As babies approach the end of their first year, it is time to think about upping their toy game. You probably have lots of early toys that no longer seem to interest your baby (rattles, rings, links…). As children approach one year old, I am often asked. “What toys will interest my little one?” Toys that are a little more complex stimulate thinking and motor skills. Think moving parts, some action, cause and effect. Here are some of my choices:
Pop Up bars are wonderful early cause-and-effect toys. This activity is also great for language and social skills (“pop!”, “close”, “your turn!”). For very little ones, I just expect kids to help me close them after I pop them up. As their fine motor skills improve they can do more of the levers. This one here is just one of the many that are out there.
The Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank is an example of more complex play. This toy can do multiple things (in, out, open, close, naming colors) so it can be useful for children who are at single step play (take out) or are ready for sequencing play (put in, open door, and take out).
Toys like this farm provide many options for more complex play. The figures are a perfect size for little hands, there are places to put them in, there are doors to open and close, and there are SO MANY opportunities for building language. Look for toys like farms, pretend stores, pretend garages, etc.
It’s never too early for a doll for all young children. You can practice pretend feeding, putting the baby down for a nap, have the doll sitting in the highchair at dinnertime, label body parts…so many things that help babies start to think about pretend play.