Best Baby Toys

Boy holding toy duck

As a parent, you may wonder which are the best baby toys for your little miracle. Not only can the best baby toys be entertaining; they can also help your infant grow and develop. So, what makes a toy the best? It should be visually appealing for your child, safe for infants to manipulate and chew, and it should offer some physical or mental excitement for your baby. Look for toys with a variety of textures, shapes and actions or sounds to keep your baby interested.

1. Blocks

Taggies Big Soft Blocks

Stacking blocks and nesting blocks, ages 6 months +

Your baby will start by holding a single block and maybe chewing on it. Soon, he will enjoy knocking over simple towers you build. Then, baby will progress to building towers of his own. If you get nesting sets of blocks, they can also be placed one inside another, helping to teach your baby even more about spatial relationships. Try these soft stacking blocks, soft nesting blocks, or these sturdy wooden alphabet blocks.

2. Plush manipulatives

Plush toys with sounds and textures.

These are mainstays for babies and can be taken in the car and stroller easily. Several manufacturers make some very compelling and appealing plush manipulative toys that are definitely among the best baby toys. Lamaze has several including Larry the Lion that are nice to the touch and have crinkling, jingling, squeaking and rattling parts. Also look for Lamaze's "My First Fish Bowl" for a fun manipulative to teach the concepts of in and out. The Baby Whoozit from Manhattan Toy Company is great, too!


3. Teethers

Made for chewing!

As your baby gets her teeth, she is probably going to have some discomfort. Gnawing on a good teething toy can help out with the pain as well as being fun. Look for heavy textured teethers, or one of the newest types - massaging teethers. When baby bites down, these vibrate in a soothing fashion.

4. Playmats and Gyminis

Soft mats for floor play, often with baby toys suspended overhead

Playmats and gyminis provide entertainment for your baby whether she is laying on her back or spending some time on her tummy. Look for mats with attractive pictures, soft fabric, and exciting flaps, tags, and other things for baby to inspect and explore while she is working those neck, shoulder, and upper body muscles. Infant gyms dangle toys over baby (with plastic links - never with long strings or cord) so baby can watch, grab and reach.

5. Board books

Books made just for babies

It is never too soon to read to your baby and well-made books for infants can be toys, too. Look for sturdy board books, fabric books and bathtub books. Some will even have textures to touch and feel, characters and parts that attach and can be tucked in special pockets, and other fun features.

Website: Board books


6. Activity Centers

Knobs, buttons, doors, gears, all in one place

Whether it is a standalone activity center, part of a bouncy seat or attaches to a stroller, activity centers allow babies to try a lot of different actions.

7. Keys and Phones

Toy versions of the real thing

There is no doubt as to why toy keys and phones are some of the best toys for babies; they know how important these objects are to us grownups! If you choose keyrings or phones with electronic sounds, make sure they are not too irritating since you are sure to hear them thousands of times a day! Some toy phones even allow you to record a personal message for baby.

Safety tips

  • When you shop for infant toys, make sure to check the recommended age range on the packaging; this is to help guide you and will ensure your baby is not playing with a toy that could be unsafe for his or her age.
  • Take note of whether edges are rounded, whether a heavy toy could hurt if your baby drops it or falls on it, and whether small parts could break off in your child's mouth.
  • Do not ever attach a toy to your baby's crib, stroller, or playpen with a cord or string that could get wrapped around his or her neck.

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