20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (2024)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (1)

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Don't count baby out at playtime. The littlest kids can hit major milestones through playing with toys. They acquire new abilities like reaching, grasping, building hand-eye coordination, learning cause and effect and more. And it starts early. "Play is a skill that begins in infancy. We see a newborn go from unoccupied to enjoying solitary play within about 3 months. This is a big step for our little ones!" says Becky Thomas, founder and teacher at Playgroup and a specialist in infant and family development, early childhood and special education.

In our list, we left out plush animals. You'll likely receive plenty of bears and bunnies as newborn gifts for your baby to love. Instead, our Good Housekeeping Institute parenting pros and early-childhood specialists focused on developmental toys that help with specific skills as well as toys that can be manhandled by your baby and that engage more than one of their senses. You'll be looking at the best gifts for 1-year-olds soon enough, but these are for the really littles!

Our top picks:

Toys also give you and your child a chance to engage: you can chat about the toy, make a toy "talk" or just enjoy being silly with each other. "It is in this stage, before the first birthday, that children develop attention and initiation with play materials," Thomas says. So if your child points to a toy, grab it and hand it to them.

At the end of our list, you'll find more on our selection process for infant toys as well as infant play milestones that these toys can help your baby reach. If you need a clear spot on the floor for play, check out our best play mats. And for a baby who has great neck control and is ready to sit and play, you may also be interested in our favorite baby jumpers for activity-center play.

1

Best Overall Infant Toy

The First Years Stack & Count Stacking Cups

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (8)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (9)Nearly 80,000 five-star Amazon reviews
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (10)Helps you introduce colors, numbers and size
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (11)Fun to nest, stack and knock down
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (12)Holes in the bottom make them fun tub toys
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (13)Not for young infants — best once your baby can sit

Cups nesting into each other is magic to a baby. And these colorful cups can do more: "Once an infant has developed the skill of grasping them, placing the cups on top of each other to create a tower is a great problem-solving and cause-and-effect form of play which is a precursor for so many skills later on," Thomas says.

You can use these to talk about colors and show your baby the raised numbers on the bottom of each cup. They can also double as tub toys, because holes in the bottom of each cup turn each into a little sieves. Plus, they have nearly 80,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

These are age-graded starting at 6 months because a baby needs some dexterity and patience to try and stack or nest them. (Knocking them over will be easier!) And your baby is not going to be able to repeat colors or numbers to you until toddlerhood. Still, for pure value — you'll use these for years, your child can learn an array of skills from them and the set is less than $12 — these are hard to beat.

Ages6 months+
Primary materialBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

2

Best Value Infant Toy

Bright Starts Oball

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (14)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (15)32 finger holes so even a young baby can grab on
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (16)Lightweight and colorful
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (17)Helps with hand-eye coordination and grasp
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (18)Made to be squashed and thrown
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (19)Not dishwasher safe

It doesn't get much more classic than a ball — but infants have trouble grasping any smooth sphere. Even plush balls and bumpy balls can be a challenge at first, when a baby is just getting control of their hand-eye coordination. The 4-inch, lightweight Oball has a mesh design with 32 finger holes practically guaranteeing that your young baby will be able to grab on, wave this around and revel in a feeling of accomplishment.

"The Oball can be thrown, rolled, squashed and passed from hand to hand," Thomas says. This colorful toy is not easy for a baby to gum as a teether but expect that they will try and mouth it. Note that it's not dishwasher-safe, you'll want to just wipe it down with a damp, soapy cloth. This is another infant toy that lasts and lasts — we have a staffer with a 4-year-old who still loves this toy.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

3

Best Infant Toy for 0 to 3 Months

SmartNoggin NogginRings

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (20)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (21)Contrasting colors catch a newborn's eye
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (22)Rattles to engage your baby's hearing
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (23)Fun for an infant to grasp and explore
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (24)Watch your baby learn to pass it from hand to hand
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (25)It's a great first toy — but also the first toy they'll outgrow

One of the first things your newborn will do with a toy is track it with their eyes. Dangle these rings, made in eye-catching contrasting colors, and watch your infant learn to follow where they go. Shake the rattle and see if your newborn will turn toward the sound. These are the earliest forms of play!

