Rattles are ideal first toys - as your baby's hearing is far more acute than his sight in the early months and anything that makes a noise is bound to capture and hold his attention. Choose rattles that have a small enough part to fit into your baby's hand. Also try and choose rattles in bright colours, which are so much more attractive to a baby.
Babies love the feel of soft fur against their cheeks and against their stomachs. Soft toys may also help them feel secure at bedtime. Favourite soft toys also metamorphose into playmates and pretend friends with whom they conduct conversations as they grow up and can help stimulate language and communication skills.
Soft balls are better for babies, because they could hurt themselves with a hard one, and balls that have finger-grips in them are also a good idea for toddlers.
The perfect toy for a toddler who's just learning to walk and what your baby will probably get loads of on his first birthday. Pull-along that make a noise when they move and which move in an interesting manner give the maximum enjoyment, and are great even for 1-year-olds who haven't learnt to walk yet. Pull-along encourage walking co-ordination as the child is constantly looking over her shoulder to see if the toy is following and is pulling the toy with only one hand. They also help develop the tricky finger co-ordination required to hold the string and pull the toy.
Music Making Toy
Children love music and any toy that makes music is a great hit. Music boxes that are easy to operate - not the wind-up ones which a baby cannot use but one which just needs to have its lid raised to start singing or a stuffed toy that needs to have its stomach pressed to start a tune - are good for the very little ones. Drums and xylophones are good as 'banging' toys, and at a later stage, can be used to teach rhythm and tune.
This is another group of toys that every child has at least two or three of. They take up space, it's true, but they are toys which children enjoy and go on enjoying. The freedom and mobility a child gets out of this kind of toy is immensely enjoyable for him. Start with a push-and-ride toy where the child only needs to push with his feet to propel himself and the toy forward, and graduate to a pedaling tricycle later.
Miniature Tea Set and Kitchen Set
Toddlers love tea sets and kitchen sets, as they love role-playing. They like inviting their imaginary friends over, and showing off their own hospitality. The let's-pretend factor in a tea set encourages imitative play, thus stimulating your child's imagination, use of language, and understanding.
Boys and girls both enjoy a doll, especially one that is strong, simple and well made, either from plastic and fabric. A life-size newborn doll is a very good idea, as it can be dressed in the very clothes your baby has outgrown, which will add to the realism.
Children are fascinated by miniature figures that they can move around and use in pretend play. A family is a good miniature set to gift your child, with a Mummy, Daddy and a couple of children. They also like a set of farm animals, with fences and trees. Toy cars and other vehicles also fit into this category, and adding a garage to this adds to the fun. Make sure these miniatures are neatly made, with no jagged edges, and also check carefully for small parts.
A toolbox -- with a play hammer, screwdriver and spanner -- is a great doing toy especially if it comes with a worktable into which the child can hammer pegs, screw in screws, and use the spanner to loosen nuts. Unfortunately, this kind of thing in good quality is not too easily available in India. Other doing toys are a bottleful of big beads to thread onto a string, or cards in different shapes with holes that have to be laced through. All these toys require sustained effort and concentration and are very challenging for the child, leading to a great sense of achievement once they are finished. They also encourage actions that improve fine finger and hand movements that require the use of two hands working together, and good hand-eye coordination.
So make sure that you buy sensibly, concentrating more on fun value for the child, and his safety, than the expense value, which is only important to you.