Encourages fine motor skill development.
An infant’s growth and development in the first year of life is rapid. Many movements that young babies make are in preparation for the next stage of their development. When young babies watch a mobile they are constantly moving their head, arms, legs and even their mouths in response to the movement of the toy. Sound and movement attract a baby’s attention; if a toy is placed almost within reach of babies their movements become more animated. Bath toys provide opportunities to develop and use motor skills to great effect. For example, a young baby has greater control over their leg movements than their arms. You will often see young babies in a bath reaching with their legs towards a floating toy and kicking. All these movements strengthen muscles in readiness for the next stage - walking.
As babies develop they become more adept at grasping objects. Young infants learn to grasp an object, for instance a cube. The grasping, at first, is quite clumsy but through repetition, and across time, infants become adept at grasping and develop fine motor skills. Infants first use the ulnar grasp where their fingers close against the palm when trying to hold an object. Within another month they are able to move the object from hand to hand. After the first year, infants adopt the ‘pincer grasp’ where they use their thumb and index finger to grasp even very tiny objects. Shape sorters help infants to fine tune their visual perception and hand coordination. Soon infants are building towers with two cubes; this also requires fine coordination skills. As the child grows computer games have been shown to help with hand and eye coordination. Spatial skills can also be enhanced when playing games that require concentration, quick responses and finely tuned motor skills.