Best Baby and Toddler Toys

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Toys are a fun part of childhood and playing with toys is an important part of your child’s development, as play is how children learn. Whether it’s a colorful stack of cups that help stimulate vision and foster fine motor skill development, a jangly rattle that introduces new sounds, or a push-button toy that helps teach cause and effect, you and your baby are bound to find a favorite here. Our list of best baby toys includes toys for the newborn stage (0 to 3 months) and for 6 months, 9 months, and up.

The Benefits of Baby Toys

Although you might initially think of toys as simply something to occupy your baby’s attention, toys can actually aid in your little one’s development. Here are some ways toys positively affect your child’s growth and development:

  • Social skills. Things like dolls, plush toys, and everyday household objects can help your baby learn to imitate, pick up new words, and even expand their creative horizons through imaginary play. All of this helps contribute to your child’s social and emotional development.

  • Language skills. Books, toy letters, and even card and board games later on can be wonderful opportunities for you to interact with your child, while also boosting language skills and setting the stage for early literacy.

  • Problem-solving skills. Toys like blocks (see B. Toys One Two Squeeze Stacking Baby Blocks) and puzzles help develop your little one’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills (small movements of the fingers, hands, and arms) as well as contribute to cognitive development. They can even help with early math skills.

  • Physical skills. Balls and push-pull toys help your child develop gross motor skills (the muscle control and movements used for sitting, crawling, standing, and eventually walking), and can also help promote social interaction with other children when played together.

Safety Considerations When Buying Baby Toys

When it comes to buying baby toys, make sure you’re choosing ones that are safe and age appropriate. If you happen to have an older toddler as well as a baby, it’s a good idea to keep your toddler's toys separate from your baby’s to ensure your little one doesn’t get injured or choke on a small part of a toy that wasn’t intended for a baby their age. Be wary of hand-me-down or homemade toys. Check them carefully for loose or broken parts. It may also be worth looking up second-hand toys on the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website to see if they have been recalled. Although vintage toys can look appealing, be aware that any painted toys from before 1978 may contain lead. Avoid these.

Toy-Buying Dos

Before buying that brand new toy you’ve had your eye on, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure the toy you’re considering is suitable for your baby’s age

  • Toys should be strong enough to withstand chewing

  • If the toy has a battery compartment, make sure it is securely closed with a screw, requiring a screwdriver to open

  • All small toys should be larger than 1 1/4 inches wide and 2 1/4 inches long. (If it fits into a toilet paper roll, it is too small and is a choking hazard.)

Toy-Buying Don’ts

Here are the types of toys to avoid as they can be dangerous for your little one:

  • Toys that need to be plugged into an electric outlet

  • Motorized riding toys

  • Toys with small parts or sharp edges

  • Toys that can shatter or break if thrown or hit

  • Toys with strings longer than seven inches

  • Toys with small magnets

  • Toys with springs, gears, or hinges that could trap your baby’s fingers, hair, or clothing

  • Any toy recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Best Stacking Cups Baby Toy

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

Why pick this one? Your baby will love to play with this set of eight colorful cups, featuring numbers that correspond with the number of holes in the bottom. Your little one might want to stack or unstack the cups, hide things underneath them, pour water out of them during bath time, or take them to the sandbox or the beach.

Highlights: The plastic cups are free of BPA, lead, and phthalates.

Price*: about $8.00 on

Fisher-Price Linkimals Lights & Colors Llama—Interactive Stacking Ring Toy

Why pick this one? This llama toy from Fisher-Price is completely interactive. Your baby can stack the colorful rings or press the llama head to make the rings light up. This toy can play more than 25 songs.

The stackable toy may help boost your baby’s fine motor skill development, and it may also help encourage problem solving, since the rings need to be stacked in just the right order for the toy to light up and play music.

As the flashing lights may be too overwhelming for a very young baby, the toy is recommended for babies 9 months and older.

Highlights: The llama can be synced to additional Linkimals that you can buy separately, such as an otter, sloth, hedgehog, and moose. Grouped together, the Linkimals can talk to one another, sing, and light up to create an entire show.

Price*: about $11.99 on

Best Baby Toy Rattle

Fisher-Price Rattle 'n Rock Maracas

Why pick this one? These easy to hold maracas are fun for a baby to shake. They’re made with fabric pompoms with rattle beads in the other end. Your little one will start to learn that shaking the maracas can make sounds.

However, keep in mind that the fabric pompoms may get saturated with your baby’s saliva, especially if your little one is in the teething stage. Cleaning them isn’t really possible.

Highlights: Your purchase includes two maracas in different color pairs: blue/orange, green/yellow, or pink/purple.

Price*: about $5.59 on

Best Musical Baby Toy

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy

Why pick this one? Featuring 10 melodies, this musical toy from Baby Einstein can help keep your baby entertained and help encourage an early love of music, according to the manufacturer. The toy lights up for visual stimulation and will be easy to manage as your baby learns to grasp.

By pressing the buttons, your baby can toggle through the tunes and listen to sample melodies. Melodies include classical masterpieces by Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin, and Rossini. However, the best part for parents is that there’s a volume control, so it won’t annoy you.

