Baby gift shopping. The words alone sound so promising. Yet ask any parent and they’ll tell you that not all baby gifts are created equal. Some of the most jazzy, light-up, noise-making toys end up being a total bust while the cardboard box they came in is the real winner. So what are the best
toys for babies? Take a look at these items, the best baby gifts and toys out there.
Using knowledge of
early childhood development paired with research of the best developmental toys for babies and baby gifts that have received positive parent approval, Romper has put together a list of toys for babies proven to stand the test of time. These items are wonderful because they’re washable, safe, help develop fine motor skills, introduce babies to colors and textures, and, wait for it... aren’t obnoxiously loud — although, full disclosure, some do make noise.
Bright and beautiful, you won’t mind looking at the best infant toys (because while you may aspire to putting your baby’s stuff away every evening, ultimately it’s just not going to always happen). Kid stuff tends to take over a home, and when the living room inevitably becomes
the playroom, you’ll want the best developmental toys around, like these. We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 The Best Playmat
If a big holiday is approaching and you’re fielding calls from relatives on what to get your little one, this
Kick & Play Piano Gym is one of the best baby gifts. Basically it’s a sensory explosion that will keep your child entertained while they get some much needed tummy time. And even though they might not be able to maneuver their hands very much yet, with their feet they can kick the keyboard and play 20 minutes of continuous music. The five large keyboard lights shine as baby bops them. And when they’re over that, they have a self-discovery mirror, elephant teether, crinkle panda, lion rattle, and monkey cymbal clackers to play with. 2 The Best Rocking Toy Boat
Ahoy, matey! This
Hape High Seas Rocker is for babies starting to walk. Pop them in this little ship, sing “Row, Row, Your Boat,” and they’ll be happier than a sailor just returned from sea. A great option to develop fine motor skills with the act of teeter-tottering, the gentle rock will keep kids entertained for hours. Plus, when they’re all done playing, this charming little sea craft makes a nice storage space for other toys or even books. Made of wood and with non-toxic finishes, the 32″ x 11.8″ x 14.4″ boat is perfect for a baby’s room and safe as well. 3 The Best Sorting Cube
When in doubt, buy a baby gift from
Melissa & Doug. They really do make the best toys for babies. The children’s toy brand just gets it, and the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube — which teaches babies about shapes and spatial awareness — is no exception. Made out of light wood, babies can easily manipulate the various shapes and enjoy the satisfying clunk as they hit the bottom of the box. The 12 shapes come in four brightly colored primary colors and have an easy to remove side panel so you can pour the blocks out to start the fun all over again. Easy to clean, even a little drool won’t hurt this classic toy. 4 The Best Truck
The idea of giving a baby a toy that will just fall apart often sends shoppers on a quest to find the most durable toys. If that sounds like someone in your family, this Shape Sorter Truck is a great option. “My kids are rough with things. If this can withstand my kids playing with this, you know it is of good quality. Definitely buying this brand again,” one
reviewer wrote on Dillard’s website. There’s a ringing endorsement if ever there was one. But in addition to being able to take the wear and tear of an enthusiastic baby, this cute blue and yellow truck offers plenty of fun too. The recycled plastic vehicle comes with four shapes and a mini garbage can babies can play with in addition to big wheels to allow for easy rolling. 5 The Best Pop It Toy
You’ve likely seen children and adults playing with Fidget Poppers. Essentially rubber bubble wrap, they’re sensory toys designed to keep hands busy. Well, think of this Dimple Toy as that same concept but for babies which is why it’s one of the best baby toys. With five bold colors and three large dimples, babies can work on fine motor skills as they play with this vibrant silicone toy. Easily washable, it doesn’t matter if your child prefers to pop or gnaw on this toy, it’s pretty close to indestructible. And parents love it, with an
87% five star rating on Amazon. “I bought this toy for a long-haul plane ride (12 hours) with a 15 month old child. It was the perfect toy as there were no parts to lose, and she loved it!” wrote one reviewer. 6 The Best Noise Toy
Parents, take note: this is not an obnoxious noise maker. This
Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube is a clever musical toy your baby will love. While this is a noise-making device, it’s actually pretty subtle so you won’t have to stuff your ears with cotton each time the baby in your life reaches for it. This cube uses sound combinations to create eight Mozart masterpieces. Those include harp, flute, French horn, piano, and violin instrument sounds. Lights flash with the tempo to add another rhythm-teaching element. While it’s a plastic toy, the corners are curved in order to protect Baby and at the same time make it easy for infants to manipulate. 7 The Best Crinkle Toy
Want to stimulate your child’s audio development while giving them a high contrast image to look at at the same time? Then this
Wee Gallery Panda Crinkle Toy is truly perfect. Soft organic fabric makes up this flat toy that can be easily thrown in the wash or hung from a mobile, stroller, or carseat for hours of entertainment. On the front is an image of a panda and on the back are black and white dots baby will love to stare at. Then, when your child wants to make some noise, watch them thrill at crunching the fabric up. 8 The Best Chew Toy
You know how old
Sophie the Giraffe is? 60 years old. And yet babies are still gaga for this chew toy-meets-doll that first appeared in France in 1961. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke… go ahead and buy it. Here’s why. First, Sophie is darling. Babies will instantly be drawn to her sweet shape and little pink smile. Add to that the fact that she’s made entirely of 100% rubber, perfect for sucking and chewing on. With four limbs and a long neck, there’s, well, a lot to naw on. The flexible parts are super flexible so parents don’t need to worry about choking or swallowing Sophie either. Just make sure parents are aware that they need to keep Sophie clean. 9 The Best Odd Shaped Stacking Toy
Babies love exploring. Every moment is a new opportunity for a sensory experience. So encourage that development with this unique stacking toy, which wee babies have been known to play with for hours. This stackable toy is unique in that the shapes are a little more abstract, orbs have jagged edges babies can fit together or just plop in a pile. But there’s a catch. This is also a balance toy that will help develop their coordination and spatial acuity as well. With six colorful and textured spheres, they can topple, spin, tilt, and restack over and over again.
