Improve Your Baby's Development with Play
Motor skills are an integral part of the development of young children. In broad terms, "motor skills" are all those muscle-control abilities that allow small children to walk, run, and climb; pick up and throw; and move their bodies with any sense of coordination. Motor skills are just that - skills which, with practice, every child can improve and develop.
The wonderful thing about small children is the fact that they learn best through play. From birth, children develop the skills they need to thrive in an adult world through toys, games, and puzzles. If you're trying to come up with the perfect baby gift for a friend's shower, consider gifts that help improve motor skills as an option.
Learning to Move
It's true that very small infants aren't capable of great feats of motor control, but this doesn't mean a skill-enhancing baby gift will be wasted on them. Many toys for small infants aim to develop several skills at once. The ideal baby gift is one that will grow with them, helping to develop visual and tracking skills first, then motor skills as the baby learns to roll over and pick things up, and finally, auditory or speech skills for the age where they're developing language abilities. Your baby gift can and should try to encompass as many areas of learning as possible.
While looking for the perfect baby gift, don't be mislead by promising statements on a toy's packaging. As a general rule, try to purchase a "low-technology" baby gift. A toy that will burn through batteries isn't a very good baby gift because it comes with a hidden cost, and a highly automated toy, such as one that plays music every five seconds, won't demand the baby's attention. An excellent baby gift is one that requires participation from the baby, but won't rush or overwhelm them with noise and flashing lights.
A Low-Tech Baby Gift Means a Happy Baby
A good baby gift that will engage and interest a baby isn't hard to find, or even make! A ball or cube with bright colors and a mirrored surface, simple blocks with intricate carvings for the baby to feel, or a toy animal on wheels will all help the baby build motor and visual skills while having fun.
The key to improving motor skills in particular is to encourage the baby to move! A baby gift that requires the baby to reach, stretch, turn, or push will help them get up and going. The best toys of this sort will continue to surprise and engage the baby as he grows; consider a bell inside that ball or cube, or a spinning panel on those blocks. Choose your baby gift wisely, and look for toys that promote true growth, rather than toys that simply spout noise and idle entertainment.