Newborns from 0-3 months old are beginning to use their senses so will be most intrigued by toys that have striking visual appeal – or toys that make noise. The newborn’s sight is not fully developed but your baby will spend long periods looking at your face and other objects nearby. Remember that your newborn will not be able to see very far (about 12-15 inches) so it is important to choose toys that have stark patterns. Your baby will turn towards sources of music and sound, so select toys that make gentle noises and have slow, rhythmic movement. Below are toys recommended for newborns younger than 3 months.
Toys for Newborns
1. Hand-held Toys
The newborn will appreciate soft toys that are easy to grasp with the whole hand since a newborn will not be able to hold toys with her fingers yet. Be sure there is plenty of contrast in color and patterns in any toy you buy. Toys with stripes and dots in contrasting colors will be great for your newborn. Although your newborn will not be able to grab a toy, she will reach for toys and hit toys that are particularly appealing.
2. Music Box
Select a music box with unbreakable toys that move on top. The music should be music that you enjoy and will be willing to listen to for extended periods since your newborn will want to hear this music repeatedly. If you have an MP3 or MP4 player with classical or children’s music, that will also be a hit with your child. Remember that hard rock music is probably not appropriate for a newborn. You can also judge is the baby likes the music by observing how he reacts to the music.
3. Soft Books
Books with cloth pages are great for newborns. Hold your baby on your lap and “read” to the newborn by telling stories about each page. Books for newborns are best when they are brightly colored and do not contain intricate pictures. One brightly colored picture per page is great at this age. Even a newborn can learn to appreciate reading and story-telling. His/ Her eyes will move along as you turn the pages while reading aloud, which serves as a stimulus for arousing interests in books.
Mobiles can satisfy the newborns need to look at movement – even when you cannot be with the baby. Again, be sure the mobile has large items hanging down and that they are patterned and high contrast colors. A mobile that plays music and moves in time to the music is ideal since this will satisfy both the visual and audible needs of the newborn. At this age, be sure the mobile is not where the newborn can accidentally reach it but be sure it is within sight.
Brightly colored and high contrast rattles are wonderful toys for a newborn. Shake it and a newborn will typically turn towards the noise. Shake it again gently and move it slowly to one side or the other – a wide-awake newborn will try to follow the movement. Until he is a little older, a newborn will not be able to hold a rattle, but it won’t be long before he/ she could. Wrist and ankle rattles are toys that a newborn can play with on his own. Strap one or more on the newborn and watch his reaction as he figures out that he can control the noise by moving his arms and legs. Start some music and watch as he kicks to the music.
Wind chimes in an open window will be a great addition to the newborn’s auditory development. Most wind chimes will be off-limits as far as touching, but wind chimes can provide a calming sound for a newborn. If you have a porch, you can hang wind chimes and take your newborn out to listen to the chimes when a gentle breeze is blowing. Experiment with high and low tones and see which ones your newborn prefers.
7. Sensory Toys
As you choose toys for your newborn, choose a variety of toys that are soft and that make noise. By doing this, your baby will get both the auditory stimulation and the tactile stimulation that will help your newborn as she develops her senses during the first three months.
8. Play Mat with Hanging Toys
A brightly colored play mat with permanently attached hanging toys will provide hours of entertainment for your older newborn. By the time she is two to three months old, your baby will be looking for more stimulation and more variety in her toys. Before you put your newborn on one of these mats, be sure to tug firmly on each toy to be sure your baby cannot pull them off. The strings on the toys may present a hazard if the newborn pulls the toy off the mat.
Watch a Video for More: Top Ten Baby Toys 0 to 6 Months