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 to scholar Jean Piaget), but have you ever considered 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.
If your baby doesn’t have something similar to this yet, this is a great, inexpensive, and long-lasting toy to gift them.
A GREAT gift for baby – load this up with photos before they “open” it. It’s such a wonderful, inexpensive, personalized gift.
Such a favorite of my son’s in his baby-days – this STILL lives in his room and he just turned 5…
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. Girls need vehicles just as much as boys. I love this one because of the size and the handle. It’s perfect for babies.
This might be the only toy on any of my lists with batteries, lights, and sounds, but it’s not without cause. There is a reason this has 60k reviews on Amazon. This is a classic.
**Biggest plus for this one over wooden versions is that the face comes off and can be set on the ground. It has a much longer lifespan than others.
The.Best.Ball. Little hands can do so much with this ball – and 8 years after I got one, we still have it to help littles learn to play catch.
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.
This is NOT intended for babies… but it’s an amazing high chair toy. Some parts are small so choose the largest pieces of this set and save the rest for when they are older. These suction onto flat surfaces – the big pieces are so fun for baby to try to pull off the high chair tray. Again, not a baby toy – use best judgment with this one.
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…
These can be used in the bath OR on dry land. They’re the right size, they make great sounds, they’re a 10/10.
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.
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.
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.
These animals are one of my favorite baby toys – something just right for their hands. REMINDER: Use a hot glue gun to plug the holes. They’re still float, but they won’t mold.
Keep growing that collection – books make GREAT gifts for babies. Check out my list of favorites.
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 a few right toys can make all the difference.