It wouldn’t be much of a gift guide series if it didn’t have at least one post about toys! My kids are 3.5 and 1.5 so I know all about baby and toddler toys. When I first wrote this series back in 2017, I combined baby and toddler toys into one guide. But I decided that it made sense to split them up so we can explore more toys for each age group.
Below is my list for the best toys for babies! These are toys that both of my boys (and I!) loved and played with over and over again. If you missed the others guides in this series, be sure to check out my gift guides for newlyweds, coffee lovers, and little readers.
May contain affiliate links. See my disclosure page for more information. Note: All prices were under $25 as of original publication date, December 2018.
Best Toys for Babies
Ring Stacker: You just can’t go wrong with a classic toy like a ring stacker! Toys like this ring stacker help build hand-eye coordination, and the bright colors are appealing to babies.Shape Sorter: Another classic that every baby should have! And another one that builds hand-eye coordination. You can also use this toy to teach baby colors and shapes.Blocks: I love these blocks by B. because they are soft and colorful. They were perfect for when my little one was teething, but now they’re great as he’s learning how to build towers.
Xylophone toy: You might recognize this one from your childhood days! Again, I think the classic toys win out every time! This toy is great, but if you have a few extra dollars to spend, I like the Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone. It didn’t make my list because it’s a bit over $25 but I think my son got more out of it.
The Electronic Toys
I’m generally not a fan of noise and light up toys, especially for babies, but they’re fine in moderation. They can also be a nice change of pace for baby, which keeps them occupied and interested for longer. This makes them good for when you need a few moments to catch your breath, or attend to an older child for a few minutes!
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy’s Remote: This thing has been a godsend for both of my squirmy boys. I give them this when it’s changing time or time to get in the carseat and it distracts them long enough for me to get the job done! It has staying power too. My kids are two and four now and I occasionally pull these out when they start getting cranky on longer car rides. Turn up the radio a bit to drown out the noise and everyone is happy! Totally worth its weight in gold!
Vtech Crazy Legs Learning Bugs: This one encourages hand-eye coordination, shape recognition and matching, number identification, and more, so it’s a toy that can grow with the child for awhile. As a frugal mom, I’m also looking for toys that we can get more mileage out of (if you’re interested, check out my best STEM toys for preschoolers post. We really stretch the life out of these toys!).LeapFrog AlphaPup: This cute little pup promotes literacy and movement, making it a definite winner in my book! There’s a key for each letter of the alphabet that teaches baby the sounds letters make. And new walkers can “walk the dog” by pulling along the pull string.LeapFrog Fridge Phonics: While I’ve said I’m not a big fan of electronic toys, I do like most things by LeapFrog. This is another toy to promote literacy. You can stick it low on your fridge to keep baby occupied and nearby while you cook dinner. I’ve also found it helpful in the car and in the highchair while I get baby’s meals ready. If you need a toy to keep baby engaged and interested for awhile, this is a sure bet.
All babies need something soft and cute to cuddle with. These made my list for the best toys for babies because they’re adorable, warm, and comforting to little ones.Baby Einstein Octoplush: I seriously love this thing. I received it as a baby shower gift for my first son and it quickly became his first and favorite friend. Now my littlest one has discovered it and loves it almost as much as my oldest. It plays three songs and each tentacle teaches the name of a color. You can also switch the mode so the kiddos can learn the names of colors in Spanish.Lamaze Toys: In my opinion, Lamaze makes some of the best toys for babies. Both of my boys had these squishy toys and they were definite favorites. My younger son had Freddie the Firefly while my older boy had Jacque the Peacock. They’re bright and colorful and have fun things like mirrors, flaps, squeakers, and pockets to encourage exploring and sensory play. They have teething rings too for little chompers. Another nice feature is the clip that allows you to attach it to a stroller or car seat so baby can be entertained when you’re on the move.Taggies Toys: These Taggies toys were invented by moms who noticed their babies loved to play with the tags on blankets. They’re soft and colorful and have these bright tags with different textures and patterns that babies love to finger. Now other toy manufacturers have caught on and it’s easy to find tag toys in a variety of shapes and styles.
The Best Toys for Babies to Encourage Movement
Press and Crawl Caterpillar: This is a fun toy for babies and toddlers, especially active crawlers or runners! Baby presses down on the caterpillar and it zooms ahead, encouraging him to crawl after it. It works on carpet, as well as hardwoods or tile. This is a great toy for babies that are just starting to get mobile because chasing their toy gives them great incentive to get moving!
Push and Learn Toys: These toys are good for near and new walkers. For those not quite ready to take their first steps, they can sit in front of the walker and explore the buttons, songs, puzzles, and games. For those that are ready to take the plunge and start walking, these friends provide a bit of extra balance and support. As with all walkers, babies should be closely supervised and put in a safe, flat space far away from stairs and other tripping hazards.
Best of the Rest
Kidoozie Peek n Peep Eggs: I don’t know what it is about this toy but both of my boys LOVE them. And even though they’re well past the infant stage they STILL love playing with these things! They’re bright and colorful and teach shape-matching. They’re good for hand-eye coordination and tactile engagement. Never in a million years would I imagine my kids fighting over who gets to play with a half dozen eggs!Teething books: I firmly believe that children of all ages should receive books under the Christmas tree. Receiving books as gifts is a wonderful way to promote a lifelong love of literacy. These soft, crinkly books are fun for little explorers. Look for a variety of textures, shapes, and fun additions like mirrors and sparkles to catch baby’s attention. Whether under the tree or in a stocking, these books are sure to please! And if you’re looking for story books to gift you baby, check out my gift guide post on baby and toddler books!
Bonus! Stocking Stuffers
Stocking stuffers can be tough for little ones, especially babies. Here were some of my go-to options for my little guys:
- Bottle/Sippy Cup
- Bottle tether
- Toothbrushes (does that make me a bad mom??)
- Teething ring
- Baby spoons
If you have little ones on your list, I hope this list of the best gifts for babies has helped spark some ideas. All are toys that my kids have really had a lot of fun in their infant days. Even better, some have stood the passage of time and still come out to play. What else would you include on this list? Drop a line in the comment field below!