The Best Developmental Toys for 6-Month-Olds and Their Delightful Milestones

The LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy tops our list for busy babies

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Best Developmental Toys for 6-Month Olds

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

For many 6-month-olds, this is a time of huge growth and development as some babies will begin babbling, sitting up on their own, or eating solid food. To celebrate these major accomplishments, add a developmental toy to your child's collection. Consider what’s best for your child and lifestyle, while also ensuring the toy is safe by avoiding anything with small pieces that could pose choking hazards.

Reviewed & Approved

The LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy gets your little one moving and learning thanks to dozens of songs, dances, and learning activities. For a toy that doesn’t require batteries, we recommend The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys.

"By six months, a baby is able to roll over and start to sit unassisted. As babies get older, you want developmental toys that encourage your baby to sit up and play, and even start crawling. Once babies become more mobile, they need toys that can keep up," says Laurie Leahey, senior editor at Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM). We researched value, toy safety, and age recommendations when reviewing products.

Here are the best developmental toys to keep your 6-month-old busy learning.

Best Overall: LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy

LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Over 40 lullabies with three time-lengths

  • Can be personalized to say child's name

  • Over 15 learning activities

Cons
  • Programming could use some work

What do buyers say? 87% of 6,700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars.

Sing, play, and dance along with this cute puppy pal that will help your little one learn first words, feelings and emotions, counting, and colors. The LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy is at the top of our list because of the endless ways to play and learning activities. Little kids will enjoy that this sweet guy can be personalized with a parent’s smartphone, tablet, or computer, so the pup will know your kiddo’s name.

When it’s time to transition to quiet time, there’s a lullaby timer with 5, 10, or 15 minutes of bedtime music (with volume control) that’ll soothe and calm your little one. Plus, thanks to Scout's soft and plush fabric, little ones will love snuggling up with their new friend.

Age Recommendation: 6 to 36 months | Batteries: 3 AA batteries (included)

Best Budget: The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

The First Years Stack Up Cups

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Free of BPA, lead, or phthalates

  • Numbers on base encourage counting skills

  • Lightweight for babies, sturdy enough for toddlers

Cons
  • Only toddlers might be able to grip

These eight brightly colored cups can be fun for stacking, pouring, and early number and color recognition. Each cup has different variations of holes in the bottom, so your kiddo will love filling them up and watching the water, sand, or other materials trickle out of the bottom. Easy to keep clean, stacking cups are versatile and budget-friendly toys.

Material: BPA, lead, and phthalates-free plastic | Included: 8 cups | Dimensions: 2.5 x 3.5 x 3.25 inches

What Our Editors Say

"For $5, you can't do better. My daughter loved these simple cups so much, we got a set for our house as well as her grandparents'. The set kept her occupied, whether she was making noise with the cups, stacking them...or just throwing them on the floor!" Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director, Verywell Family 

Best for Cognitive: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

5
SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Free of BPA, PVC, phthalates, or lead

  • Color-changing lights for visual tracking skills

  • Mirror on bottom for early self-recognition and vision skills

  • Textured body encourages sense of touch

Cons
  • Plastic design could deter some

Increase cognitive development with this multi-purpose toy. Each Noggin Head has color-changing lights that are activated when batted by the baby's hand. The eyes on the face encourage visual tracking, texture on the toy’s body provides tactile engagement, a built-in rattle increases audio engagement, and a mirror on the bottom helps babies see themselves.

Included with the toy is a parent’s guide to monitoring milestones. 

Material: BPA, PVC, lead, and phthalate-free plastic | Batteries: 3 LR44 batteries required (included)

Best for Visual Stimulation: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Easy to set up

  • Rattle and crinkly bee encourage development of touch

  • Mirror stimulates early self-recognition and vision skills

Cons
  • Construction of mirror could deter some

Tummy time just got a lot more engaging (and cute!) with this floor mirror made just for babies. Easy to set up, the easel-shaped mirror stands on the floor while the mirror engages the baby's developing vision. Curious kids will love grabbing for the rotating, clicking, and crinkly bee and ladybug rattle that are both attached to the mirror. 

