Balls are some of the oldest toys in human history, yet modern day babies still love them. And no wonder! They use skills babies need to develop the most in the first year of life – reaching and grasping, throwing, gross and fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and more! Balls with different colors and textures encourage them to explore the world around them. A simple ball toy can be a gateway to a whole world of play and learning for a baby.
Here are some of my favorite ball toys:
I love the Grimm’s Soft Organic Rainbow Ball as a first ball for the littlest babies–it makes a wonderful baby shower or new baby gift. It is made of soft organic velour and stuffed with pure wool–no harsh chemicals or plastic. It has a gentle rattle, and the bright colors attract attention.
The soft ball is easy to handle for a baby just beginning to reach and grasp. And as she learns to throw, it won’t hurt her if it bounces off her head or face — or yours! Grimm’s is a high quality European toy maker and this is one of their most popular products.
The Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball is one of the most popular ball toys out there. The high contrast colors appeal to the baby’s developing vision in the earliest months, and as he begins exploring and reaching out in his environment, the soft fabric bumps are easy to grab and hold.
The two “bubbles” are filled with small balls that make a rattling noise when the ball is shaken or tossed. This is not one of those balls that vibrates or rolls on its own — no batteries are required! Just a simple but fun ball that encourages the baby to explore and experiment.
The Sassy Developmental Sensory Ball Set gives great value for low cost, as the whole set is usually priced at under $10. The group of three offer a combination of different stimuli to touch, sight, and sound.
The fabric ball is made of high-contrast colors and patterns and will be easy for a baby to grasp and hold. The rattle ball is an open cage structure. This one makes satisfying noises and is a lot of fun for slightly older babies to grab, shake, and bang around. The blue ball is slightly squishy so still easy to grasp, and is the roundest and easiest to roll. All the balls are around 3.5” to 4” in diameter, so a good size for little hands.
For a small toy, the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Singin’ Soccer Ball packs in a bunch of different play and learning experiences! The soft squishy ball rolls easily and encourages the child to reach for it or crawl after it and grab hold. It plays music and reacts to being rolled or shaken and plays different songs.
As the baby gets older, the ball is easy and gentle to throw and kick. And it is covered in colors and numbers for him to learn and identify. It does require 3 AA batteries but is one of the few battery-operated toys that remains fun to play with even when the batteries run down.
Unlike the other balls, the VTech Light and Move Learning Ball is made of hard plastic and isn’t meant for throwing. However, its variety of play activities may have it holding baby’s attention well past the first birthday. Like most VTech toys, electronics are involved so the ball requires batteries.
What does it do? Roll on its own in a wobbly way to encourage the baby to crawl after it, but doesn’t roll so far or so fast that he gets frustrated with trying to catch up to it. It plays several songs and different sounds, and has a variety of objects on it to explore pulling, twisting, turning etc. to be rewarded with different sounds and tunes. A great gift for a baby who enjoys a lot of stimulation and experimentation with toys.
What do you think? Did you choose one of these balls as a gift or a different one? Let me know!