A good baby toy can be much, much more than just a distraction. Recent information published by the Morgridge Institute for Research shows that the right toy can actually help your baby to develop in a multitude of different ways – helping them to refine their motor skills, develop their coordination, and speed up their visual processing.
In the Post
- How Babies Benefit from Toys at Their First Months
- Our Top 10 Picks of Best Toys for Babies Aged 0-6 Months
- 1. Lovevery Play Gym
- 2. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Teether
- 3. Car Seat and Stroller Toys
- 4. Baby Gift Baskets
- 5. Cotton Rattles as Newborn Gifts
- 6. Lovevery Play Kits
- 7. Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
- 8. Fisher Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
- 9. Baby Einstein Octopus Plush Toy
- 10. FOREAST Handbells and Rattles Soft Plush Toy
- Best Baby Toys Buying Guide
- What about Playing Outside?
How Babies Benefit from Toys at Their First Months
Studies have also shown that toys offer great bonding opportunities. In fact, a study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics has shown that playing with your children is the number one way to build strong and lasting bonds.
And, there’s no better way to do that than getting a fun toy you can enjoy together – whether it’s a traditional play-gym, or a multi-textured giraffe with lots of tactile features that you can use to encourage your little one to try gripping things early.
According to the Child Development Institute, developmental benefits imparted by a good toy are most pronounced in children between 0 and 6 months old, so if your baby is in that bracket, now’s definitely the time to get shopping.
Do take care when picking a toy though. While you may well be tempted to run out and grab the first thing on the shelf, it is important to pick something that will genuinely satisfy your child’s curiosity.
Something that’s colorful, that’s interesting enough to hold their attention, and that boasts features designed to aid in development.
Our Top 10 Picks of Best Toys for Babies Aged 0-6 Months
This list includes firm favorites that we’d recommend to every parent, and a couple of really interesting toys that – depending on the child – may well become their go-to toy every playtime.
1. Lovevery Play Gym
The Play Gym is a well thought out play station that offers everything that a baby needs to play and develop different areas of their brain. It is made of safe and durable materials, suitable for a whole year of play.
The Play Gym is a complete learning station for a baby. Some of its best features are discussed below.
Sustainable and Safe Materials
The Play Gym is made of sustainably-sourced wood. All of the wood is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, and then it is coated with a non-toxic, eco-friendly material.
In addition to this, all of the components are free from lead, flame retardants, BPA, and phthalates. The teething accessories are crafted from silicone and 100% organic cotton. The mat included is non-toxic, made with polyester materials that are thoroughly tested to be baby-safe.
The station comes with three different removable accessories made of baby-tested materials. There is a high contrast ball, a wooden batting ring, and an organic cotton teether that has a BPA-free silicone ring. This provides variety without compromising on safety.
Five Development Areas
One of the key highlights of the Play Gym is the diversity it offers. The separate play zones prevent overstimulation, so the baby can efficiently develop only a certain type of skills at a time.
The zones include an area to learn how to focus, textures, sounds, colors, hiding and finding, and a space dedicated to imaginative play.
Your possible dislikes
All in all, the Play Gym is everything a kid needs for their development during the first year. The distinct play zones ensure that there is no overstimulation.
2. Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Teether
The Manhattan Toy company are well known for making some of the best baby toys on today’s market, and we’re pleased to say that their winkel rattle and sensory teether is no exception.
This dazzling collection of soft-plastic tubes could almost be a piece of abstract art in its own right, and we think that the bright colors, the sheer bombasity of the shape and endless, looping design are all-but guaranteed to fascinate young children.
This is a very tactile toy too – hold it in your hand and the first thing you’ll notice is that it feels interesting. There’s a lot to grab, lots of different things to hold. It rattles when you shake it and it’s fun just to turn it round and round.
Sure, there’s only really one texture, and it’s true that the mirrors and baubles you’ll find on other toys are absent here, but those small disadvantages are offset by the overall quality of the piece, and the sheer joy we’ve seen in bring to our little tester’s face.
