Research shows that when children have fewer toys, they experience “higher quality” play—meaning, they play in a greater variety of ways with a limited number of toys.
ParentPal Learning Essentials, a curated collection of age-appropriate toys and books, have been hand-picked by our team of child development experts to encourage high-quality play. Our collection is accompanied by hundreds of research-based activities, games, and ideas, to guide and support your child’s creative play and healthy development from birth to age 5.
Discover ParentPal Learning Essentials for months 0 to 6 that support your child’s development and promote focus and concentration with this curated list of books & toys.
ParentPal Learning Essentials: Months 0-6
Why we love it: Reading to a child, starting at birth, builds language and literacy skills, promotes brain growth, and helps your baby make meaning of the world. “Bear’s New Friend” encourages social sense and introduces your child to the concept of healthy relationships. Such relationships strengthen a little one’s capacity to learn and grow, and are the backbone of an infant’s social-emotional development.
How to use it: Read this book as long as your little one shows interest. Point at pictures and ask questions, even though your baby won’t verbally respond just yet.
Why we love it: It’s never too early to read to your child, and the more one reads aloud to their little one, the larger that child’s vocabulary will grow. This book is great for introducing your child to new vocabulary words, as many are among the first children say. “First 100 Words” also helps you bond with your child while exposing him or her to new words and creating a strong foundation for language skills.
How to use it: Point to the things in the book and give your little one time to “respond,” whether with a gurgle, a focused look, or a giggle.
Why we love it: Although your little one is too young to manipulate the bear’s fasteners, it’s not too early to begin supporting the development of problem solving in different ways. Working through these experiences also helps children develop spatial-relations skills (understanding how things fit together), hand-eye coordination, and fine-motor skills (using the small muscles in the hands and fingers).
How to use it: As he or she feels the different fabrics on the bear, label what’s being touched.
Why we love it: The Clatter Cat Rattle & Teether is great for introducing your little one to touching, grasping, and manual manipulation. Playing with the toy helps develop your little one’s fine-motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensitivity to the world around them. Providing children with toys that have a variety of textures further encourages and reinforces fine-motor development.
How to use it: Guide your little one to grasp the cat rattle using his or her hands. Baby may prefer to explore the cat by mouth instead, and that’s okay, too. As he or she enjoys exploring the different segments of the toy, be sure to label his or her actions.
Why we love it: Each bug is a great sensory item in and of itself; besides their vibrant colors, each bug has a distinctive sound—jingling, squeaking, rattling, or crinkling.
How to use it: Help your little one explore the different bugs with his or her hand and mouth. Narrate your actions as your child explores the toy, helping him or her make the connections between action and the sounds that result.
Why we love it: This toy provides interactive designs and multi-sensory features such as a sturdy textured ring, crinkly flower petals and tabs, knotted tags, and a plastic mirror for touching, grasping, and manual manipulation, all great for fine-motor and cognitive development.
How to use it: Help your little one explore the different textures and parts of the farmyard cube. Introduce animal noises, encouraging your child to grasp the handle and helping him or her press against each of the animals on the cube to hear its sound.
Why we love it: The Whoozit Activity Spiral features vibrant mixed colors, stimulating textures, and black-and-white patterns to please your baby’s early natural curiosity and blooming motor skills. The different shapes, colors, sounds, and textures will help your child learn to adjust his or her grip and explore ways to make the shape move or produce sounds.
How to use it: Help your little one build more coordinated grasping skills by offering the Whoozit toy to explore. Talk about the colors, shapes, sounds, and textures your child encounters.
These toys and books are designed to be used in combination with ParentPal’s WeeSchool activities, an age-appropriate, research-based curriculum built to guide your child’s creative play and learning. Get 30% off your first year of ParentPal with coupon: HOLIDAY30 — that’s a savings of $20!*
Don’t have these toys at home? Don’t worry. You can foster these skills and do ParentPal’s suggested activities with similar books, toys, or household items.
Want even more playtime ideas? Find these and more Learning Essential toys and books on ParentPal’s Amazon Shopping page.