At three months of age, your baby shows excitement when a toy or book is placed in front of her. Now she can move her eye muscles to examine things of interest, identify most adult colors and is generally interested in looking at a toy or book. Language enhancing toys for this age have lots to talk about as you describe the toy, read the book or talk about the illustrations. Therefore chose toys that have contrasts in color and pattern, texture, and sound as well as flexibility in movement so you have opportunities to describe using varied and rich vocabulary.
Freddy the Firefly, My Friend Emily the doll, and Pupsqueak the dog by Lamaze all meet these requirements for multiple opportunities for description. As your baby looks at the toys, give her words for the various characteristics like smooth, rough, bumpy corduroy, or blue, orange, red and yellow tummy, or crinkly, rattle, or squeak. Each little square of fabric around Emily’s skirt provides the opportunity to talk about different shapes, textures and sounds. Each toy has an opportunity for movement or change that you can describe: lift up Freddy’s wing for peek-boo or go flying, take Emily for a walk or sit down, and feed Pupsqueak his bone. Research shows that the more you talk to your baby, the better it is for her language development. So having toys that are stimulating on many levels, builds her language. That being said, don’t forget to have breaks too! No one likes continuous talk.
Whoozit by Manhattan Toy: is a baby’s favorite with varied black and white contrasting patterns on the back and a smiling face on the front with seven appendages to flog and rattle to keep your little one entertained.Many variations have been introduced like Baby Whoozit and Baby Tizoo who sports pink for the girls. Lots of textures and shapes to describe, this toy even has a peek-a-boo nose.
Tug and Hug Horse by Sassy: has plenty to entertain your baby too. With some hard surfaces to plunk as the horse trots off, this toy has stripes, polka dots and bright contrasting colors. Just press his saddle for a trot, a neigh and clearing his nose! Pull on his legs and describe long and short, in and out. His friendly face invites conversation and attracts your baby to stimulate talking. Babies are attracted to faces and talk more to a face, especially a familiar one. Always look for toys with a face to encourage language.
Taggies Look at Me! Activity Mirror: is angled for your baby’s best viewing and engages your child with eight faces on one side that they can manipulate as they get older–feel the fuzzy bear, flip back the giraffe and pull on the hippo. Lights and sounds can be activated but aren’t necessary for the fun. Flip it over when baby is bored and you have the three pigs to put in their numbered houses and the cow to jump over the moon.
Play With Me! Activity Bumpers: by International Playthings has stimulating action on both sides, first a black, white and red penguin and zebra with clever tags to play with in a mane or hand, and then a multi-colored side bursting with a cow jumping over the moon, a pig peek-a-boom, a fuzzy lamp to pull up and down and a taggie rainbow in the stars.
Peek-a Moo by Marie Torres Cimarusti: This clever, bright contrasting flap book engages babies every time I read it. It has all the components for a perfect read-aloud for your baby–rhythm, bounce, fun, rhyme, bright contrasting pictures and fun animals. Just as your baby is looking at the picture and listening to the rhyme, you flip down the flap to reveal the cute animal face and say its sound.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr/Eric Carle: This book is a crowd pleaser for babies to kindergartners. I have never read this to a 3 month old who didn’t look enthralled as I read the text. The bright, beautiful collage illustrations of the individual animals are exciting and the repetition of the “What do you see?” promotes learning and gives comfort to a child over repeated readings.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney: There is no end to the love a mother has for her baby as this mama bunny and her baby try to one-up each other in the breadth and depth of their love for each other. The intricate drawing and soft colors match the lovely story.
Baby Talk by DK: At 3 months, your baby will enjoy listening to you say baby’s first words and flipping the flaps but as she gets older she will enjoy becoming active in the reading process. Babies love to look at other baby’s faces and these will capture your baby’s attention as they reveal some first words that babies speak like “yum-yum” or “hee-hee” or “boo-hoo.”
Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star by Rosemary Wells: As part of Wells’ Read to Your Bunny, Very First Library, this book is a song put to pictures. Each page has a stanza from the song, a constellation in the sky for mom and dad, and a beautifully illustrated sequence of mama bunny getting her baby ready for bed including her bath, pajamas, a cup of milk, a story and lights out.
Butterfly Kisses by Sandra Magsamen: This is part of a new series, the Snuggle-me stories which include a little finger puppet of a butterfly whose purpose is to give kisses at the end. What parent doesn’t want to “tickle, giggle and play?”
Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Boynton: A perfect beginning Boynton book, this tale is about the farm animals and the sounds they make. Everything is fine until the pigs say “la la la.” Boynton’s humor keeps parents and kids coming back for more! She has lots of fun, goofy sounding words that promote listening skills and teach kids that sounds are fun like “snort,” “snuff,” and “ruff.”
Fuzzy Bee and Friends by Priddy: Cloth books are perfect for little hand to grab as your baby approaches 6 months and wants to put everything in her mouth! The problem is that many of the cloth books don’t have strong contrasts in colors like the board books for have a good tale to tell. This book and its series has clever rhymes about Sally Spider, the dragonfly, beetle, worm and others. Kids love the shiny and textured fabrics used on the bugs.