It does make a fantastic teether too – the loops are BPA-free, which means they’re 100% safe for your baby to chow down on, and they’re also just the right pliability. They flex, and they have give, but they’re not so soft that your baby won’t get any relief from biting down on them.
Oh, and it’s easy to keep clean. Everything wipes down with warm, soapy water and there really isn’t any other maintenance or upkeep to speak of.
Your possible dislikes
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3. Car Seat and Stroller Toys
If you are looking for an adorable toy for soothing your little one on the go, there’s nothing better than a car seat and stroller toy! This will help the little ones enjoy all of their journeys, and all the designs are adorable!
The variety of toys is impressive, so you can choose or even match different ones. Here are some of their best highlights.
A car seat or stroller toys can help your keep your sanity when you are out with your little one. They have vibrant colors, keeping the kid engaged so they always have something to look at. The selection of toys ranges from pink to yellow, red, and multicolored toys. These have different accents and details to keep your baby’s attention. In addition to this, the vibrant design stimulates optic development.
The textures of the toys are very smooth and velvety soft. The comfortable plush is not only lightweight, so your baby can easily grasp it, but also comfortable. The materials are eco-friendly, ensuring that the fabric is non-toxic and completely safe for your baby.
Some car seat and stroller toys have a rope circle. This makes a sound when pulled, engaging multiple senses at the same time, and supporting the optimal development of your baby.
Your possible dislikes
All in all, this is a beautiful collection of toys for the car seat or stroller. They can make the journey more pleasant as your baby has something to look at, especially thanks to the vibrant, high-contrast design.
4. Baby Gift Baskets
Is there any gift better than a baby gift basket? Apart from the kid’s sure excitement, the parents will definitely be thankful due to the numerous practical items included in the package.
The baby gift baskets are suitable for newborns and are filled with practical items, such as onesies, a toy, and a book. Here’s more about their features!
The baby gift baskets are loaded with essentials that will delight the new parents. For instance, they include a baby blanket, facecloths, a receiving blanket, and even socks. These will help with the baby registry list. There is no such thing as too many blankets!
Includes a Toy
The adorable toys can become the little one’s new companion. They are made of premium-quality plush, so they are soft and snuggly. Different versions are available for both girls and boys.
If you need a present for a newborn baby, these basket gifts save time and they are fairly priced.
Your possible dislikes
All in all, baby gift baskets are suitable if you want a higher-end gift. They include clothes, a toy, a book, and different necessities, such as receiving blankets, facecloths, and others.
5. Cotton Rattles as Newborn Gifts
Picking the best items for a newborn sounds quite difficult, especially that there are so many options on the market. These are some of the most adorable items any baby should have!
The newborn gifts range from cute baby bonnets to hilarious reindeer baby booties. Here are some of their best highlights!
Ideal For a Newborn
There are different options to help you pick the best gift for a newborn. If you are unsure what to choose, one of these products will surely come in handy. Whether it is a soft blanklette, baby booties, or a cheerful swaddle blanket, you can easily get inspired.
Each product has warm colors, such as a soft pink or cream. This makes it suitable for both genders, ensuring that it blends with other baby items. In addition to this, the clothes and the toys are crafted from organic cotton and have beautiful stitched details.
Your possible dislikes
All in all, if you want to offer a gift to a newborn, these products are not only beautiful but also age-appropriate and made of quality materials.
6. Lovevery Play Kits
The Lovevery’s Play Kits are part of a subscription program that delivers a box every 2-3 months. This includes different toys and items to help with the baby’s development.
The Play Kits are praised for their quality content which is age-appropriate and child-centered.
Ideal for Busy Parents
It’s not an easy task to look for the best toys for a baby, especially because they grow up so quickly in the first stages of their life. Also, some toys might not be safe for infants, while others might not be interesting after only a few weeks.
The Play Kits are designed to save time as each box is put together by specialists in order to deliver baby-safe toys that help with their development.
Each subscription box contains only products that pass stringent safety tests. All fabrics are 100% organic cotton, while each piece of wood is FSC compliant and sourced from sustainable sources.
