How to Choose Toys for a Baby Shower Gift

Toys make a great baby shower gift. All toys aren't appropriate to give to babies, but there are plenty of choices that even newborns can play with. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Babies learn through their senses, so sensory toys are a good choice for a baby gift. There are a lot of blocks and rattles available that make noise and have varying textures and colors that appeal to baby. Some even have different smells.

Since babies like to look at themselves in mirrors, toys with mirrors are a great gift choice. There's a wide range of items, including mirrors that attach to the crib, or ones that can be propped up on the floor next to baby. Most have soft frames surrounding the mirror, making it safe for babies.

Rattles are a classic baby toy, and modern rattles are designed to engage baby's senses. Some rattles can be held in the baby's hands. You can also find rattles that attach to the baby's wrist or ankle.

"Tummy time" is important to the baby's development; it prepares him to learn to push himself up, sit, and crawl. There are many play mats that encourage tummy time. They often have blocks that the baby can touch to hear a sound, or feel a new texture. Some mats have soft fabric bars with hanging toys on top, so a baby can enjoy the mat either on his back or tummy.

When the baby is just a little older, blocks and shapes are important to help develop fine motor skills. Look for toys that encourage baby to sort shapes by putting blocks with different shapes into their matching slots.

Mobiles are another classic. Look for colorful, soft shapes with primary colors and black and white patterns. Some mobiles switch between lullaby music and more energetic play music. Babies often change locations, from a crib to a pack and play, and other caregiver's cribs, so it's a good idea to have several mobiles on hand.

Some toys can't be played with yet, but are still a good choice because they can be used as room décor. Durable wood puzzles, pull toys, blocks and vehicles fall into this category.

Giving the right toy not only provides fun, but can help the baby to learn and explore.