Yes, They Can: How Play Looks Like from 0-12 Months

One question we get asked the most about Babies when it comes to Play, is, “Can they play??”


Play looks different at every age – especially in these first 12 months – and with so much information out there, it is easy to get confused – or perhaps even think that meaningful play in these early stages can only involve aids like flashcards and toys in Reds, Whites, and Blacks.

On the contrary, play can happen in many ways – even simple actions and routine activities that we don’t give much thought to – like talking, tickling, tummy time, or bath time, can be turned into opportunities for play. As a general rule of thumb, play in the first year should be ENGAGING first and foremost (so if Baby isn’t engaged by the flashcards, sadly, it isn’t quite Play to them), and it should help them:

– Learn about the world around them
– Get moving and working on their motor skills
– Stimulate any of their five senses
– Inspire curiosity and exploration
– Encourage language and social interaction

With regard to safety, these considerations should ALWAYS be at the forefront of your mind, if you are deciding on a toy to complement your play activities:

– Size
– No jointed components that, when taken apart, are small enough on their own to be a choking hazard
– No risk of small parts coming loose (e.g. bead eyes and/or any other embellishments on plush toys)
– No sharp edges/corners
– Easily washable 
– Tested in some way or another 

And lastly, we’ve put together a Recommended Guide on the best kinds of toys to have, to help your Baby play more meaningfully during these first 12 months.