellows and bright colors. I also read some of a study about how they tend to be less interested in brown, as well as black, but I can't find it again. – user11394 Aug 7 '15 at 17:57
  • Also, kids do smiley faces from really young, even really crude ones, like a smiley or a "Mr Happy". – user32571 Sep 30 '18 at 18:27
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As a newborn, she won't be interested in "playing" with toys for awhile yet. Her favorite thing to look at will be your faces. Other items that would be interesting for a very young baby are mobiles that have strong, high-contrast patterns on them, or soothers that have lights and music (non-interactive items that she can just look at). Mirrors are also great.

Once she is a few months old, she will have more interest in toys. At this age, I recommend items that are more about sensation than performing an action. As an example, my daughter's favorite toy (and the first one she paid any attention to) was a butterfly that had crinkly material in it's wings. Items that require a specific action will probably be beyond her ability at this point. Rattles and other items that are easy to grasp will help develop her ability to control her hands. Suspend the toys over her and she can practice batting at them and trying to grab them.

Once she has a bit more muscle control, then she'll be able to start playing with toys that have actions, like push a button to play music. At this point, anything that is marked for her age will work. My kids all preferred more open ended toys, like blocks and dolls, that could be played with in multiple ways (and they came up with some interesting ones!)

Here are a couple of articles for reference:

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/choosing-right-toys-for-right-age?page=3

https://www.naeyc.org/toys

protected by Joe Sep 25 '18 at 11:16

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