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In the first year of a baby's life, the brain doubles in size, according to a 2007 study. The hippocampus, a seahorse-shaped structure deep in the brain that is used in memory processing, reaches its adult size by 10 months of age. These anatomical changes go hand-in-hand with rapid development: Motor skills, language, and even social understanding all advance by leaps and bounds.
Toddlerhood brings an even more dramatic transformation, as kids learn to walk and talk and solve problems. These science-y toys will put all that developing brainpower to good use.
Beginner Shape 3-Piece Puzzle - BugsSlide 2 of 21
Beginner Shape 3-Piece Puzzle - Bugs
Introduce your baby to the wonders of nature early with this three-piece wooden puzzle. The toy will also introduce your child to shapes (triangle, circle and rectangle), and matching pictures underneath will help your baby recognize where each piece should go. The plywood pieces are made with a non-toxic, water-based finish, according to P'kolino. (Recommended ages: 6+ months)
Price: $11.99Slide 3 of 21
A Dinoztory BookSlide 4 of 21
A Dinoztory Book
Give your baby a hands-on experience with this adorable soft book about dinosaurs. The four pages include colorful and tactile fabrics to stimulate your baby's senses. The book is held together with a velcro-like clasp, and it's easy to clean with lukewarm water and soap. (Recommended ages: 6+ months)
Price: $17.50Slide 5 of 21
Newborn-to-Toddler Play GymSlide 6 of 21
Newborn-to-Toddler Play Gym
This Fisher-Price activity center features lights, sounds and music to stimulate your baby's senses and help your bundle of joy develop fine motor skills, balance and coordination. The convertible play gym is designed to "grow" with your child, meaning babies can start by lying on the machine-washable padded mat, before graduating to sitting down and playing, and finally standing at the activity center. (Recommended ages: Birth and up)
Price: $51.98Slide 7 of 21
Busy Learners Activity CubeSlide 8 of 21