13 Best Developmental Toys for Babies 0-6 Months
Best Toys for Babies 0-6 Months
November 5, 2020

Best Toys for Babies 0-6 Months

Playtime is important for infant development, and these toys can be a big help (and big fun).Best Toys for Babies 0-6 Months

Your newborn’s first few months of life seem to be all about diapers, feeding and sleep (or lack thereof).

But did you know that playtime is also a major part of your little one’s development? From cognitive and physical development to emotional and social growth, the importance of play is undisputed.

Through play, children of any age—even infants—can learn about themselves and the world around them. And you can join in on the fun, too: playing with your baby can help them achieve important physical milestones, develop their (quickly growing!) brains, teach them about emotions and social skills and encourage language development.

And it doesn’t have to get complicated. Especially during those early months, setting aside some time each day to get down on the floor to play and read with your little one can make a huge impact.

Baby’s Development Milestones During the First Six Months

There are some basic milestones your baby will begin to hit over the first six months. (Keep in mind that each baby develops at their own individual pace; these are a general guide, but don’t hesitate to talk to your pediatrician if you ever have any questions or concerns.) Here are the milestones to look for, according to the CDC, and how play can help:

Babies 0–2 months:
  • Holding up their head on their own
  • Smiling
  • Making eye contact and following objects with their eyes
  • Cooing and gurgling
  • Turning their head toward sounds

Try this: Holding a soft toy in front of your 2-month-old baby during tummy time is a great way to help with head, neck, core and visual development.

Babies 2–4 months:
  • Social smiling
  • Copying facial expressions
  • Babbling
  • Reaching for toys with one hand
  • Rolling from tummy to back
  • Holding and shaking a toy

Try this: Giving your 4-month-old baby a rattle to hold will help encourage skills like reaching and hand-eye coordination as they “wake up” from those early newborn days.

Babies 4–6 months:
  • Looking at themself in a mirror
  • Responding to their name
  • Showing curiosity at toys and objects (and trying to eat them!)
  • Passing toys from one hand to another
  • Rolling in both directions
  • Beginning to sit without support

Try this: A quick, simple game of peekaboo with your 5-month-old baby can start to teach complex concepts such as object permanence and social development.

When choosing toys for your new baby, stick with safe, simple objects that encourage exploration and open-ended play. Things like rattles and other grabbing toys, balls, activity gyms and board books are great for encouraging developmental milestones during your baby’s first six months. There are even milestone subscription boxes tailored by age if you’re looking for a little more bang for your buck; the boxes by Monti Kids and Lovevery are particularly nice for developmental play.

To help you and baby get started on building important skills (and a great toy collection), we’ve gathered a list of best-loved toys for newborns to six-month-olds and beyond.

A Rattlin' Good Time

Rattles are a staple in any baby’s toy box, and this trio of shakers takes the cuteness up a notch with friendly, colorful animal shapes. Fox, owl and hedgehog each make their own unique rattling sound and feature textured rubber patches to help little hands keep a tight grip for all that shaking they’ll be doing.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 mos+
Dimensions 2.25” x 2” x 2.75”

Eye-Catching

High-contrast images (simple shapes and pictures in black and white) are super important for a baby’s sight development (you’ll find a few high-contrast items on this list). Pair that with soft, squishy shapes, gentle rattles and squeaks, and you can see why parents love this multi-sensory cube for their babies’ first toy. Based on scientific research on visual development in early infancy, Manhattan Toy’s Wimmer-Ferguson toys can be used starting from even the earliest newborn days.

So Many Ways to Play

Created in conjunction with child development experts, each of the Lamaze animal friends features so many things your little one will love—bright colors, patterns and textures, a squeaker, crinkles, a peekaboo mirror, a teether, clinking rings and more, and there’s a great variety of animals to choose from (an octopus, a peacock, even a dragon!) It’s the perfect companion for playtime and tummy time, and thanks to a built-in clip, it’s perfect for attaching to strollers or car seats.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0 months+
Dimensions 11.8” x 8.7” x 0.5”

