THE POPULAR MARACA RATTLE
One of the most popular baby shower gifts is the rattle, even though a newborn baby is not able to hold and shake the rattle for a few weeks. The majority of rattles on the market are easy for the older babies to hold and play with. They have a thicker handle, are bigger in size, and require more movement to create the sound than a 2 month-old baby can manage. The yellow maraca rattle in the above photo meets our requirements for baby’s first rattle:
- has a small handle
- easily makes an interesting sound
It is necessary, however, to watch the point on the one end of the maraca. Use should be supervised.
CLASSIC SILVER DUMBELL RATTLE
This rattle design is often sold in sterling silver or pewter, giving the rattle a bit more weight. It is also available in wood variations as well as plastic, however baby develops more strength from the silver or pewter material. This rattle is best introduced after some time with a lighter weight rattle. Otherwise, it is too heavy for her to play with. The diameter of the stick handle is still small enough for her tiny hand to grasp and shake it. Another virtue of this classic design are the rounded ends, as baby now avoids the potential hazard of the pointy end of the maraca-style.
EARLY BENEFITS OF RATTLE PLAY
Baby benefits tremendously from playing with a rattle in her early months. The skills learned are both fine and gross motor skills as baby learns to both grasp the rattle with her hand and fingers (small muscles=fine motor) as well as shake it with her entire arm (large muscles=gross motor). The feeling of holding the firm material of the stick handle in the palm of the hand develops proprioception. The interesting sounds facilitate the hand-eye coordination since it gives baby an obvious clue as to where in space the rattle is. Baby learns to match the proprioceptive feeling with the sounds she hears.
A UNIQUE BABY SHOWER GIFT
These two styles of rattles, purchased together, make a unique baby shower gift. I guarantee you that no one else thought to pick out something for the earliest days of rattle play. For a more elaborate gift, choose an additional two or three rattles of larger size and with thicker handles for when baby is a bit older. Try to select a variety of weights and sounds for your gift.