These bright and simple toys can aid in your baby’s growth while also keeping them engaged.
Do Babies Need Toys?
Toys are unnecessary for newborns because their primary interests are resting and feeding. Many parents notice their newborns “wake up” and become more interested in the world around them around the three-month mark; this is a fantastic time to expose them to interesting toys and activities that will help them with critical developmental stages (and keep them entertained).
Which Kinds of Toys Should Babies Play With?
Realistically, babies are content to play with everyday materials such as wooden spoons and plastic food containers, so don’t feel pressured to spend a lot of money on toys. The greatest toys for newborns contain elements that aid in the development of eyesight, fine motor skills, and an ever-increasing curiosity about their surroundings—as well as being extremely safe.
Here are some features to consider when choosing toys for your little one:
- Contrasting colors and patterns. The vision of a baby does not fully mature until they are roughly five months old. Look for toys with great contrast in colors and patterns to help them see and focus on objects; black and white is best for newborns (stripes, checkerboard, or simple images are easy to focus on), while older babies enjoy brighter colors.
- Varying soft textures. Toys featuring satiny, velvety, rubbery, bumpy, or fluffy material strips are a dream come true for little, grasping fingers. From the age of three months and above, babies are focusing on their fine motor abilities, and diverse textures make developing those skills a lot of fun.
- Safe for chewing. Babies want to eat whatever they can get their hands on. Everything. Your curious baby will ultimately try to eat something bad (pet food, a dirty rag, carpet fluff, etc. ), but you can compensate by ensuring that some things are truly safe to chew on, such as toys and teethers that are free of toxic chemicals and designed with one-piece construction (no small parts to break off and choke on).
- Easy to clean. When you don’t want to spend a lot of time washing toys by hand (we understand, you don’t want to be cleaning all day), toys that are machine washable and dishwasher safe are ideal. It’s also a good idea to see if a toy is having difficulties drying completely—toys made of plastic, silicone, or rubber are especially prone to mold, so they should be cleaned and dried thoroughly on a regular basis.
- Audible. Your child will pay attention to rattles, bells, crinkles, and lullabies if they produce a sound. Babies enjoy generating noise, and you can foster their interest by giving them toys that respond to their activities audibly. If it jingles when they shake it or squeaks when they squeeze it, they’ll be completely entertained (admit it, you may be a little entertained, too). Even if your baby is deaf or hard of hearing, they may be able to detect vibrations or specific frequencies of sound, so it’s still a good idea to try out audible toys.
Baby’s First Subscription
Although the baby stage lasts only 12 months (after which they become toddlers), a lot happens in the first year. Infants appear to move at the speed of light from one developmental stage to the next, but this Lovevery membership makes it simple to keep up. Every other month, your child will receive a box full of toys selected precisely for their current age and stage, ensuring that their toys are developmentally appropriate and will help the abilities they’re ready to master, such as grasping and object permanence, sorting, and stacking. We also appreciate the fact that the kits include toys manufactured from sustainably produced wood and incorporate a variety of organic materials. Keep in mind the following: Buying a single item from the Babylist store
A High-Contrast Toy
Because newborns’ eyesight isn’t fully formed until around three or four months, it’s crucial to show them high-contrast (particularly black and white) visuals to help them learn to focus their vision. Soft, squishy forms, mild crinkles, and interesting textures are especially great for encouraging the baby’s sense of touch and hearing with these small panels. The panels’ compact size makes them easy to throw in your stroller or diaper bag, and you may leave them separate for a more personal experience or join them together to form a soft booklet.
A Teether (with More!)
For any newborn with new teeth, a teething toy is a must-have. This teether is composed of 100% food-grade silicone, which is soft on gums and may be frozen to ease discomfort. Loulou Lollipop’s teethers come in a variety of beautiful and quirky designs, and we enjoy the added bonus of a beaded string that clips to garments (so it doesn’t fall on the floor and get all filthy!).
Shape Sorter with a Twist
Shape sorters are a popular infant toy (you definitely have one as a kid!) They’re essentially a baby’s first puzzle since they teach shapes, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving. There are dozens of various varieties available, but this one has the added benefit of being environmentally friendly. It’s also exceptionally robust because it’s built from recycled plastic milk jugs.
An Open-Ended Toy
Stackers are another popular baby toy that comes in a variety of forms and sizes. There are many stacking toys available with rings or blocks, but we adore this one with arches since it can be transformed into so many different things! The ten arches can be stacked to make a rainbow, used as bridges and ramps for toy cars, see-saws and rocking seats for dolls, or spread out to create whatever pattern your child can imagine. But the best part about this set is that it’s fully composed of silicone, which means it can be used as a teether for babies with sore gums (or who just like to chew on things) as well as a water-safe bath.
Babies enjoy observing other babies, and what better baby to observe than oneself? This soft-sided mirror isn’t brittle (it’s made of acrylic) and only takes up approximately one square foot of space, making it quite portable. Lean the mirror against a wall or another object to assist the baby to enjoy tummy time, or use the ties to suspend it from a play gym or the side of a player.
