Toys for 0 to 12 Month Olds
Choosing top toys for 0 to 12 month olds can be a daunting task, because apart from knowing what the baby likes, you also need to think of safety concerns. There are certain baby toys that cannot be given to babies younger than three-month old; other baby toys should not be used by children who are still putting things in their mouths; while there are some baby toys that will only be effective if the child is over six-month old. Anyway, here is a list of top baby toys for 0 to 12 month olds (with the youngest ones between 0 and 3 months):
1. Rattles (0 to 3 months and older)
This type of toy has been around since ancient times, but it still remains one of the best toys for babies. Nowadays, rattles come in many shapes and styles; there’s the classic rattle with two beads inside a ball; there’s also rattles with animal-shaped handles, and there are even electronic rattles that make sounds when you shake them. Rattles can be made of different materials, such as plastic and rubber; but the safest ones are those made of natural materials such as wood and ceramics. One reason why rattles make a great baby toy is that they can provide auditory and tactile stimulation. Many moms like to give their kids wooden rattles because they can be easily engraved with the baby’s name.
- Includes 2 toy maracas
- Sized just right for little hands to grasp and shake
- Colorful beads make fun rattle sounds when shaken
- Soft, colorful pom-poms
- 2 minis flexible, teethable Oballs are easy to hold
- Colorful rattle beads create fun sounds to entertain and delight baby
- Textured rattle is clear so baby can see the colorful beads. BPA Free
- Wipe clean with damp cloth and mild soap. Do not immerse in water
- Made in China
- Polish (Publication Language)
- BABY RATTLE: Multi textured rattle with high contrast patterns to encourage visual tracking
- COMFORTABLE GRIP: Easy grip fingers encourage baby's early grasping skills
- TEETHING TOYS: This rattle toy comes with soft teething surfaces
- Ideal for your newborn
- Jump for joy with this froggy rattle
- Chiming ball tucked inside will captivate baby
- Signature Oball material is easy to hold
- Bead chaser keep little hands busy
- Great for on-the-go
- DEER BABY RATTLE: Soft ring rattle measures 6-inches; ideal size and shape for little hands, shake it baby to make some noise
- FLORA FAWN: Ultra-soft tan and cream cutie with floral-patterned fabric ring; Flora's face features embroidered sleepy eyes and sweet smile
- TAGS BABIES LOVE TO EXPLORE: Adorned with interactive and soothing satin loop tags for baby's sensory delight
- EASY TO CARE FOR: Surface wash with cold water and mild soap as needed, air dry
- PREMIUM BABY SHOWER GIFTS: Combine with soft toy lovey, crinkle toy, and character blanket from the Flora Fawn collection by Taggies
2. Soft Teethers and Teething Toys (3 months to 7 months and older)
Teething is a painful process, but fortunately there are plenty of teething toys that can help – such as soft teethers and toys. These baby toys provide relief to your baby’s sore gums by giving them something to chew on; besides, the chewing motion involved in teething can also help strengthen your baby’s jaw muscles. You can find a good range of teethers and toys made from silicone, plastic, rubber and fabric. Many moms like those made from 100% natural materials such as wood, silk and cotton because they are free from harmful chemicals.
- Multi-surface teething makes this teether perfect for assisting in the eruption of front, middle and back teeth
- When place in the refrigerator Nuby's PurICE technology provides gentle cooling on baby's gums
- Easy grip design is ideal for little hands and helps with coordination; Dual surfaced teether
- Combines exercise for young hands, gums, and teeth
- Age: 3 months and above; BPA Free
- A soft toy and teether toy filled with textures, patterns and sounds! Little hands stay active as baby explores rattles, crinkles and more
- This colorful character’s soft bandana teether toy detaches for mom to wear around her wrist for quick access. Perfect for multi-sensory play, this cute companion is ideal for fun at home or-on-the-go
- Attaches to stroller, car seat or infant carrier
- Bandana teether toy, rattle ring and crinkle details
- Size (inches): 5L x 4W x 10H; (cm): 13L x 10W x 25H
- Perfectly Baby Finger Sized - Babies love to chew on their little fingers (and probably yours too). So we thought, why not copy? Comotomo teethers are designed to mimic baby fingers.
