As a new mom, I had no idea what kind of toys my baby would want to play with during his first year. It can be a bit confusing and overwhelming with all of the options available. Luckily for me, my amazing family and friends have gifted my baby some fun toys that I had never even heard of! I’m going to share with you my baby’s favorite toys (and explain why he loves them!) along with some other great toy options at different price points. I hope this informative guide of toys for baby’s first year is helpful!
This guide will help you in choosing the perfect toys for that special baby in your life, whether you’re looking for your baby or needing a gift for a friend’s baby. You are probably reading this because you need toy ideas but you don’t know where to start. This is a great shoppable toy list that is also full of ideas if you are looking for a gift for that special little one!
I am a little selective when it comes to buying my son’s toys. Looking at the toy reviews below, you may notice a pattern..
Toys that are BPA free or nontoxic win gold stars from me! Teething toys or any toy that may get chewed on, must be BPA free for us! That’s probably the only rule I follow ALL of the time.
Developmental and educational toys are a must. Toys that help babies discover their senses and develop motor skills and critical thinking are so important.
I lean more toward toys without sounds and flashy lights (and batteries). This doesn’t mean I’m against the battery-operated toys because I’m definitely not. The battery-operated toys he has received as gifts have been quite fun and entertaining (for both of us), and I’m so glad he has them. I have also included some of these types of toys.
Toys should be relevant for at least 3-6 months so you get your money’s worth! And if they get played with for over a year, that’s even better!
This toy guide includes some of our all-time favorites along with some other great toy ideas. You can see the prices and further details by clicking on the links or pictures. All links and photos are shoppable so click away! Now on to the best toys for baby’s first year!
This post has been recently updated in 2021.
Be sure to check out my other Gift Guides, too!
Montessori-Inspired Gift Guide for Littles (for Newborns through 6-Year-Olds)
Best Toys for Baby’s First Year
Gift Guide for Moms
Gift Guide for Dads
This post contains affiliate links. The Lovevery Play Gym was kindly gifted through an unrelated collaboration. All opinions are my own and 100% honest. See full disclosure here.
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Hape Wobbling Melody Penguin: This adorable wobbly penguin adds some music to playtime! I can’t tell you how much I love this brand of nontoxic wooden toys! E has several instruments and toys by Hape, and E loves them all!
Colorful Toys for 6 Month Olds: Click any of these cute toys to view fun gift options for your 6 month old! These toys help build visual and fine motor skills.
The Most Adorable Stuffed Animals: My son has the owl, elephant, pineapple, and a few others, and he loves them so much! These are my favorite stuffed animals for him. They’re so cuddly and cute (and sooo soft..really!)! They now make all different sizes of Jellycats from small to huge, and they even have books. The Natural Baby Company has a HUGE selection of Jellycats….Like pages and pages of options (they even have non-animal ones like a cute cactus and pinecone, which I know the smiles make it make-believe but they were too cute not to share). You can check out their selection by clicking here.
Oball Toy Ball, OBall Rattle & Roll Car (BEST SELLER ON AMAZON!), Oball Shaker, Oball Grab & Rattle Football: I had never heard of Oball toys before we received a few for Baby E for his first Christmas. I quickly became obsessed so he now has at least 7 different Oball toys! He can easily grasp and hold all their toys because of those fun little holes that are perfect for babies’ fingers. He loves the ball, the rattle shaker, the bath toys, and his cars! They’re BPA-free and the surfaces are flexible and teetheable. Many of their toys also have fun rattle beads that he loves to watch (and they make a fun noise).
HABA Snug-up First Baby Dolls: These cuddly dolls are so cute! I love that they’re free from toxins including BPA, phthalates, PVC, flame retardants, and water repellent chemicals!
Skip Hop Explore & More Follow-Me Bee Crawl Toy: This developmental toy is so adorable and it encourages your baby to crawl! It is perfect for pre-crawling babies, beginner crawlers, and even advanced crawlers as it moves in different patterns.
