12 Developmental Toys for Newborn to 6-Month-Old Babies
Make learning fun early on.
As a new parent, toy shopping can be frustrating because many are designed for babies who are six months and older. However, finding the perfect toy that can distract, educate and buy an exhausted parent an extra few minutes to relax is completely worth it. Here are our top toy picks that are specially designed for tots under six months old.
The O-Ball is a classic favorite among new parents because of its lightness and ease of handling for their baby. BuyBuyBaby has an assortment of O-balls in different shapes, sizes and colors. There are 29 holes for the smallest of fingers to latch on, and any baby will want to look at, grasp, shake, throw, roll and toss the ball at different stages of their first six months.
This little winner from Manhattan Toy is a compact toy that seems deceptively simple. It has a round beanbag center featuring a blue smiling face on one side, and a high-contrast black and white series of concentric circles on the other. The body is framed by seven floppy legs with different prints, and stars, hearts, circles and triangles serve as the feet. Attaching the Whoozit via its Velcro strap to a baby’s car seat will help keep him or her entertained during car trips and beyond.
A few months in and suddenly your baby couldn’t be more fascinated by his or her own feet and hands. If you want this step to come sooner, start using this four-piece set to cover the baby’s feet and wrap their wrists with colorful ladybugs and butterflies to get them interested in their hands. Babies may even grab their feet when they’re wearing the foot finders, encouraging cross-body grabbing.
Though we’re awfully fond of the Taf Toys stand-up book for tummy time, we know some babies are fussy and might need a little more stimulation. Parents rave about the success of this pillow for babies who hate tummy time because it can also be used around the baby’s waist. This tummy time discovery pillow has stimulating colors, rattles and light-up piano keys. There are also adorable animal motifs like cows, elephants, monkeys and hippo friends that teach colors and objects.
Tummy time is all about distraction. Make tummy time fun and your baby won’t notice that it’s even happening for the first couple minutes–then boom, you’re done! This tummy time mat helps strengthen the baby’s back, neck, arms and abdominal muscles, and it also helps stimulates baby’s visual perception with 34 different colors and multiple sea animal shapes that float in the water.
Parents swear by this multi-colored, tubular teething toy that encourages babies to grab the rings and clasp the whole toy with two hands. When babies shake this toy, he or she will discover that it’s a rattle! Babies will enjoy watching you toss the rattle in the air and nudge it toward them during tummy time. The plastic is BPA-free so your teething babe can latch on with no worries. No wonder it won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award!
The entire Wimmer-Ferguson suite of visual toys are great, including the 3-in-1 Play Mat and the Travel Toy, but it’s the Infant Stim-Mobile that wins the most points with parents. The high-contrast cards develop baby’s retina and encourages optic nerve growth. Change the cards out for more complex ones as your baby grows, keeping him or her interested in the changing scenery.
This is marketed more as being a toddler toy, but parents can prop this puppy up on the sofa while playing with a younger baby. The toy has three stages of development to select from: stage one centers around exploration of the body, first words and colors, and the alphabet; stage two encourages babies to count along, find colors and identify parts of the body; and stage three lets babies engage in sing-along play. Though your newborn won’t be ready for the higher stages, he or she can play along, and this toy will become part of their routine as they mature into toddlerhood.
The Taf Toys Toe Time Car Seat Toy charmed parents with its extra musical oomph. It plays music and gentle lights with each touch of baby’s toes to the dangling mat. It even features colorful toys that babies can grab and practice their fine motor skills with.
Other mobiles might be made for older ages, or transition years. This mobile, however, is great for your young one. It has spinning black and white spirals that will mesmerize your newborn, and a small forest creature smiles down at them. The mobile plays gentle music and features a small night light.
Musician parents will love this toy, but all babies love music. This music maker not only plays Chopin, Mozart, Vivaldi and other great classical tunes, but its face lights up with colors. Its handle is easy for babies to grasp, and the small size makes it a winner for on-the-go entertainment.
Lots of tummy time mats have mirrors, but they’re often too small for babies to see their full heads. This 11.5 x 11.5 x 4.2-inch mirror really grabs a baby’s attention because it’s big enough for him or her to marvel at. It’s not a real mirror of course, so it’s child-safe, but it’s reflective enough to fascinate your baby. The attached bumblebee and ladybug are removable, and the spinnable ball and crinkle leaves will entertain your little one.