A mom's favorite toys for babies
The ages and stages of a baby are something I’ll never forget -- even now, as my kids approach their tween years (yikes!). Nothing quite compares to holding your newborn in the crook of your arm or seeing her smile for the very first time.
As your little one begins to discover the world around her, here are some great ways to engage her in playful activities. Make sure you have your camera handy because, trust me, the moment your baby discovers something new, you'll never forget her very first expression.
At this stage, your baby can hold his head up, smile, laugh and grasp with his tiny fingers. One of my favorite play items at this stage was an activity playmat. We used it as soon as my daughter was born, and as she grew, she was able to kick her feet, reach for the soft items attached to the play bar and explore the colors around her. When you take your baby out for a stroll, you can attach small items to the stroller bar via clips so that no toy ever hits the ground.
At this stage, your baby attempts to sit up and reaches for toys around her. Some of our favorite games and toys were stacking rings, a bouncy swing and textured baby books. My favorite thing was watching my little one's reaction when she discovered how to remove a ring and then place it back on the tower. Encourage crawling by placing a ball or toy out of your baby's grasp and watching as she tries to retrieve it.
At this stage, your baby is on the move! And that means, aside from child-proofing your home, you need toys that encourage cruising. Plus, babies start taking directions. Clear a safe path for your crawler, then roll a ball across the room and have him bring it back to you. Ask him to bring over his favorite book, then read it to him. I also loved taking my daughter to the playground. From the swings to the sandbox, your baby will love to explore the world around him. Just make sure he doesn't put sand in his mouth!
12 to 18 months
Batten down the hatches: This is truly the time of exploration. Now that your baby is walking, you can ditch the toys and go old school with a fun game of "Ring Around the Rosie." Of course, it's also fun to arm her with toys she can pull and push along with her -- from dogs to trains to telephones, your toddler will love taking along a toy friend on his new and exciting walking adventures.