Babies go through different phases of play, preferencing certain types of play and toys/resources at different stages. All you have to do is observe your child in a play space (or just about anywhere) in order to gain some insight into what their current interests might be.
I started her collection of easy-to-grasp rattles as we were moving out of the newborn phase, they were perfect for practicing her early grasping skills and were safe options for when everything started going in her mouth. In the last few weeks she has really started to enjoy the action of shaking objects, especially anything that makes a noise, so these sorts of toys have really come in to their own (although her favourite thing to shake to date was a packet of (well sealed) salted peanuts on our 17 hour flight back from the UK).
In addition to developing her hand eye coordination, rattles/shakers develop coordination between the different senses. Baby see’s, hears and feels her actions and begins to make connections between them. She will start to make a connection between her movements and the variation these make in sound. Using rattles/shakers made of different materials provides her with an early opportunity to discover different textures, sizes and weights.
Because their hands are so small at this stage and the shaking can be pretty vigorous and uncoordinated, bigger toy instruments like child sized marachas and tambourines aren’t great right now; repeatedly bashing herself on the head and blaming you for it can get a little wearing. So here are6 toys I recommend for those new to ‘shaking it’ (in addition to anything in a small sealed packet!)
You can quickly throw together your own DIY Shaker using any kind of small container – like a travel sized cosmetics bottle or an lidded container. Just put some dry rice inside (rice poses less of a choking risk if it were to break open) and seal with duct tape.