The 8 Best Developmental Toys for 6-Month-Olds of 2019

Inspire their senses with these fine-tuned picks

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

First Look

Best Overall: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys at Amazon

"Great for developing a variety of skills."

Best Budget: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror at Amazon

"Teaches your baby social skills like reading emotions."

Best for Fine Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads at Amazon

"Can be used as anything your baby’s mind can conjure."

Best for Gross Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Crawl Along Snail at Amazon

"Encourages babies to move in order to be able to touch it."

Best for Sensory Play: Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set at Amazon

"Stimulate all five senses."

Best for Language: "Where Is Baby's Belly Button?" at Amazon

"The narrative keeps young babies engaged in the dialogue."

Best for Developing Cause and Effect: SmartNoggin NogginStik Rattle at Amazon

"This light-up rattle changes colors every time you shake it."

Best for Cognitive Development: Skip Hop Play Mat and Activity Gym at Amazon

"A beautiful, soft playmat with multiple textures."

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

Made from BPA-free plastic, the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys come in a set of eight and are great for development. Stacking and nesting the cups help babies learn fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Playing with them together helps babies understand spatial relationships, and knocking them over teaches them cause and effect.

As an added bonus, the First Years Stack Up Cup Toys are safe to chew on when your baby is teething and have holes in the bottom for water play. Not to mention that the cups, which have numbers imprinted on the bottom, are useful teaching tools for the toddler years and beyond.

Best Budget: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

Measuring at ten inches high, the Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror has an easel back that can easily be propped up on a floor or playmat. The mirror is great for teaching your baby social skills such as reading emotions on faces—his own, or those who join him during playtime.

The mirror also has a ladybug with a black and white spinning ball as a center, which encourages him to practice the fine motor skill of grabbing. A bright yellow bumblebee at the top edge rotates and clicks, encouraging tactile exploration.

Looking for more options? Read our article on the best toys for tummy time.

Best for Fine Motor Skills: Fisher Price Snap-Lock Beads

Featuring twelve brightly colored beads in either geometric or vehicle shapes, the Fisher-Price Snap-Lock Beads are a wonderful tool for encouraging fine motor skills that will later be used in skills such as writing, eating, cutting, and using computer keyboards. The Snap-Lock Beads click together with a satisfying pop. Building chains of the beads develops tiny muscles, as well as hand-eye coordination.

Made of BPA-free plastic, the Snap-Lock Beads are safe to chew on. When locked together in the chain, your baby can drag the beads across the ground, or knock them together. The Snap-Lock Beads are also great for imaginative play—they can be used as crowns, necklaces, leashes for dogs, or anything else your baby’s mind can conjure.

Best for Gross Motor Skills: Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Snail

With features such as a large mirror, bright colors, a light-up face, and the ability to both roll and play music, the Fisher-Price Go Baby Go! 1-2-3 Crawl Along Snail will keep your baby engaged for long stretches of time, developing social, fine motor, gross motor, and language skills in the process. The snail easily rolls on its circular base, encouraging babies to scoot, pull, or crawl around after it.

When the snail is turned on, it emits a variety of sounds and songs that change every time the head of the snail is touched. The rolling mechanism can also be locked to keep the mirror in place for tummy time, or while your baby rolls around clutching it.

Best for Sensory Play: Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set

Consisting of six balls all in different textures, the Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set is a great tool for encouraging sensory play, which helps develop cognitive and physical skills. The balls stimulate all five senses and encourage early movement such as crawling and rolling. They're exactly the right size and texture to be gripped by tiny hands.

Best for Language: Where Is Baby's Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book

An absolute classic, "Where is Baby’s Belly Button?" by Karen Katz is a lift-the-flap book that will help you teach your child the different parts of his body. The flaps are not only sturdy enough to withstand some pulling by tiny hands, but also encourage hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

The narrative is simple and cute, keeping even young babies engaged in the dialogue. Research has proven and time again that reading is one of the most effective tools for language development, as well as for bonding between children and their caretakers.

Need more ideas? Check out our roundup of the best board books.

Best for Developing Cause and Effect: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

Consisting of a tactile, ridged base with a knobby neck and a light-up head, the SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle changes colors every time you shake it, teaching your baby that actions have consequences. Other features include a mirror at the base, and a smiley face on the light-up head, which encourages social interactions with the object.

Learning cause and effect eventually leads to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, which rely on the ability to weigh empirical evidence to come to conclusions.

Best for Cognitive Development: Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym

The Skip Hop Silver Lining Cloud Baby Play Mat and Infant Activity Gym is the toy that has it all. Consisting of a beautiful, soft playmat with multiple textures and colors that encourage sensory and visual development, it also comes with two arches upon which hang a variety of dangling toys. These include a musical sheep toy, an LED light-up star, a squeaky cloud, a bird rattle, and a mirror shaped like the sun.

The variety and texture of the different objects encourage overall cognitive development, which teaches babies to think, explore, and figure the world out. Measuring 36 inches long by 36 inches wide, the Skip Hop Silver Living Cloud Baby Play Mat is a great addition to any home and will keep your baby occupied for many months of brain development.

Take a peek at our reviews of the best baby play mats.

Our Process

Our writers spent 5 hours researching the most popular development toys for 6-month-olds on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 30 different developmental toys overall, screened options from 25 different brands and manufacturers, read over 150 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 4 of the developmental toys themselves. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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