A Smarter Play Gym

Placing your baby on an activity mat can help make tummy time a little easier for everyone—and this Lovevery play gym is the way to go. Thoughtfully designed and research-driven, it grows with your child and encourages developmental milestones along the way. It also comes with a guide that walks you through stage-appropriate play. Only downside? It’s not cheap. Lovevery also has developmental play kits.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0-12 months
Dimensions with mat zones closed 24”H x 38”W x 43”L
Dimensions with mat zones opened 24”H x 50”W x 47”L

Shake, Rattle & Roll

What better first ball for your baby than one that rattles too? The large finger holes in the squishy, bendable plastic make it easy for baby to grab and shake, and the interior rattle ball makes for fun, noisy rolling across the floor. At four inches in diameter, this ball is perfect for babies three months and older to practice their fine motor gripping skills, and it can easily be tossed in the car or diaper bag as a travel toy.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 3 months+
Dimensions 4” x 4” x 4”

Mirror, Mirror

Babies love looking at their own reflections—even if they don’t understand exactly what they’re looking at. Propping up a baby-safe mirror (no glass!) in front of your little one can help develop their vision and provide lots of tummy time entertainment. This mirror also comes with high-contrast art on the other side for even more visual stimulation.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0+
Dimensions 14” x 10” x 0.25”

Just for Kicks

Get a kick out of playtime with this versatile play gym that’s powered by your little one’s kicks! This baby-favorite piano features four ways to play that grow with your little one—lay and play, tummy time, sit and play and take along. It’s great for musical discovery, physical development and even basic concepts like shapes, colors and numbers.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0+

Playful Melodies

Forty minutes of non-repeating music and six genres to choose from make for great entertainment for little ears. Whether grooving during playtime or soothing at bedtime, babies love watching the friendly meadow creatures dance above. And when your baby gets too big for a mobile, the bottom detaches for a portable, stand-alone toddler music box.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0 months+
Dimensions 4.8” x 16” x 13.5”

A Full Sensory Experience

A baby’s sense of touch is really sensitive, so they delight in feeling different textures with their fingers (and, yes, their mouths too). And what better way to introduce your baby to a wide variety of textures than this texture-filled gift set? Complete with Sassy’s sensory favorites like the Fishy Facination Station with spinning wheels, the Flutterby Teether with soothing bumps for sore gums, the Ring O’Links that clinks, and a miniature version of the all-time favorite Bumpy Ball with textures like smooth, fuzzy, squishy and bristly. The bright patterns and rattle elements of each toy are also naturally entertaining for babies, so don’t be surprised if this set becomes a fast favorite.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0 months+

Fun on the Go

This parent favorite is fun to say and fun to play! Featuring soft, narrow BPA-free loops wrapped around a central rattle, this colorful toy + teether is an ideal first toy for your curious little one. It’s great for grasping, shaking and chewing, and it can easily be tossed into your diaper bag or clipped to your stroller for playtime on the go.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0-24 months
Dimensions 5” x 3.5” x 4”

Baby's First Book

It’s never too early for books—and this is one your baby will come back to again and again. Packed with sensory-stimulating features like ribbons, crinkly pages, flaps and a mirror, the soft, high-contrast “pages” will capture baby’s attention and are easy for little hands to turn. And once baby is done reading, the book folds into a stand-up playhouse for even more fun.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0-12 months
Dimensions 5” x 1.5” x 7”

Best Friend Forever

This sloth may look a little sleepy, but it can’t wait to be your baby’s new best friend. More than just a soft cuddle buddy, this stuffy plays lullabies, nature sounds and even your recorded voice any time your little one cries. An innovative cry-activated smart sensor automatically responds to cries, providing instant comfort to your baby (so they may never want to let go!). And a reminder for caregivers: while your baby may love their furry friends, make sure to keep stuffies out of the crib. This Skip Hop stuffed animal securely attaches to the outside of the crib, so it’ll always be close by, even for those middle-of-the-night cries.

Additional Specs
Child Guidelines Ages 0 months+
Dimensions 11” tall

Peekaboo!

Where are all the animals hiding? Under bushes, behind trees, anywhere you can think of on a safari—little ones will delight in revealing what’s behind the felt flaps on every page, including their own reflection! Nosy Crow has lots of animals to search for, and since the felt flaps are much more durable than traditional paper lift-the-flap books, these books will last your baby through toddlerhood and beyond.

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