Personalized Toy Box
Once you subscribe, you receive a new box every 2-3 months, depending on the baby’s age. There are numerous well-made items, depending on what they need at each stage.
These are picked by child development experts who ensure that the toys are not only developmentally appropriate but also engaging.
Finally, each box includes a guide telling you more about your baby – what skills they master and how to help them. It also discusses each toy in detail, mentioning all the ways you can use them so you get the most out of the toy box.
Your possible dislikes
The Play Kits are subscription boxes that you receive every 2-3 months to help your kid master different skills according to their age.
Although they might be higher priced, each content is curated by child development specialists. They are also made only of 100% cotton and sustainable wood, ensuring that they are not only sturdy and durable but also safe.
7. Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
As the name suggests, the Bumpy Ball is built to encourage learning and exploration.
It’s studded with a mind-boggling array of different bumps, each with its own unique texture and color combination. It also rattles too, just in case the kaleidoscope of different tactile elements wasn’t enough on its own.
What we love about this toy is that it is genuinely engaging – hand it to your little one and watch their eyes glaze over in wonder; hands meandering across the different surfaces as they squeeze and pod and poke. It’s also surprisingly lightweight, which means that they won’t struggle to rotate it on their own, and it’s great for building grip.
Fortunately, it is also made from completely non-toxic materials, so when it does (inevitably) wind up in your little one’s mouth, you don’t have to worry too much.
There are a couple of downsides though. Firstly, this is a soft toy, and while the stitching is fairly strong, a very determined child would probably be able to tear their way into the inner stuffing.
It’s not the easiest toy to keep clean either: the plethora of fabric parts means that it is something of a dirt-sponge, and we spent a lot of time washing it between play sessions.
Your possible dislikes
8. Fisher Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym
They’ve gone in and out of fashion over the years, but it felt criminal not to include at least one play gym on our list, and the Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is definitely the best suited to babies in the 0-6 month age range.
This bright and colourful play gym boasts a pretty impressive feature set. Once we’d got it all set-up, we could see the eponymous piano (which boasts some nice, chunky keys) a brilliant little playmat that’s crawling with cute jungle friends, and a mobile that’s packed with tactile elements
Of all these elements, the mobiles probably the most interesting; particularly for babies between 0 and 6 months. There are colourful plastic animals with spinning disks and moveable parts, and there’s also a tiny mirror that’s bound to prove fascinating.
In short, there’s enough there to keep them occupied for an hour or so at a time, and there are plenty of opportunities for combined play if you want to get stuck in, and do a little bonding.
The whole play gym will grow with them too – as they get older, they’ll learn to play with the piano during tummy time, and the mat is a great space for playing with other toys too.
The whole unit’s nice and lightweight as well. A lot of play gyms are a nightmare to take up or put down, but this one is straightforward, and easy to travel with.
The only downside is probably the price (relative to the other toys on this list) and the fact that it’s not the kind of thing that you can just bring to the table for an impromptu play session.
Your possible dislikes
9. Baby Einstein Octopus Plush Toy
This Octopus looks adorable, and it’s absolutely packed with developmental triggers.
Each of the colored symbols on its feet can be squeezed to play an adorable little melody, and a voice-over speaking the name of the corresponding colour. This provides opportunities for your little one to start learning through repetition, and to start building an awareness of associations.
The whole toy is something of a tactile playground in its own right too – the underside is soft, and silky, while the top-side has a velour texture that’ll help to teach your baby about variety, and develop their sensitivity to different materials.
Speaking of textures, we do also think it’s worth pointing out that this particular toy is incredibly well-built. All of the seams are strong, everything feels high-quality, and we’ve no doubt that it’s robust enough to survive hectic play sessions.
The manufacturer has included a volume control too. This might sound like a relatively strange thing to highlight here, but trust us, after you’ve heard the adorable little thing squeal ‘red’ for the 4,000th time, you’ll be grateful that you can drop the decibel count for a few hours!
The only downsides? It’s another soft toy with electrical parts, which means that you will find it a little trickier to clean.
