When we think of toys, we don’t always think of the youngest members of our families – babies who are six months and younger. Yet, there are some great developmental toys that provide visual stimulation, cognitive development and an opportunity to learn how to play. Here are my five itty-bitty baby favorites, with each one satisfying a particular developmental need for a baby.

The Winkel (Motor Development)
Toy Insider
I consider this one of the classics. With its safe, gentle, chewable tubes and bright colors, the Winkel fosters how babies learn best – by putting things in their mouths. You can even put it in the refrigerator for a cooling effect for teething infants. The loops make it easy for a baby to be successful at swiping at the Winkel and actually grasping it with their little hands. The soft rattle sound is a total treat when they do.

The Corolle Elf (Compassion Development)
Toy Insider
The Corolle Elf comes in a three engaging colors (red, pink and blue) and the soft rattle sound will make a baby follow the object to foster eye development and basically provide delight. The pointy parts of the hat make for fun places to gnaw, and provides a friend to play with, similar to a lovey, with its soft, machine washable fabric and baby friendly size. Toys like the Corolle Elf can foster role-playing and relationship building. As your baby gets older, it is a comforting bedtime friend or a first doll.

Wee Gallery Art Cards (Visual Development)
Toy Insider
Wee Gallery art cards are created from bold, whimsical, hand-painted originals that cater to a baby’s visual strengths in their early days. Up until two months of age, babies see black and white objects the most clearly and gravitate towards those high contrast items. Throw a couple cards in a diaper bag to entertain a baby on the go. Tape some above your changing table to keep your infant occupied during diaper changes, or hang from the ceiling and create a modern mobile. Later, use the cards as an opportunity to identify objects and learn words.

Links (Cognitive Development)
Edushape LinksThis baby toy is so much more than it seems. The links encourage touch with a textural variety to inspire exploration, and the bold color spectrum provides visual stimulation. For little ones, place two links, linked together, in their hand and watch their faces light up when there is a click-click sound from plastic pieces hitting each other. Whether it is on a stroller bar, car seat handle or play mat, use the links as the baby gets older to place toys at appropriate height for baby. Needless to say, these little links provide a variety of developmental opportunities.

For my final favorite, you’ll have to watch the video! But let’s just say that it is a truly multi-functional piece that you can take with you. It comes pink as well as a gender-neutral version too.

All in all, these are great developmental toys for babies and it’s a great way to start having fun with the littlest of players.

By Parent Advisory Board Member: Charlene DeLoach
Follow Charlene on Twitter @CharChronicles