- Intuitive Design - Thoughtfully made to make it easy for your little one to grab and hold.
- Sensible Material - Safety first! Made with durable, high quality, food grade silicone.
- Easy to Clean - Simple one piece design and heat resistant silicone makes cleaning hassle-free.
- SOFT SILICONE: Non-toxic food grade silicone and is free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, lead and cadmium
- BERRYBUMPS: Patented bumps soothe baby's swollen gums and emerging teeth. Perfect texture to chew
- ORIGINAL: RaZberry Teether is the original hands free teething pacifier for babies
- PERFECTLY SIZED: Perfectly shaped and sized for your little one's hands. Ages 3 months plus
- MULTI-TEXTURE: Multi Texture Teething surfaces encourage baby teething and grabbing
3. Activity Toys (4 months and older)
Activity toys are also known as busy boxes because they are designed to keep your baby engaged for hours. These types of baby toys may come with different components, such as rings that slide along a string, wheels that turn when you press them down, and hinges that open up when you push on them. You can also find activity toys with different shapes that are easy to hold, such as cubes with animal patterns. Many of these baby toys also come with bright colors and sound effects. Remember, your baby’s safety should be your top priority when choosing activity toys because some of them have small pieces that can fall off or break.
- BABY TEETHING TOY MADE FOR LITTLE HANDS: The Winkel features a mesmerizing maze of soft, continuous BPA-free teething tubes, and can be refrigerated for additional soothing comfort - a perfect baby chew toy for tiny hands.
- DEVELOPMENTAL BABY TOY: Babies are instantly drawn to this colorful and lightweight infant toy. The Winkel promotes clutching and two-handed play while the center cube with tapered corners encases a quiet but pleasing baby rattle to provide auditory stimulus.
- TIME-HONORED CLASSIC: With over 25 years engaging babies and soothing even the fussiest of teethers, the Winkel is a perfect shower gift for new moms. Safe and dependable, this classic toy for babies has received numerous accolades and has proven to be a true baby go-to and parent must-have.
- BABY TOY FOR NEWBORNS AND UP: Safety rated for newborns and up, the Winkel measures 5" x 4" x 3.5" and easily tucks into the diaper bag when baby is on the go.
- STANDING BY OUR BRAND: If you're reading this, you've found a safe toy from a real company and a brand that cares. Since 1978, Manhattan Toy has been a trusted source of imaginative toys for babies, toddlers and kids of all ages. All of our toys are rigorously safety tested and every toy has our 800 number with a dedicated customer support team to answer your call.
- Package Included: 1 PC
- Material: Cloth
- Color: Colorful( As Picture Show )
- Country of origin is China
- The package dimension of the product is 10"L x 5.5"W x 3.3"H
- Colors may vary and for age 6-24 months
- Multiple texture points encourage tactile exploration
4. Play Gym (3 months to 6 months and older)
Play gyms are among the best baby toys for babies because they can develop your child’s physical, cognitive and sensory skills. Many play gyms come with hanging toys that make sounds when pulled; others come with mirrors and plushies; but whatever the design of your play gym, you should always choose one that has safe materials such as 100% natural wood and organic cotton.
- Deluxe newborn gym with 10+ toys and activities and a removable, take-along toucan with music and dancing lights
- Three ways to play: Lay & play, tummy time and take-along
- Responds to baby’s movement with music and lights in short-play setting
- Up to 20 minutes of music in long-play setting!
- Removable, take-along toucan – press its wing or give it a gentle shake to activate tunes & lights
- Dive into discovery with ocean-themed activities in every direction
- Bouncy seat swivels 360° from toy to toy
- 4 height positions are easy to adjust. Recommended for 6 months plus
- Electronic sea turtle station is removable
- Introduces numbers and colors in English, Spanish, French
- Includes Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym and Rattle 'n Rock Maracas!