Infantino Balls, Blocks, & Buddies Activity Toy Set: This toy set includes blocks, animals, and textured balls. They are all BPA free according to the seller. E has these exact sensory balls, and he loves them!
Lovevery Play Kits: I cannot recommend the play kits enough!! They are stage-based play essentials that are made for your child’s development and are tailored to your child’s exact stage. All of Lovevery’s toys are toys are built to last and made with sustainably harvested wood, organic cotton, nontoxic paint, and baby-safe plastics. We have some of these play kits and I personally cannot recommend them enough. They have play kits that can be delivered every 2-3 months between 0-36 months (or you can get just one kit!) so definitely check the kits out! Here’s an example of a play kit for age 7-8 months old (click the image to view all the details and to see the other kits and toys they offer):
Shape Sorter, Baby Toy Starter Set, My First Tugboat, My First Stacker, Elephant-on-Wheels: These are a big hit in our house! Baby E always goes for the stacking toys, the elephant, and shape sorter. I can’t wait for him to use the boat in the big bathtub one day! Plus remember how I said I was picky with the toys Baby E plays with? I LOVE Green Toys and how they are free from BPA, phthalates, PVC, and external coatings. Plus they’re made from recycled plastic and you can throw them in the dishwasher to sanitize them! I love how I don’t have to worry about chemicals in Green Toys, and they’re made in the USA! And no, they don’t pay me to say all of this! I just love them that much!
Related: Gift Guide for the New Mom
Sophie Giraffe Plush, Sophie the Giraffe is one of Baby E’s favorite teethers, but she also comes as a cute plush! This was a wonderful gift to him, and he loves it! We like to keep this toy on the changing table to keep him distracted (she hangs out with the owl and elephant mentioned above!), and sometimes she likes to go on car rides with us, too.
You can see all of his favorite nontoxic teething toys here!
Tree Top Activity Center : This Tree Top Adventure wooden toy is packed full of motor skill activities!
Nontoxic Wooden Vehicles: These cute cars and planes are made from nontoxic wood and paint. Baby E has the cute little plane. He loves how the wings can move (they are attached with bungee). These feel really sturdy, and the paint has never chipped at all.
Wrist Rattle & Foot Finder Socks: These wrist rattles and socks help babies discover their hands and feet. It’s a fun way for babies to learn about their movement. These are designed for babies from birth up to 24 months, and we especially liked to use these during playtime in the first several months.
Boppy Tummy Time Pillow: This adorable mini boppy pillow will keep any baby entertained as they work out those important muscles during tummy time. It comes with a cute crinkle book and teether ring. I personally called Boppy and asked them if the teether is BPA free, and I was told ALL of their products are BPA free! The pillow is also small enough to take with you for playtime. The recommended age is 2-6 months.
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Kick & Play Piano: Baby E learned to dance to this piano!! And it is the cutest dance ever! He received this as a Christmas gift, and he absolutely loves it! It has 3 different settings, including 10 minutes of straight music and flashing lights, a push and learn setting that teaches numbers, shapes, and colors, and a piano playing setting. We like to use it when he is sitting up or doing tummy time. He loves the music, pushing the buttons, and the flashing lights! It can also be tied to the crib so babies can push the buttons with their feet. The age says it can be used beginning at newborn stage, and it will definitely grow with the baby as it can be used laying down, during tummy time, and while sitting up. Like I said earlier, we have more non-battery toys than battery-operated toys (this one actually comes with batteries!), and I’m so happy he has this one! He loves it!
Skip Hop Explore and More Mix-and-Match Animal Activity Book: Baby E loves this book! It has crinkly pages and the handle is a rattle. The colors and animals make it so much fun for him. It also has a cloud-shaped teether attached, and it’s PVC-free and Phthalate-free.
Infantino Stick and Spin High Chair Pal: This cute little monkey suctions to our high chair tray and keeps Baby E entertained while prepping food and in between bites (and it also keeps him engaged after mealtime when I need a few minutes to clean up). It has a mirror on the foot and the head turns and makes a clicking sound. The green ball also spins, and the colorful discs move up and down the blue arch. The suction works well as long as the surface it’s sticking to is clean. The monkey is BPA free and can also be used on a stroller tray.
