When do babies need toys? - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-20-2007, 10:33 PM - Thread Starter
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My dd is 3 mo and we have no toys for her - it doesn't seem like she would need them. She is fascinated by all kinds of things in the world around her. We give her things to hold and swing around (like socks) and things to look at (like us).

Do toys at this age really help developmentally? Or are they just something for parents to throw money at?

And when -should- a baby start playing with toys?

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Old 10-20-2007, 10:41 PM
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We had some little cloth toys that our baby loved to bat at when she was little, but honestly as long as the items your little one wants to play with are safe (no choking or strangulation hazard, etc.) I don't think it's necessary to go out and buy a lot of infant toys.

It's different I think once they're older and obviously wanting to engage more with their surroundings, but even then a lot of our little one's favorite toys weren't "toys" at all.

The only thing I'd recommend not letting them play with are things like keys (which can have lead), or other items that could prove dangerous at an age when they like to explore things by putting them in their mouths.

I think it's a lot more important to have human interaction with an infant than to rely mostly on him/her interacting with a toy, if that makes sense. Toys are fine but nothing replaces time with another person.

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Old 10-20-2007, 10:52 PM
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it appears that what you're saying/suggesting is that your child doesn't need traditional toys to thrive and succeed, but you are enriching her environment with social interaction and 'non traditional' items for baby's enjoyment.

go for it.

my kids favorite things are stuff like tupperware, pots, pans, sock 'balls', a washcloth, big towel - makes a GREAT cape!, you get the idea. . ..

you don't need the latest and greatest gadgets on the market to have a happy kid. just do what you feel is best for your kid and have a blast exploring your environment together. . . .

although, stuff like crayons and playdoh - a BLAST! so don't rule out everything 'traditional'. . .. not sure if that's your intention or not. It seems like you just want to to do what's best for your baby, so go for it!

as for 'when' a child 'needs' toys - well, you'll know when she is more interested in independent play - which may happen for seconds, minutes, or even an hour if she comes in contact with the 'rigth' thing for her. .. . it'll be the oddest things that will hold her attention the longest. . ..
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:33 PM
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My dd at 5 months has lots of toys, because grandma keeps buying them. there are some that she absolutely loves, and I'm glad she has them. but a regular household item would work just as well if I were to take the time to find one and make sure it was safe. she doesn't know whether something is a "toy" or not, and she doesn't care how much it costs.

right now here favorite, favorite toy is a butterfly:
hmm, well, it's actually a firefly, I'm seeing... LOL.
Anyway, the wings make crinkly sounds when she squeezes them, and she likes to chew on the rings. I'm sure you could find something around your house that would do something similar.

I have no idea whether it's "helping" her developmentally. It does keep her entertained in her carseat, so worth the $9.99 for all the many hours she's used it.

I don't know if a child ever "needs" toys per se -- our species managed to survive for many millenia before the dawn of plastic. But they do need something stimulating to play with. And at a certain point it may become a lot of work to find something safe and appropriate and entertaining all the time, whereas you can pick up a toy for a few bucks that will fit the bill!
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Old 10-20-2007, 11:34 PM
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We also have a 3 month old, and have wondered the same thing! He has toys, mostly that he got as gifts that he i snot too interested in. His favorite thing is to chew on a washcloth, or his shirt! He does have a playmat - and he and I lay under it together and look in the mirror and look at the sun thingy which plays music - but honestly, he is just as happy sitting in my lap on the porch watching the world go by while I sing! He also has a baby seat, but he only gets put in it when I have to get dressed or do something where I need both hands. He likes to kick the hanging toys and make the chair rock. I guess I don't have any advice - if your baby is happy and interested in things, then keep doing what you are doing!
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:07 AM
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At 5 months, S was ready for us to start shaking rattles at her and she started wanting to chew on things.

Now at 6 months, she is scooting all over the floor and chases her stuffed balls. She also likes looking at the lamaze toys that are different colors/textures.

Michelle: wife to J, mom to M (2001), E (2003), C (2005), S (2007) and O! (2009) And someone new in 2011!
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Old 10-21-2007, 12:18 AM
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Rachel had a couple muscical toys she was given as a newborn. One I played for her quite often, the other, she learned by 8 weeks that if she kicked it, it might play. I also had a Noah's Ark of small stuffed animals with rattles. She was pretty attached to the giraffe at 2-3 months. That and a baby gym thing she used to lay inder, on a blaket, was about it til 5-6 months.

