In the last half of his first year, your baby will still enjoy many of the toys he enjoyed during the earlier half of the year. The best toys for this age are those that illustrate the principle of cause and effect in fun ways. These toys respond with sound or movement when your baby does something to them. Popular cause-and-effect toys include:
- Squeak toys
- Balls with bells inside
- Pop-up toys where hidden figures (cartoon characters and so on) pop up when your baby spins a tiny drum, turns a telephone dial, pushes a button, or pulls on a lever
- Pull toys
- Pull-string musical toys
- Toys that allow pouring of water or sand
- Crib-side activity centers (By about 10 months, your baby should be able to master most if not all of the activities, such as spinning telephone dials, ringing bells, and pushing buttons.)
Even a light switch can entertain your infant for much longer than you'll want to hold him up to the switch.
Cause-and-effect toys help your child develop a sense of his own power. His initial discovery of this power will no doubt surprise him. The first time he turns a rotary telephone dial and makes Mickey Mouse pop out of a busy box or squeezes a rubber puppy and hears it "yelp," for example, it will probably be unintentional.
But after two or three such accidents, your baby realizes that what he does prompts Mickey to pop up or the dog to squeak. From then on, your baby will spin the dial and squeeze the puppy on purpose because he wants to see or hear the same effect again. For the first time, your child will appreciate that he has some control over the world around him.