What are the best toys for your infant?
Toys for babies ages 0-6 months should be stimulating to their senses, help with development, and potentially help with teething. At this age, baby toys should capture their attention and help them begin to learn about the world around them.
When I was a new mom I really had no idea what to do when it came to toys. In fact when my son his the age where he started really interacting with the world around him I realized I had no actual toys for him. My “toy box” consisted of five random things given to me at my baby shower.
I began to research what were the best toys I could get him to help stimulate his brain and encourage growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a great article that you can read here that goes through warnings for parents with toys and guidelines of what to look for. This is a great source for making sure to have safe toys in your home.
Aside from looking at the safety guidelines mentioned above, a lot of what I discovered came from either trial and error or recommendations from other moms. Here are my guidelines I used when looking for toys:
- Age appropriate – This was the hardest part for me as a new mom figuring out what toys were appropriate for my son at each age level. Toys for babies less than six months are usually smaller, easy to grasp, and are simple compared to toys for older babies. Buying toys that are made for six months plus isn’t a bad, thing. They just may not interact with them as much until they hit that point in their development.
- Washable — babies will start to explore their world around them and tend to use their mouths to do so. You will want toys that can either be sanitized or thrown in a washing machine to keep your baby safe from germs. I personally like plastic or silicon-based toys that I can easily clean in the sink or with disinfecting wipes on the go
- Stimulating—toys with bright colors some lights are great to grab baby’s attention and spark curiosity. Ones with noise are good as well but make sure they are not loud and could damage your child’s hearing
- Promotes learning—toys that encourage babies to start to learn motor skills are great for this age. Whether it assists with tummy time or helps them practice fine motor skills, toys can be a very useful skill to help babies learn about the world around them
- Soothing – toys can also be used to help calm babies and soothe when needed. Find toys with soft music or other aspects that can be comforting to babies.
- Pieces large than the baby’s mouth – this came from the AAP. You want to make sure as your baby starts putting everything in his or her mouth that nothing is a choking hazard. Make sure toys are small enough to play with but large enough that they are safe for baby.
Now lets get to the fun part. The toys! In general toys will likely fall into 5 main categories:
- Sensory toys
- Rattle toys
- Teething toys
- Tummy time toys
- Baby Gear
There definitely is some overlap between these categories! All of the toys below can be found on Amazon. If you don’t already have Amazon Prime you can sign up for a free 30 trial and get free shipping!
Without further ado, bring on the toys!
Sensory toys are often the ones with noise, lights, bright colors , or textures that grab your baby’s attention. Babies at this age usually don’t need much to grab their attention so many of these toys are pretty simple. These help baby begin to follow sounds, look at lights, and touch different textures.
Stacking Soft Rings is a toy they will play with for years. As a young infant they won’t be able to understand how to stack them, but all the textures are great for their senses. And the different sizes teach babies how to grasp larger toys. These are soft, super durable, and would be great to play with in the bath as well!
Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest Crinkle Book is a great way to stimulate several of your baby’s senses. The soft flaps help develop hand-eye coordination and the bright colors are sure to capture baby’s attention. The book also crinkles and makes noise to help peak curiosity on sound.
Crinkle books were a huge hit in our house. Here are a few more of our favorites:
Touch and Feel board books are also a great way to teach your baby about different textures in the world. Whether it is about animals, trucks, or other things, these books will quickly become your baby’s favorites.
Infantino Spiral Activity Toy is a great addition to any car seat, stroller, or play pen. All the toys have different textures and make different noises. Each helps stimulate baby in different ways and keeps them entertained without a bunch of flashing lights and music.
Rattles are great toys for the 0-6 month age group because they will help teach your baby about cause and effect. Baby shakes the rattle, and therefore it makes sound. It is also helpful for them to develop their fine motor skills by grasping the rattle. Playing with it will involve learning hand eye coordination and even a little exploration by bring the rattle to their mouth to chew on. Overall rattles are a great, versatile toy to spark curiosity and foster growth.
This Bright Starts Oball Shaker is a great starter toy because they are so easy to hold. Babies as young as two months can start to grasp the ends and the soft noise isn’t too overwhelming.
Sassy My First Bend and Flex Rattle set has great textures to engage your babies senses and keep them interested. The rattles are both soft and easy to clean which is a must at an age where they put everything in their mouth!
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle is light weight and very colorful. This helps your baby keep interested and has several different places for them to learn to grasp onto. My son loved this and I swear it could keep him entertained for hours!
Teething toys are the perfect toy to keep your baby entertained while soothing their sore gums during teething. These often are soft, have a variety of textures, and can even be put in the freezer to help with discomfort. Babies will also practice their hand-eye coordination when brining these toys but to their mouth to chew on.
These Silicone Bear Teething Toys are one of my favorites and they are so inexpensive! The three piece set are made to help encourage your baby to learn to grip toys, but also not let them drop it. It took some time for my son to get the hang of them but once he did they were great! I love that the silicone is soft and they are a pretty decent size so they fit his hands for months.
