Playtime is a crucial activity for babies of all ages. It allows parents to bond with their children, but it also helps young infants develop their senses like touch, sight, and hearing. Although babies don’t necessarily need toys to develop these senses, some of the best baby toys help infants from newborns to toddlers develop their brains and physical abilities.
How Toys Develop Babies Abilities
Along with being fun to play with, some of the best toys a baby can have help to develop their brains and their senses. Even something as simple as a textured ball helps to improve an infant’s tactile skills, hand-eye coordination, and their gross motor skills. It can also engage their brain when they’re playing.
Some toys also help develop a baby’s visual acuity. From the time they are newborns to about three months old, babies only see about a foot from their face and in black, white, and gray. So, toys with those contrasting colors will catch their attention during those first months. Then, at about five months old, their eyes develop so they can see depth, in three-dimensions, and color.
Playtime is also vital to the development of a baby’s brain. From the time they are born until about three years old, a baby’s brain makes around a million neural connections every second. Playing, especially free play, develops the prefrontal cortex, which helps children develop skills like planning, problem-solving, identifying, and helps them develop successful social interactions.
Buying babies toys of any kind can help their brains, and physical abilities develop, so there isn’t a right or wrong toy to buy. Just make sure the toy is recommended for the baby’s age that you’re buying it for and that it doesn’t contain toxic materials.
Be wary of painted toys, especially those imported from other countries since toys from some countries have had lead paint on them. By reading this toy review, you should be able to pick out appropriate toys for newborns, infants, and young toddlers.
How We Chose Our Favorites
We have researched the best baby toys available for newborns and infants by reading about the options, the manufacturers, and the reviews and testimonials from people who bought them for children.
Best Baby Toys
After doing some research, we found some of the best toys for playtime for newborns and infants.
Lamaze Freddie the Firefly
- BABY DEVELOPMENT: Encourages tactile, auditory and visual development
- SURPRISE CRINKLES: Soft velour body with multiple textures for baby to discover
- INTERACTIVE TOY: Mirror play helps baby learn to focus, track images and explore the face
Freddie the Firefly is a soft baby toy that can keep baby’s attention for hours. It has a soft velour body with various patterns, colors, and textures to keep babies visually stimulated as their eyesight develops. Also, the different textures, shapes, and sounds will encourage him or her to continue exploring the toy.
The toy also makes various sounds like crinkling, squeaking, and clinking that can stimulate a baby’s ability to hear. The toy has a teether attached to it, so when your baby begins to cut teeth, they can use it to sooth their tooth pain as they play. A ring at the other end allows you to attach the toy to a stroller, the side of a crib, or suspend it above their heads, so can reach and practice their grasping skills.
Along with the bright colors of the fabric, it also has contrasting black and white fabric to help a baby’s eyesight develop. Freddie the Firefly has a limited 90-day warranty.
ToBe ReadyForLife Cloth Book Baby Gift
- SAFE - ToBe ReadyForLife products have been product safety tested and meet or exceed all US and EU standards for baby...
- TOUCH & FEEL - Developed by experts in the US. Our handmade cloth books have a stimulating feature on every page. Bright...
- EDUCTIONAL - A toy that promotes language development & bonding. Reading the rhymes & stories of this book gives you a...
This ToBe ReadyForLife soft cloth book is suitable for newborns and toddlers. Experts developed the handmade item to catch babies’ attention by making it in bright colors. Each page of the book holds a new surprise for the baby. These surprises include:
- A peekaboo flap
- Touch and feel textures
- A mirror
- A variety of new sounds
Reading the words to their babies allows parents to bond with their infants as they learn crucial skills, such as language, reading, and listening skills. Along with the book, parents have access to a free eBook that teaches them how to get most out the cloth book at each stage of their babies’ lives.
The material for the books is durable polyester with double stitching to help it last rough handling by toddlers. All the materials are non-toxic and safe for babies. The book has a one-month 100 percent money back guarantee for parents who may not be satisfied with it.
Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy
- A best selling favorite with thousands of 5 star ratings
- Inspires a lifelong love of music.No Assembly Required
- Baby can switch between 10 total melodies
This Baby Einstein toy plays seven different melodies that the baby can change. It is suitable for three to 36-month-old babies and will help inspire a love of music that will last a lifetime. It has a volume control to turn it down while the baby is sleeping. The toy also lights up as the music plays.
The handle of the toy is suitable for developing a baby’s grasping abilities, and the beads are safe for them to chew on when they are teething. The handle fits small hands, so they can take their tunes with them wherever they go. The music is classical melodies from Chopin, Mozart, and other classical composers.
This toy design encourages the development of visual, auditory, and grasping skills. The buttons to change the music are large, so they are easy for a baby to see and to pick something else while playing with the toy.
