When you have a newborn, especially your first, you always try to give them the best of everything. As you go down the line with more children you find that hand me downs work just as well. And they are also a lot lighter on the wallet. Getting clothes and books and such is easy, however, what do they play with?
They don’t have the language or skills yet to run around, so what do you teach them. Let’s take a look at that and then what the optimal toys are for them to be playing with to enhance the skills they will be learning and perfecting in the next few months to years.
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Developmental Stages of a 5-Month-Old
During this timeframe which some developmental stages go from 4-7 months. They are learning a lot right now and it can be overwhelming.
While they are in this stage they are learning to roll over from back to front and vice versa, they are sitting up, reaching for things, transferring things from one hand to another, standing (while holding onto something potentially or having someone hold them), putting everything (literally everything) in their mouths, and banging on things and shaking them . This is the time when you will continuously have a headache from all the banging.
They aren’t only learning motor skills; they are also learning the language and social/emotional skills. This is when they start “talking” and babbling and laughing (the most beautiful sound you will hear), and they can tell someone’s emotions by how they are speaking .
As you can see this is a vital stage in their development. Knowing what they should be learning and accomplishing during each stage makes picking out toys for them to play with a bit easier. You can focus on the milestones that they’ll be reaching and trying to reach and encouraging them.
Now that you have the information as to what they are learning let’s focus on the toys that will be the best use of your money in order to help them reach their full potential during this developmental stage.
This one is going to be the first to save you a lot of pain, and the babies a lot of pain as well. Some 5-month-olds are also getting teeth (some get them very early) but again, this is the age in which they are exploring with their mouth, putting everything in it that they can get their tiny little hands on.
MAM Bite and Brush Teether
One really good one is the MAM Bite and Brush Teether. This is something that they can easily hold and when they bite on the soft silicone is can massage their gums and their teeth if they have any at that point and it’s an interesting texture.
You can purchase the product on Amazon or at a lot of big-box retailers. They have a lot of different versions on there so you can pick yours and your little ones favorite.
Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys
Another great one, one that I swore by with my little one, was the Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys. Besides how they sound when they shake them around, they are also a teething lifesaver.
Have a few pairs because you can stick them in the freezer and once frozen you give them to your little one. Instant numbing effect and relief on those sore little gums. Plus is something safe that they can chew on.
Skip Hop Explire and More Baby’s View 3-Stage Activity Center
If you want something that will last you longer than a month and can also contain your now trying to move child (because while cooking they will need something to keep them occupied and in place). This is not a walker however but one they can stand in, bounce around in, endplay the pain with.
They also have 25 different activities that will grow with them. Just so you have a guideline for the size of your child, they should be able to hold their head upright and also be under 25 pounds.
It also has a snack bowl which is ingenious because snacks keep little hands very busy and little ones very satisfied as well. It’s a bit pricy at around $120 but it will last you a while.
These are good. One of the main reasons that blocks are important is because they are something that the baby can hold, as well as use to build those fine motor skills of picking up and transferring from one hand to another.
Once they are a bit older, they also can learn how to effectively stack them. Getting soft ones is important because then they can grab them easier. Also, a lot of the smaller ones also provide noises that can help keep them interested. Some crinkle and other rattles.
It’s nice to change it up a bit and these can last for a long time in your home. One option is the Bright Starts Grab and Stack Block Toy which can run you about $10.
Play mats are essential, especially if you have pets or hardwood floors or even when you go places at this age. It keeps them off the floor and gives them a designated area for them to play in before they become truly mobile.
When it comes to hardwood floors this offers them a softer place to lay their heads as they are moving around and trying to flip over. Plus, it’s also perfect for tummy time before they have figured out how to roll over. There are plenty to choose from. Here are a few of the best ones to consider.
Infantino Twist and Fold Activity Gym: It’s pretty with its quilted pattern (especially if you are looking for something gender neutral) and has a full range of sensory toys hanging down and a mirror for them to laugh at themselves in.
Puppy ’n Pals Learning Gym: For those of you who love your little puppies and learning as well, this is the perfect mat for you. This one will help them learn gross motor skills while trying to reach for their toys and also different buttons they can push to hear sounds, songs, and phrases. Each one can teach them shapes, animals, and colors. Such a versatile tool for your little one .
These look like big boxes for the babies. However, they are extremely relevant during this time frame. What it does is give the child options for how they play with it.
Some of them will stand once they can, plus they can lay on the floor on their tummy and also sit upright. It encourages different ways of play and movement which is essential for their motor skills.
My Busy Town
This is a great one for those who are interested in more wooden toys than plastic ones. It offers multiple sides and the top for different activities that can help with those gross motor skills, grabbing and moving things as well.
There are also language concepts in which they can learn their ABC’s as well. A great product if you are looking for something amazing for your little one.
Vtech Sort and Discover Activity Cube
If you are in for the music and the electronics this one is for you. It gives them the ability to play with piano keys, learn numbers and colors, different animals, etc.
With lights and nursery rhymes, you can go wrong with this one.
It will be fun watching as your little one explores every side of this cube.
Find What You All Love
In reality, whatever you can get your hands on your little one can use to explore their newly expanding world. They are going to want to touch everything, put everything in their mouths, and try and move around. It’s amazing how much they are learning at this developmental period.
As a word to the wise, make sure everything that they are using is clean and disinfect on a regular basis. Germs at this point will find their way to your little one just because they are learning, and they’re learning involves their mouth and their hands. Try some new things, and remember, the toys that you find for your little one doesn’t have to be brand new.
You can easily find these exact toys or ones just like them on Facebook Marketplace pages, yard sales, consignments sales, etc. Good luck during this new stage of your baby’s life. It will be fun and exciting and challenging at the same time.
- John Mersch, MD, FAAP, & William C. Shield Jr., MD, FACP, FACR. Infant Milestones [Link]
- See Above #1