The 9 Best Developmental Toys for 6-Month-Olds of 2021

Inspire their senses with these fine-tuned picks

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Our Top Picks

Best Overall: LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy at Amazon

"Sing, play, and dance along with this plush puppy that will help your little one learn first words, feelings, and emotions."

Best Budget: The First Years Stack Up Cups at Amazon

"Your kiddo will love using these eight brightly colored cups for stacking and pouring — while developing their color recognition."

Best for Cognitive: SmartNoggin NogginStik Light-Up Rattle at Amazon

"Enhance baby's cognitive development with this toy, featuring visual tracking, texture for tactile engagement, and a rattle."

Best for Visual Stimulation: Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror at Amazon

"Tummy time just got a lot more engaging with this floor mirror, complete with an attached rattle that baby can grab."

Best for Sensory: Edushape 4-Inch Sensory Balls at Amazon

"Engage baby’s senses and tactile development with this set of sensory balls that are fun for rolling, tossing, and bouncing."

Best Fine Motor Skills: Fat Brain Toys InnyBin Shape Sorting Toy at Amazon

"Perfectly sized for tiny hands, it challenges children to explore the different shapes and textures, enhancing fine motor skills."

Best Cause and Effect: Fisher-Price Monster Pop-Up Surprise at Amazon

"Baby can strengthen their dexterity with every slide or push that makes the silly monster faces pop up. "

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

"Babies can use their growing muscles to improve gross motor skills by playing with this cube and pulling themselves up."

Best for Language: Workman Publishing Company Indestructibles Basic Words Picture Book Set at Amazon

"By listening to the words, they’ll begin to mimic language, grasp repetition, and grow comprehension."

For many 6-month-olds, this is a time of huge growth and development. Some babies will begin babbling, sitting up on their own, or will be starting solid food. Each child is different, so speak with your pediatrician about specific milestones or concerns for your kid. 

To celebrate the major accomplishment of raising your 6-month-old, adding a developmental toy to your child's collection is an appropriate addition. There are many types of development, so consider what’s best for your child and lifestyle.

To help you narrow down your choices, here are the best developmental toys for a 6-month-old on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy

LeapFrog My Pal Scout Plush Puppy

Courtesy of Walmart

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. 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.

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

Best Budget: The First Years Stack Up Cups

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

Best for Cognitive: SmartNoggin NogginStik Light-Up Rattle

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

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

Best for Sensory: Edushape 4-Inch Sensory Balls

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 Shape Sorting Toy

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 Cause and Effect: Fisher-Price Monster Pop-Up Surprise

Learning cause and effect is important as it helps babies realize that their actions result in a response. As babies discover all the ways the monsters pop up, they’ll be learning cause and effect.

Strengthen dexterity with every slide, push, toggle, or turn that makes the silly monster faces pop up. This colorful toy features bright faces and silly noises that will keep your kiddo engaged. 

Batteries: 2AA required | Weight: 1.69 pounds

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

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: Workman Publishing Company Indestructibles Basic Words Picture Book Set

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 for 6-month-old babies. They are versatile, inexpensive, and can be used at the beach, pool, bathtub, playroom, or anywhere else.

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

Age Appropriate

Printed right on the package (or in the product description), most toys give an age range. This is mostly for safety purposes, so find toys that are rated for 6 months old and up. It can be appropriate to choose toys for 1-year-olds so your baby can age into them, but keep an eye out for any small parts or other safety concerns. 

Storage

Depending on your household and preferences, decide how you will store your toy. Is it easy to stash away or does it take up tons of space in your home? Consider the long-term since these toys will likely be around for a while. 

Developmental Needs

Consider what skills you (or your pediatrician) think your child needs to master. All kids are different, so if they are very strong in gross motor skills, maybe choose a toy that boosts fine motor skills. For younger kids, it may be harder to address specific needs, but be aware of the purpose of each toy and help your child use it with a developmental goal in mind. 

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.

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