Often times it's the simplest products that go the furthest in helping your baby learn. Here are the 4 must-haves in our professional opinion, for little ones birth to 1 year old.
Birth to 3 months old
The Boppy Pillow (but not for the reason you may be thinking of)
The Boppy pillow is an excellent pillow because of how versatile it is. Yes, it can be used for tummy-time, but the reason we love this pillow as therapists is because of how it can be used to teach a baby how to bring their feet to their hands. By putting your baby on the ground, and sliding this pillow under their bum, it brings their feet up higher than their waste which allows the baby to see their feet and even makes is easier to reach for them. This product is a classic and for good reason!
3 to 6 months old
There’s certainly no shortage of rattles you can find on the market. Really you cant go wrong with any of them. But the O-ball is nice from a learning perspective because it challenges the baby to not only reach out and use a gross grasp, but it actually requires them to focus on finding the wholes to grasp with their fingers. This isn’t going to be something that a 3 month old recognizes, but by the time your baby is 5 or 6 months old they will appreciate the extra challenge!
6-9 months old
Every baby needs a set of wooden blocks. A set meaning about 6 of them. Anything more than that and you’re talking about a block set needed for a 3 year old. They way a 6-9 month old will use blocks is going to very basic – that’s a good thing. With a 6 or 7 month old, start by seeing if they can hold one in each hand. Can they bang them together and midline and appreciate the sound they make? Can they transfer it from one hand to another? Can they hold two in one hand and reach for a third with their free hand? How about reaching across midline to pick one up as they sit on the floor independently? A set of wooden blocks, simple as they may be, is a hugely dynamic toy. That’s not to mention that around 18 months they can start practicing their ability to stack them!
9-12 months old
All you need is the wooden blocks ^ and a bowl. It’s that simple. Sure, you can buy a fancy version like the one offered by Lovevery, but what really matters is that you, the parent, are participating. Show your baby how to drop the blocks into a container. Demonstrate for them over, and over, and over, and over again. And once you’re tired of demonstrating, then let your baby hold the block and guide their hand over the container until they drop it, hear the sounds it makes, and see you cheering them on because they did it! Repetition is everything. You’re little one won’t even recognize what you’re asking them to do, but when they do, and they start dropping blocks into a container on their own, you’ll be patting yourself on the back!
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