What to Look for in a Toy

Babies rely primarily on their 5 senses (seeing, smelling, hearing, touching, and-yes- tasting) to play and explore. If you keep this concept in mind, it will serve you well when selecting the best toys for your baby.




  • Eye Catching. Babies typically prefer objects with bright colors, high contrast, simple designs, and clear lines.
  • Shakes, rattles, and rolls. Your baby’s exploratory efforts will be rewarded with both sounds and movement.
  • Touchy feely. Remember to let your baby explore various textures. Think soft, smooth, fluffy, and fuzzy.
  • Holds its own. Look for toys that will be easy to hold so your baby can get a good grasp.
  • Drool resistant. As soon as they’re able, babies use their mouths to explore their world. Fortunately, there are plenty of baby toys today designed with this mind.
  • Stands up under pressure…. not to mention all of the pushing, pulling, dropping, and smushing that baby toys are inevitably subjected to.

Be Pro-Active
When it comes to toys and learning, active play always wins out over passive entertainment such as watching a TV. Although your newborn certainly won’t be getting a full-fledged workout just yet, they’ll be moving more in a matter of mere months. As they do, off them toys that they can reach for and hold, look at, listen to, wave, shake, chew on, make noise with, and more. An activity mat that you put on the floor can make an excellent fitness center for your new baby as they learn about the textures and sounds of different objects as well as work on their depth perception skills by trying to grab such items as hanging rings and plastic mirrors.

The Perfect Fit
Finally, be sure to offer toys to your baby that are at an appropriate level for their development. While you may love the idea of building Legos together, they won’t yet have the required dexterity to make them a good fit. If a toy is too advanced or too simplistic for a child, they will quickly lose interest or get frustrated.

Source: Heading Home with Your Newborn, 2nd edition. © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics