As the holidays approach, a baby gift may be on your shopping list. Since babies cannot share their needs, it can be challenging to know what to buy for your littlest gift recipients.
Consider that safety comes first. Baby toys should not include small parts that can easily come off. One way babies learn about their world is by putting items in their mouths. Be sure that if what you purchase can be mouthed it is safe.
The more complex the toy, the less complex the play, and the less complex the toy, the more complex the play. Consider gifts that have children create, think and problem solve. These are gifts that enhance brain development.
Board books allow children to explore in a safe way. This exploration is the first step towards building literacy skills. These books are sturdier and can be used time and time again. They are drool proof and are durable enough to survive a baby’s exploring it orally.
Blocks are not only a fun toy, but an excellent educational tool. Counting, sorting, and measuring are skills that can be honed through the use of blocks. They can be used to foster creativity and imagination.
Toys that stimulate the senses and teach about cause and effect offer babies important feedback. Toys that have lots of flashing lights and loud noises can be over-stimulating. Babies love to feel different textures. Consider items that support motor development. Safe teething toys can provide both entertainment and a needed sensory experience.
Parents often get clothes for the first few months of life. Consider gifting clothes that children can wear as they get older. Consider in what month the child was born and be sure the outfit is seasonally appropriate for when it will be used. For example, if the child was born in May, and you are purchasing an outfit for sized 12 months, consider the weather in May and steer clear of buying a heavy winter outfit.
Items for on the go
Buying portable sleepers, portable high chairs, and umbrella strollers will help parents have the items they need for when they are out.
Toys that babies can kick and pull and independently rattle can provide both entertainment and important exercise. This can also be an inviting space for tummy time which is an exceptionally important activity for babies. Consider including mirrors, as babies love looking at faces.
Gift cards to stores where the parent can purchase clothing, formula, bottles, diapers and other equipment are always helpful. Gift cards can also be purchased for activities such as swimming, music classes and photo shoots.
Graziella Simonetti is a parent educator for EAC Network’s Long Island Parenting Institute and works as an early childhood social worker for the NYC DOE. She holds an advanced certificate in parent education from Adelphi University and is a NYSPEP credentialed parenting educator. Simonetti is a former kindergarten teacher.