Weight: 6.4 ounces | Size: 11.5 x 11.5 x 4.25 inches

What the Experts Say

"Milestones at six months relate to the child’s ability to start interacting with the world.  This means recognizing their own faces and faces of important people in their lives.  Children at this age develop an interest in seeing themselves, and I like toys with mirrors that allow themselves the opportunity to see their face in different contexts." Daniel Marston, PhD, ABPP, clinical psychologist

Best for Sensory: Edushape See-Me 4-Inch Sensory Balls

Edushape See-Me 4-Inch Sensory Balls

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Can be rolled, gripped, tossed, and bounced

  • Easy-gripping nubby texture for tactile development

  • Bright colors for visual recognition skills

Cons
  • Some might find it not entirely stimulating

Engage baby’s senses and tactile development with this set of four sensory balls that are fun for rolling, gripping, tossing, and bouncing. The bright color design and nubby surface make these versatile toys for kids of all ages, so they’re perfect for young kids and their older siblings. Parents appreciate that they come perfectly inflated so they’re easy for little hands to grab and grip. 

Materials: BPA and phthalate-free plastic | Size: Four balls, each is 4 x 4 x 4 with an 11-inch circumference

Best Fine Motor Skills: Fat Brain Toys InnyBin

Fat Brain Toys InnyBin

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Textured chunky blocks for grip and touch

  • Stimulates fine motor skills

  • Different styles of blocks for shapes learning

Cons
  • Straps on box might restrict some hands

  • A bit more expensive

Babies will love exploring the textures of the six chunky blocks that are sized just right for little hands. Children are challenged to push the different shapes through the elastic bands of the cube, encouraging fine motor skills, tactile exploration, and experimentation. A versatile toy, kids can put other toys in the bin and it’s all self-contained. 

Size: 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches | Shape measurement: 2 inches

Best Gross Motor Skills: ALEX Toys Discover My Busy Town Activity Cube

ALEX Toys Discover My Busy Town Activity Cube

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Improves gross motor skills

  • Offers a full-body engagement

  • Five sides of various learning activities

Cons
  • Construction could use some work

Babies can use their large muscles to improve gross motor skills by playing with this cube, sitting at it, pulling themselves up, and eventually standing at the sturdy wooden toy. The five sides of fun include curvy wire rides, peek-a-boo doors, spin and match animals, ABC tiles, and more. While it’s recommended for ages 12 months old and up, most 6-month-old babies can begin playing with this toy and will age into it. 

Measurement: 16 x 12 x 12 inches | Weight: 13 pounds

Best for Language: Indestructibles Basic Word Book Set

Indestructibles Basic Word Book Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 100% washable

  • Made from rip- and tear-proof material

  • Can be chewed and pulled on without ruining

Cons
  • Can get a bit wrinkly after washes

An easy way to boost language development and bonding with children is through reading books together. By listening to the words, they’ll begin to mimic language, grasp repetition, and grow their comprehension skills.

This set of six books are super durable and a great way to introduce simple concepts about the world around them. Each book reflects a simple theme and is accompanied by beautiful illustrations. The best part is that these books are made of 100% tear and rip-proof material that can be machine washed.

Included: 6 books | Material: Synthetic, rip, and tear-proof material that’s 100% washable

Final Verdict

You can’t go wrong with The First Years Stack Up Cups, designed for babies 6 months old and up. They are versatile, inexpensive, and can be used at the beach or pool, in the bathtub or playroom, or anywhere else.

How We Selected the Best Developmental Toys for 6-Month-Olds

We chose the best developmental toys for 6-month-olds by researching reviews from customers and competitors, and we studied the features of more than a dozen products on the market. We considered price, design, features, ease of cleaning, age recommendations, and material when deciding our picks. We also consulted with Laurie Leahey, senior editor at Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM), and clinical psychologist Daniel Marston, PhD, ABPP, for any considerations or product recommendations while reviewing guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on toy buying safety.

What to Look for in a Developmental Toy for a 6-Month-Old

Safety

When you’re shopping for toys for a 6-month-old, think large—meaning you don’t want a toy that has pieces small enough to fit in the baby’s mouth. Also, avoid toys made with bean-like pellets, loose stuffing, and toxic materials. Pellets or loose stuffing can cause suffocation or choking if ingested while toxic materials may be poisonous.

