Baby toys! Whether you’re looking for baby toys for girls, baby toys for boys, or gender-neutral baby toys, they will be played with, thrown, and chewed on with joy. They’re so much fun and more than just entertainment for your baby. Toddlers love them, older brothers and sisters love them, parents and friends fuss with them, heck, even pets like to play with them!
There are learning benefits to baby toys as well. Many are developmentally based, so we’ll break them down by ages and stages. Keep in mind that all babies develop at their own pace and these are simply ideas for babies through 3-year-olds.
Baby Toys for Birth to 6 Months
During this age, babies encounter everything around them for the very first time. They love to look at faces and quickly discover their hands and feet. Babies start to lift and turn their heads toward sounds.
Babycenter created a Best Toys for Newborns list and it includes:
- Mirrors to see themselves in
- Tummy time mats
- Stuffed animals
- Plush toys with different textures
To be honest, babies’ attention can be captured with just about anything that’s in front of them. Once they can push themselves up using their arms, reach, and grab, it’s important to ensure they only have safe toys within reach.
Baby Toys for 7 to 12 months
During this age, infants go through incredible physical changes in development. They begin sitting unassisted, creeping and crawling, pulling themselves up on things, and even standing on their own. They start learning certain words including their name. Listening to music and people reading stories is an interest they start to develop and has a positive impact on their language development.
- Stacking rings
- Blocks to stack
- Bathtub floaty toys
- Activity walkers
- Shape sorters
- Music Tables
- Books: cloth, board
Because it’s the beginning of their world exploration, babies put everything in their mouths. Pay specific attention to the size of toys your baby is playing with to keep them safe.
Toys for 1-year-olds to 18-month-olds
There are many developmental milestones around this age. One-year-olds start using their pincer grasp to feed themselves as well as pick up smaller objects. They start saying words, favor mom and dad over strangers, and “help” get dressed by giving their arms and legs.
A list from VeryWellFamily.com put together The 22 Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds which shares:
- Mega Bloks
- Lego Duplo blocks
- Pretend play items (phones, food, hats, dress-up)
- Playsets – animals, tea set
- Wooden activity cubes for fine motor
- Toys to pull behind them
- Balls of various sizes
Allow for space where they can independently move, play, and investigate, but keep in mind,
one-year-olds have no sense of fear. Please keep an eye on them as they explore their exciting new world.
Toys for 2-year-olds
Toddlers’ physical growth may begin to slow down and even out, but their interest in toys and their environment is skyrocketing! They start with the ability to follow very simple directions, walk in all directions, go up and down stairs one step at a time, carry things, scribble, kick a ball, and dump items out of bins.
The 26 Best Toys and Gifts for 2-Year-Olds Who Are Always on the Move list from GoodHousekeeping.com has lots of fun toys such as:
- Finger paints
- Wooden peg puzzles
- Tool sets
- Various smaller playsets – fair, ambulance, Frozen
- Musical instruments to bang on and shake
- Shape Sorters
- Ride-on toys
- Big playsets – food truck, ice cream stand, BBQ grill
Toddlers like being around people, and they especially like being around other toddlers. They don’t have the emotional development to play with each other, rather they parallel play, so be aware of their impulsiveness when playing close to others.
Toys for 3-year-olds
Toddlers of this age are building on all the skills and things they’ve learned thus far. They can climb well and run easily, show affection and have a lot of emotions, name familiar things and people, as well as wanting to figure things out on their own.
Here’s another (you guessed it) best of list! This time it comes from Today.com and is the 44 best gifts and toys for 3-year-olds which includes:
- Wooden train sets
- Wood building blocks
- Geometric shape blocks
- Playsets – oven, restaurant, car carrier, robots
- Bath toys
- Write, draw, learn centers and mats
- Balance bikes
- Books to explore as well as for read alouds
- Dress Up / Pretend play – capes, wings
- Musical instruments
They move away from parallel play and start to play with each other. Starting to take turns can be difficult but it is something 3-year-olds are able to do. This is something that needs to be taught and monitored closely.
Play, Baby, Play!
There are no right or wrong ways for your baby to play with their toys. As long as they are safe and supervised, let them play, explore, and learn all about the world around them.
If you’re in the market for someone to come play with your baby or toddler, you can find babysitters that can make everyone smile.