The 18 Best Infant Toys of 2021

What new babies will love

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Verywell Family

Welcoming a new baby with a developmentally appropriate toy is a great idea. The right one is "all about stimulating the senses: visual, auditory, tactile," says Laurie Leahey, senior editor at Toys, Toys, Pets & More (TTPM).

She continues, "Sensory stimulation for babies is a key feature because that's the way babies explore the world around them. Toys that are safe for babies to put in their mouths or that offer a lot of different textures, colors, patterns, and sounds will really help promote the development of a baby's senses."

When searching for baby gifts, it’s important to review the age guidelines on the packaging to make sure they are suitable for the newest family addition. New parents should be aware of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines that “soft objects, loose bedding, or any objects that could increase the risk of entrapment, suffocation, or strangulation should be kept out of the crib.” Keep the toys in a play space and get ready for some fun. 

We've rounded up the best and most adorable toys for the little one in your family.

Our Top Picks
Suitable until baby reaches 2 years old, its maze of tubes promotes two-handed play, and it easily clips to a stroller for travel.
The eight, colorful cups promote creativity in allowing kids to fit them together, stack them up, or turn them over.
A pick that grows with your child, little ones can play with the activity panel while early walkers can use it to help them move.
Little ones can stack and take apart this colorful toy, and learn the basics of size while gaining hand-eye coordination.
Easy for little hands to grasp, this giraffe-shaped teether is made of chewable rubber to soothe sore gums on teething babies.
The 5-in-1 toy complements many phases of newborn development and can be used as a play mat or instrument.
Ideal for infants 3-12 months old, the mitten is easily slipped on, chewable, and free of BPA, latex, and lead.
Made with five developmental zones, this 2-in-1 toy is both a play mat and a gym that features removable accessories.
As you build your baby's library, start off with this cloth book, complete with different animal tails that little hands can grab.
Kiddos will be entertained by these portable silicone toys, perfect for on-the-go play, that can be stuck together or squeezed.

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy
Pros
  • Soft BPA-free teething tubes

  • Two-handed play for tactile development

  • Clips on strollers and tucks in bags

Cons
  • Can be a bit hard to clean

Suitable for babies from 0 to 24 months old, this toy is a mesmerizing maze of safe, soft, and continuous tubes. For gummy little ones, it's a perfect baby teething toy and great for clutching and promoting two-handed play. Parents love that it easily clips on to a stroller. 

What Our Editors Say

"This is my six-month-old son's favorite toy, hands down. When my sister-in-law saw him with it, she said it was her son's favorite toy as well, and he's seven now (so you know this is a certified hit that will span multiple babies)." — Julia Warren, VP of Commerce

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys
Pros
  • Includes eight cups for varied play

  • For stacking and bath fun

  • Numbers on base encourage counting skills

  • Made without BPA, lead, or phthalates

Cons
  • Made from thinner plastic

A versatile toy, these stacking cups can be fit together, stacked up, built like a tower, or played with in the bath. Each one has unique holes and a number printed on the bottom. Recommended for ages 6 months and up, the eight cups will provide lots of fun. 

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 

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
Pros
  • Fosters gross motor skills development

  • Activity panel comes off for moving fun

  • Seventy-plus songs, sound effects, and phrases

Cons
  • Base wheels don't lock

  • Ideal for more practiced walking babies

Meant for babies 9 months old to toddlers 3 years old, this learning walker will provide lots of fun and versatility to engage young kids for a long time. Littlest ones can play with the detachable activity panel and early walkers can use this toy to help them move along. Parents appreciate how much is packed into this toy. 

What Our Editors Say

"Even before she was walking, my daughter enjoyed playing with the sounds and features on this walker. Once she was ready to walk, it helped her learn how. She even put her favorite stuffed animal on the top and pretending to push it like a stroller." — Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director, Verywell Family 

Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack Bat-at Ring-Stacking Toy

Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack Bat-at Ring-Stacking Toy
Pros
  • Encourages gross and fine motor skills

  • Builds hand-eye coordination and size recognition

  • Five rings to grasp, shake, and stack

Cons
  • May be undersized for some

A classic for good reason, this budget-friendly toy has lots of developmental benefits. The stacking helps babies with hand-eye coordination and introduces them to the concept of relative size. Suitable for ages 6 months and up, this toy will engage young kiddos.