- 4 ways to play as baby grows: Lay & Play, Tummy Time, Sit & Play, and Take-Along
- Learning content changes with baby's age & stage with Smart Stages technology
- Detachable keyboard with 5 light-up keys, 5 repositionable activity toys for the gym & 2 rattle maracas
- Machine-washable, padded play mat features loops to attach the activity toys
- 4 ways to play: This large gym helps baby grow from newborn to active toddler with tummy time mat, bolster pillow and mirror for overhead play or sit and play, including changeable toys and ball pit
- Versatility: Easily move toys around to different spaces, allowing baby to experience more fun and new challenges; the gym, large mirror and bolster pillow all have links to switch the toys on and off
- Ultimate fun: Includes toys of different shapes, colors and textures for motor skills development and sensory play, a linkable teether and 40 balls for even more play options
- Easy storage space: Easily transitions from baby activity gym to toddler ball pit and helps you to stay clean and organized with the cute storage sloth to pack the balls away
- Take with you features: This gym includes a mirror and 5 toys including a teether that can be re-positioned or linked to strollers; toys are different colors, shapes and crinkles for cognitive growth
5. Soft Blocks (6 months and older)
Soft blocks are perfect for babies who are just learning how to build things, because they provide tactile stimulation while allowing the baby to practice their gross motor skills. You can choose soft blocks that feature geometric shapes or letters; but whatever the design of your preferred toy, it should be made from 100% natural materials such as wood, silk or cotton.
- Shapes block features multi-textured fabrics for tactile stimulation
- Animal block features a chime ball for fun sounds
- Color block has fun vibe and the names of colors shown in English, Spanish and French
- Numbers block has a peek-a-boo mirror for self-discovery
- All blocks feature real-life imagery
- Engage your littlest one with the Soft Blocks from Galt
- Features 12 pairs of animals and two different sequential stories for your little one to match and stack
- Blocks are soft, lightweight and perfect for squeezing, throwing and building
- Comes with a PVC carrying bag with handle and the blocks are machine washable
- Cubes are 4" x 4" x 4" | For ages 6 months and up
- Galt's Soft Blocks provide plenty of fun for your child - they can stack them, throw them and even match the 12 pairs of animals
- ❤ MAKE YOUR BABY VERY HAPPY: Little bells inside,gently shake and the blocks will make soft sound,not only to attract the baby's attention,but also helpful for hearing development;your little one's muscle will be stimulated by pinching the squeak and rustled papers.It is very interesting.
- ❤ GIVE YOUR CHILD A FLYING START: Gives you a chance to bond with your baby, a warm moment together. At the same time, it is an educational toy; Arbitrary stacked placement, the development of the baby to create thinking and imagination.Each building block 6 surface has a different pattern, color, animal, etc. to teach the baby in accordance with the classification, to develop the baby's cognitive and collaborative ability.
- ❤ BECAUSE YOUR BABY DESERVES THE BEST: Our durable toy are designed to outlast even the roughest toddlers! Handcrafted from soft polyester, our soft cover books are absolutely non-toxic and safe for your baby. The stitching is strong for extra durability. And it holds up in the wash after getting spit up. When it comes to quality, we don’t compromise!
- ❤ THE PERFECT GIFT: After high temperature, safety and environmental protection, will not fade, colorful, and promote the baby visual development. Safe and delicate computer embroidery, outline the lovely deep expression.
- ❤ CUSTOMER SATISFACTION IS TOP PRIORITY: Any problem you encounter or any suggestion you get, please contact with our customer service; and our service team is always ready to offer help!
- ❤ Built-in Bell: Gently shake issued a crisp sound,Nice sound, not only to attract the baby's attention,But also helpful to develop your baby’s hearing.
- ❤ Building Blocks Toy: Arbitrary stacked placement, the development of the baby to create thinking and imagination. Each soft baby block has 6 surface with different patterns, colors, animals, numbers, and letters to teach your baby in accordance with the classification, to develop your baby's cognitive and collaborative ability.