Once your 3-month-old can reach for the NogginRings and grasp them, they'll love putting them in their mouth (of course) and exploring their shape and sounds. "This can help your infant learn to bring their hands together on an object, then transfer it hand to hand," says Jennifer Rothman, LCSW, a child therapist in New York City. NogginRings will stay fun throughout your baby's first year but then your toddler will outgrow this little rattle.

AgesBirth to 12 months
Primary materialBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

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4

Best Infant Toy for 3 to 6 Months

Melissa & Doug Flip Fish

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (26)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (27)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (28)Babies love to manipulate the fabric tags
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (29)Has patterns and hidden pictures to discover
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (30)Fun toy to put in front of your baby at tummy time
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (31)Large, may not be easy to throw in a diaper bag

Babies love to pull at fabric tags, and this tactile toy gives them plenty. Crinkling, squeaking parts, bright patterns, hidden pictures and mirrored surfaces plus a teething fin keep a baby fascinated and exploring. We like this for the prime tummy-time stage from 3 to 6 months when babies can build a lot of core strength by spending some playtime each day on the floor, placed on their tummy with a toy in front of them. Use this toy to encourage your baby to lift their head, then reach and flip the fish fins.

This is also a fun toy for your baby to explore while sitting in their bouncer seat. It's just a little bigger than it looks — just over a foot long — which surprises some parents, so it's not super easy to take around on the go.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialPolyester

5

Best Infant Toy for 6 to 12 months

Fat Brain Toys PipSquigz Combo Set

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (32)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (33)Sticks to flat surfaces, but also easy for a baby to pull off
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (34)Pieces are fun to fidget with and can stick to each other
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (35)Great high-chair toy
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (36)Later, your tot will experiment with sticking them anywhere
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (37)A little pricier than most baby hand toys

As you introduce solid foods, it's nice to have toys that can keep your baby sitting happily in the high chair, waiting to be served or digesting for a bit while you clean up. Make the time educational with this set of five silicone fidget toys for infants that can stick to a flat surface, then pull off with a popping sound. "These are versatile and can continue to be played with as your child grows older and experiments with creative play," Rothman says. Thomas agreed, adding, "Babies eventually figure out that they can plug pieces together and problem-solve as they create a construction plan. They'll stick them to different vertical surfaces."

This toy was a favorite with the daughter of Marisa LaScala, Good Housekeeping's Senior Parenting & Relationships Editor. She was obsessed — but so was LaScala and her husband. "We'd use them as fidget toys for ourselves!" LaScala says. You can also wash them in the dishwasher. They're a little pricier than most baby hand toys, but we think they're worth it.

Ages6 months+
Primary materialSilicone

6

Best Infant Toy for 10 Months+

Fat Brain Toys InnyBin

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (38)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (39)Excellent toy for building patience and frustration tolerance
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (40)Babies can put objects in and pull them back out
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (41)Helps babies develop spatial reasoning
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (42)You may have to demonstrate how it works to baby

Rather than a shape sorter, start off a baby who's just beginning to crawl and cruise with a toy that lets them stuff things in and take them back out. "There's a stage of infant development when they begin to collect and this toy is so perfect for not only collecting the pieces it comes with, but any toy that can fit inside," Thomas says. "Fitting materials inside of the InnyBin requires strong fine-motor skills and problem-solving for size, fit and shape. This is a great toy for practicing determination and developing resilience through focus."

Prime time for this toy is 10 months to age 3, as a baby develops better spatial reasoning and gradually gains control over the pieces shaped like a cube, sphere, flower, diamond, happy face and triangle (not shown). If this frustrates your baby, first be sure they're in the age window. Second, demonstrate by showing how you pull a toy out or stuff one in. Third, let them experience the possibly maddening period of learning how to do it themselves. "They're building frustration tolerance," Rothman says. The payoff will be your baby beaming with pride.