It can be wiped clean with warm water, but it can’t be fully immersed in water, or thrown in the washing machine. There are no hard edges for your little one to chew on either.
Your possible dislikes
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10. FOREAST Handbells and Rattles Soft Plush Toy
This is a giraffe with a difference. As soon as we got our hands on this adorable little toy, we were blown away by just how many interactive elements the manufacturer had managed to cram on.
It jingles, it rattles, there are plastic elements for teething and plenty of moving parts to slide around.
Better still, this Soft Plush Toy has nice narrow legs with a special, textured fabric that makes them really easy to grip. It’s also really lightweight -despite it’s relatively large size – which means your little one will be encouraged to manipulate it as he plays .
Of all the toys we reviewed for this list, it’s probably the best option for grip development and hand control. Because it boasts such a wide variety of textural elements, it’s also another great option for teaching your little one about variety, and the musical elements do help to train the ear.
In short? It’s a great companion for your little one, and it offers them plenty of learning opportunities.
The cons are straightforward, and they’re more ‘niggles’ than cons too: It’s another soft toy, which means that it will be slightly harder to clean. We’re also not sure it can be machine washed as it came with no instructions, so we’ve been spot-cleaning with warm soapy water.
The manufacturer is relatively new too, and while this might not be a problem for most of us, people looking for something from a named-brand may want to look elsewhere.
Your possible dislikes
Best Baby Toys Buying Guide
Don’t like our list of 5 best toys for babies aged 0-6 months? No worries. To help you pick out a toy that is perfect for you, we’ve put together this buying guide. Whenever you’re picking a brand-new baby toy, just try to make sure that it meets all of the following criteria:
The best toys are interesting – they have lots of different things to grab, lots of textures, lots of colors, and at least one or two moving parts.
Other toys are fine, but they won’t encourage development in quite the same way, and there’s every chance that your little one will get bored of them quite quickly – robbing you of the experience to enjoy play time and curbing your little one’s progress.
Safety is paramount when it comes to buying toys for babies aged 0-6 months old. You’ll want to avoid all the obvious things, like sharp edges, or moving parts that could trap fingers. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for mouth-safe materials too.
Like it or not, your new toy is going in your baby’s mouth at some point, no matter how zealously you’re guarding play time.
So, make sure that the plastics are BPA-free, and that any cloth parts are made from a non-toxic material. That way you know it’s not too important if they chow down while your back is turned.
When we first started reviewing baby toys, we were a little bit skeptical about the fuss people were making about color. Every toy manufacturer seems to rave about how colorful their toys are, and it’s all too easy to question whether your baby would really care all that much.
After some trial and error, we can honestly say that color does make a huge difference though – colorful toys genuinely seem to keep children engaged longer.
For obvious reasons, you don’t want to buy a toy that’s going to fall apart in your child’s hands. Nor do you want a toy that’ll come apart in the wash or disintegrate if it’s dropped in the bath.
Baby toys aren’t necessarily expensive, per se, but you still don’t want to have to replace them every few months, which is why we’d always recommend looking for options that are known to have good build quality.
What about Playing Outside?
A lot of moms ask us if it’s ok for small infants to play outside, so we went away and did a fair bit of research before putting together this guide.
After some digging, we found that almost every pediatrician recommended at least some outdoor play, not least because playing outside is known to:
If anything, this means you’d be encouraged to play with your baby outside. Do be careful though; there are far more hazards in an outdoor play-space, and you will want to keep your little one under close supervision while they’re having fun.
Picking baby toys can be very challenging. Finding the right balance between fun, engaging and safe can take a fair bit of trial and error, and then there’s things like teething elements to consider, and the importance of whether or not it’s machine washable…
You don’t want a plethora of unloved discards littering the nursery though, so take your time, and remember to look for the features that matter to you.
The 5 options that we’ve highlighted above should include toys with enough variety to keep any child happy, but there’s no harm in stepping back, and spending a little extra time browsing if you haven’t found ‘the one’ just yet.