- ❤ Beautiful Printing: After high temperature, safety and environmental protection, will not fade, colorful, and promote the baby visual development. Safe and delicate computer embroidery, outline the lovely deep expression.
- ❤ Safety and Skin-friendly Material: Our soft baby blocks are made of safety and skin-friendly material, so your baby can rest assured that play, 100% cotton + plush material,Product Filling: foam sponge,Elasticity is very good.
- ❤ Parent-child Interaction: Play cubes can be arbitrary stacked placement,it is a good way to develop baby imagination and creativity.Parents also can help or guide baby to finish their works,that will increase interaction with the baby and enhance parent-child relationship.
6. Stacking Toys (12 months and older)
Stacking toys are among the most popular baby toys because they help enhance your baby’s dexterity and motor skills. Nowadays you can find various stacking toys with different designs; for example, there are those that feature animal shapes with movable parts, while others have multicolored rings with different shapes. Stacking toys that are made of 100% natural materials such as wood, silk or cotton are considered safer for your baby; besides, they can be easily engraved with the baby’s name.
- Fun Stacking Game - Little babies love building/stacking things. They enjoy the process of building, knocking over, and rebuilding endlessly. Cute design will make boys and girls scream for it!
- Soft Material - Made of PP cotton which is softer than plastic to avoid injury to babies and toddlers. One touch and you'll feel the exceptional quality for yourself. Safe for your baby and soft to the touch
- Unique Design - Cutely crafted with 6 vibrant colors & various sized rings including a beeping duck, a windmill rattle, a sunflower rattle, a teether ring, and a crinkle ring. The crinkle sound is used to calm fussy babies because of its similarity to the white noise heard in a mother's womb.
- Brain Development - Stacking games and multiple playing rings help develop color recognition, fine motor skills, counting skills, and spatial reasoning in your little loved one.
- Thoughtful Gift - Best for unisex baby, infants, great for birthday parties, Christmas and holidays. Give your child a gift that creates endless happy moments!
- Set includes 2 toys
- 5 colorful rings & a bat-at rocker base make the iconic Rock-a-Stack toy loads of fun!
- Baby's First Blocks offers classic sorting & put-and-take fun with 10 colorful blocks & a take-along storage bucket
- Helps develop hand-eye coordination & dexterity as baby grasps the toys
- Sorting blocks helps develop problem-solving skills
- Stacking Cups: Children love to fit toy cups together, stack them up, or turn them over and hide things underneath
- Baby Development Toys: Large numbers on the bottom to practice counting & number recognition
- Made without BPA
- Made without BPA
- Straight post accepts different sized rings, strengthening hand-eye coordination
- Chunky rings make it easy for baby to grasp, strengthening fine motor skills
- Each ring features a different texture and weight; Textural variety is great for mouthing!
- Colorful beads in the clear ring allowing baby to connect the sound to sight
- 9 piece set
- Manufacturer Age: 6 to 24 months. BPA Free
7. Blocks (6 months and older)
Blocks come in many shapes and sizes; some are designed to look like animals while others feature letters and numbers so that your little one can easily associate them with words. Blocks are a great way to introduce your baby to counting and logic, because they can learn how to stack and fit different shapes; for this reason, we recommend that you include some blocks in your baby’s toy collection.
- 6 Months plus
- BPA Free
- Soft and squeezable
- Fun colors, numbers, animals and shapes
- The blocks are made of non-phthalate PVC, and may have a strong plastic smell upon opening the package, as the toys are packed very quickly after manufacture. If you experience a strong smell with the blocks, we do recommend allowing the toys to air out in a well-ventilated area for 24 hours before use.
- 6 Months+
- Safe BPA-Free Baby Toys - Non-toxic, BPA free sensory blocks in the bright and enticing color that babies will surely love. No bad odor or chemical smells. These blocks are soft and durable, you don't have to be afraid of the baby being hit or falling on these and hurting themself. Made of high-quality silicone material, they are easy to clean with some hot water,keep your baby’s favorite toys clean and sanitary.
