Toys & Their Effects on Infant Brain Development 

Toys are not only good for entertaining an infant; they also play an important role in the development of her growing brain. From birth, babies should be provided with interesting, age-appropriate toys in a range of colors, shapes and textures. Parents should observe what types of toy their infant is most interested in, but remember that an infant may be just as captivated by a set of brightly colored plastic cups as the latest expensive “must have” baby trinket.

Wiring the Brain

  • Stimulating toys are best for an infant’s brain development.

    A study from California’s Stanford University found that skills learned in the very early stages of life could result in permanent changes in the brain’s structure. Neurobiology expert Professor Eric Knudsen, who led the research, said that learning new skills very early in life triggers connections between neurons in the brain that last into adulthood. According to the study, stimulating infant toys, such as those that make noises when touched, will help the brain shape itself for the future.


  • A mobile is a feature in most nurseries.

    Interesting toys can help the vision area of an infant’s brain develop, says Zero to Three, a national nonprofit dedicated to improved newborn care. Colorful mobiles and other moving toys are perfect for babies, as they become more adept at scanning a room, focusing on objects and following objects with their eyes. BabyCentre recommends black, white and red toys to stimulate visual development and help baby distinguish between different patterns and shapes.


  • Cognitive and Language Skills

    • The right infant toys can develop cognitive skills.

      Infants develop cognitive and language skills during play, including creative thought, reasoning, problem solving, listening and communicating. Soft toys give an infant the opportunity to practice his grasp reflex. Building blocks and other stackable toys teach him cause and effect. Fabric books attached to the bars of his cot or his stroller help with listening and communicating.

    Motor Skills

    • A baby gym is great for motor skills.

      An infant’s motor skills are developed during play. A baby gym or activity arch with toys hanging over the infant helps to develop gross motor skills as she makes large movements with her arms and legs to reach and kick. A baby mat with lots of different textures, colors and attachments will hone fine motor skills as she makes smaller movements with her hands, fingers, mouth and tongue.


Source: Toys & Their Effects on Infant Brain Development | eHow

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