Skip Hop Explore and More
- Designed in collaboration with a pediatrician, our baby activity center supports a “whole body” approach to play and...
- Easy to assemble, with toys that can be positioned anywhere for baby, it features a 360-degree rotating seat that turns...
- As baby grows, our activity center converts for easy cruising—ultimately becoming a clean, sturdy table for coloring,...
This activity set from Skip Hop grows with infants from the time they can hold up their heads until they can walk on their own. It is suitable for babies that are as young as four-months-old, as long as they can hold up their heads. They can sit in the seat, swivel in it, and play with the four toys on the table and the piano keys at their feet.
The toys easily attach to the top and come off when the child grows too big to be for the walker. Toddlers over 25 pounds or 30-inches in length should not sit in the seat. Once an infant starts to push with their feet, the bottom of the chair comes off to allow them to use the activity set to scoot across the floor.
When they are too big for the seat, the activity set converts to a table with a chalkboard surface. The table is sturdy enough for coloring, drawing, and playing on its surface. The parts of the toy are phthalate-free. Skip Hop covers its products with a limited warranty. Two years for any electronic parts and 10 years on other products.
Playskool Busy Poppin’ Pals
- POP GOES THE...PANDA.: And giraffe, monkey, elephant, and lion, too. This colorful baby and toddler toy for kids 9...
- HAPPY HANDS-ON FUN: You can help get their hands busy practicing motor skills as little fingers slide, pull, push,...
- A GIFT TO GO WILD FOR: From birthday gifts for 1 year olds, to baby's first Christmas gift, to just a fun activity for...
Playskool is a company that is well known for making some of the best baby toys on the market, including the Busy Poppin’ Pals. This toy features five animals that babies can discover when they move the levers, and the animals come popping up from their hiding spots.
Each of the levers, or buttons, that reveals the animals move in a different direction and they have a variety of shapes to help babies develop their tactile abilities and fine motor skills. This toy is appropriate for babies from the age of nine months old and up. The toy has a built-in handle to take it with the baby to keep them busy discovering where their Poppin’ Pals are hiding.
Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toy, 4 Count
- Includes 2 fun characters and 2 whirly toys that spin and rattle
- Each bubble helps stimulate baby's sense of sight, hearing and touch
- Textured rings move freely around the bubbles
These Munchkin bath toys can make bath time a fun time for babies four months old and up. The four-piece set floats in the water and features two animal characters and two bubbles with rattle toys to stimulate a baby’s auditory and visual skills.
The colorful rings around each bubble are textured to make them easy for small hands to grasp, and they move freely around the bubbles. The toys help to develop hand-eye coordination and motor skills while babies play in the water with the toys. Each bubble air dries quickly, and they are mold-resistant.
Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set
- Design: Easy-to-grab, bright and textured design for babies to develop tactile senses while having fun
- Developmental benefits: Soft and textured material featuring 6 varied sizes and shapes which encourages baby to reach,...
- Great for gifting: This set is packaged in easy-to-wrap packaging and is a suitable gift for any occasion including baby...
The Infantino textured balls are suitable for babies who are six months old and up. They are textured to make them easier to grip, and so babies can develop their fine motor skills. The set of six balls come in various sizes and shapes to help babies also improve their ability to distinguish objects by touch.
The balls encourage babies to develop their tactile abilities as well. The material is BPA-free, so you don’t need to worry about the plastic being toxic for children. Each ball does have a small hole in it, so be careful about putting them in water or when babies chew on them because moisture can collect inside of the balls.
Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
- Multiple textures & materials engage baby's developing tactile sensitivity & teach baby about variety
- Chunky sized bumps encourage reaching, grasping, and transferring from one hand to the other
- Gentle rattle sounds create neural connections in babies brains from birth through 3 years
This developmental ball by Sassy has soft materials for babies six months and older to touch, explore, and learn about variety. The bright colors and patterns are visually stimulating to keep babies’ attention as they play with them and develop their tactile abilities.
The rattling sounds coming from the ball stimulates a child’s neural networks in the brain and helps them develop up until three-years-old. At only 5.4-inches, the ball is small enough to fit in a baby’s hands, so they can pick it up, throw it, or play with it in different ways as they develop their gross motor skills.
Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile to Go Travel Toy
- BLACK AND WHITE DEVELOPMENTAL TOYS: From Manhattan Toy’s award winning Wimmer-Ferguson infant collection - the...
- INFANT STIM MOBILE TO GO DETAILS: Baby travel toy for infants 0-5 months has 3 reversible discs produced from printed...
- MULTISENSORY BABY TOY FOR HOME OR TRAVEL: The Infant Stim-Mobile To Go introduces baby to high contrast, black and white...
