Early learning: 7 ways to help your baby's development

First published on Tuesday 5 October 2021

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You want to give your child the best start in life, but you might not realise you can help your little one learn from the moment they are born.

In your baby’s early months and years, their brains are developing at an amazing rate. In fact, studies show they are forming more than one million neural connections A SECOND before the age of three. Phew.

One of the best ways you can help your baby with their early learning is through play. We’ve rounded up the best toys and games to help your little one get off to a flying start in life.

1. Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot

Your baby is learning fast . So you want a toy that can keep them entertained and learning new things as they grow.


The Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot , suitable for babies from six months, is made up of three individual bots each packed with different activities. And this keeps playtime going all the way through the baby, toddler and preschool stage.

There are more than 120 songs, sounds and phrases your little one can listen to and, as they get older, copy. You can even join all three bots together to make one interactive robot friend. It moves when your baby presses any button, a great way to encourage your little one to start crawling.

2. Building blocks

Babies love building things … and knocking them over! Not only is it a fun game they’ll play again and again, it’s also a brilliant way to develop their hand-eye coordination.

You can help them with this new skill by introducing building blocks or this Giant Rock-a-Stack. Why not build a tower together or see how many rings you can stack on top of each other.

Shape sorters like this cute Cookie Jar are another great toy for developing your child’s coordination – choose one with big pieces that are easy for little hands to grasp.

3. Puzzles

Another great way to boost your baby’s development is by doing a puzzle together. Working out which piece fits where, and actually putting it in the right place, helps your baby develop their gross motor skills. These are vital for everyday activities like walking or throwing.

Not only that, your baby will learn a few other very useful skills including patience and perseverance. Some baby puzzles will even reward your little one with a cute sound when they pop the piece in the right spot.

4. Board and picture books

It’s never too early to read to your baby, and by doing so you can help them learn new words and expand their vocabulary. One study found children whose parents read them five books a day hear 1.4 million more words than children who are never read to.

Even reading one book a day makes a difference: from board or picture books to sensory activity books , there are so many to choose from. Head to your local library or what about a book swap with your mum friends.

5. Sandpit

If you took your baby to the beach this summer, you’ll already know how much they love sand. Playing in a sandpit is not only a brilliant way to keep your baby entertained, it also has lots of surprising developmental benefits.

Squeezing and digging the sand helps your baby develop strength in their fingers and it’s good for sensory play too. It also boosts your child’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination (and gets them outside in the fresh air!)

6. Musical toys

It’s a while before your baby starts talking. But you can still help them develop the skills they need for language.

One study found playing with music can help babies process new speech sounds. And this is vital for learning to talk.

Look for toys that play music or nursery rhymes that you can sing to your little one. This clever musical play mat has five light up piano keys letting your baby combine tummy time with making melodies!

Looking for even more inspiration? The 4-in-1 Ultimate Learning Bot is packed with songs and sounds to keep your little one engaged and learning.

7. Baby gym

Tummy time is super important in your baby's physical development, helping them build their muscles for sitting and crawling. And you can help them by introducing a baby gym, complete with lots of fun activities to entertain your little one.

Many have music and lights and also teach your baby 'cause and effect'. One to check out is this Rainforest Play Mat : when your baby kicks their legs, they activate the musical sounds