The Haaka Baby Fruit Feeder is a great way to soothe your baby’s sore gums and introduce them to new foods. You can freeze fruit, purees, or even breast milk in the small silicone holder and let your baby suck on it as it thaws. The small holes only allow small, digestible pieces through. A large handle also allows baby to have some independence and work on their hand eye coordination. I kept a few of these on hand just to make sure I always had one frozen and ready to use.
Similar to the Haaka, these Bright Starts Chill & Teeth Toys can be placed in the refrigerator to chill the water inside for baby to suck on. They are made of durable plastic that is easy to clean and are easy for babies to grasp on to. Having the set makes it easy to ensure one is always cold and ready to go.
A Silicone Pacifier Teether is a great toy to have on the go that doesn’t require being chilled. While its most likely they will treat it similar to a pacifier, all parts of the toy are made to be chewed on. The different textures are soothe and also interesting for baby to grasp. The longer end allows it to reach farther in baby’s mouth to the back gums without creating a choking hazard.
Bandana Bibs with Teethers are great because they perform two useful tasks; helping baby soothe sore gums and catching all the drool from their mouth! Baby’s drool a lot during the teething phase and I found myself changing my sons outfit multiple times a day simply because it was soaked from drool. A friend suggested bandanas or bibs for him and my life was changed! The snaps on these allow it to grow with baby up to 24 months and they are machine washable! Definitely a must have to get through the long teething months.
Tummy Time Toys
Tummy time toys help encourage your baby to enjoy the important aspect of laying on their belly. This starts when they are a newborn and will continue until they are regularly content playing on their stomach. Babies often don’t last long on their stomach at the beginning so it is important to keep them interested in the activity as best you can. A lot of these toys fit into the above category by stimulating their senses, teaching cause and effect, and encouraging motor development.
Black and White Contrast Books are a great way to encourage your baby to enjoy tummy time while stimulating their brain development. These double sided baby books are made of durable material that is easily cleaned and can double as a sensory or teething toy. High contrast cards help young infants develop their vision and keep them entertains as well.
When it comes to tummy time, this water mat will keep them interested and encourage hold their head up. As your baby gets old it is important to spend more time on their stomachs to develop those neck muscles. Until I bought this for my son, it was hard to last more than 5 minutes a few times a day. All the bright colors and fun textures that the water creates kept him happy and helped improve his hand-eye coordination so much!
I was a little skeptical of this one at first, but this Crawling Crab baby toy is such a hit! It plays music and moves back and forth “escaping” from your baby. For tummy time this is great to keep their attention and encourage them to lift their necks up. This toy is also great for older infants. Babies love to chase and crawl after it!
Baby gear toys or activity centers are great because they allow your baby to play independently while supervised. It also gets them off the floor and off their back for a bit. My son loved all of these, and they allowed him to develop his motor skills while I got a little break from actively entertaining him. It was a win for both of us!
Baby bouncers are the perfect way baby to start to learn independent play and for you to get a break from holding baby in your arms. This is the bouncer we had and it was the best! It plays soft music and also vibrates to help soothe baby. As they grow and learn, they will notice the toys hanging and even start to bat at them! This is a safe place to put baby in starting at birth while you supervise and get a few things done around the house. You can definitely get a lot fancier ones but I thought this one worked great and I preferred to have the toys hanging for baby to play with at 3 months plus.
An Activity Mat is another must have that you can start using as soon as baby comes home from the hospital. This mat is great for the early developmental stages where contrast is super important. Now your baby may not “play” much with this mat as a newborn, but is a great place to start working on tummy time. The best part is when baby spits up or drools you can just throw the mat in the washer and it’s as good as new!
As baby gets older it may be more beneficial to have a play mat like this. This one has dual function and can be changed to fit their needs as baby grows and develops. It has toys to grab above, a piano to kick, and the modes include several different languages. It even includes a prop pillow for extra tummy time support. This is a great option if you are looking for a mat that will grow with baby.
A sit me up chair, like this Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat, is used once baby can sit up with support and has good head control. This is usually about 3-4 months but can vary with each baby. It has places to hook more toys than just the ones provided and is a great way to help baby continue strengthening their muscles to sit upright. I placed my son in this with one of his teether toys at about 4.5 months and he was as happy as can be! It also folds down so it is a great option for on the go.
This likely will be for your baby towards the end of the 0-6 month range, but a Sit-to-Stand Activity Center is another great toy that will grow with your baby. This is for your baby when he can support his head and their feet can reach the ground. It’s important that babies are not left just hanging in it. For my son, he was ready just about at the 5 month mark but for some it may be closer to 6. I love this activity center specifically because it can be converted into a toddler play table later.
What are your favorites from this list of the best toys for babies 0-6 months? I would love to know in the comments below!