RATTLES AND MOTOR SKILL DEVELOPMENT
Larger rattles require more movement of the arms and hands from baby. Previously, we discussed the importance of smaller rattles for babies from birth to three months. The rattles need to be small enough so their little hands can hold them, and light enough that they can shake them. As baby grows, she can eventually handle these larger rattles. Usually by around seven months of age these larger rattles are well manipulated, as the baby in the above photo demonstrates. They are excellent for her motor skill development since they require much more use of the arms and hand-eye coordination.
RATTLES VS. ELECTRONIC TOYS
In today’s nursery, the toy selection often includes an abundance of electronic toys. Although the fun sounds and twinkling lights may provide a long stretch of entertainment, it is important to be mindful of motor skill development. Pushing buttons with fingers does not develop the muscles of the arms or the hand-eye coordination nearly as much as shaking a large rattle with bells. To make a sound with a rattle, baby has to physically pick it up and move it several inches up and down or side to side. When baby stops moving, the sound of the rattle stops as well. Although some variety with both electronic and non-electronic toys may be ideal for some parents, it is important to keep baby’s motor skill development advancing with the manually operated toys: simple rattles.