Baby Hints & Tips

Play and Leisure Resources for your Baby

Expert tips by Jan Jones (Early Childhood Educator)

Our resources for your baby listed below, will help you develop the senses.

Area of learning

Babies to 12 months

12 months to 2 years

2 to 3 years

Visual (stimulate sight)Mobiles (which can be seen lying down), pram & cot dangling toys, pictures (human faces), posters, activity centres, cardboard or vinyl books, hand puppets.Books with card or cloth covers, magazines for tearing, kaleidoscopes, photographs of familiar people, objects.Books – greater variety.
Promote hearingBells on elastic (firmly attached to wrist or ankle), rattles, squeaky toys, soft foam block or balls with bells inside, music boxes, wind chimes, saucepans with wooden spoons.Simple musical instruments: maracas, drums, rhythm sticks, bells.Greater variety of musical instruments, CDs of classical, folk, children’s music.
Promote feeling and touchingTeething rings, washable soft toys, various types of balls, texture rugs or mats, texture blocks.Feely boxes or bags, sand trays, water paly, finger paint, play dough, textured fabrics, safe natural materials, (pine cones, smooth beach stones, etc.).Clay, mud, textures cards, greater variety of safe natural materials, sand and water equipment, simple garden tools.
Foster small muscle development & coordinationActivity centres, blocks, nesting toys, measuring spoons, buckets, baskets, bath toys, sponges, simple posting boxes, clothes pegs in containers, push and pull toys.Interlocking blocks, wooden hammer and pegs sets.Variety of threading materials.
Foster large muscle development & coordinationLarge plastic/fabric covered foam mats or cylinders for rolling on, suitable swing, large cushions, boxes and tunnels for crawling through, large blocks for climbing over.Ride-on toys, climbing equipment.Wheel barrows, small wooden ladders, short-handled brooms, mops.
Encourage imaginative and pretend playHats, bags, dolls, cars, wheeled toys, soft toys, mirrors.Baskets for carrying, small cases, toy telephones.Stove, sink, toy iron and board, sturdy wooden dolls’ house with range of people, zoo and farm animals, toy camera, vehicles, boats and planes.
Encourage art & creative expressionLarge thick black crayons or thick black pencils with large sheets of white paper, thick paint (primary colours), stubbly handles thick brushes.Coloured torn paper for  pasting, easels and brushes, dough with rolling pins and cutters.


Area of learning

3 to 5 years

5 to 6 years

6 to 9 years

9 to 12 years

Visual (stimulate sight)Gradually increasing complex story lines in books.Magnifying glasses, aquariums.Poetry, science and history books to increase variety of information and formats.Science fiction and “how to” (eg. cooking, gardening) books.
Promote hearingChime bars, xylophones.Simple science kits: electricity/simple chemistry, prisms, microphones, microscopes.Study of musical instruments: guitar, piano, recorder, etc.
Promote feeling and touchingGreater variety of natural materials – more complex sand and water play equipment.Magnetism experiences, hourglasses, collecting own materials and sorting into collections.Fossils, radio kits, test tubes, care of pets.
Foster small muscle development & coordinationVariety of blocks and accessories for blocks (cones, cylinders, cars, people, etc.) simple board games, felt boards with felt figures, picture lotto, more complex puzzles – 20+ pieces.More complex puzzles with smaller pieces, games with dice or spinners, picture dominoes, complex construction sets, lego.Pick up sticks, jacks, spinning top games, Chinese checkers, draughts, card games, more complex board games.Tiddlywinks, darts, magic sets, memory games, vocabulary and spelling games.
Foster large muscle development & coordinationWoodworking bench with real tools, ring toss games, bean bags and targets, simple bat and ball games, obstacle courses.Roller skates, seesaw, scooter, bicycle, tent, punching bags, tether ball, simple bat and ball games.Structured games with rules: 4 square, hopscotch, skipping ropes, pogo stick, t-ball, etc.Hobbies, team and group games, clubs, interest groups, Frisbee, volley ball, badminton, table tennis, tennis.
Encourage imaginative and pretend playPretend play prop boxes (fire fighter, ambulance, hospital, hairdresser, shop, dentist, post office, bakery, etc.).Complex dress-ups, dolls’ clothes with small accessories, road systems, real cooking experiences.Puppet shows, simple skits and plays of children’s own design.
Encourage art & creative expressionRound ended scissors that really cut, staplers, hole punch, sellotape, masking tape, blunt darning needles (tapestry needles or bodkins) and wool, felt-tip pens, crayons, print-making, crayon resist painting.Weaving looms, wool, coloured pencils, pastels, charcoal, greater variety of paints, paint mixing, screen printing.Simple sewing projects.Embroidery, knitting, potter’s wheel for clay modelling, carving, oil paints, macramé.

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