Ages10 months+
Primary materialsBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

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7

Best Infant Sensory Toy

Creative Kids Pull Along Sensory Box Montessori Edition

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (43)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (44)

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Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (45)Fun with pulling out the colorful tissues
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (46)Some tissues crinkle, others are smooth
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (47)High-contrast colors capture baby's interest
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (48)Will be fun into toddlerhood
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (49)Your young baby needs your help refilling the box

If you give a baby a real box of tissues, you can bet they will learn how to empty it. This toy is more fun and more educational, with the opportunity to talk about colors built in. It comes with 10 tissues, some of which crinkle and some of which are satiny, so you can talk about how they look, feel and sound. The box itself is decorated in high-contrast colors to entice your baby over to it.

Your infant will learn to pull these out and empty the box before they're developmentally ready to stuff them back in and fill the box, so they'll need you to assist for awhile. But this is a toy that will still be fun into toddlerhood, when they learn to hide not just the tissues but other toys inside the box.

Ages5 months+
Primary materialPolyester

8

Best Infant Teether Toy

Vulli Sophie The Giraffe

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (50)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (51)Easy for infants to hold
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (52)Babies love to chew Sophie's legs, ears and antlers
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (53)Squeaks when squeezed
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (54)Classic teething toy around more than 60 years
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (55)Can't be sterilized; wipe clean only

Sometimes it seems as if every baby in America owns this toy. If yours has not yet met Sophie The Giraffe (real name: Sophie La Girafe, she's French), you might want to introduce them to this popular teething toy made of soft yet durable rubber that's been around since 1961.

There are a lot of theories as to why Sophie is a babe magnet. She's sized right and provides a bit of bumpy texture for infants, with their clumsy grips, to hold onto. "The shape of the toy offers so many ways to grasp it and it's long enough for an infant to easily bring to to their mouth," Thomas says. Sophie's dark eyes and big brown spots stand out on her white body, and babies love that contrast. Finally, she squeaks when squeezed, a cause-and-effect bonus that tots find hard to resist. "Both my babies tried other teethers but loved Sophie," one tester told us. "And seriously, every kid has a Sophie."

A downside is that it can't be sterilized, run through the dishwasher or submerged in water. In order to clean it, the brand recommends wiping it with a damp cloth.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialRubber

9

Best Infant Toy Activity Mat

Lovevery The Play Gym

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (56)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (57)Fun without being overstimulating
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (58)Long-lasting as it transitions from baby to toddler play
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (59)Tips for parents in the well-written play guide
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (60)High quality, Montessori-style toys
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (61)Highest price on our list

This brand makes one of our go-to kids' subscription boxes, but you can buy this play gym à la carte. "I love that it's not visually overstimulating, like many baby play mats," Rothman says. "Plus, this is easy for a baby and mamma to use together." That's one of the things we like most — and it comes with an excellent play guide with stage-based tips and activities for you to try. (Because, let's face it, most of us do not actually know how to play with a baby!)

The high price is made more palatable by the fact that this can easily transform from a play gym into a toddler fort and last for years. We consider this one of our favorite high-quality baby toys because it comes with simple Montessori-style toys like a wooden batting toy and organic cotton ball as well as 14 high-contrast pictures on sturdy cards for your baby to study. The mat itself has different areas of color, pattern and texture to keep things interesting.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialsPolyester, organic cotton, wood

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10

Best Infant Tummy Time Toy

Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (62)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (63)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (64)Babies love to look in a mirror
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (65)Use at tummy time to get baby to lift their head
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (66)Attached fun sensory toys
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (67)Baby-safe mirror is more distorted than a regular one

One way to get a baby lying on their tummy to lift their head and look up is to offer them a glimpse of something cute: "Babies love looking in the mirror so this helps you extend tummy time," says Rothman. It was definitely a favorite for both daughters of Lexie Sachs, Good Housekeeping Institute's Textiles Lab Executive Director who oversees much of the baby-product testing. "So vain, they loved to see themselves," Sachs joked. (Actually babies don't know it's them in the mirror until they're about 18 months old.) "They also loved reaching for the two sensory toys on the top and bottom."

