How They Play

Get the scoop on how your little one plays -- and what toys are the best options for each age and stage.

0 to 12 Months

For the first three months, your baby isn’t able to do much more than observe her surroundings. Because her vision is still blurry, she sees bright, boldly patterned items best. “Toys don’t have to be black and white so long as the colors contrast with each other,” says Nora Newcombe, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist at Temple University, in Philadelphia.

As your baby grows, she’ll enjoy toys that engage her other senses as well. That’s why so many toys are designed to promote interaction in a variety of ways: They may make a squeaking or crinkling noise, have a nubby texture, and be soft and cuddly. Infants tend to mouth toys, and textured ones can help relieve teething pain.

Top toys

  • Brightly colored, multipatterned crib mobiles (Note: Remove from crib once your baby can sit up)
  • Rattles
  • Teething toys
  • Unbreakable mirrors
  • Floor gyms
  • Activity boards
  • Soft, washable, colorful stuffed animals or dolls with a smiling face
  • Small stuffed fabric balls

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