10 The Best Walker
One of the best baby gifts as well as ways to help a baby learn to walk is with a
push walker. And this one comes with all kinds of bells and whistles at a remarkably reasonable price. To start, there are 70 singalong songs built in for cruising with some tunes. In addition, the walker has three shape sorters, and 3 light-up buttons as well as a pretend phone and five piano keys. But the best design element has to be the fact that this walker was made to roll on carpet, so your little learner can practice their mobility in a safe and soft environment. 11 The Best Baby Boom Box
Remember boom boxes? Good times. Well, this is essentially a baby boom box with (it’s important to note) a volume button, so they can jam without making you want to yank your ears off. Small enough for babies to carry around (even on their shoulder a la trench coat-wearing Lloyd Dobler, if they like), the music maker produces 10 sounds. Easy to wipe down and clean, it’s ideal for that drool stage when everything is a sopping wet mess. Plus, the handle features little baubles baby can play with while they jam. And a large red switch makes it super easy to turn off.
12 The Best Bath Toy
Move over Rubber Ducky. There are even cooler bath toys available today. This
Boon CHOMP Toddler Sensory Bath Tub Whale Toy takes bath time to a whole new level of pretend play. “My children enjoy these, and it keeps them busy while shampooing hair! A little trick with this is if you hold the mouth open, and dip it under water upright… the airhole will bubble out and spray water like a real whale!” writes one Amazon reviewer, which is a major selling point right off the top. This cute blue whale’s jaws open when a baby pinches them revealing three fish-shaped rings. 13 The Best Soothing Stuffed Animal
Babies love snuggly toys, stuffed animals in particular. But if you want to make their favorite stuffy even more soothing, consider the
Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse Plush Baby Toy. This little Seahorse is actually a calming lullabye player in disguise. Baby just needs to squeeze the creature’s belly to cue up five minutes of continuous lullabies and classical tunes, plus ocean sounds. The soft and squishy buddy has no hard edges and is a good size for baby to grip. And when the Seahorse gets a little too loved, parents can remove the electronics and throw it in the wash for a scrub. How’s that for one of the best baby toys? 14 The Best Baby Rattle
File this under: Best Baby Toys. This toy might look like something that belongs in a geometry or science class, but it’s actually a baby toy that squishes and stretches and will keep your little one entertained far longer than you might imagine. “I bought this toy for my newborn thinking he would have to grow into it. To my surprise he took to it right away. At a few weeks he loved staring at its colors, now at two months old he enjoys the sound and movement,”
a Babylist reviewer writes. This is like three toys in one: a chew toy, fine motor skill toy, eye development device. You name it. And thanks to its 3-D design and pliability, it’s nearly indestructible. 15 The Best Peekaboo Game
Breaking: Babies love playing peekaboo. Ok, that’s not really breaking news, but this is a good reminder that they can’t get enough of the game. But sometimes mama or dad or big sister can’t play. In that case, pass baby this
Peekaboo Puzzle and watch them play peekaboo with themselves. The simplicity of this toy is mind-blowing and yet it’s brilliant. Basically, a little mirror is covered with a wooden puzzle piece. Life the piece and voila, who’s that?! Baby. Which is why this toy gets a 93% five-star rating on Amazon. Go figure. 16 The Best Natural Teething Ring
No two ways about it, teething is inevitable. So prepare parents and their baby for it with this natural beechwood
Teething Ring that’s as attractive as it is therapeutic. Rather than go with some questionable plastic teether, give a baby something all natural to gnaw on. This teething ring is designed to be easy to grasp for small hands and features XL soft food-grade silicone beads to really sink their teeth into. The beautiful beechwood is treated with organic coconut oil and beeswax blend so its looks lovely as well. Still, when it gets covered in slobber, you can simply rinse it in the sink and it’s good to go. 17 The Best Sensory Toy
Whether your baby sees this as a stacking toy, chew toy, puzzle, or bath toy does not matter. The only important thing is that they will love this durable
Rainbow Silicone Toy. Two inches tall and 6.5 inches wide, this item includes 12 half circles that fit on top of one another and are available in two color palettes, pastel and neon. Easy for little hands to manipulate, babies can learn colors while getting a handle on how balance works. Or they can just drool all over them. That works too. These are easily washable with a washcloth swipe, so you don’t have to worry about filth building up. 18 The Best Water Play Mat
Want to introduce your baby to water play without all the, well, water? Enter:
Pat & Play Mat Wee Wild Ones. This is a water play mat where the water stays inside the plastic fish shape. But even though babies aren’t actually splashing, “this is a fun way to interact with my child for tummy time. He loves playing with it, and watching the floating animals,” writes a Walmart reviewer. Inside the water-filled mat — perfect for tummy time — are six colorful floating sea creatures to squish and push around. Easy to fill with water on the interior and air in the outer band, you can also deflate it and pack for trips as well.
See, shopping for a baby isn’t so hard. All you need is an hour online and this handy list to guide you to the best toys for babies that will keep them entertained, help them work on their motor skills, and won’t drive parents up the wall.
This article was originally published on
Dec. 5, 2020