Oh, I had teething rings for her too, and she liked those from about 2 months on.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:06 AM
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We have these great Baby Einstein videos that we love to watch, and then afterwards we put some games on the computer, followed by hours of TV!

Just kidding.

Jack (5 mos. old) has a couple of Lamaze fabric toys that crinkle when he squishes them. As far as toys go, that's just about all he cares about right now, and he could easily live without them. He favorite "toys" are my hands and burp cloths. He loves to wave the burp cloths in the air, stick it in his mouth, etc. He also loves to explore my hands, suck on them, etc. For the most part, he is very content with simply exploring his environment. One day we spent 15 minutes just smelling peppermint chapstick together, and he had a great time.

Someone got us this weird LeapFrog Learning octopus. When you squeeze one of it's tentacles, it reads off the names of colors in spanish and english. Then it spouts off lame ryhmes about colors (and when I mean "lame", I mean it- "Purple showers, spring flowers", and crud like that. If we're doing poetry, I would rather read him some Shel Silverstein). I let Jack look at the toy for a bit, and saw that he was spending most of the time processing what was going on, instead of exploring. Since I think exploring and open-ended discovery is way more important than pseudo-learning with so-called "developmental" toys, I gave the octopus to the dog and everyone was happy!

If you haven't already, read "Buy, Buy Baby". It really put things into perspective for me.

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
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Old 10-21-2007, 06:49 AM
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I agree with the PP in that "toys" per se are not important; however, I do like to buy DS toys because I like to give him things that are his alone (whereas, for example, the dog isn't "his", our hands are not "his" etc.)

I like the lamaze toys because they're so colourful.
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Old 10-21-2007, 11:57 AM
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DS has played with toys since 3-4 months. Now he loves them. His favorite is one of those Lamaze animals that everyone has mentioned.

We also have a couple of plastic noise making toys (a musical shape-sorter, for example) that seemed to work our way into the house despite my efforts to keep them out of the house. Unfortunately, he seems to really like them, so I would feel bad "disappearing" them.


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Old 10-21-2007, 01:01 PM
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At about 3-6 mos., babies are ready to start grabbing things, but for the most part, regardless of the bells and whistles, they primarily want to put things in there mouth. Any household item thats safe to mouth is probably okay. I'd recommend some teething toys, though -- they're usually not too expensive, and will come in handy when actual teething starts.

I did buy a bunch of toys, though. The other one's I noticed he seemed to enjoy were ones with a mirror that hung above him; he really enjoyed looking at his own face. He also loves his "taggie" -- a piece of fleece with different textured tags sewn on (my older son had no interest in this). Also, that musical aquarium that hangs on the side of the crib was popular, and hanging toys that he could kick. I don't think there were any that he couldn't live without, though.
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Old 10-21-2007, 02:59 PM
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If you're only going to get one, I'd reccommend the Haba ring rattle with the (rainbow) colored segments and the two little blue rings around the ring. But any safe household item works. My son is playing with an empty (removed the label) rolaids bottle right now.
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Old 10-21-2007, 04:06 PM
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We didn't buy any toys for our ds, but have gotten tons of them as hand-me-downs. he's 11 weeks old and is madlu in love with a plush cow that plays hey diddle diddle and hangs above the changing table. i think he'd trade me for that cow sometiumes!
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Old 10-21-2007, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by oregongirlie View Post
If you're only going to get one, I'd recommend the Haba ring rattle with the (rainbow) colored segments and the two little blue rings around the ring. But any safe household item works. My son is playing with an empty (removed the label) rolaids bottle right now.
DS started loving that one and the click-clack triangles at about 4 months. That's all he has really needed (no interest in soft toys/blankey bunny yet at 6 months). He also loves a wooden spoon as well as his daddy's old mother-of-pearl teething ring (this rocks! we are so lucky MIL kept it!)

I say they don't *need* "toys", but sometimes toys are made in just the right size, shape, color and with the right noise making ability to be better suited than household items.
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Old 10-21-2007, 10:14 PM
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Naked Baby started being interested in objects (other than his spitup preemie prefolds ) around, oh, 3-4 months. Maybe more like 4-5 months. But baby never "need" toys, just objects they can investigate and manipulate - and they'll let you know when!
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