Best Toys for Baby Development: The First Year

This post has affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you do decide to make a purchase through any of my links. I would never recommend anything that I don't love myself. I appreciate your support, and most of all, I appreciate you reading my articles!

In this article you’ll find: The list of best toys for baby development, according to your baby’s age, from newborn to 12 months old.

Have you ever felt more like a news reporter whenever you’re around your baby?

“This is mommy! Reporting live from the nursery, it looks like baby is about to smile today!” *Snaps 10000 pictures* *Sends pictures to family and friends*

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. Everyone in my family knew when my son did and didn’t do stuff.

I took pictures, researched if everything was normal, stimulated him, and basically was on top of my baby’s development basically I still obsess over my child’s development every single day!

It’s part of being a mom, and for good measure, whenever we aren’t life-coaching our babies, we are telling the doctor all about baby’s day to day life.

In fact, doing this helped our doctor detect that my son’s muscles were tense at 7 months old, and recommended physical therapy.

Throughout my son’s development, every single therapist, specialist, doctor – even my son’s surgeon, recommended me the same thing: to play with him.

The importance of playtime for your baby’s development has been tried and tested, so hopefully, I don’t need to convince you to play more!

What I can do is recommend, from my experience, the best toys you can get for your baby’s first year of life to boost his/her development.

Please note that these toys were recommended to us by therapists and doctors, and they worked wonders on my premature son, which is why I’m recommending them to you now.


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Best Toys for Baby Development: 0 – 3 Months

Ah, newborns!

They are developing so fast we don’t notice it within our sleep deprivation!

Your newborn won’t seem awfully interested in toys, and why should he be, anyway? The world around him is just so new and interesting!

But there are specific areas you want your baby’s toys to help him develop:

  • Grasp and motor skills.
  • Eyesight.
  • Hearing.
  • Neck control.

If you focus on toys that do just that, your baby will be just fine.

Manhattan Toy Wrinkle Rattle and Sensory Toy

The rattle toy is beautifully designed to enhance your baby’s motor skills, grasping reflex and skills, and sense of hearing.

It will also serve down the line as a teething toy.

You can get it here on Amazon.

Gigglespots: Entertain your Baby’s Brain

Your newborn baby is a fan of three colors: red, white, and black.

Why?

Because they are the three colors that babies distinguish the most.

Black, white, and red toys are bound to catch your baby’s attention, which makes them great for stimulation!

This Gigglespots set has cards that you can:

  • Place in your baby’s hands, for clutching and motor skill stimulation.
  • Hang them in a mobile or move them in front of your newborn’s eye, for eye-muscle and sight development.
  • Place them on the floor during tummy time, for neck and core muscles development.

Simple, yet effective! You can get it on Amazon.

Glossydots Sensory Rattle Set

These high-contrast rattle set is amazing for:

  • Developing hearing.
  • Strengthening eye-muscles and developing eye-sight.
  • Stimulating hand-eye coordination.
  • Stimulating clutching and fine motor skills.

You guessed it!

It’s black, red, and white. So it will catch your little one’s attention!

You can get it on Amazon by clicking here.

Black, White & Red High Contrast Flash Cards

Yes, more high-contrast toys!

There cards are great for stimulating:

  • Strengthening of neck and core muscles, if you place them on the floor during tummy time.
  • Stimulating eye-muscle and eyesight development, when you hang them in the mobile or slowly move them in front of your newborn’s eyes.
  • Stimulate hand-eye coordination and clutching reflex: They have a small ring your newborn can hold on to!

You can get these on Amazon by clicking here.

Baby Einstein Bold New World High Contrast Playmat

This playmat is specially made for your newborn’s brain!

It’s a high-contrast playmat, which means your baby will dedicate his attention to it, thus stimulating the development in all areas.

Click here to get it on Amazon.

Best Toys for Baby Development: 4 -5 Months

Your baby is now getting ready to eat, sit and crawl!

Which is why the single most important thing she needs to develop is her neck strength.

Head support is a huge deal, and it’s key when introducing solids! You’ll also want to work on core muscle and arm strength.

Two words: Tummy time!

Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

Some babies hate tummy time with a passion, some love it.

But a good toy is sure as heck gonna make it easier either way!

Babies love recognizing faces, so a floor mirror makes for the perfect tummy time entertainment.

Click here to get it on Amazon.

Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball

This texturized bumpy ball is great for touch stimulation.

Babies learn about their own muscles by touching different things as well, that’s why you see so many toys that have bits with different textures.

