Best sensory toys for babies. Manhattan Toy Classic Baby Beads. PlanToys Wooden Sensory Blocks. Edushape See-Me Sensory Balls. Oball Rollin’ Around Ball Pit, Blue/Pink.
Get your baby started early with Manhattan Toy Classic Baby Beads. The colorful wooden balls link together to create a baby-safe chain, making them perfect for teething little hands. They’re also great for stacking and knocking over!
The best sensory toys for babies can be varied, but all have the goal of helping children develop fine motor skills. These toys help children learn how to handle objects and experiment with basic concepts such as gravity, cause and effect, and even math skills. The great thing about these unique products is that they are fun for both kids and parents!
As a parent of a baby, you may be looking for toys to help stimulate your child’s brain and develop their senses. These toys are both fun and educational, as they help build cognitive skills through sensory play. Here are 10 unique toys we recommend for your baby!
Your little one will love exploring and playing with our range of wooden sensory toys. A perfect toy for babies to explore touch, sound and sight.
These uniquely shaped toys are guaranteed to delight your little one. These sensory and educational toys encourage fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and sensory development.
Luxury Baby Gifts
The best gifts for babies stimulate their senses. Babies might not look like they’re doing much besides eating and sleeping, but the first year of life is full of seismic shifts in development. And even before they can hold a toy, babies are ready to play.
The best baby toys engage them, focusing on the contrast they are able to see or the sounds and movements they can make themselves.
“Infants are really learning about their place in the world, so the best toys give them some sense of feedback,” said Tovah Klein, director of the Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author of “How Toddlers Thrive.” She cited the classic baby rattle as a good example. “’I hit this and it moves is the beginning of having a sense of their place in the world.”
Babies also explore with their mouth, so look for toys that aren’t choking hazards (obviously) and might be interesting to a tiny tongue. And keep it simple.
“We tend to shy away from toys that are technological or lighting up and flashing, just because of the overstimulation that they provide,” said Marie Conti, head of The Wetherill School in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, and a board member of the American Montessori Society.
These are the best gifts for baby boys and girls, according to child development experts. To quickly jump to the category you’re looking for, click on the links below or keep scrolling to see all 42.
- Best sensory toys for babies
- Best gifts for baby boys and baby girls
- Best play gyms, mats and tables for babies
- Best teething toys for babies
- Best activity toys for infants
- Best books for babies
Don’t forget to check out Shop TODAY’s Gift Guide to find the perfect present for everyone on your list!
Best sensory toys for babies
Colorful beads can be twisted, turned and gummed for extra interest.
These wooden blocks use nontoxic paint and stimulate all of the baby’s senses.
These are easy to grab and come in bright colors and spiky shapes that feel great on the hands or tongue.
The holes in this rattle make it easy for tiny hands to grab.
Babies and toddlers love to feel different textures, so “taggies” toys or blankets with tags sewn around them are perfect, Conti said. These beribboned sensory blankets have different textures and crinkle sounds, and a portion of proceeds go to Starlight Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit for seriously ill children.
Crinkly textures and teething spots on this toy were made for tiny gums.
Best gifts for baby boys and baby girls
This beautifully crafted kit includes toys that stimulate baby’s senses and educational guides for parents.
This photo baby book gives parents spots to write down small milestones, precious memories and other firsts.
Baby Toys 0 6 Months
When it comes to presents, many 1-year-olds aren’t picky. In fact, they may be as excited by the packaging as they are by what’s inside. (Be sure to save those boxes.) Others have already begun to develop their own unique preferences, personalities, and abilities. By investing in the right toys and gifts, you can set your child up for years of fun.
Look for toys that are open-ended, like blocks and stacking cups that can be played with in more than one way, says Sarah Cleveland, director of a child-care center near Austin, Texas. Play at this age is largely focused on sensory exploration and motor development, Cleveland points out, so toys with different textures that invite small hands (and, of course, mouths) to grab and investigate are good choices, as are starter ride-on toys that offer the opportunity to roam. This age is also a good time to invest in keepsake items that will remain special as a child grows up.