"If your baby is mobile, block stairs, cover electrical outlets, lock low cabinet doors, and take other appropriate precautions to keep your baby from getting into something or somewhere they shouldn't be," says Laurie Leahey, senior editor at Toys, Tots, Pets & More (TTPM). "Parental supervision is also really important during playtime. That helps keep baby safe, but parent interaction also helps babies develop language skills and promotes the parent-child relationship."

Developmental Milestones

At 6 months old, a lot of exciting developmental milestones are happening, and many of them can be achieved through play.

  • The First Years Stack Up Cups are great for the cognitive skill of passing things from one hand to another. 
  • For language and communication development, try the LeapFrog My Pal Scout, which helps little ones learn vowel sounds
  • When babies look at themselves in a mirror, such as with the Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror, they are working on social and emotional development.

Types of Play 

Clinical psychologist Daniel Marston, PhD, ABPP, recommends "toys that do not limit available activities to one or two things but allow for a variety. In my opinion, this allows the child to develop curiosity and individuality." He continues, "the most important thing that toys offer for children during infancy and the first half of their first year is the ability to not only start to distinguish objects but to interact with the world as soon as they are able."

Understanding your child’s milestones will give you an idea of what steps you need to take to further develop their skills. Parents and caregivers should look for toys that allow babies to explore cause and effect, stimulate the senses, and support fine and gross motor development.

"Interact with the child when using toys, but do not direct the child in using toys," Marston says. "This lets the child develop skills in their own individual way and builds curiosity while fostering individuality."

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What type of toys should my 6-month-old have?

    “When choosing toys for any age group, it is best to consider what developmental milestones are happening with your baby at that time,” says Neela Sethi, MD, lactation expert, MAM Baby ambassador, pediatrician, and mom. Dr. Neela says that at this point in time, babies are usually starting to sit up, and can transfer objects between their hands. They also love sounds. “Toys that play music when buttons are pushed are a great option,” says Dr. Neela. “Stacking blocks, toys where you have to put objects into a container, balls, and toys that have texture or are crinkly are also fun at this age.”

  • What toys are developmentally appropriate for a 6-month-old?

    Dr. Neela reminds parents that babies are growing fast at this age, and their interest levels may change rapidly along with their development. “Six-month-old babies love toys that play music, activity boxes, and toys with texture,” she says. “They tend to do a lot of teething at this age so don’t forget the importance of teething toys! MAM teethers massage and cool sore gums and the outer texture stimulates sense of touch,” she adds. At this age, babies also especially love soft books, balls, stacking rings or cups, and blocks.

  • What should 6-month-old babies play with?

    At six months, your baby is excited to be exploring the world around them. Try to find toys that are safe for them to chew on, as well as fun toys that play music or make sounds in response to your child's actions (like pressing a button). “They love balls and things that move,” says Dr. Neela. “It is also fun to stack at this age or place items in a container. As they grow, babies will gravitate to activity centers and push toys.” At this age, toys can be fairly simple, and something as straightforward as a ball can provide hours of entertainment. Toys and books provide valuable stimulation to help your baby develop.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, 7-year-old son, and 3-year old daughter. Her favorite toys for younger kids are simple toys that have longevity and might be enjoyed by older siblings too like stacking toys and book sets.

Additional reporting by Ashley Ziegler

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. How to buy safe toys.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: Your baby by six months.

  3. Rosenberg RA, Butler RA. Sound as a reinforcer for infants’ manipulations of toysJ Speech Hear Disord. 1982;47(3):292-295. doi:10.1044/jshd.4703.292

  4. Kim ET, Lillie M, Gallis J, et al. Correlates of early stimulation activities among mothers of children under age two in Siaya County, Kenya: Maternal mental health and other maternal, child, and household factorsSocial Science & Medicine. 2021;287:114369. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.114369

By Maya Polton
Maya has more than 15 years of experience in digital media and communications and specializes in writing about family, food, and lifestyles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Tufts University and a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications from Northwestern University.