Buying baby toy gifts is so much fun because if you get it right, you can really see the happiness and excitement in the baby’s eyes and reaction – even for quite young infants.
Baby toys are good not only for fun and distraction but also for learning and development.
In this post, I have gathered ideas on toys for babies based on their age. Of course, they grow and develop (too) fast, so sometimes, buying something that’s a little too advanced right now, is the best.
To learn more about baby development month by month, click here.
Note: The product links below are to Amazon, where you can see images of the products and read other parents’ reviews. The links will open in a new window so that you won’t lose this article while taking a look at the products.
Baby Toy Gifts Ideas
0-3 months baby toys
The newborn baby doesn’t really need any toys. He/she needs only you! Being close to mom and dad is a favorite occupation. Soon enough, though, babies will discover their hands, making colorful baby bracelets and rattles fun baby toy gifts.
For some stimulation, invest in a baby musical mobile to hang over your baby’s crib or changing table. It has to have bright colors and patterns to be interesting. The best one I’ve ever seen and used is the Tiny Love Classic Mobile.
It plays for 20 minutes and all the colors and shapes are so interesting for the baby that he or she can easily look at it for 15-30 minutes. If you have older siblings or plan on having siblings, later on, this is invaluable. I could put our 18 months older daughter to bed while our infant had a great time looking at this mobile.
Brightly colored finger puppets can be a fun variation when playing to train the baby’s eyes muscles as described above.
A baby play mat can also be a good baby toy gift, if not now then soon. It is not a necessity but might make your baby a bit more positive to the tummy time.
Nice toys to look at in the stroller are also fun.
For the 2-3 month-old baby, buy a baby play gym. You don’t have to buy an expensive one because it will only last as a toy for a few months. (Unless you plan for siblings, of course…)
A baby-safe unbreakable mirror can be fun for the 3-month-old.
3-6 months baby toys
At three months old or so, the potential for buying fun baby toy gifts explode! The baby is now more awake, has a better vision, and is gaining control over his body. Great fun!
With the new abilities to put everything into his mouth, your baby will enjoy all sorts of rattles and small stuffed animals.
Make sure they have some tiny part sticking out – tail, nose or something, that can be sucked upon. My children have become furious after a while when they have tried to put a too big toy into their mouths.
And whatever you do, don’t cut off the little piece of cloth with washing instructions (unless, of course, they might fall off). Chances are your baby will love these little pieces of cloth even more than the actual toy!
A baby-safe unbreakable mirror, so that your baby can talk to “another” baby, while on the floor is fun. Balls and toys that make sounds are exciting.
If your baby likes jumping on your lap, a baby jumper can be a real success. If using one of these, be very sure to read the instructions, so that you use it in a safe way. And never leave your baby unattended. Also, you should not use one of these until your baby is quite steady standing up (although not without support, of course).
A roly-poly toy that rights up itself is a fun new toy to introduce now, particularly if your baby has learned to sit or support himself on his elbows when lying on his tummy.
Toys that make sounds when you shake them, turn them around, or squeeze them, are good now when your baby can use both his hands.
Does your baby like walking? My daughter decided that walking was all she wanted to do at six months. Not that she could!
I had to choose between walking with her more or less every minute she was awake or listen to her angry screams. So tiresome! Then I bought a baby walker, what a relief!
Walkers are considered not good as they will not help your baby learn how to walk faster. They can also be dangerous if your baby is left unattended in the walker. They can reach much higher and they can run into things. But as a baby toy gift – great for young, impatient walking babies!
6-9 months baby toys
Between 6 and 9 months old, most babies learn to sit without support and they start to move around one way or the other. Time for new baby toy gifts!
A high chair is of course not a toy, but it is a great place to sit and play with toys. If you haven’t already bought one, get one now. One of my favorites is Stokke Tripp Trapp, a Norwegian design chair that can be used until your child is old enough to sit on a regular chair. It’s not cheap but it is practically unbreakable.
Picture books with pictures of things that your baby can relate to, like toys or house pets are good baby toy gifts right now. Show the picture to your baby and tell him what it is.
If you haven’t needed it before, a baby walker is now likely to be fun for your baby and a relief for you. Just don’t leave your baby unattended! There are, however, many views as safety issues to consider when it comes to baby walkers, so use them wisely. They will not teach your child to walk!
If your baby can sit up without support, a ball is fun. Help your baby roll it back and forth between you and him. Any other toys that can roll or move are also fun, such as cars.
Musical toys that make sounds when banged together are fun, like a small drum, cymbals, or castanets. Just make sure that they are not too loud.
A very annoying toy (for adults) that our babies really liked at this age was Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Learning Puppy
(shown in the picture).
If you press different parts of its face and body, the puppy starts singing or rhyming in a (too) cheerful voice.
At 2 years old, our baby (now a gorgeous toddler) still used the puppy as a dance partner. Value for money, even if the voice drove me crazy sometimes.
If your baby is not moving around yet, or if your little one likes to take a break now and then, a baby gym that he can use sitting up, maybe a good baby toy gift.
Also, to press a phone or a baby piano might be fun.
9-12 months baby toys
When your baby is approaching his first birthday, he is likely to have developed a pincer grasp. He understands and even may say a few words and moves around the house crawling, walking, or some other way. Many babies love to walk holding mom’s hand, for hours and hours…
A push toy, like a walker, can be great fun. The best ones at this age, I think, are those where you can control how easily the wheels roll.
If your baby likes sitting still for a while, shape sorters can be fun. Choose an easy one, though, or your baby will lose his interest. Stacking blocks may also be fun. There are some toys that can be used both for sorting and stacking. Some sort of stacking cups is great! Your baby can build a tower or try to figure out which cup can be put in which. A great learning toy!
When 10-month-old, one of our kids absolutely loved her toy phone. It wasn’t even a mobile phone, but if made funny sounds and you could talk to the receiver – like mom does…
Don’t forget the lovey. If your baby hasn’t chosen one yet and you want to have a say, introduce a stuffed animal that you like, think is safe and that can be washed again and again…
One of the best baby toy gifts our children have received at this age is the ball tower from Fisher-Price, in the picture. It has the longest name: Fisher-Price Baby Playzone: Pull Up Ball Blast. Who made that name up!?
I would never have bought it if it wasn’t for the recommendation from another mother. All kids seem to like it! It is very difficult to find one these days, unfortunately, but if you do, buy it!
There are alternatives too, like this one!
I hope this was helpful! If you have additional tips on great toys for babies, please share by leaving a comment below!
Paula Dennholt founded Easy Baby Life in 2006 and has been a passionate parenting and pregnancy writer since then. Her parenting approach and writing is based on studies in cognitive-behavioral models and therapy for children and her experience as a mother and stepmother. Life as a parent has convinced her of how crucial it is to put relationships before rules. She strongly believes in positive parenting and a science-based approach.
Paula cooperates with a team of pediatricians that you find here. They write or review all health-related articles.