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WELCOME to the 100 Toys Guide to Play for Babies, part of our series of ebooks designed to help parents navigate life with the under-fives.

Modern living isn’t always a great set-up for small babies. We spend long stretches of time with them indoors, or taking them places, strapped into car seats or buggies. An ever-increasing array of apps and television channels aimed at even the very youngest babies, means there is always some technology to reach for if we need a few minutes to ourselves. This is fine sometimes, but too much and our children become passive consumers of content, rather than active learners and creators of their own fun. And if your new baby has older siblings who demand your attention, it can be easy to overlook their needs, or to make assumptions about them based on your previous experiences.

All babies develop at different times and in different ways. For some the physical milestones - sitting up, grasping objects, walking - come early, while for others it seems to take forever. Some babies enjoy the razzle-dazzle of a brightly coloured mobile from day one, while others seem only to want cuddles and calm.

Whatever their preferences and needs, the good news is that everything your baby really needs to know is there with you at home. With just a few simple toys and the most important toy of all - you - they’ll develop all the skills they need for a great, confident start and many years of happy, independent play.

I hope you enjoy this guide and as always, look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Happy playing!

Next: The Fourth Trimester