Skip Hop Hug-and-Hide Tummytime Playmat, Owl: Another owl! This is a cute tummy time play mat. It comes with a supportive tummy time pillow and includes two developmental toys.
Hape Wooden Instruments: Xylophone, Rainmaker and Rattle, Rolling Drum, and Rattles:
I don’t even know how many Hape instruments we have! My son absolutely loves all of his fun instruments, and this mama loves the nontoxic finishes and durability! My son still loves his rainmaker after having it a couple of years!
Here Fashion 3 Packs Non-toxic Soft Fabric Baby Cloth Books: These are some cute cloth books! Plus they’re nontoxic which is so important because babies like to put everything in their mouths.
VTech Turn and Learn Driver, VTech Rhyme and Discover Book, VTech Sort and Discover Activity Cube: VTech makes great learning toys for all ages, including babies! I especially have loved the Turn and Learn Driver and their Rhyme and Discover books. E loves to play with knobs, levers, and buttons so these toys are right down his alley. The VTech books have fun songs and movable pieces on each page. Its recommended age is 6 months to 3 years old. The cute pink activity cube introduces colors, numbers, animals, nursery rhymes, and so much more, and it’s also intended for ages 9 months to 3 years old.
Related: Gift Guide for the New Dad
Evenflo Exersaucer Moovin & Groovin Activity Center: I’m sure many moms can agree that these activity centers are life savers! Baby E started using this around 4 months old, and it has become part of our morning routine. Sometimes this is the only way I can eat some breakfast! He absolutely loves all the animals and activities! The seat spins so he can face the toys he wants to reach. This activity center features so many activities that help infants and toddlers from 4 months to walking age in key early child development areas. The fact that it’s a farm makes it even more fun!
Baby Einstein Neptune’s Ocean Discovery Jumper: Because sometimes it’s nice to have 2 jumpers in the house? Yes, yes it is!! Once Baby E liked to sit up more than leaning back in one of these kinds of bouncers, this jumper became another favorite. It’s not fun dragging one of these from room to room, and they’re a nice break if you have to put away the laundry or do a small chore. We obviously do a limited amount of time in the jumpers, but he loves his special jumper time! Baby E loves this jumper just as much as the Farm jumper (see above). He can bounce more in this one since it’s suspended. This is one of his toys that has noise and lights because the turtle has buttons to push. Three settings include numbers and colors in 3 different languages, music, and piano playing. The turtle also easily detaches so babies can play with it elsewhere!
Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Activity Mirror: A tummy time mirror is a must, and this one is adorable! Mirrors are so fun for babies when they do tummy time! This baby safe mirror can stand up or you can also hang it. It is PVC-free and phthalate-free.
Jellycat Soft Cloth Books, Jungly Tails: Baby E just loves the Jungly Tails book! It’s so fun with all the tails he can easily grab and hold on to! He has been playing with this book since he was couple of months old and he still loves it. It makes a fun crunchy sound when he waves the book around. He is actually playing with it as I type this! :] This book also comes in other types of animals.
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker: Once Baby turned 10-11 months old, he LOVED this toy. He went from sitting and crawling to standing and walking around while pushing this toy! It has a removable front play panel that develops fine motor skills, and it features over 70 fun sing-along songs, music, sound effects, and fun phrases. Baby E loves all the buttons, the phone, and the songs! When your baby is getting close to 9 months, this toy is a MUST!! The walker is meant for babies and toddlers 9 months to 3 years old. Only buy this toy if you want your baby to walk soon!!
Baby Einstein Keys to Discover Piano Toy: This is another “noise and lights” toy gifted to Baby E that he just loves! He can easily hold the handle and push the buttons. He loves the music and lights, and it also teaches counting (1, 2, 3) in 3 different languages (English, Spanish, and French). This little toy has made car rides SO much better because it keeps him busy if he gets fussy!
