Have you ever wondered why you should rattles for babies? Here are some reasons to help buy the best rattles for babies. Learn why these first baby toys are so important to a child's development.
What do rattles look like?
Rattles can be made of wood, plastic or cloth. Some are brightly colored, while others might be red, white and black. Rattles arrive in all different shapes and might look like animals, keys, flowers or musical instruments.
What kinds of sounds do rattles make?
Many rattles make noises and sounds when they are shaken. These sounds can range from the dull sounds typical of wooden rattles to jingling or bell type sounds from metal rattles. Many rattles also have other textures that provide sounds like crinkling noises. Some rattles might even have batteries and display lights or play lullabies when a button is pushed. Rattles with lights and music that are activated through the push of a button teach babies about cause and effect. A baby will learn that if they push a button, they are able to activate the toy, and this will help them be more curious in their learning.
Learning by Playing With a Rattle
Rattles are not just a source of entertainment for a baby to play with. They can help to teach babies many new skills. When parents or caregivers hold a rattle up, babies might first look at the rattle with their eyes. If a parent moves the rattle from one side to the other, babies learn to visually track, or coordinate their eyes together to watch a moving toy.
The sounds babies make can also alert babies to noise. Even without looking, if they hear the sound of a rattle, you will eventually find babies turning their head towards the sound.
At first, babies will hold their rattles tightly with a strong grasp reflex. As their fine motor skills develop, they will learn to hold and shake their rattle in the air. They will play by bringing their rattle to their mouth and safely exploring these baby toys not only with their hands but their tongue and mouth. Many rattles also have textured surfaces, that allow them to also double as great teethers, as babies chew and gnaw on toys to help soothe their gums when they cut new teeth. Babies also learn to hold the rattle in one hand then transfer the toy into another hand.
Many rattles also have moving parts that can be twisted, turned and spun, which can help further develop a baby's attention span and fine motor skills.
While many rattles need to be held in a baby's hand, there are wrist rattles which attach to a baby's wrist or ankle with velcro. Wrist rattles can help babies to learn about their body parts. They begin to realize eventually that they have control over the rattle by moving their arm or kicking their feet.
Why does my baby like some rattles and not others?
Many parents will find that not every baby likes the same toy and the same is true for rattles. Some babies get scared when they hear sudden noises from their rattles and cry. Another baby might find the sounds soothing and calm down when they hear the sounds.
Do not be surprised if your child's favorite rattle also helps them get motivated to learn other more challenging skills. Tummy time is not fun for babies, but it is important. Babies need to learn to be comfortable lying on their bellies while they lift their head to develop head and neck control. By placing a baby's favorite rattle, just out of their reach on their belly they might be more motivated to lift their head, learn to roll to get their rattle, or even squirm along the floor on their belly to start crawling.
Plastic baby rattles are easy to clean and sanitize with a wipe, especially since babies like to drool and place these large toys in their mouth. Fabric wrist rattles and other plush, soft toys with rattles can be washed in a pillowcase in the laundry.