We know as parents that having a child is a lot of work! We always want the best for our children and are always looking for ways to teach them and challenge their growing minds. That is why we’ve developed a collection of toys and books inspired by our families at Big Heart Toys.
These toys help stimulate your child's mind and introduce them to imaginary play. The best part is that our toys are fun and will keep your child entertained while teaching them the fundamentals of life.
Main Stages of Early Childhood Development
A child’s development is especially crucial in the beginning stages of life. Our little ones have several developmental milestones in their lives, starting at birth and continuing on to five years and beyond. Every day will bring new surprises.
While your baby might not be able to chat with you yet, their brains are like sponges — soaking in everything around them.
Let's dig a little deeper into the early stages of child development and how learning toys can pave the way for a bright start.
Babies are constantly developing from the time they are conceived. However, only when they make their grand entrance into our world, that’s when we can start guiding them.
Around three to four months old, babies start to get interested in their hands and how their fingers work. They will start to hold things and really examine them. This is a wonderful time to introduce developmental toys, especially teethers and shakers.
Around six months to about nine months old, your baby may start crawling around and getting curious. At this stage, we give our kids toys that will keep them interested, like an activity gym or playmat. An activity bar attached to the car seat will also be instrumental for long car rides.
They are learning, and they want to figure things out. Sit-to-stand walkers are usually introduced around nine to 12 months and can strengthen gross motor skills (skills involving the legs, arms, and torso).
Sit-to-stand walkers are exactly what they sound like. Babies can sit in front of this toy and play with bells, buttons, and levers. Then, when the urge strikes, these toys help infants stand on their wobbly legs — forming the basis for walking and running.
From the ages of one to five years, your child will encounter so many obstacles, but they will also accomplish many amazing things. Keep in mind that some babies will learn to walk, talk, and use tools, like eating with a fork, but all children develop at different rates.
Every one of our beautiful babies is unique and does things differently. All we can do is embrace our babies and always be there to encourage their learning and growth along the way.
What Are Developmental Toys and Why Are They Important?
Developmental toys serve as a helpful tool for hand-eye coordination and encourage sensory stimulation. These infant toys are commonly interactive and feature high-contrast, bright colors.
They can help with fine motor skills and problem-solving or simply pique a child’s interest. Baby toys offer a lot; between stuffed animals, teething toys, and board books, it might seem like your child’s toy bin is growing faster than they are!
For babies and small children, some caregivers prefer to stick to the basics. For this approach, try blocks, puzzles, dolls, and soft books. Or, you can source toys that activate imaginary play, like cameras and tools.
When shopping for these toys, look for the proof in the pudding. You want baby gifts that are vetted by professionals and are free of the yucky stuff like lead and other toxins.
Best Developmental Toys for Babies
As our children grow and learn, we want to make it a fun and positive experience for the baby and parents. We know that toys that are carriable and easily accessible for tummy time, on a play mat, or while the baby is riding in a stroller are extremely important.
As our children grow, we want them to have toys that activate their minds at different ages and stages in their lives. We have compiled a list of our favorites for you:
Toys That Make Noise
Pop Toys: Suitable for All Ages
Animal Pop Toys are fantastic at keeping your toddler’s little hands moving and stimulating the baby's brain. They are safe for those teething babies that like to put everything in their mouths.
Children love to make noise and be heard. That is why crinkle toys can be so much fun. They are a great sensory toy for baby development. It gives them a cause-and-effect lesson. They begin to realize if I grab this soft toy, it will make a noise, and someone will notice.
Toys That Encourage Imagination
Mini Toy Camera (Ages Six Months or More)
The Mini Toy Camera is great for imaginary play. As parents, we spend a lot of time taking pictures of our babies and children. They see us with this interesting object all the time and want to use it too. Imitation might be the finest form of flattery, but it’s an incredible learning tactic.
Toys That Enhance Tummy Time
Playmats for Tummy Time
These excellent toys promote tummy time — a critical activity for muscle development and motor skills in infants. It encourages your baby to lift their head and reach. Many caregivers prefer machine washable tummy time mats because you never know what your baby might do.
Toys That Improve Fine Motor Skills
Stacking Blocks or Stacking Cups
Your child will benefit by testing their hand and eye coordination while stacking blocks or cups. These are simple, safe, and effective toys.
Some blocks will have letters and colors, which is a gentle, stress-free way for caregivers to introduce early literacy skills. Plastic, BPA-free stackables can pull double-duty as bath toys too.
Development Toys As Your Baby Ages
Is your little baby turning into a toddler right before your eyes? It might be time to refresh their playroom with a few new exciting items.
Consider the following:
We can not stress the importance of reading books. The best part is that books are safe, especially the soft ones made for infants and babies.
For our children that are preschool-aged and older, we offer a variety of Behavioral Ebooks that are great to read to your children. They cover real-life topics like using manors and dealing with anger.
Sensory bins are a staple in the development of toddlers. They allow your toddler to get in touch with their senses and play with messier toys while keeping the mess contained in one place. Sensory bins can appeal to children with sensory or tactile preferences.
Perhaps the best part of our Ocean Sensory Bin is that it’s collapsible. You can take this portable toy anywhere you go. Toss it in the diaper bag; then, all you have to do is just add water.
When you have small children, you understand that you have to be prepared to entertain them at all times. We are here to help!
How Do You Know If Baby Toys Are Safe?
While having educational toys for your baby is extremely important, it is just as important that these toys are safe.
Kids tend to put everything in their mouths, which is why you want to check that all their toys are safe. We understand that all toys will have wear and tear, so we always inspect the toys before our kids play with them.
As parents, we strive to keep our children safe, so we have made it a priority to keep our products safe for your little ones too. With that being said, we wanted to help you recognize which types of toys are not safe.
Here is a list of things to avoid when purchasing toys for your child:
- Sharp pieces or edges
- Lead paint
- Paint that chips
- Small pieces that could become unattached
- Electronic toys that aren’t approved by reputable certification agencies
Remember that you know your child and what is best for them. If a toy looks unsafe, then it’s best to keep it from reaching hands.
Electronic Toys: Skillful Use
As adults, it seems like we’re always tied to our devices. Whether we’re using our maps app to find a new park or researching new plush toys for our little ones, we seem to screen nearby most of the time.
Our children are growing up in the digital age. Technology is amazing; for example, some children will rely on tablets to help them communicate.
Just like with desserts, we need to think about moderation when it comes to raising babies. Technology can be a fantastic tool, but sometimes we need to balance it with other developmental toys. Opting for toys that encourage pretend play can be a wonderful way to fire up imaginations.
Early Learning and Early Playing
Babies and children of all ages are constantly learning and discovering new things. We can guide our children with love, bonding sessions, and a thoughtfully-curated toy chest.
Developmental toys help our children accomplish magical things. Sometimes the simplest creations can develop into masterpieces. When your child plays with developmental tools like pop toys, blocks, imaginary play items, and plushies, they develop life skills that help them grow into exceptional beings.
Playtime is as essential for children as studying and working are for us. Between sessions of peek-a-boo and watching clouds float by, babies are growing bigger every second, and we are so glad to be there for that journey.