baby with giraffe soft toy

How to find age-appropriate baby toys for your little one?

Posted by Emma weldon on

From teasing out those adorable little giggles to sharing new experiences and quality time with your baby - age-appropriate baby toys play an important role in both facilitating quality ‘playtime’ and supporting the bond between both parent and baby in their early years. Finding the right age-appropriate toys can also support your little one’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and social development as they grow.

However, not all baby toys are created equal and finding the right options that are both fun and stimulating at your baby’s stage of development can be more challenging than first meets the eye. Not least because babies grow up so quickly!

Many first-time parents also lack the experience to know which baby toys are appropriate at each stage of their little one’s development or underestimate the importance of age-appropriate toys for their baby’s safety or learning altogether.

Whether you are here for advice, because you’re considering age-appropriate baby toys for your own child, or because you’re simply searching for a gift for a baby in your family or friendship circle, then this article is for you.

Taggies Crinkle Me Elephant by Mary Meyer - Bumbles & Boo

At Bumbles and Boo, we’re not just experts in baby toys and gifts. We’re also parents ourselves. This makes us ideally placed to help you find the most appropriate toys for your little one, no matter their stage of development. In this article we explore some of the reasons why age-appropriate baby toys are so important, as well as some useful advice on which baby toys to look out for at different ages and stages of their development.

 

Why are age-appropriate baby toys important for my little one’s development?

Before diving straight into specific baby toy recommendations for your baby’s age, it's important to first take a moment to appreciate the different stages of your baby’s development.

Babies all develop at different rates, but there are general milestones that most reach within certain age ranges. These milestones include physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development.

  • Physical development - refers to a child's gross and fine motor skills. Gross motor skills involve large muscle movements, such as crawling, walking, and jumping, while fine motor skills involve smaller muscle movements, such as picking up objects and using utensils.
  • Cognitive development - refers to a child's ability to think, learn, and problem-solve. It includes skills such as memory, attention, and language development.
  • Social and emotional development - refers to a child's ability to interact with others and manage their emotions. It includes skills such as empathy, cooperation, and self-regulation.

Age-appropriate baby toys are important as they match a child's developmental stage and emerging abilities. Selecting the right toys for your baby’s age not only ensures they are safe using that toy, but also ensures better engagement and stimulation for their stage of development. They encourage babies to explore, learn, and develop new skills.

Toys that are too advanced or too simple for a baby’s age run the risk of being frustrating or uninteresting for your baby, which could hinder their development. They may also have elements to them that may be unsafe or a choking hazard.

 

So, what are the best age-appropriate toys for my baby?

Now that we understand the importance of age-appropriate toys, let's explore specific recommendations for each age group.

Toys for Newborns (0-3 Months)

Steiff Sleep Well Pink Bear Grip Toy Rattle

Newborns are just beginning to explore the world through their senses. Therefore, newborn sensory toys and baby toys that stimulate their senses of touch, sight, and hearing are ideal. Look for infant sensory toys with high-contrast patterns, soft textures, gentle sounds, and those that encourage bonding with caregivers.

Examples:

  • Baby comforters that are colourful and soft to the touch

  • Colourful and engaging pram toys

  • Soft toys and textured toys with minimal ‘attached’ items that could be choking hazards and different textures for sensory exploration.

  • Very young / age-appropriate baby books with high-contrast images such as black and white books can be captivating for newborns.

  • Simple toys that play soft music or gentle sounds to soothe and entertain your newborn.

  • Baby rattles that are easy-to-grasp, with soft textures, and gentle sounds.

 

Toys for 3 Month Olds

Baby Einstein Cal Peekaboo Blanket

Three-month-old babies are often starting to become more aware of their surroundings. They are often now able to reach and grasp, developing their hand-eye coordination. Baby toys for three-month-olds that encourage reaching, grabbing, and tracking movements are ideal.

Examples:

  • High contrasting and brightly coloured toys to help aid visual development.

  • Colourful and engaging taggie toys

  • Soft toys, fabric balls, or toys with easy-to-grab handles.

  • Crinkle toys, such as soft toys that make a ‘crinkling’ sound when squeezed for auditory stimulation.

  • Some soft or cloth baby books that are interactive and tactile to encourage exploration.

  • Age-appropriate activity matts with colourful dangling or hanging baby toys to help encourage batting, grasping, and reaching.

 

Toys for 6-Month-Old Babies

peter rabbit jack-in-the-boxBy six months old, babies are mastering their grasping skills and may be sitting up with support. They are curious and love exploring cause and effect. Infant toys for six-month-olds that encourage sensory exploration, fine motor skills, and interactive play are excellent choices.
Examples:
  • Soft and textured teething toys that are suitable for biting and which soothe sore gums.

  • Comforter and pram toys with high contrast and plenty of interactive features

  • Baby toys that encourage stacking and sorting, such as stacking rings

  • Activity cubes or toys with various textures, shapes, and activities.

  • Soft sensory toys or balls with different textures that allow for tactile exploration.

  • Teddy bears and soft animal friends.

 

Toys for 9-Month-Olds

Examples:

  • Push and pull’ toys that encourage pulling, walking, or crawling.

  • Toys that introduce basic shapes and problem-solving such as shape sorters.

  • Plastic stacking cups for building and pouring.

  • Interactive activity tables with simple buttons, switches, or music.

  • Soft toys or stuffed animals for nurturing play and comfort.

 

Toys for One-Year-Olds

Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Rabbit Wooden Toy

By their first birthday, children are often walking or well on their way towards doing so. They are more coordinated and interested in exploring their environment. Educational toys for one-year olds that encourage active play, imaginative thinking, and sensory experiences are perfect for this age.

Examples:

  • Toy cars or trucks for pushing and ‘zooming’ around.

  • Early learning toys such as shape sorters, perhaps with lids (advanced shape sorters help to encourage problem-solving).

  • Wooden building blocks that babies can use for stacking and building.

  • Simple puzzles with larger, easy-to-grasp pieces.

  • ‘Pretend’ play sets to encourage more advanced playtime (e.g. toy kitchen sets, doctor kits, or tool sets).

 

Toys for 18-Month-Olds

Wooden Toy Xylophone - Teddy Bear

At 18 months, toddlers are more independent and may even be starting to imitate their adult parents. At this age they also tend to have better hand-eye coordination and enjoy toys that challenge their growing skills. Look for 18-month-old baby toys that promote pretend play, creativity, and their fine motor skills.

Examples:

  • Dress up clothes or costumes for imaginative play and role-playing.

  • Some simple and large, washable crayons with paper for creative expression.

  • Musical instruments such as percussion instruments that make a sound when hit, shaken, or scraped. 

  • Wooden or plastic puzzles with more pieces and pegs for gripping.

  • More advanced shape sorters with multiple openings.

  • Outdoor baby toys, such as ‘ride on’ toys, balls, or an age-appropriate sand and water play set.

 

Looking for baby toys?

blue dinosaur soft toy

As you explore the wonderful world of age-appropriate toys for your little one, remember that every baby develops at their own pace and each stage of development is a new adventure.

If you're looking for a delightful selection of beautifully crafted toys designed to inspire curiosity, check out our baby toy collection. From soft toys and stuffed animals to sensory toys, pram toys, rattles, baby books, and jigsaws, there's something special for your baby at every stage of their development.

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About the Author

Emma Weldon

Emma Weldon is a mum, photographer & small business owner. She is passionate about helping babies and families have the best possible start in life.

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