As a young baby’s vision develops, the colors black and white captures their attention the most because they are easier for them to see. The Manhattan Toy uses black and white to attract baby’s attention, but it also has bright colors throughout the mobile toy as well.
It features a plastic clamp that allows parents to attach the mobile to a car seat, stroller, or infant carrier. The card shapes hanging from the mobile display black and white images on one side and show colorful ones on the other.
The company recommends the mobile for newborns to five-month-old babies. It is lightweight and collapses, so it easily packs into a suitcase when traveling with a baby. The design of the toy helps to capture a baby’s attention and stimulates their visual development.
Fisher Price Infant-to-Toddler Rocker
- Grows with your baby from infant to toddler (up to 40 lb/18 kg)
- Deep cradle seat & reclining seat back with calming vibrations to help soothe baby
- Removable toy bar with 2 bat-at toys
The Fisher-Price rocker features a safari theme and is suitable for infants and toddlers who weight 40 pounds or less. It reclines in two positions and vibrates to calm babies when they are fussy. There is a safety belt that holds babies by the waist, so they don’t slip down and out of the rocker when it’s in motion. The rocker also has a musical elephant that plays tunes for your child’s pleasure.
The fold-out kickstand keeps the rocker stable so that infants can nap or play while in the it. The toy bar has a bat as toys for developing an infant’s motor skills. And as your child grows, the bar comes off, so toddlers can use the rocker as a chair for relaxing or playing with a toy. They can also use the chair when having an afternoon snack as the cover is washable.
Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center
- Country of origin is China
- The package dimension of the product is 10"L x 5.5"W x 3.3"H
- Colors may vary and for age 6-24 months
The Wonder Wheel Activity Center by Sassy helps babies develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The toy is suitable for babies six months old and up, and its bright colors catch babies’ eyes as it spins, and the colorful beads in the center capture their attention with sound.
Babies can reach and tug or bat at the toy to spin it and discover its different textures. The center spinners have patterns on one side and mirrors on the other, so they can begin to see their image and develop self-awareness.
The base of the toy has suction cups to put it on flat surfaces to keep it from falling over during play time. The toy only weighs four ounces and measures five by 5.9 by eight-inches tall. It can easily fit into a diaper bag to take with the child when they are going to their grandparents or on a family trip.
SwimWays Baby Spring Float Activity Center
- INTERACTIVE BABY POOL FLOAT: Features a rotating octopus with each tentacle holding a toy that your baby can touch and...
- PATENTED INNER SPRING DESIGN: Inner spring sewn along the edge of the outermost inflation chamber of the float provides...
- ADJUSTABLE SUN CANOPY: Removable sun canopy offers a shady spot with UPF 50+ sun protection, and the mesh sides allow...
This floating activity center from SwimWays is a good way to introduce babies to playing in the water. It is suitable for children from 9 to 24-months-old. The baby sits in the center of the toy, and they can float in the water, learn to kick their feet to move forward or turn around.
It is available in two designs, one that is blue and green with an octopus design and another that is light blue and orange with a lobster design. The octopus or lobster toys on the floating device turn 360 degrees, so it can face the child or face outward. The limbs of the animal hold interactive toys that are soft and easy for babies to hold, stack or take off the animal.
The float has a canopy to provide UPF 50+ protection from the sun and keep them cool on hot days. The float deflates and folds up for storage or to pack and take with you on vacation. The measurements of the float are 34-inches long by 30-inches wide by 20.5-inches high. Both the animal and canopy are removable for indoor use or taller children.
Whether you’re shopping for a gift for a friend’s baby or your own, one of the first things you should look for is an age-appropriate toy. Buying the proper toy is especially important for newborns as their ability to see, reach, and grab have yet to develop.
Look for toys that promote the development of gross and fine motor skills, visual acuity, and encourage exploration. Soft toys are perfect for babies, mainly since many of them use texture to help develop a child’s tactile skills. Children under the age of five months will be more attracted to black and white toys because their ability to see color hasn’t developed yet.
After the age of five months, babies start to see color and their depth perception is better. So, brightly colored toys will capture their attention beginning at this age. Also, toys that play music or make sounds can help create new neural connections in their brains, just make sure electronic musical toys have a volume control to keep moms and dads sane.
It isn’t necessary to spend lots of money on toys as many of the best baby toys are affordable. Look on the toy’s packaging or tags to find out about the materials used to make the toys. Look for plastics that are BPA-free, toys that don’t include paint, especially if they are from another country, and those without small parts that can come off.
A baby’s toys need to be safe and durable to keep playtime fun for the child and worry-free for babies’ moms and dads.