Infant Toys That Help with Development

Babies go through development stages as they age by the month. In each development stage, your baby will hit important milestones, and these milestones are critical and part of your baby’s brain and body growth.

These milestones will show you how your baby establishes the physical, social, and cognitive skills. And with these, there are toys that each baby should have to encourage these and further promote development.

For first time parents, it can be a hassle trying to decide which toys to buy as they age by the month. Toys can be expensive when bought without a starting point, and you don’t want to get toys that your baby may not play with or may not even benefit from. Infant toys that help with development are listed below, and are broken down throughout the first year, so you can see which toys you need to get correctly the first time. I did add in toys for the second year as well as a bonus.

0-3 Months

  • The mobile: this two-sided mobile provides months of visual exploration and focus at diaper time
  • Standing card holder: make tummy time more fun wherever you are; folds for easy storage
  • Simple black & white card set: babies are riveted by high contrast images in the early months
  • Travel card holder: give your baby something to look at while your in the car or on the go
  • Complex black & white card set: As your baby’s vision develops, they’ll become interested in more complex patterns
  • Black & white mittens: promotes hand discovery, hand control, and body awareness
  • Wooden book: baby’s first book made with sustainable forested wood
  • Silicone rattle with removable ball: perfect for grasping and learning how to track moving objects and sounds
  • Crinkle bag: practices making sounds, and learns about cause and effect
  • Rolling ball: explores new ways to coordinate senses in feeling, seeing, and hearing all at once
  • Soft book: a tactile book that builds connections between seeing and feeling

4-7 Months

  • Framed mirror: a high-quality mirror for gazing; its a favorite at this age
  • Hand to hand discs: builds motor skills via hand-to-hand transfer, which promotes cross-body coordination
  • Silicone beaded teether: practices with grasping helps babies learn to open and close there hands on there own
  • Spinning rainbow: perfect for practicing fine motor skills and reaching with both hands at once
  • Magic tissue box: babies love to pull tissues out and put them back in as they explore containment
  • Magic tissues: linkable tissues for the tissue box; also fun for peekaboo and mouthing
  • Montessori ball: Purposefully designed to be easy to grasp and move to build dexterity and coordination
  • Play socks: Your baby can build leg strength and body control with these playful socks
  • Tummy time wobbler: make tummy time more fun while building core muscle strength for crawling and walking
  • Ball drop box: builds gross motor skills while learning that something can be there even when they can’t see it
  • ‘Things I see’ texture cards: everyday objects that your baby is getting to know, including some that might become there first words

8-12 Months

  • Nesting stacking drip drop cups: essential to several key concepts including: tower-building, nesting, pouring, and containment
  • First puzzle: starts developing fine motor and problem solving skills
  • Treasure basket: fills basket with items to practice sensing and exploration
  • Drinking cup: drinks from a cup which builds mouth muscles that will be used later for forming sounds
  • First blocks: a classic set of blocks crafted from sustainable forested wood
  • Clear tube with stacking rings and ball: designed to teach concepts like containment and ring stacking
  • Montessori egg cup: the Montessori classic helps your baby work on concentration and coordination
  • Shapes bean bags: builds motor skills while your baby learns about movement and cause and effect
  • Zipper pouch: your baby can place the bean bags in this pouch to carry
  • Little grip canister set: ergonomically designed for little hands where this set teaches about volume
  • Peek-a-boo blanket: grab any blanket and you can play this game with your baby
  • Sliding top box: builds strength, hand-eye coordination, and problem solving skills with this box
  • ‘Animals I see’ mini book: small enough for baby to hold
  • Wooden stacking stones: these colorful wooden pieces help your baby learn the concepts of banging and stacking
  • Pincer puzzle: practices the pincer grasp while working on gross and fine motor skills at the same time
  • Wood coins: uses these coins to practice grasping and containment
  • Opposite balls: explores light versus heavy, and sinking versus floating for fun on the floor or while taking a bath

