Playtime helps develop a baby’s social, intellectual, language and problem-solving skills. According to parenting and early childhood specialist Lynda Smith, toys and games assist hugely with igniting the senses and imagination and basic developmental concepts such as identifying shapes, colours and numbers.
Here’s our round-up of the best toys for babies:
Gymini Move & Play (Tiny Love)
Available from Baby Boom for R1 399.99
With so many baby gyms on the market, Tiny Love’s innovation is a winner. The unique arch connectors allow you to set the position of the toys for each stage of development to encourage your child to swipe, reach and grasp. The large mat lets you join her in play.
Bendy Ball (Baby Einstein)
Available from Hamleys and select toy stores for R99.95
Genius is released as your baby tracks this bright primary-colour ball. It can strengthen her eye muscles for reading and improve her listening as the rolling chime ball helps her to distinguish between movement and stillness. The ball’s size encourages her to use both hands to pick it up, which integrates communication between the two sides of the brain.
Magical Night mobile (Tiny Love)
Age: Newborn to toddler
Available from Baby Boom for R1 199.99
Use this versatile mobile for sensory development. Younger babies can watch images on the canopy and the mobile converts into a music box, with the pictures projected onto the ceiling for older kids. It can also act as a night light. Your baby’s emotional security grows as vibrant dangling animals become familiar friends. The bonus is that the tunes are unusual and enjoyable.
Where do I live? Book (Tiny Love)
Age: Three months+
Available from Baby Boom for R269.99
This is the perfect tool to teach your baby object permanence, or the understanding that when objects vanish from vision they still exist. Your baby can go on a sensory discovery to uncover all the hidden creatures in their different habitats.
Clack and Slide activity Ball (Bright Starts)
Age: Three months+
Available from Checkers Hyper, selected Checkers supermarkets and Hamleys for R169.95
This is a favourite toy for babies between three and nine months. It’s easy to grip and explore, and develops your baby’s grasp, which is an important precursor to self-feeding skills.
Xanet is an award-winning journalist and Living and Loving’s digital editor. She has won numerous awards for her health and wellness articles and was a finalist for the Discovery Journalist of the Year in 2009 and again in 2011 for the Discovery Best Health Consumer Reporting and Feature Writing category. She is responsible for our online presence across social media channels and makes sure our moms have fresh and interesting articles to read every day.