The mirror is baby-safe and unbreakable, so it's a little more distorted than a regular glass mirror. Be sure to peel off the plastic film that comes on for more clarity.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialPlastic

11

Best Musical Infant Toy

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (68)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (69)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (70)Small toy easy to take on the go
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (71)Lights up and plays 7 classical songs
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (72)Volume control
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (73)Comes with batteries but be ready to replace them

Kids love this for the lights and music. Parents appreciate the tunes, since it plays seven classical melodies by Mozart, Vivaldi, Chopin and more. It's pleasant for everyone, and there's volume control if you need it to be a bit louder in the car or softer at home.

We like this to throw in the diaper bag for outings because it's so small but so stimulating — if you need to soothe or distract your baby at a restaurant, in the supermarket or while doing a diaper change in an unfamiliar bathroom, this can be little lifesaver. It's also easy to wipe clean. It comes with the two AA batteries needed to get started but online reviews caution that you'll want more on hand if your baby really loves this toy and uses it often.

Ages3 to 36 months
Primary materialPlastic

12

Best Infant Travel Toy

Sassy Sassy Ring O Links

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (74)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (75)Rainbow-colored rings feature different textures
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (76)Colorful rings make a fun clacking sound around the main ring
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (77)You can use the C-shaped rings to attach other toys
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (78)Dishwasher-safe
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (79)Not a "wow" toy, but it will see a lot of play

Infants love how these C-shaped rings clack together and fall all around the main circle ring, which is done up in contrasting black and white. Sassy's O Links are differently textured rings in rainbow colors and the toy, about 5 inches tall, is easy to take anywhere. Pull off any one ring for your infant to grip and gum or keep them all together as a rattling distraction toy as you travel around in the stroller or car seat.

If the toy lands on the ground, feel at ease knowing that it is dishwasher-safe. Some parents say they also use the black and white ring to attach to other toys for taking things along — the main ring pulls open enough to link a toy on, or to clip it to something like the stroller harness. It's a small purchase, not a big giftable kind of toy, but one that you and your baby will probably both turn to more than you'd expect.

Related: See our Family Travel Awards

AgesBirth+
Primary materialBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

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13

Best Infant Toy Play Center

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Baby Activity Center Crawl Around Car

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (80)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (81)Babies use gross-motor skills to sit, stand and crawl around this
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (82)Fine-motor play comes in with the balls, shape sorter and more
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (83)Toddlers ready for role play can play "driver"
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (84)Lessons age up through levels 1, 2 and 3
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (85)Takes some initial assembly and batteries

Your baby can crawl around and also sit inside this awesome infant play center. Like other toys in this line, it's got a lot to teach through songs, phrases and more — there are more than a hundred different tunes and recitations of shapes, colors, letters and numbers. There are three learning levels, so you can start your infant at level 1 and move up to levels 2 and 3 during toddlerhood.

We like that your baby can practice gross motor skills by crawling around, sitting in and standing by this fun car. They can also work their fine-motor skills by sending the three balls down a ramp and placing the shapes in the shape sorter. Inside, there's a horn to honk, a key to turn and a radio to switch on, though those might appeal more to a toddler ready to imitate grown-ups. The car is stationary, which might make some kids mad if they expect to be able to drive it around. It requires about 20 minutes or so of set-up and three AA batteries, not included.

Ages6 to 36 months
Primary materialPlastic

14

Best Infant Toy Rattle

Infantino Baby's 1st Rattle Set

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (86)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (87)Wearable rattles let baby's own motion entertain them
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (88)Helps a baby discover their own feet and hands
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (89)Flower rattle is good for an older baby to hold and shake
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (90)Watch for signs that your baby has had enough

Wait, did I just do that? When wearing a wrist rattle or a sock rattle, a baby's own motion can entertain them, leading to exciting discoveries like finding their own feet. Eventually your baby will have the dexterity to pull the booties off and hold them in their hand. At about 4 months to 6 months old, they might also be able to hold and chew on the spinning flower toy with its rattling beads.

