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Best Toys for Kids: Infants Under 1 Year

Laura Hahn

There are so many toys out there for kids, and as a parent it can be overwhelming choosing which ones to get for your child. We tend to gravitate toward more educational toys that will be actively used for at least a few months and have a few purposes; unfortunately you never know what your child will end up liking. Here’s a list of our top 10 favorite toys for infants up to a year old. Check back next week for the top toys we like for age 1-2, and the week after for 2-3 years.

  1. Baby Activity Gym. This is great for infants to practice tummy time starting on day 1, especially if it comes with a small pillow they can prop up on. Ideally the gym has loops to attach toys to practice grabbing, as well as a mirror. This can be used for several months as baby starts to roll over, reach and grab for things, and sit up.

  2. Plastic teething rings. These are super cheap and very versatile. Baby can gnaw on these as she pre-teeths starting as early as 3-4 months, and if you link them together they make a great rattle as well. These are super easy to attach to a car seat or stroller and (bonus!) won’t be thrown to the ground since they stay attached.

  3. O-ball with rattle. This is super easy for babies to grasp and shake due to the holes, and the rattle makes a fun noise. It also makes another great teething toy, and you can even start teaching baby about the flow of communication by rolling the ball back and forth with her. Perfect for developing hand-eye coordination.

  4. Sophie the Giraffe. There’s a reason Sophie has been around for almost 60 years--her ridges and legs specifically are a great teething toy (see a theme here?) for incoming 1-year-old molars. She’s also great for practicing grasping and playing, since she also squeaks.

  5. Board Books. The AAP recommends reading to children when they are infants to promote language skills and literacy development. As baby gets older, encourage him to help turn the pages (board book pages are easier to turn and more durable than paper books). Interactive books that have flaps baby can pull like this are super fun for them around 9-12 months.

  6. Mozart Cube. This cube is a fantastic way to help baby learn to sit up, as it is the perfect height and shape. Leaning on the cube helped my LO work on his ab muscles and go from a tripod sit starting at 4 months to eventual full sitting up soon thereafter. The cube also has lights (an obsession for many babies), big push buttons, and a variety of (not annoying) music, which is stimulating for baby.

  7. Stacking Rings. There are so many versions of this, including stacking cups, but whichever you choose will still be a great toy. Help baby start learning about size and order, along with hand-eye coordination and depth perception.

  8. High Chair Suction Toy. This has saved us during mealtime to help baby sit long enough to finish eating. We’ve even used it into early toddlerhood to help our son sit while the adults finish up their dinner. The suction works well so it doesn’t keep falling off the tray (just make sure to wet it before attaching), and the bright colors, movement, and rattle noises are stimulating for baby. Because it’s fairly small and light, you can even use it (without suction) as a take along toy when out and about.

  9. Soft Blocks. These are a great toy for baby to grab, chew, and throw. They love the crinkly or bell sounds, and as she gets older, eventually she will learn to stack the blocks herself.

  10. Push Walker. This toy is perfect to encourage babies to start walking. Many of them have toys or little extras on the front that baby can play with, both before and during the walking stage. If propped against a hard surface so it can’t move, it encourages the pre-walker to sit, kneel, or even stand while playing with it. Once he’s cruising and steadier on his feet, it’s a great tool to help get those first steps going, though it can roll pretty fast on non-carpeted floors, so be sure to supervise him.

Do you have any other favorite toys for infants that you would add to this list? Let us know in the comments!