- Early Learning Play - This blocks for babies provides various fun for kids. Super soft and easy to squeeze entertaining baby blocks that make a squeaking sound for toddlers and babies to play. Encourage reaching and grasping, its cute noise help attract the baby's attention. Each side has different learning themes such as numbers, animals, mathematical operations, textures, and building connectors. They are great for toddlers' early educational and motor skills development.
- Bath & Teething Toys For Babies - This colorful blocks set is a great multi-purpose toy for babies. It is soft, chewable and perfect for the baby who is aged 6 months and just gets their first teeth. It can also be used as a bath toy, can float on the water and squeeze to spray water.
- Soft Stackable Building Blocks - Super soft blocks and easy to squeeze for toddlers and babies to play. Suitable size is easy for baby's little hands to hold. Baby will also enjoy stacking or knocking them down. In the process of playing, babies can exercise children's hand-eye coordination and grasping ability.
- WITH 100% SATISFACTION- Baby Sensory Blocks set with backpack bags, it is an ideal gift for boys and girls 6+ month. Quality is our top priority,blocks certificated by ASTM F963 and CPSIA safety standard,If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, just let us know so we can give you a refund or replacement. No questions asked. What are you waiting for?
- Early Learning Skills Development ---- 12 Pieces Super soft blocks for babies and toddlers with beautiful colors. Encourage early learning. Teaching animals, colors, fruits, numbers, shape, hand-eye coordination and more.
- Super Fun for Baby ---- These building blocks can be as Stacking Toys, Teethers, Bath toys and Early Educational Toys.
- Designed for Tiny Hands ---- These sensory blocks has soft, lightweight pieces with bumps and grooves surface which is great for little hands to grip. Easy enough for young children to lift and manipulate.
- Safe Material ---- The soft baby blocks are made of safe material. They are non-toxic, BPA and phthalates free. Smooth edges and soft surface are also safe to children.
- The Perfect Gift ---- These appealing series will entertain babies while giving them a head start on learning. It gives your baby endless hours of fun! It is also a ideal baby shower gift, first birthday gift or holiday gift and all of mom will like them. Order it soon!
8. Musical Toys (3 months and older)
Baby musical toys can provide auditory stimulation and help in the development of fine motor skills, such as hand-eye coordination. Musical toys come in many forms; you can choose from musical mobiles that feature rattles and stuffed animals, to instruments such as xylophones and drums. Musical toys made from 100% natural materials such as wood, silk or cotton are considered safer for your baby and can be easily personalized with the baby’s name or initials.
- Extraordinary value and variety inside this boxed play set that helps expose your little one to music with an award-winning developmental Baby Einstein item, plus other best sellers
- Includes 8 items: 4 baby musical toys; a board book; downloadable DIY activities; details for streaming Baby Einstein music on Spotify and edutainment videos on YouTube; and exclusive offers for Kinedu and Good Buy Gear
- Features: Discover & Play Piano Baby Toy Piano; Take Along Tunes Musical Toy; Rattle & Jingle Trio Take-Along Toy Rattle Set; Ocean Glow Sensory Shaker Musical Toy; and Music Under the Sea Board Book
- 40+ sounds and melodies provide a thorough introduction to classical music and instruments, while aiding in auditory development through sound recognition
- Classical music is soothing for little ones and helps boost speech processing abilities, pattern perception skills, and creativity—and volume control buttons are music to mom and dad’s ears!