The Play Gym: For ages 0+, this play gym will give you a whole year of play! This play gym is not your normal play gym. The Parents’ Choice award-winning play gym includes everything your child needs in an activity gym and play mat-from batting to teething to learning to focus-for playtime and tummy time with purpose. Designed by child development experts and crafted with safe, healthy, and durable materials for babies. The materials of Lovevery products always impress me! The Play Gym is manufactured without flame retardants or PVC, and mouthable accessories are made from 100% organic cotton and silicone.
Related: Getting Out of the House with a Baby
Nuby 10-Pack Little Squirts Fun Bath Toys: Once Baby E started sitting up in his bath tub, we made sure we had fun toys for him to splash around with! Once your little one starts playing with bath toys, bath time becomes a lot more fun! These cute little animals are BPA-free and are good for 6 months plus. We love these little animals for bath time!
Bath Letters and Numbers, Splish Splash Bath Cups: These nontoxic foam letters and numbers are cool because they stick to the bath walls after getting them wet. E loves to play with them even if he can’t spell or count yet (you can’t start teaching them too young!). These BPA-free cups are fun because they’re different colors and shapes and they make “rain” when you let water fall through the holes. The scoops are easy to clean for parents and easy to grasp for little hands. They also nest nicely for storage. You can find more of our favorite bath toys here!
Gund Baby Flora The Bunny Animated Plush Stuffed Animal Toy: Flora, the sweet bunny, plays peek-a-boo and sings “Do Your Ears Hang Low.” The ears flap during the interactive game and song. This cutie is appropriate for all ages.
Melissa & Doug Animals Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzles Set – Fish and Pets: These fun puzzles have large knobs that are easy for babies to grasp. We have the Melissa & Doug farm puzzle but these are so cute, too!
Black and White Soft Flash Cards for Baby: We received similar baby flashcards as a gift, and I’m so glad we did because I never knew the importance of black and white toys for babies. For their first 6 months, babies respond best to bold, contrasting colors and graphics. These flash cards will encourage visual development and physical activity (think wiggling and waving their arms and kicking their feet).
Infantino Spiral Activity Toy: We have something similar for Baby E’s stroller, and he loves it! He likes to reach up to touch the hanging toys. This colorful toy develops gross motor skills and visual tracking. It’s BPA free and is perfect for baby’s entire first year!
Fabric Activity Crinkle Cloth Book: Yes, another book! We love books, especially the ones with soft, crinkle pages. They’re perfect for babies in their first year! This entertaining book was another special gift Baby E received for his first Christmas. Baby E loves all the fun and unique pages, including a squeaky mouse, a cat with a jingle bell collar, a peek-a-boo flap, and a mirror. It’s non-toxic, very durable, and machine washable (it held up perfectly in the wash!).
Baby Balance Bike: We had this exact bike and it was the best! There are a lot of variations in brands, and this is the exact brand we received for a gift for Baby E. It’s for 10 months to 24 months, and it’s really sturdy for babies to learn coordination and balance. Plus it helps them get their energy out!:) It’s the perfect first birthday present!
2″ Hair Bows Fully Lined Hair Clips, Our Favorite Bibs for Drooling, Chewable Teething Bibs, Baby Hat with Earflap, Cozy Fleece Booties, our favorite weighted swaddle and sleep sack: I know these aren’t toys but they have been popular on my Baby’s First Christmas Gift Guide so I wanted to share these here, also. If you’re looking at this guide for present ideas, sometimes practical gifts are nice, too. These bibs are perfect for teething babies because they are soft on the outside but they have a water barrier layer inside the bib (we loved these bibs best for our drooling guy). The bandana bibs are super soft, and I love how they are chewable for teething babies! They were definitely another favorite when Baby E was teething. We loved that brand because the bibs are soooo soft and they are also reversible. We couldn’t live without our swaddle and sleep sacks!! We had our struggles with sleeping through the night and the Nested Bean improved our little guy’s sleep (especially as he got older, he loved his sleep sack!). When he was a baby, we used the weighted swaddle. Once he was old enough for the sleep sack, he used that until he was 2!