Great Toys for Grasping and Pinching

Great Toys for Grasping and PinchingIn the sixth month of babyhood, your little one is discovering how to unfurl his or her hands and start to use them actively.

Babies begin to reach for toys close in sight and grasp at toys placed in their hands. They’ll begin to pass toys back and forth from one hand to the other and move toys around to explore the movement and objects from different sides. There is no shortage for baby toys marketed to this age, but some are better than others for encouraging this developing motor skill of grasping.

Activity Gyms

For babies that are not yet sitting up, activity gyms are a great way to encourage grasping at an object. Simple toys can be hung from the bars of the activity gyms, which usually incorporate crisscrossing bars over a play mat. Initially it is difficult for babies to grasp with accuracy, especially if the object of their aim is moving. An activity gym allows babies to set their sights on a toy and reach for it, successfully swiping or grasping it.

Simple Toys

Very first toys should be simple and minimal. Babies do not need, and may actually be over stimulated by, complex multi-colored toys. Montessori Interlocking Discs are the perfect first toy to introduce to your three month old to encourage grasping. They are sized well for grasping, and encourage the baby to move his or her wrist in order to pass the toy to the other hand. A simple rattle is another great first toy, allowing your baby to explore cause and effect while they shake it and pass it from hand to hand.

Stuffed ToysGreat Toys for Grasping and Pinching

Some babies enjoy small stuffed animals at this age and may begin to attach to a favorite. For the three to six month age, a stuffed animal no larger than eight inches is ideal, simply to ensure that they can grab it and manipulate it. There are a number of small, simple, and organic options available, like this  Baby Doll. Another great stuffed toy for this age is the animal lovey, which combines a small stuffed animal and a small blanket. At this age children are beginning to identify differences in texture, and may start to show preferences for especially soft items. Be sure to avoid stuffed toys with plastic eyes or buttons, ribbons, yarn, or bells to eliminate potential choking hazards.

Textured Play Mats

Homemade quilts or manufactured play mats often incorporate different fabric textures and have rings or hooks sewn into the edging, allowing you to attach a familiar toy for baby for grasping while baby is on his or her stomach. High contrast mats, think black, white, and red, are great for giving baby something interesting to look at during tummy time. Textured play mats are also convenient for travel, allowing you to transport baby’s entertainment to a hotel or family member’s home easily. For those crafty mamas, here’s an awesome tree play mat, and here’s an example of a high contrast play mat.

Texture Books

You can never start reading out loud to your baby too early. Babies learn language from hearing the unique inflections, pitch, and varying sounds as they hear you speak and read. Reading gives children the opportunity to hear vocabulary they may not hear from typical conversations, and allows them to hear the unique rhymes and cadences common in children’s books.

Choosing books that have unique textured pages is an excellent way for babies to learn how to interact with a book, helps keep their interest, and gives them tactile stimulation as well. Simple baby ‘touch and feel’ board books are a great place to start and will encourage grasping at the different textures on the page. Books with predictable rhyme patterns and repeated phrases are also fantastic first books for babies.

Teething Rings

Simple wooden or silicone rings are a necessity to have on hand at this age. The typical three-inch diameter ring is the perfect size for baby’s newly grasping hands. The three to six month age is often marked by the initial signs of teething; you might notice extra drooling and gnawing on fingers.  Simple wooden teethers are great for giving baby a little bit of relieving pressure on those sore gums!

Claire Dodge is a wife and mother of two toddlers living in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas. She is a Birth Boot Camp natural childbirth instructor and helps her husband part-time in his prenatal and pediatric chiropractic office. She loves all things natural living and attachment parenting, and loves to get lost in books, yarn, and a good run.

 

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