Inside: What are the best toys for babies? Spoiler alert: they aren’t the ones with batteries…
Looking for the best toys for babies? Here’s your list.
Toys are important. They’re important for toddlers, and preschoolers, and big kids, and BABIES.
Yes, toys are important for babies too.
We know that play is the work of childhood (thanks Mr. Rogers), but have you ever consider that toys are the best tools for this job?
Our babies deserve the best tools.
RELATED: Need more toy ideas? Check out my “Best Toys for Kids” list.
But where do we start? What are the best toys for babies?
Start by knowing this: babies can play independently and the foundation for future play begins now.
How do we start our babies on the right path?
We do this with open-ended baby toys that let the baby do the thinking, learning, experimenting, and playing. When a baby sits at a toy with flashing lights, the toy is entertaining the child. We want it the other way around.
Let’s fill our homes with open-ended toys – as opposed to “one and done toys” that are meant to entertain our children and do the work of play for them.
If you want a child who plays independently, these are the tools they need.
Keep remembering that even babies can begin playing independently – this is not just a skill for big kids.
Can baby toys become big kid toys?
“Baby toys” do not need to be exclusively for babies – in fact, the mark of a great toy is one that grows with the child.
“One and Done toys” simply can’t do that. The light up, flashy, thingy that caught their eye at 6 months old is probably not going to delight them at age 2.
Always remember: toys don’t have a gender
This list is GENDER NEUTRAL (as all toys are). Everything on this list is fantastic for both BOYS and GIRLS, and equally loved and used by all.
In no particular order…
These are the best toys for babies (and toys will keep loving, and using, and playing with far into the future). This list is not just for babies! Because these toys grow with your child, many of these items are loved by children years older.
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We’ve had this exact cube since my oldest was 9 months old – it was his one and only Christmas gift that year. These are pricey but worth it (in my opinion). Six years, two more kids later, one neighbor borrowed as a hand-me-down, and this cube is STILL loved.
You can also do an Activity Table instead – and this one looks AWESOME.
One of my son’s favorites back in his baby days (and still – he loves flipping through this!). Looking at familiar faces held his attention so well!
When I say “baby toys can grow with kids”, this is a prime example. We received this toy as a baby gift for our third born (when his sister was 20 months old). Between the two of them, they have never stopped playing with this.
Those little bees have been played with constantly for more than two years (and by an almost 4 year old).
My go-to baby gift: you can’t overlook balls with babies and you really can’t overlook these. The friendly faces and soft sounds (jingles and crinkles) are intoxicating to baby.
Remember that toys are gender neutral and baby girls need these just as much as baby boys. I love this one because of the size and the handle. It’s perfect for babies.
A GREAT toy to grow with a baby: once baby can sit up, this type of toy acts as a sort of “Busy Board” but once they are learning to walk, it’s a great push toy.
A simple little toy that give kids plenty to do! We got this as a baby gift so it grew with my son and is still loved even past age two.
Our favorite baby book – babies can hold this, it makes different noises from different textures and it is a massive hit. It’s part book / part toy.
What a fun toy for baby and toddler – and how great that you can zip it up easily and store it. Plus, as they grow, those balls will come in handy…
Farm animal toys give babies a great chance to play and learn at the same time. We don’t learn about animals with flashcards! These ones are still in my daughter’s (3.5) room as part of her farm set up.
There’s something to be said about simple stacking and nesting toys. Don’t overlook them – and keep a set in the car too. It’s a great toy to have on the fly.
Babies need blocks too! Block play helps develop hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness. These blocks have the added bonus of being sensory blocks too.
Ramp toys are amazing for babies and teaches them so much about cause and effect. It’s so important to have a good ramp toy! This toy is listed for ages 3+ so use your best judgement.
There’s a reason these have been around since the dawn of baby time. They are a classic, the best, you need a good set of stacking rings for baby.
This is about as close to a baby “one of done” toy as I’ll buy but these kinds are priceless for little ones. My kids loved tugging and chewing and pulling and experimenting with these kinds of toys.
Bath toys are one of my favorite open-ended baby toys – something to play with, to splash with, to test the laws of gravity and water and displacement with. Ok so maybe Baby won’t go THAT in-depth, but these little toys do a whole lot of good.
Aka one of my favorite baby toys that truly grows with the child. It’s an unassuming set up that my kids have loved for years now. They pull this out with friends over (and two of those friends got their own for at home).
It’s a magical little toy that hooks babies and kids. It works for so many ages.
What are the best toys for babies?
Remember, toys are a big deal even for babies. This is where the foundation for independent play start. Let’s make it a good base!
You don’t have to own a lot of toys for baby to have a lot of fun. But you do need to have the right toys.