If you are going to buy toys for your child anyway, consider picking up those that will enhance your baby's development through play. Many toys come with appropriate literature. Read up before buying any toy, and spend some time selecting something good.
Here are some of the ways toys can help your baby learn things faster.
Don't go in for purely educational toys. Some parents will only purchase books or blocks with alphabets, pictures of animals and so on. Your baby can learn even by simply playing and enjoying himself, without you having to guide him through the 'right' process.
Say your baby has a toy with a string, and every time you pull the string, the toy lights up or plays music. Your child will learn about how certain actions produce reactions, and about cause and effect. He will start questioning things around him, and his brain starts working. What will happen if I squeeze this toy? How will this feel if I chew on it?
Every time your baby picks up a toy and puts it in her mouth, she learns hand to eye coordination. Although you may be tempted to remove the toy from her mouth, don't. Mouthing a toy is your baby's way of exploring it. Babies are oral creatures, and learn about objects through putting them in their mouths. This is why it is vital that when you purchase a toy, you should make sure it doesn't have any breakable or tiny parts that your baby could swallow while playing. It is thus safest to buy branded toys, that are labeled as safe for a particular age. Toys belonging to reputed brands also state that a toy should not be used by children under a certain age and so on. Although cheap toys are not necessarily unsafe, you do need to use your judgment before going in for a particular toy. When buying a simple plastic rattle for example, make sure it doesn't have any rough, unfinished edges that could scratch your baby.
Hide and Seek
One of the simplest games you can play with your child is hide and seek. Not only will you and your baby enjoy playing, but your baby learns a lot when he sees you disappear and re-appear. Naturally this is not the typical game of hide and seek as we know it, but it simply consists of you hiding out of sight of your baby, and popping back into sight every now and again. This game helps your baby tremendously in understanding the subject of permanence. Your baby will realize that just because you are out of sight, doesn't mean you have gone, never to return.
Cardboard boxes actually make great toys for toddlers. They will love exploring the boxes, hiding inside and pretend playing. This encourages creativity, and your child's imagination will soar.
Remember though that no toy can be a substitute for a parents love and attention. The games your child will enjoy the most are the ones he can play with you.