What the Experts Say

"Toys should provide a variety of different ways for kids to explore their curiosity and learn new ways of interacting with the world. Just because the picture on a box says that toys have to be stacked in a certain way does not mean that the child will choose to only use them that way. Children should be allowed to use the toys in whatever ways they want that are also safe." Daniel Marston, clinical psychologist, PhD, ABPP

Vulli Sophie La Girafe Teething Toy

Sophie la Girafe
Pros
  • Squeaking sound engages baby

  • Smooth, safe texture

  • Made from natural latex and food-grade paint

  • Fun appeal

Cons
  • Attention must be given to its care

A popular toy for many new babies, this sweet and cuddly giraffe is made from natural latex rubber and food quality paint. With a subtle squeak and smooth texture, it's an instant hit with babies. Suitable for newborns to babies 12 months old, it’s perfect for teething babies and the squeaking sound inside is ready to attract a baby’s attention. 

What Our Editors Say

"My daughter loved Sophie during those early teething days. She was so attached to the French giraffe that we attached it via a hook to her stroller so she could teeth on-the-go!" — Lauren Levinson, Editorial Director, Verywell Family 

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick 'n Play Piano Gym

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick 'n Play Piano Gym
Pros
  • On-the-go detachable, light-up keyboard

  • Five toys in one

  • Play mat features loops to attach toys

  • Washable play mat

Cons
  • Design could use some work

Fun for newborns on up, this easy-to-assemble toy is appropriate for so many phases of newborn development. Use it as a playmat, a kick-at musical instrument, and then later a piano for sitting babies. Parents appreciate how engaging the gym is, especially for active babies. 

Darling & Co Yummy Mitt Teething Mitten

Yummy Mitt Teething Mitten
Pros
  • Design replicates model of an infant's hand

  • For babies who can't hold teethers yet

  • Four colors and glow-in-the-dark option

  • Mitten protects baby from chewing on hands

  • Black-owned business item

Cons
  • Doesn't come as a pair

This innovative, soft teething mitten, made by a Black-owned business, is ideal for teething babies who may not be coordinated enough to hold teethers. The mitten protects the baby from chewing on their hand. Super lightweight and machine washable, it comes in four colors and even has a glow-in-the-dark option. 

Lovevery The Play Gym

Lovevery The Play Gym
Pros
  • Five Montessori-inspired development zones

  • Easy two-minute set up with no tools

  • Prevents overstimulation and grows with your baby

  • Encourages sensory, exploratory, and audiovisual development

Cons
  • Expensive

The experts at Lovevery have developed a splurge-worthy play gym, suitable for infants on up, that many parents feel is a must-have piece of gear. The five developmental zones on the mat reveal or conceal areas to prevent overstimulation so that it can grow as your baby develops. The mat promotes focus, features sound-making pieces, encourages sensory expiration, hiding and finding, and exploring color. 

Soft Cloth Baby Books

Soft Cloth Baby Books
Pros
  • Easily attaches to stroller or car seat

  • Crinkly, bright pages provide tactile, stimulating development

  • Made from safe soft cloth

Cons
  • Has to be spot cleaned

Stock an infant’s library with a sweet, soft cloth book that is safe for any age. Pages crinkle with sounds while bright colors and textures attract baby’s attention. Parents love that each book has a fabric Velcro loop for easy attachment to a stroller, car seat, or anything else. 

What the Experts Say

"Contrasting colors and bright patterns really attract a baby's eyes. Baby toys with little tags or ribbons are also great because they encourage baby to pull on them, which works fine motor skills. And if the toy makes sounds—crinkle, chime, squeak—that's even better because it offers auditory stimulation as well as teaches baby cause and effect." — Laurie Leahey, senior editor, Toys, Toys, Pets & More (TTPM).

Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz

Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz
Pros
  • BPA-free for safe teething

  • Various rattle sounds, textures, and colors

  • Encourages sense of touch development

  • Three unique shapes included

  • Dishwasher safe

Cons
  • Some might not care for material construction

Great for ages 6 months and up, these three uniquely shaped pipSquigz are made of high-quality silicone. They have suction cups that stick together, pop apart, rattle, have a variety of textures and bright colors. They’re perfect for an on-the-go toy. 

Hape Rainbow Xylophone

Hape Rainbow Xylophone
Pros
  • Rainbow-colored for visual development

  • Builds creativity and fine motor skills

  • Easy to carry

  • Colored with non-toxic paint

Cons
  • Natural musical tone might deter some

Introduce your little one to the joys of music and rhythm while showcasing colors and promoting creative and musical play. While the toy is labeled for kids 12 months and up, it’s safe for younger babies while supervised. They will also practice grasping and holding the non-slip sticks and improve their dexterity and hand-eye coordination. 

