Toy rattle

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16th and 17th century toy rattles.
Cot and rattle, c. 1465, at Walraversijde

A toy rattle or baby's rattle is a rattle produced specifically for the amusement of an infant. Rattles have been used for this purpose since antiquity, and are claimed to help the child improve hand eye coordination by stimulating their senses.

Rattles can be made of wood, plastic or cloth. Many of the rattles are brightly colored, have animal or flower shapes, and typically make sounds when shaken. These sounds can range from the dull sounds typical of wooden rattles to the jingling or bell type sounds that metal rattles make.

Rattles provide a source of stimulation. Babies like the sounds they produce and follow the path of the rattle with their eyes, as well as giving them a sense of discovery as they try to grab and hold the rattle.

Many rattles have a dual function, doubling as teethers as babies grow. They have textured surfaces which are easy on the gums and provide the stimulation that babies need.