13-18 Months

  • Slide and seek ball fun: ball rolls down and disappears into a wooden box; a fun lesson in object performance
  • Flexible wooden stacker: learns how things fit together with these colorful stacking rings
  • Circles of friends puzzle: a series of circles is the right challenge for your toddler in this stage
  • Wooden coin bank and coin: manipulating wooden coins into the slot is a fine motor activity your baby will obsess over
  • Nesting felt baskets: crafted for practice with nesting, stacking, and containment
  • Cotton ball: designed to be east to grasp and throw
  • Purple felt ball: soft to catch and fun for hiding
  • ‘Big and little’ mini board book: making this important concept simpler to understand
  • Race and chase ramp: explores motion and direction with our unique side-by-side racing ramp
  • Threadable bead kit: challenge your toddler to practice using both hands with this funky and fun fine motor activity
  • Drawstring bag: a cotton bag for keeping the bead kit tidy
  • Friends of all shapes puzzle: matches and places increasingly complex shapes in building problem-solving skills
  • Fuzzy bug schrub: coordinates both hands to pull, stick, and hide the velcro critters
  • Big kid cotton ball: builds motor skills by kicking and catching with this large cushy ball
  • Mouse in a sleep sack: a soft and friendly distraction for diaper time

19-24 Months

  • The lock box: tinkering with mechanical thinking all on there own, and perfectly portable for problem-solving for those small hands
  • Community garden puzzle: practices the pincer grasp with there first nature puzzle
  • Quilted critter pockets: matching and tucking the cotton critters which will take focus, dexterity, and tenacity
  • Grooved pitcher and glass: a Montessori classic where pouring will take practice which helps hand and eye control
  • Wooden stacking peg board: fits small objects into small spaces while building colorful towers
  • Mosaic button board: works on fine motor strength while making 3D art
  • Montessori animal match: a Montessori sorting game for learning about similarities and differences
  • Large nesting stacking drip drop cups: supersized stacking and water play cups
  • Transfer tweezers and felt stars: picks up these felt stars which is a fine motor pincer activity
  • The buckle barrel: keeps busy with no-pinch buckles while building hand strength, and practicing bilateral coordination on this pillow
  • Chunky wooden jigsaw puzzle: a puzzle that’s easy to hold, and a challenge to solve
  • Two piece puzzles: practices “right side up” with this set of four simple puzzles

Too many toys?

I know it looks overwhelming, and that is OK. All you really need to do is look under the age group your baby/child associates with, and you can take those terms/keywords and search for them online.

By finding these toys specifically to your baby’s developmental needs, it will allow for your baby to become more engaged which only increases their social skills. I am positive that this will only lead in becoming stress free, saving you money and time, and more importantly spending more time with your baby.

Also, you do not need to buy all the toy ideas mentioned, but can only buy a few. See for yourself on how your baby will interact and connect with these toys, and you can always come back and get more. Developmental baby toys are great for babies.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this, and please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.

12 thoughts on “Infant Toys That Help with Development”

  1. As a school teacher who studied child development, I agree with a lot of what you have written here. Children have key areas of learning and development and toys that support learning in several different areas are the most beneficial. Let’s look at wooden blocks. A child has to pick them up to play with them so they develop their physical strength and coordination. All construction toys play a role in early mathematics skills. An adult can add speech by interacting with the child while playing. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Hello and thank you for your comment. These toys can be really beneficial to these little one, and its important parents know which toys to pick out.

      Reply
  2. Great information for new parents! Wish I had this list when my youngest was little- well he’s 3 now so he’s still little lol. We did a lot of Montessori and wooden toys. Would you recommend any specific websites for these toys? Like amazon? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello and thank you for your comment
      I am planning on putting ‘sites’ to where you can purchase these items. There are several toy companies that offer crates with toys depending on their development stage/age. These include happi box, lovevery, and kiwico.

      Reply
  3. Wow, such a rich source of information valuable to anybody with a child. We can still recall the time when got our daughter a ‘Big and little’ mini board book – one of the valuable investments we made for our little one then.

    Thanks for sharing and more power.

    Reply
  4. Wow, it’s going to be tough choosing from the huge list of toys. My niece has just turned 6 months and she’s fancying anything with striking colors. I think she’ll be delighted with a ‘spinning rainbow’. Hopefully, it’s as colorful as what it’s called.

    Reply
    • Hello there and thank you for the comment.
      Yes, lots to choose from, but only pick a few and go from there. You can always go back and grab a few more if your little one did not like the first set you grabbed.

      Reply
  5. Hi Ashraf,

    This is a really nice overview of toys that stimulate development in babies and toddlers.
    I think it helps parents to choose what kind of toys they would like to purchase, with the developmental needs of their child in mind.
    Good idea to put some websites in it where these toys are offered! Maybe, a little image of certain toys would also be nice.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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