Some sensitive babies might get overwhelmed by the rattling after a bit so be sure to keep an eye on your baby and remove the wrist and sock rattles if looks as if they're agitated or grown tired of them.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialsPolyester and BPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

15

Best Educational Infant Toy

Fisher-Price Smart Stages Piggy Bank

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (91)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (92)Hones hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (93)Toy counts, plays songs and says lessons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (94)Turn on an entire new set of phrases in Stage 2 mode
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (95)Batteries included
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (96)No volume control, but there is an off switch

A baby able to sit up and grasp, usually after 6 months, will enjoy fitting the 10 coins into this smiling piggy bank — and it hones their hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. The toy rewards their persistence with songs and phrases, offering words in Spanish and lessons in colors and counting. Once your infant has heard all of the Stage 1 lessons plenty of times, you can switch to Stage 2 for new lessons for your toddler.

We like that it comes with the batteries included and that the coins can all store inside the bank. You can turn off the music and sounds, but there is no volume control.

Ages6 to 36 months
Primary materialsPlastic

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16

Best Cloth Book Infant Toy

Jellycat Jungly Tails Soft Cloth Baby Books

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (97)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (98)Babies love gripping the tactile animal tails
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (99)Bright pictures of the animals on the inside
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (100)Pages crinkle, too
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (101)Go through it together and name the animals for baby
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (102)Not a lot of text — for that, grab a board book

Before their clumsy little hands are even ready to turn the pages of a board book, your baby can play with all the tactile features on this soft cloth baby book. Infants can pull on the dangling tails (remember, they love to pull tags and pieces of fabric) and follow them to the colorful pictures of the animals inside as you call out each one's name. This is the jungle version but the brand also has books of fluffy tails and more.

The pages crinkle for added interest. This is a book you can explore together, but to help your baby's vocabulary grow, you should also read aloud from regular books. See our Kids Book Awards for some good suggestions.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialCloth

17

Best Infant Toy That Dangles

Lamaze Freddie the Firefly

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (103)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (104)Clips on to the stroller or diaper bag
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (105)Offers layers of materials and textures to explore
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (106)More than 37,000 five-star Amazon reviews
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (107)Travel toys can get dirty and this has to be spot-cleaned

We're showing the firefly, but Lamaze makes a herd of bright, dangling creatures that include a moose, a squid and even a jellyfish. Boasting more than 37,000 five-star Amazon reviews, this clip-on toy can attach to the stroller and not be thrown overboard, which you'll learn from experience, is a real problem with many other toys. Hook it around the stroller harness so your baby can hold this in their hand and explore the layers of textures and fabrics, little mirrors, clacking rings and more.

If your infant is still young and not reaching, just looking, you might hook it to the stroller canopy like a mobile. Some parents also hook one to the diaper bag so it's always available as a distraction during on-the-go diaper changes or if you're out running errands and your baby starts to fuss. Any toy that travels with you can get dirty, but note that this toy should be spot-cleaned only; it's not recommended for machine washing.

AgesBirth+
Primary materialsPolyester, plastic

18

Best Infant Stacking Toy

Sassy Stacks of Circles Stacking Ring

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (108)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (109)

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Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (110)Nine rings stack in any order
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (111)Play with them and talk about color, size and texture
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (112)Great tool for teaching counting from 1 to 9
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (113)Baby will outgrow this by the 2nd birthday

You can practically hear your baby's brain whirring as they play with these nine differently sized rings in varying colors and textures. The clear ring even makes a rattling sound. The rings can be stacked in any order, which decreases frustration when stacking. Join in the play and show your infant the difference in size between the large black and white ring and the small one. Then count from 1 to 9 as you put the rings on the pole one at a time.

