Right from birth babies are developing abilities and learning through play. Fundamental gross motor skills, which include large movements such as sitting, crawling, standing, and walking, can be encouraged through toys, as can the fine motor skills; holding items in the hand and dexterity. The toys on display here are fun and engaging for the infant but at the same time help to build the competencies that the child will need to develop as it grows. Before babies and toddlers gain control of their movements they will swipe at objects, unintentionally pushing them from surfaces, and as the child grows they take pleasure in fitting objects together often with a crash. As such, toys are made of robust materials, like polypropylene (PP) and high impact polystyrene (HIPS), so they do not shatter and are safe for this kind of play.
Rattles, such as this Hilary Page example (1), are a source of stimulation for babies up to the age of 4 or 5 months. At this age, children can visually seek out sounds that they hear. They also grab items and bring them to their mouths to explore. Babies gain more information about an object through mouthing than by any other exploration strategy. Due to this form of interaction the rattle needs to be made of a material that has good sonic qualities, can withstand impact, and is easy to clean and safe to mouth.
Toys that roll (2), or that can be pushed along (3) encourage the child to crawl to them. Those that are pulled along (4 - 5), also encourage crawling but later also become an incentive for walking as the child can pull the object along behind themselves.
The VTech First Steps walker (6), is designed to support a child as they take their first unsteady steps. With the additional stability provided by the walker a toddler can cruise around with confidence. The front panel of this toy can be removed and placed on the floor to be used by a seated child to develop the fine motor skills that are needed to lift the phone and manipulate the other moving parts. These skills, along with learning colours, letters, and to play imaginatively, are also strengthened by the Activity house (7), stacking toys (8 - 9), and interlocking bricks (10).