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Enjoy GymbaROO’s gift-giving guide featuring developmentally excellent gifts for babies. You will see all of the below items and toys in use and hear why specialists recommend them for your baby’s development, during your BabyROO classes and throughout our free online BabyROO Video Series here. Please note that many of the following gifts for babies can, as long as they are in a clean and safe condition, be borrowed, handed down, bartered for, recycled or sometimes made. Importantly though, what your baby needs most in the world above all things material, is you and your love.
What Babies Really Want…and Need
You….and the more you know about baby development the better the gift you can give! What happens in the first year, not only matters, it matters a lot. Babies who have the right early movement experiences in their first year have better coordination, concentration, memory, behaviour and perception as they get older. Parents can have a dramatic influence over their babies’ brain growth and the their future learning ability if they know what to do and why. To give your baby this gift costs nothing. GymbaROO’s entirely free, twelve-part, online BabyROO series for parent of babies from birth is taking the parenting world by storm! To join the thousands of parents already playing with their babies in the best way for brain and body development and lay crucial foundations for your baby’s future learning, simply click here. (Available in Aust and NZ only). Bond with your baby, enjoy fun activities, dance and sing as you learn about tummy time, baby exercises, massage, speech and hearing and much more. GymbaROO kids are excelling academically, emotionally and on the sporting field. Your baby deserves it. Read more here.
A glider or rocking chair. Gliders and rocking chairs are excellent for your baby’s development. Ideally we would love it if all new parents had one! They are not only relaxing when feeding or reading to baby, they also provide many opportunities to stimulate your baby’s vestibular system. The gentle rocking motion encourages the development of muscle tone, balance and vision. For maximum developmental benefit, vary your baby’s position when you rock. Ask your BabyROO instructor how to do this or watch here.
A pram that allows your baby to lie flat. It’s developmentally brilliant to have a pram that allows your baby to lie flat. This provides your baby with the unique opportunity to ride around in the pram on his tummy whilst awake. This position provides so many more visual experiences and is excellent for muscle tone development and strengthening. Have your baby facing towards you so you can see him. This is also wonderful for bonding, communication and speech development! Watch here.
Mobiles. Babies are fascinated by mobiles! They provide excellent visual stimulation, helping the development of depth perception and the ability to judge distances. Because babies love and get excited by mobiles, they also stimulate movement. As your baby reaches out with hands and feet, she is developing gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye and foot-eye coordination. Find or make a mobile that allows you to change the dangling toys so your baby doesn’t get bored. There are varying distances at which to hang your mobile that are best for each stage of visual development in this first year. Ask your BabyROO instructor how to find the best distance for your baby’s age or watch here.
Squeaky toys. These are super for baby development and therefore great gifts for babies. Squeaky toys can be used to help with the development of visual skills, hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor development and are tremendous for tactile/touch and oral stimulation as your baby grasps, grabs, squeezes and chews them.
A pair of maracas. As maracas make a sound when moved, they are wonderful for helping to develop auditory and visual skills. Your baby will also learn to reach out for the maracas and shake by himself, promoting gross motor, fine motor, hand development, hand-eye coordination, thinking skills and more. You can use maracas to help your baby develop a great sense of rhythm and beat – so important for speech and mathematics later on!
Balls, bubbles and balloons. Babies love balls, bubbles and balloons of all shapes and sizes. They are a cheap and wonderful way to encourage many areas of development and learning including your baby’s developing visual skills. They are fabulous for tummy time, muscle strengthening and primitive reflex integration as your baby lifts and moves his head to follow the movement. Before using balloons, read the safety warning here.
A playmat. These are fantastic for your baby’s development and a great way to keep baby entertained and interested whilst on her tummy or back wherever you go! Playmats encourage gross and fine motor development, the development of visual skills, hand-eye coordination, foot-eye coordination and more. Try to find one that has interchangeable toys and find a variety of safe and visually interesting items around the home to attach.
A sheepskin rug. Sheepskin or lambs wool rugs are beautifully tactile and stimulate your baby’s hand and foot development. They provide the perfect place to lay your baby for some tummy time and during baby massage. They are portable and are made from completely natural fibres and are lovely gifts for babies and new parents.
Clothing made from natural fibres. When it comes to clothing, the more natural the fibre, the better for baby. Natural fibres allow your baby’s skin to breath. We recommend clothing made from pure wool and/or cotton. We also recommend fabrics that stretch and allow for lively, natural movement of your baby’s arms and legs. Bare feet are best for development so when safely possible, keep your baby’s feet free of coverings.
A big beaded necklace. These are wonderful for mums to wear during feeding. Not only do they help restless, distracted babies during feeds, they are also wonderful for the fine motor development of your baby’s hands and the development of her visual skills. They do need to be sturdy and made from safe materials for your baby, just like those from Pinky McKay
Books, books, books. Reading to your baby is such a relaxing and enjoyable activity to undertake! The benefits include stimulation and development of your baby’s speech and hearing, communication skills and visual development. Babies are very responsive to the rhythm of the words and the sound of your voice. Read anything – just remember to use a singsong voice. For your baby’s visual development it is best if books have pictures of a single object with a bold outline. Simple, two dimensional, sturdy picture books are perfect.
Music. It’s hard to overstate the importance of music as part of a baby’s experience in the first years of life. Music and rhythm stimulate countless areas of development and help prepare the brain for language, timing and movement. Variety and enjoyment is the key here, however do have some music that is rhythmical and has a nice simple beat.
Safety Cautions. Ensure that all toys and musical instruments you use are safe, clean and recommended for children under three years with no removable parts. Never leave your baby unattended with any toy. Always supervise balloon play to prevent the risk of choking.
GymbaROO for Babies from Birth: 12 FREE online BabyROO videos
Our free online series is taking the parenting world by storm! It is highly recommended by doctors, paediatricians, early childhood experts and the Maternal Child and Family Health Nurses Association. Join the thousands of parents already playing with their babies from birth, in the best way for brain and body development and laying crucial foundations for future learning. What happens in the first year, not only matters, it matters a lot! Active Babies Smart Kids BabyROO series – Click here. (Aust and NZ only).
BabyROO GymbaROO KindyROO
70,000 parents, babies and children Australia wide are presently involved in our programs and creating rising stars. GymbaROO, KindyROO and BabyROO kids are excelling academically, in leadership roles and on the sporting field. Come join all the fun and learning! Classes from 6 weeks old – 5 years GymbaROO KindyROO
Dr Jane Williams (PhD, BMgt, RN(Paeds)) is the Research and Education General Manager for GymbaROO and KindyROO. Dr Williams is one of Australia’s leading experts on baby and child development. More on Dr Williams here.
Bindy Cummings is a teacher, GymbaROO early childhood neurodevelopmental consultant and early childhood development lecturer. She is the Editor of GymbaROO’s ‘First Steps’ magazine. More on Bindy Cummings here.
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