Stacking the rings helps hone hand-eye coordination. In fact this has been lauded as an early STEM toy that can help kids learn sorting, counting, sequencing and recognizing what is the same or different about two objects. We like that the rings are easy for an infant to grab and manipulate. They will outgrow this, however, and be ready to move on to building blocks by age 2.

Ages6 to 24 months
Primary materialBPA-free plastic, according to the manufacturer

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19

Best Infant Toy Instrument

Skip Hop Toy Maracas

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (114)

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (115)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (116)Chunky, egg-shaped shakers your baby can control
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (117)Each has a different face, texture and sound
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (118)Sounds they produce is soft

Shake it up! Toys that play music for your baby are not as richly educational as something like these egg-shaped shakers that let your child make the sounds. We love that they're each shaped like an adorable animal to catch your baby's attention, that there are textures to explore on their bellies and that each one makes a slightly different noise when shaken. They're a bit chunky but if your baby can't grip one at 3 months, they may be able to hold and shake them by 6 months.

Note that the sounds these make are pretty soft. We like that they're not cacophonous but if your baby is shaking them while you play music, they might be hard to hear.

Ages3 months+
Primary materialPlastic

20

Best Infant Walker Toy

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (119)

Pros
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (120)Works both gross and fine motor skills
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (121)Activity panel removes to be a floor toy
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (122)Gives a new walker something to hold on to
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (123)More than 77,000 five-star Amazon reviews
Cons
  • 20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (124)Lights, sounds and songs can get overstimulating

Once your baby pulls to a stand and takes tentative steps, they're no longer your infant anymore — you're entering toddler territory. Help them along with a push toy your baby can use for balance as they stand and walk. This toy, which has more than 77,000 five-star Amazon reviews, is much safer than a baby walker that a child sits inside, where they are essentially trapped. Your baby can let go from a push walker like this anytime they need to.

Your little one can first sit in front of this to play with all the toys on the activity panel, or the panel can be removed and used as a floor toy. They'll stay busy and hone fine-motor skills with the light-up piano keys, a play phone, gears that spin and buttons that, when pressed, deliver fun songs and vocabulary words. When your baby is ready to pull to a stand and work large-motor skills, the toy has a wide base for stability. Your baby can easily grab the green handlebar and push this four-wheeled walker.

The two AA batteries needed to get this started are included. The lights and sounds can get a little overstimulating but fortunately there are both high and low volume settings or you can turn it completely off.

Ages9 months to 3 years
Primary materialPlastic

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (125)

Jessica Hartshorn

Contributing Writer

Jessica (she/her) is a freelance writer with several decades of experience writing lifestyle content and evaluating home and parenting products. A mom of two teens and two cats, her previous work can be seen in American Baby and Parents.

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (126)

Reviewed byRachel Rothman

Rachel Rothman was the chief technologist and executive technical director of the Good Housekeeping Institute for over 15 years, overseeing testing methodology, implementation and reporting for all GH Labs. She also managed GH's research division and the analysis of applicants for the GH Seal and all other testing emblems.

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts (2024)

FAQs

20 Best Infant Toys of 2024, According to Child Development Experts? ›

Good toys for young infants:

Things they can reach for, hold, suck on, shake, make noise with—rattles, large rings, squeeze toys, teething toys, soft dolls, textured balls, and vinyl and board books.

What toys should a pediatrician recommend for infants? ›

Good toys for young infants:

Things they can reach for, hold, suck on, shake, make noise with—rattles, large rings, squeeze toys, teething toys, soft dolls, textured balls, and vinyl and board books.

What toys are good for baby development? ›

Rattles, grasping toys and balls provide a rich sensory experience and offer great fine motor practice. Activity gyms provide a safe space for babies to move and figure out their bodies. And board books help encourage language development by exposure to all kinds of words (reading is also a sweet time for bonding).

What toys are good for brain development? ›

Pegboard puzzles, nesting cups or blocks, and buckets with holes for different shaped blocks challenge hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills. Mechanical toys. Pop-up toys and "busy" boxes with knobs, buttons, and levers encourage fine motor skills and problem solving, and teach cause-and-effect.

