Play is the most amazing learning tool our children have at their disposal. They learn about the world around them and how to navigate it by practicing during play time, even at just a few months old.
A developing baby grasps objects and brings them to their mouth to explore texture. Once sitting up, they knock over the tower of blocks you’ve built, or roll the ball away to explore cause and effect. Will they bring the ball back or build a new tower? They’re studying and learning every moment!
Always Choose Safety First
It’s important to choose toys that are developmentally appropriate and safe for children under 12 months old. With so many options available how do you know what to look for?
First, make sure you’re checking the manufacturers age recommendation. Children’s products are subject to a set of safety rules, and the Consumer Protection Safety Commission determines the minimum safety standards a product must meet and how it can be marketed. You’ll want to avoid toys that are rated above 1 year old because they may not pass the safety test for infants.
When choosing which toys to add to your infants collection keep the following things in mind:
- The toy should be strong enough to withstand sharp little teeth giving it a good chew. No pieces or finish should come off as your child mouths and explores the toy.
- There should be no sharp or pointy ends on the toy. As your baby learns to sit up, crawl, and stand there will likely be a few tumbles and these types of toys could cause injury.
- Avoid toys with small parts that could potentially be pulled loose like buttons, wheels, and eyes.
- Watch out for toys with pinch points that could hurt curious little fingers.
- Toys shouldn’t have dangling strings that could get wrapped around any part of your baby's body.
- Any small toy should be at least 1.75 inches in diameter to avoid choking hazards. A small-parts tester, sometimes called a choke tube, can help determine if something is too small for your infant.
- When giving handmade or vintage toys check them carefully, as they may not have undergone safety testing. Toys made before 1978 are not safe for infants as they may contain lead paint.
Only the Best for Baby
Now that we have a solid list of hazards to watch out for, what are the things you do want to look for when shopping for infant toys? At Oompa we care about selecting the best toys, made from organic materials that are eco-friendly and safe for everyone. Here are some of our favorite toys for your baby, and why we love them:
Grasping and Teething Toys
These toys are great options for the early months when your baby is working on picking up and holding objects, exploring how they move, taste, and feel! Select options that have natural, water based paints or organic fabrics.
Soft organic materials are perfect for baby’s first cuddly friend. Your baby is likely to give their stuffed animals a taste now and then, so consider options that have embroidered features instead of plastic parts that could come loose. We love these small, lightweight options to start out.
No one said having a baby was going to be quiet! Noise making toys help boost cognitive skills and sensory development. From rattles to squeakers, these are sure to delight baby’s desire to make a bit of noise! Make sure there are no loose parts before allowing baby to explore a noise making toy.
Blocks and Building
Blocks are a classic early childhood toy for a reason. They aid in development in a myriad of ways including fine motor and spatial skills. Babies under 1 aren’t quite ready to build impressive structures, but they will enjoy banging two blocks together, manipulating them in their hands, and knocking over small towers a grown up or sibling has built for them.
Cars and Rolling Toys
Another classic category, vehicles and rolling toys are great ways to boost your baby’s motor skills. These grow with your little one as well and become great tools for imaginary play. Ensure the wheels are secure when giving your baby a rolling toy, and avoid toys with wheels that would be small enough to be a choking hazard.