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The First (and Best) 5 Toys You Should Buy Your Baby
Updated on
September 1, 2020

The First (and Best) 5 Toys You Should Buy Your Baby

By Babylist Team
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The First (and Best) 5 Toys You Should Buy Your Baby

From figuring out what type of diapers to choose to trying to select a crib, there’s a lot to think about—and a lot of items to consider—when you’re building your baby registry. It’s not a surprise that toys often fall to the bottom of the list. It’s tough to anticipate what’s developmentally appropriate or what your baby will like before they even arrive…so we’re here to do it for you.

Newborns and younger babies don’t need much in the way of toys, but it is good to have a few on hand to kick off your collection and have a few things ready to go as your baby starts staying awake for longer stretches of time and begins interacting with you a bit more.

Our five favorites are all must-haves that deserve a spot on every baby registry and in every playroom. These consistent classics are loved by babies and parents alike and each serve a different purpose when it comes to your baby’s development.

A Grabbing Toy

Reaching and grabbing are some of the first skills your newborn will develop. A toy they can easily clutch will help encourage those skills, and the Skwish is a tried-and-true favorite that’s just right for exactly this.

Both a rattle and a teether, the Skwish is made from wooden dowels and beads and held together with stretchy elastic. This unique design and the toy’s light weight make it super easy for little ones to grab and hold onto, especially when they’re first developing their skills. The beads move up and down the dowels when shaken, adding a fun (but not too loud or annoying) clanking sound that babies love. And everything’s made from water-based, non-toxic paint so you won’t have to worry when your little one inevitably starts gnawing on it.

Three ways to use the Skwish:

  1. Help your baby open their fingers and wrap them around the Skwish so they can begin to practice holding onto an object.
  2. Once your baby has mastered grabbing and holding, encourage them to pass the Skwish from one hand to another by gently guiding the toy between their hands.
  3. Place your baby on a playmat on their tummy and rattle the Skwish in front of them, encouraging them to lift their head and look toward it.

A Baby Gym

There are a lot of baby gyms on the market, but the Lovevery is one of our all-time favorites. It’s on the pricier side, but it’s a well-thought-out, smartly designed gym that will last you long beyond the first few months of your baby’s life, so we think it’s worth the splurge.

This play gym is the perfect first spot to begin to interact and play with your new baby. The Lovevery has five developmental zones that help promote learning in targeted areas: focus, sound, tactility, hiding and finding and colors. There are also things like a high-contrast Montessori ball, a batting ring, a teething ring, a mirror and even a set of cards with baby faces on them. The gym comes with a play guide for parents that walks you through your little one’s developmental stages over the first year and offers research-backed ideas for play gym activities.

Three ways to use the Lovevery Play Gym:

  1. Tummy time, tummy time, tummy time. Set up one of the included activities like the mirror or the baby photo card set and engage your little one while they’re on their stomach.
  2. Lay your baby down on their back and encourage them to reach for the wooden batting ring. You can also use the included bell and castanet sounds to grab their attention.
  3. Detach the high-contrast Montessori ball and help your baby practice grasping, passing from hand to hand and even rolling.

A High-Contrast Book

It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. Reading to your little one has multiple cognitive, language and social-emotional benefits and is a great way to nurture the bond with your new addition.

High contrast, black and white books provide these benefits and one more—they help stimulate your baby’s developing vision. The bold shapes, interesting patterns and high-contrast images in this board book will immediately capture the attention of even the smallest of newborns. It’s an ideal first choice for read-alouds both in the newborn days and as your little one grows and starts to understand simple stories.

Three ways to use Look, Look!:

  1. Cuddle up and read—there’s nothing simpler or more enjoyable for both parent and baby.
  2. Prop the book open on the floor and put your little one down on their tummy so they can see it. This will help keep their attention during tummy time and encourage them to interact with what’s in front of them.
  3. As your little one gets older, begin pointing out shapes and images as you page through the book while saying them out loud. This can help boost early vocabulary skills.

A Teether

If there’s one thing you’ll quickly learn about having a new baby it’s that little ones like to put everything in their mouths—so you’ll want to make sure they’re grabbing for something fun and safe.

This handmade, heirloom-quality ring is the ideal first teething toy. It’s safe for your baby to chew on as the two wooden rings are made from beech and the beads from food-grade silicone. We also love the combined textures of the smooth rings and the bumpy beads, which can be used for grabbing, shaking and of course providing relief for sore gums.

Three ways to use the Bubble teether:

  1. During the first few months, use the toy as a rattle instead of a teether. The clanking of the wooden rings will engage your little one’s senses and help them learn to focus on a sound.
  2. Guide your baby’s fingers around both the wooden rings and the silicone bubbles, stimulating their tactile senses and helping them learn to grab and clutch.
  3. Let your baby go to town chewing and sucking on the teether to help relieve gum discomfort.

A Sensory Toy

One of the hallmarks of a good baby toy is that it engages multiple senses, and this oversized firefly totally delivers. There’s a ton going on in this (seemingly) simple toy and that’s why we love it so much. There’s black and white patterns for visual development and bright, bold colors to catch your baby’s eye, fun sounds like squeaking and clinking, varied textures just right for tiny hands to explore and even tiny mirrors on the wings.

This soft toy is great for at-home play but can also work as a stroller toy thanks to the clip on the top. Just keep in mind that it’s big—about 12 inches—so it does take up a bit of room.

Three ways to use the Play & Grow Firefly:

  1. During the early days of play, flip the toy over and let your baby check out the black and white patterns on the back. This can help with visual development and is a great way to keep your little one entertained.
  2. Take your baby on a sensory tour by helping them crinkle the firefly’s wings, clink the plastic rings together and explore all of the different textures on the firefly’s body.
  3. Clip the toy to your stroller bar for on-the-go play.
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