The 8 Best Developmental Toys for Babies of 2019

Help your little one learn through play

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: Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy at Amazon

"It’s easy for tiny hands to grasp and shake, and kids are mesmerized as the beads move back and forth on the dowels and rattle."

Best Budget: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy at Walmart

"Both a rattle and a little music box, it’s a great way to stimulate baby’s senses, and it’s a good size for little fingers to grasp."

Best Educational: Wee Gallery Art Cards for Baby at Amazon

"They’re perfect for throwing in the diaper bag for any time you want a little on-the-go entertainment, and they’re a great way to encourage tummy time too."

Best On-the-Go: Manhattan Toy Baby Whoozit 6 Inch Stroller and Travel Activity Toy at Amazon

"It provides sensory stimulation in abundance, and its bright colors and graphic patterns fascinate babies."

Best Toy Ball: Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball at Amazon

"This bumpy ball from Sassy is bright, colorful, and made of various textures to capture their attention and help them learn to grasp and eventually pass objects back and forth between their hands."

Best for Teething: Oball Shaker at Amazon

"When those teeth start coming in, they can find some relief by gnawing on it."

Best Play Mat: Tiny Love Gymini Move & Play Mat at Amazon

"From tummy time to learning to sit all by themselves, this mat is designed to help them develop motor skills, both fine and large."

Best Wooden Toy: HABA Color Fun Play Gym at Amazon

"Babies can use it while lying on a blanket or from an infant seat where they can watch the cute frog hop as he’s pushed along the bar."

Our Top Picks

1

Best Overall: Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

This toy tops our list for its versatility and the fact that kids love it. It’s a toy that is both a teether and a rattle and will help them develop fine motor skills, color recognition, and more. It’s a good size and super lightweight for throwing in the diaper bag, and it’s made of wood rather than plastic.

It’s easy for tiny hands to grasp and shake, and kids are mesmerized as the beads move back and forth on the dowels and rattle. When it’s squished, it always returns to its original shape.

2

Best Budget: Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy

Baby Einstein

 Walmart

For a great developmental baby toy for less, there’s this musical toy from Baby Einstein. Both a rattle and a little music box, it’s a great way to stimulate baby’s senses, and it’s a good size for little fingers to grasp. It plays seven different melodies, which are taken from pieces by Chopin, Mozart, and other classical masters. It runs on two AA batteries, and there is a handy volume control, too.

3

Best Educational: Wee Gallery Art Cards for Baby

Wee Gallery Art Cards

 Amazon

A baby's eyes can’t see color for a while, but these black-and-white images stand out and can help stimulate baby's vision. A great interactive toy, parents can show baby the images while identifying the animals and talking about them. The cards measure 5x7 inches and are made of sturdy recycled card stock that has been laminated. There are six cards in all, which feature a lion, snake, monkey, parrot, bear, and zebra.

They’re perfect for throwing in the diaper bag for any time you want a little on-the-go entertainment, and they’re a great way to encourage tummy time, too.

4

Best On-the-Go: Manhattan Toy Baby Whoozit 6 Inch Stroller and Travel Activity Toy

It’s a bit crazy looking, but babies and parents alike love the Whoozit. While it comes in various forms, we love this 6-inch version that can be attached to a stroller, car seat, or crib. It provides sensory stimulation in abundance, and its bright colors and graphic patterns fascinate babies.

Various shapes in different textures make grasping it fun for baby, and there’s rattling, squeaking, and crinkling when it's touched. A hidden mirror is even located under the red nose, so baby can see himself in the reflection.

5

Best Toy Ball: Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball

This bumpy ball from Sassy is bright, colorful, and made of various textures to capture baby's attention and help her learn to grasp and eventually pass objects back and forth between her hands. It also rattles gently to further entertain and stimulate her senses.

6

Best for Teething: Oball Shaker

It’s a teether, it’s a rattle, and it’s a developmental toy that parents say babies go crazy for. There are two easy-to-grasp teething balls—one on each end—with a rattle filled with colorful beads holding them together. Newborns will be fascinated as you move it in front of them. As they get older, they can shake, rattle, and roll it themselves. When those teeth start coming in, they can find some relief by gnawing on it as well.

7

Best Play Mat: Tiny Love Gymini Move & Play Mat

If you’re looking to stimulate your baby’s senses, this play mat from Tiny Love is ready for action. It features 15 different activities along with lights, music, and colorful animals at every turn. From tummy time to learning to sit all by themselves, this mat is designed to help babies develop motor skills, both fine and large. It does require batteries (three AA), but they are included, so it’s ready to go right out of the box.

8

Best Wooden Toy: HABA Color Fun Play Gym

If you’re trying to keep things simple and don’t want a pile of loud and bright plastic toys, this minimalistic overhead play gym from Haba is a good choice. Babies can use it while lying on a blanket or from an infant seat where they can watch the cute frog hop as he’s pushed along the bar.

There are also beds at the bottom to encourage fine motor-skill development, and more hanging elements can be added to the bar as you choose. It can easily be adjusted up and down to your desired height, too.

Our Process 

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

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