With so many playthings for babies around, finding useful and the best baby toys sometimes can be a bit tricky. To make the search easier for you, I have made a pre-selection and will show you the favorites for newborns and babies 0-12 months.
Meaningful toys always make great gifts. They usually occupy baby for a longer period of time. Many baby toys also help to promote baby's physical development and stimulate baby's senses. And often, good baby toys have an educational factor, too.
Of course all babies are different so what one baby loves, the other might not be interested in at all. Thus, you really need to try it out. Nevertheless some baby toys are popular with most babies and that simply makes them a best baby toy!
These suggestions are for people looking for a great baby gift as well as for parents of a newborn baby.
Apart from a little doll or cuddly buddy and a teether, a baby play gym probably is one of the first toys coming in handy for baby. In fact, the playmat can be used from the very beginning as a blanket to place baby on, also when on the go. Most mats are made of thick cushioned material and during the colder seasons isolate the cold possibly coming from the floor very well. Around 3-6 months, an activity gym keeps baby entertained very well as long as it is not mobile yet and does not crawl. But depending on the mat's features baby will love to play with it until the age of 12 or even 18 months.
Baby gyms come with all kinds of features and entertainment such as music and lights. I think music and lights can be a 'nice to have' but certainly aren't a must (well, my kids survived without these two features...). However, the mat should give you the possibility to (ex)change the objects and place them somewhere else on the arch for added variety. It also is helpful if you can add some other dangling toys. And some crinkly items as well as a mirror should be included. A definitive must is that the mat is machine washable because it will definitely get dirty and spitty over time!
While this cute and educational musical cube is not that wellknown in the United States (yet), it's one of the most popular baby toys in Germany - the home country of Ravensburger. This soft cube requires 3 AAA batteries and each side has a cute picture on it, making a matching sound. This toy motivates babies and toddlers to throw the cube, crawl after it and see and hear what side is up. The music, language and animal noises are the perfect triggers to arouse baby's curiosity. For 3 months and up. In my opinion that definitely qualifies it as a best baby toy!
Whether it's plastic stacking cups you can build a tower with or a shape sorting bucket or cube - both toys are so much fun, educational and entertaining and every baby will love these in one way or the other. Later on, stacking cups are also great to take to the bathtub or to play cooking and dining with. In case you are worried about the material, both toys are available in wooden versions. If you go for plastic materials, make sure they contain no BPA, phthalates or PVC like Green Toys 'My First Stacker' (made of recycled materials), for example or the Green Sprouts Stacking Cup Set.
Stacking toys are suitable for approx. 6 months and up, even tough babies won't be able to do the stacking that early yet. Nevertheless they like to explore these kind of toys.
While baby is on the go or visiting family and friends, it wants to be entertained, too! For that a take along arch is ideal. Take along arches or bars easily can be attached to car seats, baby carriers, strollers, bouncy seats, highchairs, baby swings and so on. You might even try to fix just one side to a chair or something similar while baby lies on the floor. Like a play gym or playmat, the arches feature various little and colorful dolls, animals or other objects to draw baby's attention to and to play with. Baby will be entertained for hours while on a stroll.
Dangling objects are interesting for the very young already, say 3 months and up.
Lamaze have a large range of funny little pals for baby which are suitable from newborn to approx. 24 months. Their Play and Grow toys have soft velour bodies, teethers to chew on, squeakers, crinkles, mirrors, clinking rings, multiple textures and other great features to entertain and delight babies. They all have a handy loop attached on the top so they are easy to hang from a cradle, car seat, playmat or anywhere else. Just to name the most popular ones (for full details click the shop link below), they are called: Jacques the Peacock, Freddie the Firefly, Captain Calamari, Stretch the Giraffe, Olivia the Owl.Shop Lamaze Play & Grow Friends.
There are several models from various manufacturers of baby activity centers and baby entertainers on the market but I want to concentrate on the Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo here since it is 'soooooo incredibly popular with babies' and parents and since it probably is just one of the best baby toys around!