- Musical baby toy features a variety of fabric textures for baby tactile development; cuddle up with the soft cuddly stuffed animal cow
- Music toy has an easy to grasp bead ring; bead ring has light-up buttons, and a spinning square for fine motor skills development
- Talking and singing stuffed toy for babies comes with 30+ playful songs, melodies, sounds and phrases; allows kids to have a musical good time
- The size of the plush cow toy makes a great crib toy, or even a Diaper bag toy for babies
- Musical stuffed animal is intended for babies 0 to 24 months old; 2 AAA batteries included for demo, use new batteries for regular use
- Colorful instruments and buttons activate a variety of 70+ songs, tunes, and learning responses
- Introduces numbers, letters, shapes, colors and more
- Explore sounds, songs and instruments such as the piano and drum
- Includes classic children's tunes such as "old MacDonald" and "Itsy Bitsy spider."
- The educator approved learning toy is designed by Leapfrog learning experts for ages 6-36 months. Ships in Certified Frustration-Free packaging
- Follows your baby’s curious spirit wherever they go
- Smiling star plays 6 classical melodies
- Musical toy for on-the-go entertainment
- Gentle lights dance to soothe baby. Benefits: Grasping and teething
- Powered by 2AA batteries
9. Baby Books! (6 months and older)
Last but not least, books are among the best types of baby toys because they can foster a love for reading at an early age. Books don’t need batteries to make them entertaining; plus, some board books feature pop-up features that will keep your baby entertained for hours. In addition, soft baby books can help your baby discover shapes and colors but also enhance their cognitive development by teaching them the alphabet and numbers. You should always remember to choose a book made from 100% natural materials such as wood, silk or cotton; besides, you need to make sure that the pages of your baby’s favorite book are sewn in, not glued together.
- CLOTH BABY BOOK: Help baby to learn & begin story time with a soft fabric book featuring Very Hungry Caterpillar. An adorable 5.25 inch on-the-go book lets baby play & explore colors, sounds & textures
- SOFT TEETHING TOY: Fun interactive materials keep baby engaged. This soft baby book features crinkly sound, squeaker, a clip for attaching to stroller or car seat, and a textured teether
- BABYS FIRST TOY: A baby essential, this carseat & stroller toy is ideal for baby showers, 1st birthdays, & is popular for boys & girls ages 0 months to toddler. Cloth book is machine washable & BPA Free
- CRINKLE BOOK: Soft books, or teether books, are classic retro toys that have amused babies for decades. This interactive infant book delights babies with textures, sounds, & bright colors to discover
- BOOKS FOR INFANTS: The Very Hungry Caterpillar is instantly recognizable bringing sweet memories from your own childhood as it helps your child to learn, play, and grow
- 0 - 9 Months
- Model Number: 80688HAAM
- Sea Animal Toys,Interactive Activity Fish Book :Be a child once again! Lift-the-flap,play peek-a-boo, Search for hidden surprises in the Cloth Book,Touch and feel textures,gaining self-awareness & discovery through baby safe mirror & enjoy crinkle pages! our “who do you see” soft fabric book encourages adventure & discovery of the colorful undersea world.Your baby will be attracted by the 3D animals, baby octopus toy,crab,baby shark & fishy tails.you can watch her/his little eye’s dance!
- Introduce Basic Themes & Invite Conversation:Our baby soft book with dazzling & bright colors not only gives you the opportunity to play “who do you see?”game to invite interaction & broaden baby’s vocabulary but also help stimulate important key skills,such as language & reading,communication,imagination and sensory skills.Additionally,the flaps on each page will give your child a hand to practice turning the page & move to the next one,helpful to develop fine motor skill!(BEST SOFT BABY BOOK).
- Non-Toxic And Safe Material:Toddlers love to explore & sometimes chew books and toys with vivid pictures & bright colors.Our Soft baby books are made of Non-toxic,safe & premium quality materials with extra durability,strong stitching.The color wont be faded & the soft book wont be torn by washing.To make it easier to carry your baby’s lovely friend wherever you go,the flexible teething ring on the side allows the book to be relocated & fitted to cot sides,car seats,pushchairs,strollers,playpen.
