How to Pick Toys That Will Encourage Your Baby’s Development

When you are a new mom it can be overwhelming to see all of the toys, gadgets, and supplies that you need to survive baby’s first year.

Which toys will your baby actually use and which ones should you skip?

Simple toys that actually encourage development are some of the best ones you can buy for your new baby or a mom that will be expecting a new baby soon.  How can you spot a toy that will actually engage a baby and help them learn?

Here are some tips to keep in mind when shopping for infant toys:

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the baby in your life? Use these simple tips to select toys that will encourage your baby's development and won't break the bank. Shopping for infants made easy!

(This post contains affiliate links.  To read our full disclosure policy click here.)

No Flashing Lights Required


Toys do not need to light up and make noise in order to be entertaining to your child.  These pricey toys can actually be overstimulating to babies which makes for an unhappy infant.  You can have a couple of this type of toy, but you do not need them to help your baby learn.

Toys That Are Engaging


When you are looking for toys think about toys that will make your baby reach or grab.  They need to be interesting to babies but small enough for them to grab on to.  A simple rattle (these are my favorite) is great because it is easy for baby to reach and hold on to.  Baby play mats can also provide your baby with a stimulating environment that provokes them to interact with it by reaching and grabbing (this is the one I had for my son.)

Cause and Effect


Cause and effect toys are wonderful for babies because they motivate them to interact with them.  These are toys that have an effect after baby initiates an interaction with it such as shaking a rattle which  causes it to make noise.  Another example would be pushing a car (like this one) that pops balls in order to make a fun sound. These toys do not require batteries…just simple interaction!  These toys are wonderful for encouraging cognitive development (read more about cognitive development here.)

Toys That Grow With Your Baby


Look for toys that your infant will be able to use for a long time.  This will keep down the clutter at your house and save you money.

For example, a classic ring stacker (like this) you can use from very early on and continues to be fun as your baby gains skills.  Your young infant can at first just practice holding and mouthing the rings as they are very light weight.  It encourages two-handed skills as your baby explores it.

As your baby gets older they can learn how to bang the rings on a table or at their high chair.  Then they progress to learning how to put the rings on the stacker.  Lastly, they learn to put the rings in the correct order and learn the names of the colors.

One simple toy that teaches lots of skills all within babies first year!

Sensory Experiences


Babies use their senses to learn.  They take in information visually by looking around.  Auditory information is taken in by listening to sounds in their environment.   Why do babies always put things in their mouth?  Because they use their mouth to learn as well!

When looking for toys look for ones that engage their senses.

For example an unbreakable mirror (like this one) is perfect to engage your infant visually.  Pick out toys with lots of textures for them to explore with their hands and mouth (like these balls.)  Toys that they can crunch with their hands that make a fun sound are great for auditory input (like these crinkle toys.)

Toys That Entertain Anywhere


Toys that are engaging that can be played with ANYWHERE make life easier!  Keep the tips in mind that were listed earlier and then choose toys that are easy to pack in your diaper bag or toss in the car.  You want toys available for when you go to a restaurant, grocery shopping, or something you can take with to grandma’s house.  Small soft books (like these) are excellent options because they are small, engaging, and easy to clean!  Toys that you can hook on to your stroller (like this one) are great because you won’t lose them!

What are some of your baby’s favorite toys?  Let me know in the comments below or find me on Facebook!

Related Posts You Will Enjoy

7 Essential Toys to Encourage Development 0-6 Months

Motor Skills:  How to Encourage from 3-6 Months

5 Fun Bath Toys to Encourage Development

Social Skills:  What to Expect 3-6 Months

Complete Guide to Cognitive Development: 0-6 Months

About Kayla ONeill

This is me and my beautiful bouncing baby boy! Before my little guy arrived I earned a Bachelor's degree in Special Education Birth to 21 as well as my Masters in Education. For six years I worked as an Early Interventionist serving children and families from birth to age three before becoming a stay at home mom to be with my son.

2 comments on “How to Pick Toys That Will Encourage Your Baby’s Development

  1. These are great tips. It’s good to be wise in choosing toys that help stimulate development especially for the littlest ones!

Thank You! I appreciate your comment!