Top Toys for Baby’s First Year

Who doesn’t love shopping for babies?  There are so many options to choose from when looking at toys, products, and clothing.  If you are looking for toys that are fun for babies and will help encourage development then continue reading!


Are you looking for the perfect gift for the baby in your life? Pick a toy that helps encourage development and entertains! Check out this list of top baby toys for babies 0-12 months via Parenting Expert to Mom.

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Best Baby Toys for 0-6 Months



This has to be one of my favorite baby toys of all time!  It is perfect for little ones because it is easy to hold on to  so it makes it easy to explore.  They can use one hand to grab it or hold it in mid-line for a closer look.  It is light weight so babies can shake it all by themselves.  Another great option for balls are ones like these as they provide lots of different textures that your baby will enjoy.


Babies learn through exploring with their mouths and rattles provide a safe option for doing just that.  They fit perfectly into your little one’s hand which allows them to take a closer look.  They can practice grabbing and dropping them which is great to refine small motor skills.  When they give the rattle a shake they are learning about cause and effect.

Shape Sorter

A shape sorter is a very open-ended toy that encourages learning in many different ways.  The shapes are small enough for your baby to hold in their hands and perfect for banging on tables or high chairs.  If you take off the lid your baby can play the very entertaining game of putting things in and dumping them out.  It may seem like a simple concept but it requires your baby a lot of coordination to do just that.  Put the lid back on and show them how to put the shapes in through the holes and you have just made a very challenging but fun game!


Mirror play allows your baby to meet their best friend…themselves!  Make sure you get an unbreakable one like this one.  This is a wonderful way to entertain your baby during tummy time and encourage social skills.  While your baby is laying on a blanket or play mat ( this one would work well)  Just place the mirror in front of them and tell them about the baby they are seeing.


Simple cars like the one pictured above are another one of my tummy time favorites!  Slowly rolling a car like this one front of your baby will encourage them to track it with their eyes which is great for vision skills.  Place it just out of reach and let your baby try to reach for it or squiggle to get it.

Soft Squishy Books


Soft squishy books are one of my all time favorite baby toys!  Reading to your baby is one of the BEST ways to encourage development in ALL areas (read more about early literacy skills .)  From day one I started reading to my son and incorporating a story into our bedtime routine.  He loves books now in his toddler years!

They are versatile because you can take them anywhere to entertain your little one (they even make ones that clip onto your stroller like this one so you don’t lose them!)

Soft Toys


Soft baby toys allow your baby to hold and explore while feeling safe and cuddly.  The ones pictured above are great because they have teethers for feet so your baby can mouth and gnaw them for oral stimulation and it will help soothe sore gums.  If you are looking for a clip on options these ones would work well!

Best Toys for 6-12 Months


Soft Blocks

Soft blocks provide your baby with many different ways to learn.  They are big enough for them to stack by themselves and if they fall down…no one gets hurt!  You can hand them to your baby during diaper changes to feel and explore as many of them have different textures (like these ones).  Show your baby how to bang two blocks together which refines motor skills.

The pictures on the blocks are a great way to encourage early literacy and language skills.  Book time with babies is VERY important but it is also crucial to point out pictures, words, and letters that are found on toys or other objects.  By labeling the pictures you are introducing your baby to lots of new words that they can add to their vocabulary as they begin to talk.

Board Books


The thick pages let your little one learn how to flip pages as they are easier to grasp.  They provide lots of opportunities for your baby to learn new words as you label the pictures for them.  Take their hands and show them how to pat and point at the pictures.  Books are so much more fun when you get to interact with them!

They are perfect for entertaining your baby while sitting at the doctors office or when you are waiting for your food at a restaurant.  To read more about how to encourage early literacy skills click here.

Ring Stacker

This toy encourages problem solving skills as your baby will have to figure out how to get the rings off and put them back on.  Eventually they will even figure out how to put them in order from big to small.  Fine motor skills are refined as your little one has to use their hands to maneuver the rings.  A cup stacker (like this one) uses many of the same concepts as the more traditional model but adds a little twist as well!


Large wooden puzzles are great for your baby to practice grasping. Show your baby how to take the pieces out and put them back in.  Problem solving skills are sharpened as your little one has to try and turn the pieces to fit in their spots.

A great opportunity for you to build vocabulary is presented as your baby will enjoy learning the names of the puzzle pieces.  Sound puzzles (like these) can also be fun for children this age and will help them learn animal and environmental sounds.

Pop Beads

Pop beads build your baby’s hand strength as they pull them apart and push them back together.  One way to encourage your little one to imitate words is by using expressive and fun language around your baby (more ideas on how to encourage language here).  While you are showing your baby how to take them apart say “pop” with excitement.  Your little one will catch on quick to this word as playing with the pop beads allows for lots of repetition.

Activity Walker

Activity walkers provide your baby with a great option to play while sitting or standing.  If your baby is not yet sitting by themselves sit behind them and give support where needed.  When your baby is playing in different positions, different muscles are engaged.  I love that this toy encourages sitting, standing, and walking.  We had this one and got a lot of use out of it.

Pop Up Toys

Did you have this toy when you were a baby?  I did too!  This classic toy has stayed around so long because of how well it entertains while encouraging development.  Your baby uses their problem solving skills to open and shut the doors to see their animal friends.  They are motivated to do it because cause and effect toys are intriguing to babies.  Lots of great ways to encourage language while playing with this toy by modeling animal sounds and names for them.

I hope you enjoyed this list and it has made shopping just a bit easier!

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One Minute Milestones:  How to Encourage Development in Daily Routines

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the baby in your life? Pick a toy that helps encourage development and entertains! Check out this list of top baby toys for babies 0-12 months via Parenting Expert to Mom.


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.

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