My first son was 7 months old on his first Christmas. Of course we were excited to give him gifts, but let's be real, he mostly loved the crumpled wrapping paper and lights on the tree.
We give gifts to babies as a way to connect with and love them, and that is exactly what they need-- connection and love.
So here are my personal favorite toys for babies:
Reading to children not only helps with developing language and literacy, but also provides valuable nurturing benefits. Holding a baby and reading to them not only calms YOUR central nervous system, but it helps the baby learn to calm their central nervous system through connecting with you. (It also gives you plenty of chances to smell their sweet heads.) Hearing your voice and the changing cadence of your tone while reading soothes them and bonds them to you. Also, reading and pointing out faces and emotions builds emotional intelligence and empathy as young children begin to...
In the beginning of life, a baby's developmental needs are to be loved and kept safe. If a baby does not receive love or have someone consistently respond to their needs, they will experience developmental trauma and learn that the world is an unsafe place where they don't matter. We learn about this in psychology class in Erik Erikson's psycho-social development. Without consistent love and safe caregiving, an infant will shut down, be anxious, and not develop properly.
These nurturing themes emerge in young children's play. A child who has experienced the safe love and caregiving they need may begin to act those experiences out on a stuffed animal or doll. Rocking it, feeding it a bottle or play food, speaking gently to it. Similarly, a child who did not receive the tender care they needed may also play out nurturing themes with toys. This can signal a way that they try to nurture themselves by providing the affection and safe care giving...