Rattles: how they help with cognitive development

Babies have to learn everything from the minute they are born. They learn how to cry, talk, crawl and walk. By taking in the sights and sounds of the world around them they are able to develop physically and cognitively. Most of the learning that your little one will do will be from play and exploration. Our range of Playgro toys are specifically designed to help your child develop using our age for stage concept. Rattles are crucial to their cognitive development and can have a big impact on your baby’s learning. Read more to find out why.

Playgro Rattles

There are a few essential skills that your infant needs to learn with regard to cognitive development – we outline them below.



This skill is used to help your infant develop focus on objects in their field of vision. Babies need to develop this skill, as in the beginning they will lose interest as the object becomes blurry the further you move it away. By playing games with your little one you can help develop this skill. A rattle is a great tool to use to develop tracking, when baby loses interest you can rattle the toy and the noise will stimulate baby to track the toy again. Start by showing your baby the rattle and playing with the rattle in front of their face. Slowly move the rattle away and see how far your child can follow the toy with their eyes. By 2 months, your infant’s eyes are more coordinated to be able to focus and follow objects. As your child’s cognitive development becomes more co-ordinated you can help them to watch an object move across a semi-circle in front of them. Playgro toys are designed to include bright colours and contrasting patterns so that the toys will attract your infants attention for longer.


Cause and Effect

The next skill your infant will need to master is cause and effect, they usually discover this concept around the age of 4 months. Often through play, they will discover by accident, when they shake a rattle it will make a noise. At this stage their memories are beginning to hold more information. They will soon realise the connection between the rattle and the noise, and experiment with how to make the noise again. Between 4 and 7 months your infant will experiment with cause and effect. We often see them banging rattles against the table, or dropping toys onto the floor. This is just their way of experimenting and learning what the effect will be. Encourage your little one to shake, bang and explore toys to aid cognitive development.


Object Permanence

At around 8 months, your little one will begin to understand this concept. Object Permanence is the understanding that an object still exists even when it is out of sight. Think of this one as hide and seek, even when your child cannot see you – you still exist. Play with your little one’s toys in front of they and hide them. Encourage your little one to find them. Hide the rattle underneath a blanket and shake it to give your child a clue. At this age if you hide toys while they are not looking, they may not look for it. Around 10 months, they should be able to find hidden objects even if you did not show them the location.



Around 1 year, babies will start to imitate you so that they learn through pretend play. You may see your little one putting their rattle to their ear in the same way that they have seen you use your phone. Imitation helps them to understand how we use the objects in our lives and will help with cognitive development. Try and find toys that resemble everyday objects and make a game of using the objects together.


Why rattles are important

Rattles have been one of the first toys that babies play with for centuries because of the multiple benefits. For centuries we have been using rattles (think back to seed pods that make a noise when shaken). Rattles have been made from wood, plastic and cloth, with the typical feature of making noise when shaken.

In modern times, Playgro have created a range of plastic rattles to stimulate learning.

  • Bright colours: Playgro rattles are made using bright colours to help baby learn to track and stimulate their interest. Playgro toys have contrasting patterns to help with visual development. As they shake the rattle they begin to follow the object with their eyes, they are then rewarded with a noise. This is a sensory treat and encourages them to play further.
  • Sounds: The Playgro range has a variety of sounds for audio stimulation. Different toys will make different sounds so that your little one learns to experiment with cause and effect.
  • Easy to hold: Playgro toys are designed with little hands in mind. This makes the motions feel natural to baby and helps with developing fine motor skills. By honing the senses of baby they learn through entertainment and play.
  • Tactile stimulation: Playgro rattles encourage baby to explore more. This stimualtion encourages your infant to have a sense of discovery that leads to cognitive development. Playgro toys are made using different fabrics and textures. Your child is encouraged to touch and feel, helping them discover the difference between soft fabric and hard plastic. Some toys have pieces that move and some have pieces that dangle. All these elements are designed by experts to aid development through play. Babies love to explore and rattles are the perfect toy to aid them in this.
  • Teething: Many rattles have a dual function and double as a toy and teether. The textured plastic surfaces are designed to soothe gums and provide the stimulation that babies need as they grow.


The Playgro Age for Stage guide helps parents select the most age appropriate products for their little one. The guide can be found on all Playgro packaging, making it easy for parents to find a product that best suits their baby’s stage of development. Develop, Discover, Recognise, Reward; Play and Grow each step of the way with Playgro.

To view our range of Playgro products visit our website.

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