How many toys do babies actually need? ›

This study shows that fewer toys in a child's environment can lead overall higher quality play. In this study, researchers found that toddlers who played with fewer toys (4 toys vs. 16 toys) actually played for longer periods of time and varied the way that they played with the toys.

How to choose toys for infants? ›

Also, make sure it doesn't have:
  1. sharp ends or small parts like eyes, wheels, or buttons that can be pulled loose.
  2. small ends that can extend into the back of a baby's mouth.
  3. strings longer than 7 inches (18 centimeters)
  4. parts that could become pinch points for small fingers.

Why are toys important to an infant's physical development? ›

When children grasp toys and learn how to manipulate it, they are effectively practicing motor skills and becoming more adept at hand-eye coordination. This helps children advance through the different stages of physical development.

What type of toys are best for developing cognitive development? ›

Puzzles and Open-Ended Fine Motor Toys

Puzzles and other fine motor toys help children explore many cognitive concepts. Children have to observe each puzzle piece and then fit it into the correct spot. They have to maintain their attention to the task as they turn the pieces to fit.

What toys do babies prefer? ›

Hearing: Rattles, toys that squeak, and simple musical instruments like egg shakers. Vision: High contrast toys help with baby's vision development. Look for black-and-white toys to help baby. Touch: Squishy and soft toys, like stuffed animals, can bring baby comfort.

What toys are good for sensory development? ›

Sand, Slime, or Putty

Another one of the best sensory toys that might be beneficial for your child is sand, slime, or putty. These allow your child to play while also developing fine motor skills.

What toys help with mental development? ›

Toys that Improve Cognitive Skills
  • Miniland Sensorial Reef. Miniland. ...
  • Reel Big Catch Game. Educational Insights. ...
  • Pop It & Learn. Buffalo Games. ...
  • Plus-Plus Puzzle by Number Map. Plus-Plus. ...
  • Shashibo Jumbie Artist Series. Fun In Motion Toys. ...
  • LEGO® DUPLO® 3 in 1 Tree House. ...
  • SmartGames Safari Park Jr. ...
  • Cranium Big Brain: Detective Game.

What is best for brain growth? ›

Here are six things I recommend to my patients in order of importance:
  1. Exercise regularly. Exercise has many known benefits, and regular physical activity also benefits the brain. ...
  2. Get plenty of sleep. ...
  3. Eat a Mediterranean diet. ...
  4. Stay mentally active. ...
  5. Remain socially involved. ...
  6. Keep your blood vessels healthy.
Dec 29, 2022

What is the 20 toy rule? ›

It was with that philosophy in mind that I said, “Buddy, we are going to get rid of some things today. We can throw some things away and give some things away, but at the end of it all, you are only going to have 20 toys left.” We called it The 20-Toy Rule.

What toys do you actually need for a baby? ›

From about 2 months:
  • Simple rattles and teething toys.
  • Small stuffed animals with no plastic parts or buttons.
  • Soft squeeze toys.
  • Stuffed animals that play music.

How many toys overwhelm a child? ›

It's important not to overwhelm the play space with toys. As an approximate guide, try to keep the number of toys immediately available to under 4 for a premobile child, under 8 for a crawling child, and under 12 for a toddler, depending on the size of the space and number of parts to each toy.

What toys do newborn need? ›

Essential baby toys in the first month include soft toys such as stuffed animals, small balls of fabric, small rattles, and baby mobiles. Since babies do not develop full color vision until 16 weeks of age, they need toys with a lot of color and pattern contrast.

What kind of equipment do pediatricians use daily? ›

In addition to the stethoscope and blood pressure cuffs mentioned earlier, there are child-focused diagnostic tools, including otoscopes (the device used to look in a child's ears), tongue depressors, and reflex hammers.

Should babies have battery operated toys? ›

Reduced Social Interaction: Battery-operated toys often focus on individual play and do not encourage social interaction or cooperative play. This can hinder the development of important social skills, such as sharing and taking turns.

References

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