- Excellent Gifts For Baby Boys And Girls:Bebe Mondo’s soft activity books are lifelong and never-get-old gifts for infants and toddlers.Whatever age & gender you are planning to gift,if it’s a baby shower gifts,infant Christmas gift,baby birthday gift,3 month old girl gifts & Up,boy,newborn educational Books,crinkle books for toddlers,baby books 6 months,1 year old books,infant activity book,first book for babies,early learning activity books,teether toys products,we are here to proudly serve you
- We Guarantee Customer Satisfaction: At Bebemondo, diversity of our products is the outcome of our experts’ intensive research and effort to design and supply the best products with highest quality, to make the life of the little ones’ rich in Joy, color & fun.We do our best to fulfill diverse products incl. baby books with textures,soft books,infants toys book,animal tails book,pet tails book,infant toy book,fish tails,Crinkle books for infants & babies, baby shark book,shark toys, teething Book
- Discover a tale of teething
- Little hands can easily grip this take-along toy
- Teething corners help soothe sore gums
- Soft pages are easy to flip
- Use handle to create a new carrier toy
- Peek-a-boo flaps: Soft flaps help develop hand-eye coordination and support fine motor skills
- Fun rhymes and stories: This rhyme book features inspiring rhymes on each page for fun storytime
- Six colorful pages: Bright, bold colors, friendly characters and patterns are used for visual development
- Language development: Reading fosters imagination and the idea of possible worlds
- Durable: Cloth pages are designed for durability. Age - 6 months and up
- GRASSO, JOE (Author)
As we have seen, there are plenty of natural and safe materials that can help you choose the best baby toys for your kid; always remember to read toy labels and make sure that any toy you purchase is made from 100% cotton or wood with no glue or harmful chemicals.In addition, make sure to introduce your baby to different types of toys at an early age in order to enhance their cognitive development and improve their fine motor skills.
Infant’s Eleven: 11 amazing milestones that your child will reach in the first year of his/her life
In the first year of his/her life, your child will go through an absolutely stunning metamorphosis. The baby will turn into a toddler with a personality, a wide range of emotion, and countless social capabilities. There are many unbelievable things that will happen in this first year, ranging from small steps like clapping hands to large steps like, well, literally taking steps. Here are eleven of the most impressive and interesting things that your child will learn to do in the first year of his/her life.
One of the most stereotypical qualities that a newborn baby has is the inability to control his/her neck muscles. It’s always important to support a newborn’s head while holding him/her, because the newborn cannot hold it up on its own. Well, within 4 months, this slowly starts to change. The first indication of increased head control comes when the baby learns to lift his/her head 90 degrees from a prone position (lying down on his/her tummy). This increased level of muscular dexterity comes from the rapid development of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, or the primary muscle in our beck. This muscle eventually connects with other muscles to give us abilities such as looking around and looking down. The ability to look up from a prone position is the first major development in terms of a newborn’s head control.
Everyone loves a cute, smiling baby. We spend countless hours trying to make babies laugh by playing games or making funny faces. Babies learn to smile around 5 months into their lives. New scientific research actually shows that smiling is an acquired trait, not one that the baby is born with. Early in a newborn’s life, smiling is controlled by mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are cells in the brain that activate in response to a certain activity going on outside the body. Take smiling. When a baby sees someone smile, their mirror neurons will activate, and they will attempt to smile as well. Within 5 months, they will succeed because the muscles of the face have developed to the point that makes smiling a possibility.
The Reach get Reacher
Babies aren’t truly able to vocally express themselves until the end of their first year of life. However, other forms of communication come more quickly to them. One such form of communication is reaching out to convey desire for an object. Babies are able to reach out for objects by the end of their third month. This ability comes primarily through an increase in shoulder and arm muscle dexterity. However, it is also partially thanks to development of the spinal cord and the brain. The brain and spinal cord help coordinate muscle movements and their development allows babies to reach out.
The Eyes Have It
Babies are born with the ability to see in color. However, the capabilities to understand and control what they are seeing do not develop until later. One of the first major changes that goes along with a baby’s visual world is the ability to track objects. This is something that develops from a neurological and muscular standpoint. The occipital lobe, the part of the brain that controls vision, becomes able to follow along with objects in motion. In addition, the rectal and oblique muscles in the eyeball become better adapted to functioning together and help move the eyeball.