The colorful Rainforest Jumperoo features an adjustable seat for custom fit (it has 3 sizes) and can be used once baby is able to hold its head up unassisted, that is around the age of 3 months. When baby starts to jump it will activate various music, lights and noises such as elephant sounds. The chair spins around 360 degrees so baby can play with all toys while jumping. There is an elephant, a parrot, a hanging monkey, a butterfly, a rainbow spin, a peek-a-boo tiger and much more to discover for baby. There are even stimulating toys overhead on the adjustable top. Even though the jumperoo is a bit big and bulky, it is collapsible and can be moved. The in-seat is removable, washable and dryer safe which is a very practical feature, too. Baby should use the jumperoo not longer than 20 minutes per day, but this is time enough for mom to get some uninterrupted dinner or just a little time to relax. This is just a great educational product and gift that baby and parents will love.
A space-saving alternative to the jumperoo is a doorway jumper. It can easily be hung up with a spring loaded clamp and adjusts to most door frames. If not needed it is taken down in just a few seconds. Baby can sit in there and jump and bounce. Some doorway jumpers even have a few toys attached, others feature a musical mat. Great and longlasting baby fun is guaranteed!
A cuddly friend for baby can be a friend for many years and even last into adulthood. In any case it is a great keepsake! I still have my cuddly childhood friend - which by the way was a baby gift - around and probably won't give it away that soon. A huggable and loveable teddy bear, soft plush toy, cuddly doll or stuffed animal will help baby to calm down and will help soothe baby - and that goes well into growing up. Manufacturers oft cute baby pals are for example Steiff (baby range), Gund, Melissa & Doug, Sigikid, Kathe Kruse and Aurora, just to name a few. Some cuddly friends even come with a music box inside. When buying a cuddly pal for baby, make sure it is machine washable and maybe even dryer safe - believe me, that will safe you a lot of trouble!
A developmental toy will keep baby entertained for some minutes, maybe even hours. Two of the best developmental toys for the first few months and year are the Manhattan Toy Winkel and the Award Winning Manhattan Toy Skwish.
Whether the Winkel or the Skwish, both baby toys will encourage baby to play around with it, chew on it, grab it, move it from one hand to another and just to explore it and its various play possibilities. Of course, not all babies are equal - but most babies are very interested in these two toys and many parents agree that these are one of the best baby toys for the first year. At amazon's reviews a pediatric occupational therapist even praises the Skwish as 'the best baby toy ever made'. For more information simply click the images.
During baby's first months everything is new to baby and needs to be explored. And in the beginning the mouth will be used to do that. Everything goes into baby's mouth to be closely 'examined'. Later on, when the teeth come in, baby will have sore gums and uses everything to chew on to soothe the pain. That's when teething toys come in handy and sometimes are a real lifesaver! A teether should be safe and healthy and should not contain any harmful substances. So when buying a teething toy make sure it's free from phthalates, colors, PVC, EVAtane, silicone and BPA. This fact alone makes a teether a 'best baby toy' since baby can chew and play without any negative effects.Shop safe baby teething toys.
If you are looking for toys for bigger babies and toddlers my first birthday gifts might be of interest to you.
Around this age, a first baby dolly made of soft fabrics might also be worth looking into!
These are so cute and fabulous, I have to list these separately!
These two HABA Baby and toddler toys make a great baby gift, baptism gift, 1st birthday gift, Christmas gift, etc.! Haba toys are known for their high quality and durability.
The HABA aircraft swing is recommended for 10 months and up. It is bright, durable, and fun! You can hang it in the house or outdoors, too. The aircraft plane sure will bring hours of fun since it will grow with baby.
And if you are willing to spend a few more $, this HABA product should be your choice! The HABA Ship's See-Saw also is a great gift for two or even more (grand-)children together!
Enjoy this? Don't miss out - sign up for my free newsletter and get access to exclusive articles and resources.
Do you like us?
Some links on this page are affiliate links. This means when you purchase a product through one of these links I earn a small commission. There is no extra cost to you. This money helps me to maintain this website and provide free information for you. Thank you for supporting my website. To learn more please see my affiliate disclosure document.