Milestone Boosting Toys

A baby masters many skills in his first 18 months. Check out these fun toys that can help him practice and develop motor skills while he plays.

Everything in this slideshow

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Tracking

Bryan McCay

Tracking

By the time she's a few weeks old, your infant can use her eyes to follow an object as it moves.

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Studying Faces

Bryan McCay

Studying Faces

A baby may be fascinated by her face in the mirror, even if she doesn't yet know who exactly that cutie is!

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Reaching and Rolling

Bryan McCay

Reaching and Rolling

By 3 months, infants love kicking and grabbing at toys overhead. Later, this mat will be a safe place to roll.

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Getting a Grip

Lara Robby

Getting a Grip

After about 4 months, your baby can hold what he wants long enough to inspect it.

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Lifting Her Head Up

Bryan McCay

Lifting Her Head Up

Throughout the first six months, your baby benefits from daily time playing on her tummy, which helps build back and neck muscles.

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Sitting Pretty

Lara Robby

Sitting Pretty

Once a baby can hold her head steady, she'll love a seat that lets her sit up while playing.

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Holding & Releasing

Bryan McCay

Holding & Releasing

In the second half of his first year, your baby will get more deliberate with his toys: grasping them longer, passing them hand-to-hand, and putting them into containers.

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Crawling

Bryan McCay

Crawling

Some babies love to crawl and others need a little more motivation, like a toy that moves just out of reach.

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Stacking

Bryan McCay

Stacking

It's surprisingly hard to pile traditional blocks on top of one another; most babies can't do it until they're more than a year old. Blocks with ridges make the balancing act easier. Early Years Stacking Cubes; $23; earlyyears.com

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A Stand-Up Routine

Lara Robby

A Stand-Up Routine

Babies find it easier (and more interesting) to get on their own two feet if they have a short, fun toy to lean on. Leapfrog Learn & Groove Musical Table; 45; leapfrog.com

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Walking While Supported

Bryan McCay

Walking While Supported

Somewhere around her first birthday, your baby may be ready to take a few steps. Holding on to a toy that rolls gives her some much-needed support. Radio Flyer Push, Pull & Ride; $50; radioflyer.com

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Walking on His Own

Bryan McCay

Walking on His Own

He's off and running! Encourage your baby to get around with a toy that's fun to push or pull along with him. Schylling Color Roller; $25; schilling.com

Originally published in the May 2010 issue of American Baby magazine.

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