Blog about Proactive Parenting

Find the resources and advice you need, based on current research and best practices, to feel confident and in control caring for your family.

Skip the bells and whistles; traditional toys are best for babies!


The best toys for the baby are the traditional ones, without a doubt.

A baby’s development is centered on increasing strength and coordination, improving memory, and evolving verbal communication (talking). Strength and coordination involve learning to control their bodies to begin to creep, crawl and then walk. It also involves being able to manipulate objects in their environment, such as bringing food to their mouth or grabbing a toy. Improving memory is a cognitive process in which babies learn that objects and people are permanent; this means that mom still exists when she leaves the room or a toy is still available if it is covered by a blanket. It seems like simple stuff, but it really is a wonderfully complicated task. And, finally, babies progress in their ability to communicate verbally throughout the first year of life. Their cries gradually modify into words as they learn to control their tongues and mouths to create specific sounds that, in turn, create specific reactions.

So, what does all this have to do with toys? Well, toys that help babies move forward on one or all of these tasks will be enjoyable to the baby, will support their healthy growth and development, and will not cause delays or interfere with their natural development. Therefore, selecting toys that match the development of the child is the best way to find a great toy that your baby will love!

Therefore, what toys fit all these needs?

Babies that are 0 to 6 months:

  • A security object. Examples could be a stuffed animal, a soft doll, or a blanket. Security objects can help baby feel secure in the transition between home, grandma’s and grandpa’s home, daycare, or different hotels when traveling.
  • A play mat. From the second week of life, babies are aware of movement, light, and bright colors. A play mat supports the improvement of eye movements, strength and coordination.
  • Picture books with simple words to be read out loud help babies begin to relate concepts (e.g. “cat”) with the sound of the word “cat.” Real books are better than electronic books or books on a tablet or Kindle.

Babies that are 6-12 months:

  • Teething rings. Most babies begin to cut their first teeth around 6 months of age. A teething ring helps the new teeth to cut through the gums.
  • Rattles and shakers are great at this age. Babies begin to understand that their hands are their own around 5 months. This awareness means that they can actively learn to manipulate their hands. Rattles and shakers help them link their body movement with a concrete reaction. Together, this helps improve coordination.
  • Blocks, activity balls, and balance pyramids. These toys help babies control their hands, arms, and mouths. At this age, babies love to explore their world with their whole bodies, especially their mouths! This constant exploration helps them improve their coordination.
  • Both picture books and touch books are wonderful at this age. Babies love to be read too and love to look at picture alone too. Reading out loud helps tremendously in language development. Again, real books. Not electronic books on a tablet or Kindle.

One final topic must be covered regarding electronic toys and applications that are available in most toy stores or on computers, tablets, and phones. These toys and applications generally mesmerize infants and keep them completely entertained for extended periods of time. However, these toys and applications do not support babies’ natural development.

Playing with a computer, tablet or phone will not improve strength and coordination. Nor will it improve memory. And, as research studies have shown, they do not help improve communication. Advertisers are trying to sell their products and claim benefits for babies. However, over and over the data does not support their claims.

Parents can be informed and make good decisions for their babies that support their natural development and fit perfectly with their babies’ needs. Choosing traditional toys will help your baby develop in a healthy way while also saving money. Sounds like a perfect choice!

Source: Sosa, A.V. (2016). Association of the Type of Toy Used During Play With the Quantity and Quality of Parent-Infant Communication, JAMA Pediatrics, 170(2). pp. 132-137.

Related Posts


Comments 1

Pilar Dávila on Saturday, 06 January 2018 12:10

Thanks for helping me find the best gift for my baby niece.

Thanks for helping me find the best gift for my baby niece.
Thursday, 13 December 2018

Captcha Image

FREE Monthly Advice

subscribe and participate


I agree with the Privacy Policy and the + INFO

Article Search

Contact Information

Dr. Deanna Marie Mason

Calle Téllez, 26, 28007 Madrid
T. +34 912 192 862

Payment Methods

Paypal allows you to pay directly with your credit card. You can also pay directly with your card through our secure BBVA payment portal.

logo paypal tarjetas

medios pago

Want to predict the future of your children?

Subscribe here to learn how to guide them and prevent the most common behavioural problems. And, you’ll receive my E-book full of helpful advice for FREE!

E Book EN Banner

I agree with the Privacy Policy and the + INFO