Wondering what to buy for your (or a friend's) precious little bump? Here are some ideas for things all babies will love. Always check that the toys are age appropriate before allowing a baby to play with them.
1. A Mirror. Babies like to look at other babies and hey! the one in the picture moves. Later they will love to look at themselves with other people, and when they realise that the baby in the picture is themselves they will be fascinated to watch what they are doing.
We love the cute Lamaze - First Mirror.
2. Soft Blocks. When young they will enjoy throwing them safely at people and things. As they grow older they can begin to practise putting one thing on top of another. (
Note. This is important. I know of a girl who was not bought building blocks at all, and so when she was asked to put one on top of another at her 2 year check she had no idea what to do.) They won't hurt themselves when their tower falls over.
Find some nice ones at Amazon.co.uk.
3. A Soft Ball. Same safety advantages as soft blocks, you can roll it back and forward to your baby for hours. This one from Kiddicare is very cute.
4. Cloth Books. Baby can chew it, bang it on its head and you can still read it afterwards. Amazon.co.uk have a great selection.
5. A Mobile. No not a phone! One to hang in their room. They will stare at it for hours and if you blow on it they will soon start to copy.
notonthehighstreet.com have some delightful mobiles including fairies, animals and flower designs.
6. Anything With Wheels. Again babies love the 'cause and effect' of this type of toy. The Baby Car Clatter Toy would be a real hit with any little car fanatic!
7. Rattles. Babies love to know that their actions have some effect, and rattles teach them that when they move their arm, the rattle makes a noise.
Electronic toys that play a tune when you press a button are popular for a similar reason, but much more annoying for mum and dad. John Lewis have a varied range including ones that are also suitable as teethers.
8. Wooden Blocks. For a baby approaching 1 year old this is a present that they will enjoy for years. If their older siblings ever let them get near them.
A set similar to this 50 Wooden Blocks in a Bag was a huge hit in our household.
9. Bath Toys. Water play teaches them all about the way that the world works, and they get clean at the same time. Kiddicare have a nice selection.
10. Soft Toys. Don't go overboard on soft toys. Adults like giving them much more than babies like playing with them. They harbour lots of dust which is bad if the child suffers from allergies such as asthma and eczema.
The best soft toys for a baby should be washable and perhaps contain a bell or a rattle.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.