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Best Toys For Babies

Best Toys for Speech and Language: Babies 0-6 Months

Hello, new parents and caregivers! Congratulations on your new baby! If you’re reading this post, there’s a chance you’re looking for some educational toys for your infant. As a speech-language pathologist with a passion for play-based learning, I use a multitude of fun toys in speech therapy and also with my own children. Rest assured these products have been tested by a mom and speech therapist of two young kids.  

Why Playtime is Important for Babies 0-6 Months

Long gone are the days of flashcards and worksheets (not to mention your infant or toddler can’t even sustain attention that long). Play isn’t just about having fun. It’s also about development—physical, cognitive, social-emotional, and for the purpose of this blog post, speech and language development. 

During those early years, children are like sponges, taking in all the sights, sounds, and sensations around them. Play allows children to explore their world, strengthen their muscles, and develop essential skills like hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and even language skills. Did you know babies can even imitate mouth movements from birth? 

While play at the newborn age is certainly less complex than play with a 3 year old, it’s still an integral way to connect and encourage speech-language development. No, your child isn’t going to be saying their first words, but you are going to be working on those pre-speech skills that are needed for those first words! 

Choosing the Best Toys for Speech and Language: Babies 0-6 Months

Before you read any further, please know that CHILDREN DO NOT NEED TOYS. Our parents played with tupperware, paper towel rolls, kicked rocks, made houses out of boxes– as do many children around the world. 

Many toy companies will try to sell you on educational toys, but truly you do not need a fancy toy to foster language development. You need YOU! Connection and interaction with your child matter much more than a toy. After all, a toy doesn’t play back. A person does!

I understand that parents and grandparents DO want to give their children toys, and while they’re truly not needed, I can give you a few tips:

1. First and foremost, safety is crucial. Always opt for toys that are free of small parts that could present a choking hazard.

2. Keep it simple! Babies at this age are still developing their senses and fine motor skills, so toys that are too complex or overstimulating may overwhelm them.

3. Versatility is key. Find toys that your child can grow with (e.g., a mirror, a book, a stuffed animal).

The Best Toys for Speech and Language: Babies 0-6 Months Old

  1. Indestructible books: These are my top baby shower picks for new moms! Indestructible books are “100% baby proof, rip proof, chew-proof, drool-proof.” They can be washed with soap and water and reused for your next baby.
  2. High Contrast Cards: These are my second pick for baby shower gifts! I’ve utilized high contrast cards with both of my kids probably the first or second day home from the hospital. I use these and slowly cross them over my baby’s face, so they can work on tracking. You can also utilize these as pictures during tummy time. They also come as a book!
  3. Interactive sensory books: While your baby may not be reaching for the book yet, you can gently guide their hand to feel the new textures on each page. Although your baby might not yet be understanding the book, they can still participate in book reading by touching the pages. This set has been very much loved by my two kids.
  4. Teethers: Some teethers are truly better than others. Most speech-language pathologists will recommend teethers that are long and narrow, as opposed to wide and flat. I recommend the banana! You can also chill these in the fridge to help with sore gums when a new tooth is popping through.
  5. Rattles & Shakers: For obvious reasons, babies love the sounds of these. You can shake these on either side of your baby’s head, so they can work on turning their head toward the sound. And as they get older, they can reach to hold the rattle to work on grabbing and shaking. I recommend the O-ball rattle when they are younger and the Manhattan rattle around 4-6 months.
  6. Mirror: A mirror is perfect for sustaining attention during tummy time. This one is great because it has high contrast cards as well. Dual-purpose!
  7. Playmat: Lastly, I added a play gym– a great place for tummy time, tracking high contrast cards or reading books. I utilized the Lovevery play gym with my kids, but this one is a more affordable dupe and includes high contrast cards as well.

Keep in mind. While I do believe these are the best toys to promote speech and language development in newborns, remember, none of these are truly necessary! You are your babies first and most important toy. Connect with them, talk with them, and snuggle with them. These toys are secondary. 

Interested in the skills needed before your child’s first words? Click here!

Are you concerned about your child’s speech and language development? If you live in Frederick County, Maryland or Northern Loudoun County, Virginia, book a free phone consultation with me to learn how I can help your child.

(This blog post contains affiliate links for your convenience. You don’t pay any more by clicking my link, but I do make a small commission off of sales. Thank you for supporting my practice!)

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