We talked with Cleveland and other child development experts—and mined the collective knowledge of parents and other caregivers on our staff—to identify fun and engaging gifts for the youngest recipients. Some of the toys on this list are officially recommended for children ages 2 and up and 3 and up. Our testers have played with these toys outside of their age-range recommendations and found them to be appropriate for this guide. Children with medical complications and developmental delays may engage most with toys recommended for infants; when shopping for them, it’s best to ask their parent or caregiver about the child’s developmental (versus biological) age.
If you’re looking for more kids gift ideas, check out our guides to the best gifts for 2-year-olds, 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, 7-year-olds, 8-year-olds, 9-year-olds, and 10-year-olds, as well as great stocking stuffers for kids. We also have guides to gifts for tweens and teens. (Since kids develop at different rates, all age recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt.) And please share your own best ideas in the comments below.
Fat Brain Toys Oombee Cube Sorter ($22 at the time of publication)
Shape-sorting toys can give babies and toddlers an early introduction to puzzles by helping them work on their problem-solving skills. Heather Singh, associate director of school and gallery education at the Thinkery, a children’s museum in Austin, Texas, recommends this tactile cube from Oombee. And every time we’re at the Thinkery, my toddler finds and plays with them. The shapes are attached with thick strings, so you won’t be constantly hunting under the couch for the missing triangle, and this toy is easy to take along in the stroller. Sure, most 1-year-olds will simply put those rubbery, textured shapes directly into their mouths, but that’s fine—the teething-friendly Oombee is made from food-grade silicone and is simple to clean with soap and water or in the dishwasher.
A delightful distraction
Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Funnel Fun ($14 at the time of publication)
Even though we live a half-day’s drive from the nearest beach, during our daughter’s early toddlerhood, we got into the habit of toting this Melissa & Doug sand toy almost everywhere we went. It was our secret weapon for entertaining her in a city full of restaurants and breweries with outdoor patio seating and crushed-gravel floors. Anytime we wanted to enjoy an adult conversation over dinner, we packed up the Seaside Sidekicks Funnel. Our daughter and her new toddler friends from surrounding tables would busy themselves by crouching on the ground and pouring tiny rocks and sand through the contraption over and over again. This toy is made of sturdy plastic, and the handle makes it easy to carry anywhere—whether that’s to a restaurant, a park, or the actual seaside.
Make a splash
Boon Building Bath Pipes ($22 at the time of publication)
Bath time has always involved a fair amount of toddler drama in my house. My daughter traditionally refused to get into the tub; now the meltdowns are reserved for when it’s time to get out. Her bath-time turnaround happened when we leveled up our bath toys with (among other things) these Building Bath Pipes. They’re easy for kids to suction to the bathtub wall and can be connected to create a twisted path for water. In addition to giving little ones a reason to look forward to bath time, these pipes are also a great sensory learning tool that helps them explore cause and effect.
A cuddly friend
Jellycat Bashful Bunny Stuffed Animal, Small (about $16 at the time of publication)
An especially soft and cuddly stuffed friend makes a sweet gift for the littlest kids. Gund versions are popular, but many Wirecutter kids are partial to London-based Jellycat stuffed toys. This company makes soft, pellet-filled stuffed animals in several sizes, but the small version is particularly easy for a 1-year-old to tote around. We gave my daughter this bunny when we took away her pacifier at 14 months. The exchange was shockingly successful: Bun Bun became a constant companion in bed, at the park, on our bike commute, and at her day care (where Bun Bun replaced the word rabbit for the entire class). Today we have three of them in rotation (lest one go missing even momentarily), and all are worn to the point of looking like they just completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Fortunately, they’re easy to wash and restore to their former sweet, plush selves.