Play and Playthings by age: 0 - 18 months
Appropriate Playthings: mobiles - hung over the crib about a foot from the baby's eye level, small fish tank placed near the crib, posters - pasted on the ceiling or walls, music boxes, wind chimes, toy mirrors, books for babies
Skill: Manipulation of Objects (mouth play and hand play)
Appropriate Playthings: rattles, pounding and stacking toys, squeeze toys, teething toys, spoon in cup, floating tub toys, picture blocks, string of BIG beads, stuffed animals, balls, books for babies
Skill: Exploration (pushing buttons and pulling levers)
Appropriate Playthings: crib-gym exercises, push-pull toys, small take-apart toys, pots and pans, touch and feel books
Skill: Spacial Relationships, Shapes and Sizes
Appropriate Playthings: nested boxes or cups, blocks, large puzzles, plastic containers of different sizes
Skill: Cognition (perceiving, recognizing, and reasoning)
Appropriate Playthings: books with rhymes, pictures, jingles, music, musical and chime toys, books with pictures of babies
Appropriate Playthings: set of building blocks, large dolls, toys to crawl after, pounding toys
What caregivers can do:
- Begin reading regularly (see our early literacy resources).
- Be available to play.
- Respond to baby's sounds.
- Smile at the baby. Let baby play with your fingers.
- Talk with baby.
- Play "pat-a-cake" and catch games.
- Play "peek-a-boo," "bye-bye," and hiding games.
- Make faces in a mirror.
- Sing to baby.
- Read to baby.
- Play at "losing" and finding things.
- Name objects as you give them to the baby.
Play and Playthings by age reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care - NNCC. (1994). Play is the business of kids. In *Better Kid Care: A video learn-at-home unit* (pp. 3-18). University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Cooperative Extension.