A Developmental Play Gym
A play gym is essential for keeping the baby entertained (and pleasant) during stomach time, and countless parents swear by The Play Gym by Lovevery as their tummy time go-to because it’s backed by science and research. It was created by child development experts and includes activities and play zones for each of the baby’s developmental stages over the first 12 months, as well as a Play Guide with loads of ideas for parents to connect with the baby.
A Gentle Rattle
There are many baby rattles on the market, and the majority of them are composed of harder materials or make loud noises. That’s why we adore Estella’s handcrafted rattles—the 100 percent organic cotton makes it delicate enough for even the tiniest babies to wave around, and the chimes within generate a soothing, melodious jingle that won’t irritate adults after just a few minutes. Just look at the adorable and imaginative patterns!
An All-In-One Toy
Captain Calamari is an octopus, not a squid, with eight knotted legs for your youngster to touch and chew on. A crinkly hat, clanking rings, and a rattle engage the baby’s ears, while bright colors and a mirror excite vision. This goofy pirate is well-loved both at home and on the go, thanks to its ability to clip onto the playpen, stroller, or carrier. This is one of many multi-sensory toys made by Lamaze, which also includes a firefly, a moose, and a dragon.
Skip Hop’s adorable small shakers come with original rattle noises from an owl, hedgehog, and fox. Skip Hop’s goods are entirely phthalate-free, and each figure has a different textured belly for tiny hands to grip and hold. These rattles are likely to excite your baby’s senses for healthy auditory and visual development, thanks to their vibrant colors and different textures.
This cute plush toy is linked to a Soothie pacifier in this basic concept soother. The easy-to-grasp animals come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including elephants and giraffes, and even if your baby doesn’t like pacifiers, some babies enjoy chewing on the soft rubber part. Regular pacifiers are infamous for getting lost when thrown from a stroller or car seat, but the animal element of this soother makes it easy to track down.
A Soft Book
With these soft, multi-textured pages, you can instill a lifelong love of reading in your child. This book’s lift-the-flap peek-a-boo illustrations are ideal for eliciting laughter during playing, and its mobility makes it a convenient alternative for entertaining a fussy baby on the road.
A Musical Toy
This melodic toy may resemble a cartoon iPod, but babies adore it. Along with viewing vivid lights and colors, your infant will hear Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin, and Rossini. It’s also a good size to throw in a diaper bag, and your child can grab it by the caterpillar handle.
An Activity Mat
This activity mat is designed to grow with your child. Use it for tummy time, batting at the hanging animals, kicking the piano keys, and turning the keyboard upright for a (little) more authentic piano experience when the baby is ready to sit up. There’s a lot to accomplish in this gym because each animal has its own exciting function.
A Doll That Gives Back
If your infant enjoys cuddling, he or she will like a soft stuffed companion to cuddle with. And this is one stuffed animal that will make everyone happy. It’s very soft and non-toxic for babies because it’s hand-knit with 100 percent cotton and filled with hypoallergenic polyfill. You’ll also know you’ve helped contribute to other kids because Cuddle + Kind distributes 10 meals to children in North America with every purchase. Remember to keep stuffed animals and other items out of the crib and away from the baby while they sleep.
A Gripping Toy
Most babies begin grabbing objects around the age of four or five months, so having a toy that they can readily grasp can help them develop a strong grip. The Skwish is essentially a bundle of wooden dowels and beads bound together by stretchy elastic, which compresses into a delightful squish when gripped (thus the name!). It also has a rattle element, as the beads move up and down when shaken, and it’s safe for teething because it’s constructed of wood and non-toxic paint.
A Two-for-One Toy
Any toy that combines two or more talents in one is one of our favorites. Parent-favorite wooden toy brand Hape’s Pound and Tap Bench helps kids develop hand-eye coordination, gross motor function, arm strength (for a pounding!), and a love of music. The balls fall onto the xylophone below as the baby hits them through the holes with the mallet, creating a tinkling scale as they roll down. The xylophone can also be taken apart and played separately. Note: While the toy is intended for children aged 12 months and up, it can be enjoyed by any infant who has mastered their gripping skills.
Make It Pop!
Looking for a toy that can help you develop skills while also being interesting and portable? Meet the Dimple, a popular toy for both children and adults (believe us, you’ll want to play with it too). Popping the five silicone bubbles in and out, in and out, in and out, over and over again is uniquely appealing, and the baby will learn fine motor skills and cause and effect while doing so. It’s the perfect size for small hands and placed in your diaper bag to keep the baby occupied while you’re out and about.
A Toy That Grows with Baby
An activity center is a terrific place to keep the baby occupied and safe while you do other things (like wash the dishes or take a shower). This contemporary activity center features 25+ developmental activities as well as a 360-degree swivel seat that allows the baby to reach every section of the table. The height-adjustable foot platform contains an electronic light-up keyboard and supports the baby’s legs while they sit. When a baby is ready to practice standing, the whole item converts into a play table, and you can either leave all the toys on the table or remove them to make room for other activities like drawing or puzzles.