Having a new baby can be a magical, exhausting, and curious experience. Each day your baby changes just a little bit more. As your baby becomes more alert and gains more physical control, you may be eager to start engaging in play. There are many baby toys on the market aimed at enhancing the learning experience for your infant. We’ve rounded up the 15 best baby toys 0-6 months to keep your little one happy and engaged.
With each passing month, you’ll notice that their awake times begin to extend and you’ll be able to interact with them more beyond the eat-sleep-change cycle that feels never-ending.
As their wake windows increase, you’ll notice them begin to take in more of the world around them. They are most interested in high-contrast objects, in black and white or primary colors. If you haven’t yet delved into the world of colorful, bright baby toys, prepare yourself.
Pre-kid, I told myself that there was no way I was going to allow ugly primary colored toys into my home. And then I had my son and learned about how these bright colors actually stimulate brain development, so alas, here we are in a sea of bright colors.
Ways To Play
Newborns can see about 8 inches away from them, just about the distance from their face to yours when snuggled up in your arms.
Simply speaking and making expressive faces and eye contact is a way to interact with them as they start to explore the connection between the sounds of your voice and emotion. Using toys that can be seen within this visual range is useful.
Best baby toys for 0-6 months: Play Gyms
Image Source: lovevery.com
I personally love a play mat with an arch, like this one from Lovevery. It provides a soft, safe surface to place your baby where they can move their limbs to stretch and explore. The toys along the arch provide visual stimulation and eventually something for them to practice their reach and grasping skills.
Infant Learning Toys: Flash Cards
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Don’t worry, we aren’t asking you to start quizzing your baby on their knowledge! But “flash cards” like these high contrast cards stimulate visual development. You can place them around the play mat, hold them up, or even tape them to the back seat while in the car seat.
On The Go Toys
Image Source: Target.com
Clip on toys that can be attached to the play gym, stroller, or car seat that are colorful and whimsical are a hit as well. They are visually appealing to your baby and offer a variety of places to reach and grab, different colors and textures and some even make noise with crinkle paper or bells.
Image Source: Bedbathandbeyond.com
Babies love mirrors! They get to observe their own faces, although they don’t know yet that it’s their own face, and see how light can play in reflection. Placing a mirror on the floor during tummy time is a good way to make tummy time more enjoyable.
Lifting their head to gaze at the mirror while on their bellies will develop muscular strength in the neck as well as cervical spinal development.
Image Source: Target.com
Practicing grasp is an important part of baby development. Enticing them to reach and grab objects help to develop their muscles. You may notice that your baby was born with quite a strong grip! Just let them grab onto your finger and you’ll see what I mean.
You may also observe that they have a hard time letting go. As they practice holding toys, and your finger, they will begin to get the hang of letting go as well.
Rattles that make noise will also encourage babies to learn how to coordinate their arm movements to make it make noise. You can hold the rattle and slowly move it in different directions to encourage eye movement coordination.
Image Source: Amazon.com
Texture is a fabulous way to introduce sensation to babies. They love to explore with their hands and their mouths. Bringing different textures into play can lead to a fun sensory experience.
Whatever items you choose, ensure that they are mouth safe with no small parts that could become choking hazards. Balls with bumpy surfaces and crinkly papers all give your baby physical feedback about the world around them.
They learn that some things feel and sound different, as well as how they feel in their hand. Even simply running a tissue across their face brings about new sensations.
Plush toys, like stuffed animals and this sheepskin bear, can feel nice against a baby’s soft skin. Not only can they hold them in their hands, but you can play with the sensation of rubbing them against their arms or body. Using strokes that cross the midline of the body also encourages brain development and proprioception.
Other infant learning toys: Books
Image Source: Manhattantoy.com
Reading to your baby helps develop language skills. Even at this young age reading is beneficial for your baby’s brain development even if they can’t fully comprehend the words and stories.
As a parent/ child dyad you begin to build reading into your daily routine. There are many soft books that are age-appropriate, full of bright colors, bold shapes, and textures. They are even mouth safe for babies who like to put everything in their mouth (another way that babies experience sensation and explore their world).
Gifts for infants: Musical Toys
Image Source: Bedbathandbeyond.com
Babies love music. It stimulates their senses and cognitive development. Toys like this kick piano are fun for supervised crib or mat time.
On the other end of the audio spectrum, rainmaker toys provide a more delicate auditory experience while still big on the visual experience (some of the best baby toys 0-6 months). A musical pull toy is a great option for strollers and car seats as well.
Toys can be a fun way to interact with your baby as well as allow them the opportunity to explore freely on their own.
With so many toys on the market, it can be hard to know what’s right for your baby. Like adults, babies have preferences too and will certainly let you know if they like something or not.
Don’t get discouraged if they aren’t interested in something right away. It may take a few tries, a different developmental stage, or just feeding and napping to shift their mood.
Have fun, explore and delight in how quickly your baby learns and changes!
By: Erin Pasquet
Birth and Postpartum Doula
Certified Lactation Counselor
Pre/Post Natal Yoga Teacher