When it comes to toys and materials for young infants, always put safety first. Young infants will enjoy toys that allow them to experiment with cause and effect and toys that are interesting to hear, see and touch.
Popular toys for infants include:
Bells that can be attached to the infant’s ankle or wrist during supervised play
Lightweight rattles that can be shaken
Toys that can be safely mouthed
Soft toys, textured toys and musical toys
Non-breakable mirrors that will show an infant’s reflection and help to develop his sense of self.
Mobiles with contrasting colors can also be placed over a child’s crib or changing table to stimulate his vision development. Mobiles should have strings or ribbons less than 7 inches long and should be removed once the baby begins to push up on his hands or knees or by 5 months, whichever comes first as there is a risk of strangulation once a child can reach it. Nannies can also sing and read to infants and play a variety of types of music.
Nannies should be mindful that ongoing interactions are most important to an infant. Thorough interactions like talking, reading, signing, cuddling and laughing, infants learn about their world and the people who care for them.
Older infants will benefit from toys that produce sounds or movements when played with. Soft blocks, puzzles, nesting and stacking toys, containers to fill and dump and toys that they can grasp in their hands like rattles and small balls are appropriate for older infants. Infants who are crawling can push along sturdy vehicles and climb on vinyl covered foam ramps. A variety of books including cloth, vinyl, textured, musical and board books should be part of an infant’s growing library.
Since children are becoming mobile during this stage of development, nannies can place cushions or blankets on the floor so that children can navigate new challenges.
Older infants, as they approach toddlerhood, can also begin to engage in art. Finger painting with non-toxic materials, allowing infants to tear and crumble different types of paper like parchment paper, wax paper or butcher paper, providing opportunities to play with molding dough and coloring are all age appropriate activities.