Getting a Grip
Many of the activities we associate with a growing infant – playing with toys, holding hands, pulling your hair during a temper tantrum – can all be traced back to one simple motion – hand gripping. About 3 months into his/her life, an infant will develop the ability to grasp objects. This is, once again, thanks largely to the development of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system. There are many muscles involved in the act of gripping, but four of the most important ones are the four flexors (also referred to as the digitorum muscles). This muscular group is located in the forearm and helps give the hand a large range of motion.
Hand in Mouth “Disease”
Not only do infants learn how to grip objects in the third month of their lives, but they also start to learn to raise their hand to their mouth. This is important because it later develops into some crucial body languages and is also the root for the infamous thumb sucking that is so prevalent in infants. Raising the hand to the mouth is possible thanks to developments within the brain’s somatosensory cortex, the part that is responsible for perceiving touch stimuli. When the infant feels an appropriate stimuli, this sensory center sends a signal to the spinal cord, and the hand goes to the mouth.
In the sixth month of their lives, infants start to develop their trademark babbling ability. This is often associated with the start of language development. Babbling itself is an innate form of imitation. The infant sees and hears everyone around him/her speaking and interacting, and wants to also participate in the conversation. However, the language centers in his/her brain aren’t fully developed yet and the infant can’t produce legitimate words and sounds that flow cohesively. So, he/she is left to babbling. The real language will have to wait a couple more months. Even so, the speed at which infants pick up the ability to imitate speech is astounding.
Just Keep Crawling
Crawling may seem like a basic infantile behavior, but it is actually one of the most complex skills developed in the first year of life. At around 8 months, infants start to be able to travel on all fours. This ability combines a plethora of muscular and nervous system milestones. The infant must be able to move his/her arms and legs together to produce forward locomotion. He/she must be able to adjust this movement in response to stimuli that require a change in direction. The infant must be able to balance themselves on all fours (it’s not that easy). Eventually, the infant will also learn to pick up toys and sit up while crawling. Crawling is the first step (pun intended) in the long march (pun intended) to an infant ultimately being able to walk.
All Fun and Games
Infants, like the rest of us, like to have a good time. Their ideas of fun are slightly different than ours though. For entertainment, infants like to play games that combine social skills with receiving attention. Such games include pattycake and peek-a-boo. Like crawling, playing a simple game like peek-a-boo isn’t so simple after all. It requires supreme coordination of the arms and hands. It also requires at least a basic understanding of what is going on and an ability to respond to stimuli logically. Finally, if of course, the infant is having fun, it requires the ability to smile and laugh. And, it requires the skills to do all these things at the same time. So, next time you cover your eyes and say “peek a boo” to a baby, take a moment to appreciate the copious amounts of effort that the baby is putting in to laughing and saying “peek a boo” back.
The Mamas and Papas
No, I don’t mean the band. At around 10 months, an infant will finally say his/her first word. This word is usually “Mama”, or “Papa”. This is a much more important milestone than the babbling mentioned earlier, which is just a cuter version of mimicking. Speaking actually requires the infant to know what he/she is saying. Language is developed in two main brain areas – Wernicke’s and Broca’s areas. Wernicke’s area is responsible for production of language and Broca’s area is responsible for interpretation of language. The development of these areas during the end of the first year of life results in an infant’s first word. It is also a reason why infants learn foreign languages better than adults.
One Small Step for Infant
Just as the first year draws to an end and you begin to appreciate everything your infant has learned, they pull out one last major milestone. This milestone is arguably what separates primates from other animals and is one of the defining characteristics of the human race. No, the infant does not develop a hatred for the IRS at 12 months. He/she learns to walk. And just in time, because the walking puns were just starting to get unbearable. Walking develops from a complex version of crawling, and utilizes many of the same muscle groups. However, it requires an even more acute ability to respond to stimuli and an even more developed sense of balance.