Oh, Baby! 20 of the Best Baby Toys on the Market
Not sure what toys will be the most fun for your little one? Try one of these top 20 baby toys.
With so many choices out there, it can be tough to find the best baby toys. How do you know which toys your little one will love and which will get ditched after a month?
"Babies grow and develop so quickly in their first year, so it's important to find toys that are versatile and can be used to encourage a variety of developmental skills over the course of several months," says Christie Kiley, an occupational therapist and creator of the blog Mama OT.
"Examples of skills that can be encouraged through play during baby's first year include gross motor, fine motor, cognitive, sensory and even pre-language and social skills! Oftentimes the simplest toys are the most useful. Some of my favorite toys for promoting a wide range of infant development skills include a baby play gym, rattle Oball, baby play table and a set of small rattle balls. Throw in a few cups, bowls and a mirror, and you've got yourself a fun playtime for your baby!"
But how do you know you've chosen a toy that will entertain your baby and help with developmental needs? "Most toys do have a development angle, or were designed in a way that some or all motor skills are being used," says Andrea Santilli, a senior buyer for toy company Citrus Lane.
"Since development is such a big focus when picking products for your baby, retailers will often call out the benefits on packaging or in product copy." Check out this list of the 20 best infant toys to get you started:
- Baby Play Gym
Infantino's Twist and Fold Activity Gym creates a busy little center for your little one, full of bright colors and tactile surfaces.
- Ball Rattle
This isn't your mother's rattle -- the Oball rattle hits on a few of your baby's most developed senses and is easy for her little hands to hold.
- Baby Play Table
With sights and sounds galore, your little one will keep coming back for more at Bright Starts Activity Table.
- Small Rattle Balls
Squeeze 'em, shake 'em, throw 'em! These little rattle balls from Bright Start will be a favorite for sure.
- Baby Play Stations
With lots of choices for play, the Baby Einstein's activity centers rotating seat makes it easy for her to play with each toy at every angle.
- Tummy Time Mat
The experts all agree: Tummy time is a must, so why not invest in a mat that makes tummy time a pleasure? The Tiny Love activity mat has a mirror and attached toys to keep your baby happy while she develops those tummy muscles.
- Teething Toys
Sophie the Giraffe has been a must-buy for years, and babies love to chew on this rubbery little giraffe.
- Baby Beads
These sweet wooden Manhattan Toy baby beads are great for clutching and teething.
- Snap-on Toys
Sometimes the toys have to go with you. Lamaze's Tug and Play activity knot ($13.99) is easy to snap onto strollers or car seats.
- Wooden Play Blocks
When shopping for the best infant toys, stick with the classics. Melissa & Doug's wooden blocks ($14.99) are fun to grasp and topple over.
- Sensory Ball
These brightly colored Edushape sensory balls are a picnic for the senses.
- Natural Soft Dolls
Grimm's soft little dolls are perfect for cuddling and are gender neutral.
- Unbreakable Mirror
Babies loves faces, especially their own. Watch your little one giggle at the baby in the mirror with Sassy's engaging floor mirror.
- Wrist Rattles
Babies' arms are constantly on the move, anyway. Throw on a sweet toy, like Lamaze's soft wrist rattles, and watch your baby play.
Your little one will love to stare up at a colorful mobile, but you'll love choosing one that perfectly suits the decor, like this remote-controlled one from Fisher-Price.
- Textured Toys
Ideal for grasping and teething, pipSquigz's textured, funky shapes are divine.
- Loopy Teether
Manhattan Toy's Winkel is a combination teething, sensory and rattling toy that promotes two-handed play.
- Cuddle Buddy
Every baby needs a little friend like Lamaze's Mortimer the Moose. He's small enough to carry anywhere but mighty enough to keep your baby happily busy.
- Light-Up Toys
The SmartNoggin's Noggin Stik is adorable. Line a few up across a high chair and watch your baby go to town.
- Play Music
Soft music and lights help your little one fall asleep, making the Cloud B Tranquil Turtle a favorite for babies and parents.
Still not sure you've found the best baby toys? When your little one plays, trust the smile. Kiley adds, "Babies are continually absorbing information and learning about their bodies and the world around them. Just because it doesn't look like baby is 'playing,' it doesn't mean he or she isn't learning something important!"
Shanell Mouland writes for Huffington Post as well as her own blog, which is dedicated to telling stories of the care and raising of her autistic daughter, Kate, and her super sibling, Grace.