The product is recommended for babies 3 months and up, but the toy may be too large for some 3-month-olds to grip, which is something to keep in mind.

Highlights: The large button makes it easy for your baby to switch between tunes. The toy is great for use at home or for travel.

Price*: about $8.88 on

Best Sensory Baby Toys

Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball

Why pick this one? Engage your baby’s tactile sensitivity with this Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball. Offering different sensations, textures, and sounds, the ball helps stimulate your baby’s developing brain. The ball also encourages reaching, grasping, and transferring from one hand to the other , all of which can help develop your baby’s fine motor skills. The bright colors and patterns help stimulate your baby’s developing vision. Highlights: The ball also functions as a rattle with tiny beads in two of the bumpy compartments.

Price*: about $9.99 on

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toys and Gifts

Why pick this one? This simple tactile toy features five colorful silicone bubbles that your baby can push through the plastic frame. It’s the kind of toy that can hold your little one's attention by engaging their senses and will also help boost their fine motor skills. This toy was designed for babies 10 months and up, so it might be something to introduce later on during the toddler stage.

Highlights: The toy is BPA free and the bubbles are made of food-grade silicone.

Price*: about $12.95 on

Best Plush Baby Toys

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy

Why pick this one? Your little one will love having the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy as their friend. The puppy features multiple activation points: both hands, foot, ear, heart, nose, and ear. In total, it plays over 75 songs, sounds, and phrases that teach your baby parts of the body, shapes, numbers, the alphabet, and 100 words. The toy puppy’s smart stages are divided into three levels according to your baby’s development:

  • In level 1, pressing the puppy’s hands, foot, heart, nose, or ear produces words, colors, the alphabet, parts of the body, and more

  • In level 2, the puppy can say phrases, numbers, colors, and parts of the body

  • In level 3, the puppy sings and says phrases to encourage imaginative play and expand vocabulary.

Highlights: The Puppy is also available in a Sis version.

Price*: about $13.88 on

VTech Baby Lil' Critters Moosical Beads

Why pick this one? This musical plush toy from Vtech is a cute and cuddly cow, featuring different fabric textures for your baby’s tactile development. The centerpiece of the plush toy is a bead ring with light-up buttons and a spinning square to encourage your baby’s motor development. Pressing the buttons plays songs and phrases that teach shapes, colors, numbers, and letters. In total, the plush toy includes over 30 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases. The Vtech Baby Lil’ Critters Moosical Beads plush baby toy is designed for babies and toddlers up to 2 years old. Highlights: Purchase the plush toy in either purple or black and white.

Price*: about $13.09 on

Best Baby Activity Center Toys

Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Activity Station

Why pick this one? This activity center from Baby Einstein features three different modes (animals, colors, and xylophone) that offer different sounds, words, and visual effects. And there’s no mallet needed for the xylophone. All your baby needs to do is press the buttons or spin the rattle drum. Light-up colored bars make it appealing for little ones to press the buttons to activate the toy. The light bar can lay flat for when your baby is practicing tummy time or be propped up for when your baby is sitting. And cleaning is easy with a damp cloth. Highlights: The activity center has a language setting so that names of the animals and colors, for instance, will be spoken in English, French, or Spanish.

Price*: about $15.06 on

Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center

Why pick this one? While playing with this activity center, your baby can practice their motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

The bright colors, beads, and multiple textures can capture your baby's attention. It takes only a swat to make the wheel spin around, and your little one will love all the movement and sounds.

You’ll want to make sure that the toy’s suction cup base is securely attached to a sturdy surface, such as your baby’s highchair tray, before letting your baby play with this toy.

Highlights: The wonder wheel can be taken with you when you travel so that you always have a favorite toy on hand.

Price*: about $7.99 on

Best Toy Baby Blocks

B. Toys One Two Squeeze Stacking Baby Blocks

Why pick this one? Playing with this classic set of 10 toy blocks can provide different types of challenges for your little one. Your baby can stack the blocks, knock them down, and simultaneously learn about animals, colors, and numbers from the 60 different sides. Each block is uniquely designed and hand sculpted. However, there are some downsides: All those nooks and crannies can trap dust and dirt. Washing them isn’t so easy, since the squeaker holes can take in water. Brushing the blocks with a soft brush or wiping them off can do the trick, but it’s best not to soak the blocks in water.

Highlights: The blocks are made of a non-toxic material, and your baby will enjoy squeezing them and making them squeak. The blocks come with a convenient carrying case.

Price*: about $14.99 on

Best Ring Baby Toy

Sassy Ring O Links 9-Piece Set

Why pick this one? This set of nine colorful rings offers tactile and visual stimulation for your baby as each ring has a different texture, making the surfaces more interesting. The set of infant toys includes a textured handle that’s easy to grip. As each ring has an open end, the rings can easily be linked together like a chain, or simply attached to the black-and-white striped ring, which is meant to hold all of them. It’s best to keep the rings stored on the main ring, as there may be a tendency to misplace or lose some of the rings if they’ve been taken off. Highlights: The rings are top-rack dishwasher safe.

Price*: about $17.98 on

Best Baby Crawl Toy