Play Tips - Rattles

Although wooden rattles might not look like fun to an adult, these ordinary infant toys can spark an array of sensory experiences for a baby.

A simple wooden rattle makes soft, gentle and soothing sounds when shaken - providing just the right amount of stimulation for a baby. 

By integrating rattles into daily playtime with baby, you can promote and strengthen their motor and cognitive abilities as your baby grows. 

- Visual and auditory tracking: Start by moving or gently shaking the rattle across your baby's field of vision, encouraging them to track the rattles with their eyes as it moves across their line of sight 

- Perception: Babies need opportunities to perceive sights, sounds, tastes, smells and textures to develop their abilities to make sense of the world around them and come to understand it. Rattles can aid in perceptual development. During the first three months of your baby's life, you can show baby the rattle, and shake it gently to them to experience and perceive sound. Encourage textural perception by gently touching rattle to baby's face/arm/legs, so that he becomes familiar with touch. Alternate touching baby with something soft so he learns to comprehend the difference between textures. 

- Focus and attention: After introducing the rattle to your baby, you can change the routine to build anticipation. Hold the rattle across their vision and wait until they look at you before shaking it. Or shake it for a while and pause while maintaining eye contact before continuing

- Cause and effect: When baby can hold the rattle by themselves, assist them to shake it to produce a sound. Through play, babies will also discover by accident and remember that the rattle makes a noise when they shake it - allowing them to understand and develop the concept of cause and effect. They will experiment with how to make the same noise again, and also different noises that the rattle makes when they do different things with it - likely dropping or knocking it. Encourage your baby to explore different ways of playing with the rattle 

- Object permanence: Play with the rattle in front of baby, and then hide it, encouraging them to find it. Hide it under their blanket and shake it to give them a clue. This helps them to understand and develop the concept that an object still can exist even when out of sight.