Most of our therapy consisted of feeling different materials. In fact, if you rub the bumpy ball against your baby’s feet you will be helping her overcome her sensitivity and prepare for walking!

Click here to get it on Amazon.

Coolecool Healthy Ball Baby Rattle

My son was particularly inclined to his rattle. And there’s a story behind this particular toy.

At one point at his 4 months adjusted, Oliver had a huge developmental setback. He had been having physical therapy around once a week, and everything was going fine.

Then one day out of the blue he stopped reaching for his toys. By the next day, my super active baby was barely moving at all. He was diagnosed with hypertonia in his muscles, which just means they were rigid. And we were assigned daily physical therapy.

After many days, exercises, and worries, he had improved in many things, but he still wasn’t reaching for his toys.

Then, a couple of months into the therapy, we went shopping and he saw a rattle like this one and… he reached out! He played with it for hours and hours, and it was the one toy that helped him overcome his hypertonia and catch up!

So, yeah, I recommend it. You can get yours on Amazon.

Ike & Leo Teething Toys

Is your baby drooling? Are his gums a bit swollen and tender? Is he moody and whiny?

He may be teething, and he needs to bite the crap out of anything!

That’s why teething toys are for, by chewing on these, your baby’s discomfort will ease.

Don’t worry, it’ll soon be over and your little one will have a beautiful tooth poking out of their gums!

You can get the Ike and Leo teething toys in Amazon.

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym

As your baby grows, so does her gym!

The Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym is perfect to strengthen your baby’s legs, and get ready for walking!

The piano can also be used in a straight position, which will stimulate your baby to remain sitting. Further increasing her core muscles and body support.

You can get it on Amazon by clicking here.

The First Years Stack Up Cups

This classic toy helps babies develop their hand eye coordination, but also:

  • Gives them early concepts of space and sizes.
  • Enables them to form early math concepts, by counting aloud with mom and dad.

You can get your set of Stack Up Cups in Amazon by clicking here.

Best Toys for Baby Development: 9 -11 months

Your baby’s getting ready to walk now!

So it’s very important that at this stage you help him strengthen his leg and core muscles!

You’ll probably see a lot of standing, with or without support, small jumping with support, and maybe even a few tentative steps this phase.

It’s all very exciting!

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

It’s no wonder that one of the toys to strengthen core and leg muscles to walk is… well… a walker!

When it comes to walkers, you need to choose wisely, and use it under supervision.

We chose Vtech because it’s safe, it has a lot of entertaining features, and the wheels feel fluid against the floor!

You can get yours on Amazon by clicking here.

Best Toys for Baby Development: 12 months and Beyond

VTech Magic Star Learning Table

Learning tables are awesome stimulation toys! They not only keep your baby in a standing position (those leg muscles are really developing now!) but also have lots of gadgets for sensory stimulation.

I’m partial to the Vtech magic start because it’s the one that has the most variety of levers, buttons, cogs, music, sound… and a steering wheel!

Oliver would stand by his table for hours at a time… laughing and jumping (again, strengthening his leg muscles!)

You can get one like this on Amazon by clicking here.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Stride-to-Ride Puppy

This interactive dog helps babies to learn to alternate their legs to walk!

It comes with fun lights, music, sounds, and a little shape puzzle!

It also has a great compartment where my son hid the TV remote, my cellphone, my notebook, and several of his toys!

You can get yours on Amazon by clicking here.

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

As I said, I was obsessed with my son’s speech development. I counted and recounted the words and read tons of books!

This 100 Words electronic book was one of mine (and his) favorites. It’s bilingual (which suited us since he’s growing up in a bilingual household), it sings, says phrases and words.

You can get one in Amazon by clicking here.

That’s a Wrap

In short, you don’t need a whole lot of toys to enhance your baby’s development.

You just need the right ones.

Here’s the complete list, in case you don’t want to scroll back up to pick your favorite!

Oh, and since you’re totally into your baby’s development, you might want to check out this other article I wrote on baby development.

And if your SUPER into your baby’s development… boy, do I have something cool for you!

Just subscribe to my list and you’ll get the Baby and Toddler Milestone and Development Printable!

It’s a whole lot of goodness to track your baby’s progress… up to 24 months! With warning signs included so you can make sure everything’s going A-Okay!

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This post has affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you do decide to make a purchase through any of my links. I would never recommend anything that I don't love myself. I appreciate your support, and most of all, I appreciate you reading my articles!

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