Jellycat Bashful Bunny

Jellycat Bashful Bunny
Pros
  • Soft and plush for safe play

  • Various size choices

  • Suitable right from birth

Cons
  • Can only be spot cleaned

  • Runs a bit small

Irresistibly cute and super soft, this bunny is sure to become a favorite stuffie for years to come. This adorable bunny will be your kiddo's bestie from babyhood to the big kid stage. Safe for all ages, use the appropriate AAP guidelines when sharing stuffed animals with an infant. 

Wee Gallery Crinkle Egg

Wee Gallery Crinkle Egg
Pros
  • Made from organic cotton

  • Can crunch and crackle for gross motor development

  • Nice high-contrast design

Cons
  • White color may get dirty quicker

Cute as it is stimulating, infants will love crunching and crackling this cute organic cotton egg toy. While simple, your developing little one will fall in love with the stimulating sound and colors. The adorable and high-contrast design is cute and loveable, perfect for a baby with the same qualities. 

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toy

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby Toy
Pros
  • Encourages fine motor, sensory, and circumstantial learning

  • BPA-free

  • 100 percent food-grade silicone bubbles

  • On-the-go toy

Cons
  • Some may deem small for its price

Parents love how simple, yet brilliant, this toy is. Babies from 10 months and up can push, pop, poke, and grab this perfectly portable sensory toy. Not only will the Dimpl engage the senses, but it will promote early cause and effect learning

Genuine Fred Fred & Friends Buff Baby Rattle

Genuine Fred Fred & Friends Buff Baby Rattle
Pros
  • Lightweight with natural hand grips

  • BPA- and phthalate-free

  • Unique gift for babies of gym lovers

Cons
  • Harder plastic material

Fit parents will enjoy adding a buff baby to their family. This silly barbell rattle will have everyone amused while your little baby gets in on the workout. Safe for ages 3 months and up, the rattle is made out of BPA-free plastic. 

Realistic-looking toys that look like adult objects are a solid choice as babies get older, as "they want to mimic what they see their parents doing," says Leahey.

Oli & Carol Pepita the Apple Teething Toy

Oli & Carol Pepita the Apple Teething Toy
Pros
  • Uniquely handcrafted and hand-painted

  • PVC-, BPA-, phthalate- and nitrosamine-free

  • Made from natural Hevea-tree rubber

  • Safe from birth

  • Soft texture soothes gums

Cons
  • Must hand wash

Your tot will feel like they are taking a bite out of a real apple with this teething toy. Made from natural Hevea-tree rubber, this realistic apple toy has hand-painted details and is a must-have for teething, bath time, and tactile play. Suitable from birth on up, this lovely apple gets hand-washed. 

Fat Brain Toys InnyBin

Fat Brain Toys InnyBin
Pros
  • Unique shape-exploration design and concept

  • BPA-free

  • Encourages fine motor skills and tactile development

Cons
  • Might be harder for younger babies

Great for ages 6 months and up, this toy provides an incredibly unique shape-exploration experience. The innovative shape sorting box comes with six chunky, textured shapes that fit through the elastic bands of the cube. The colorful toy encourages fine motor skills, tactile exploration, and experimentation. 

What the Experts Say

"I would stay away from toys that have too many colors or make too many different noises. I like to follow a pattern of one action leads to one reaction from the toy (rather than multiple actions and noises)." Daniel Marston, clinical psychologist, PhD, ABPP

Bloom Fat Brain Tobbles Neo Infant Stacking Toy

Fat Brain stacking toy
Pros
  • Grippable textures and bright colors for engagement

  • Builds fine and gross motor and visual skills

  • Can balance, nest, spin, and stack

Cons
  • Some might want even more play diversity

Perfect for ages 6 months and up, this innovative toy challenges babies to balance, nest, spin, and stack these spheres in gravity-defying angles. Parents appreciate the thoughtful design and versatility of this colorful toy. Don't be surprised if your toddler is playing with this bright toy into their big kid stage.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a choice that’s both soothing and attention-grabbing, the Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle (view at Amazon) offers relief from achy gums while its BPA-free tubes encourage gross motor skills.  

And for a no-frills, affordable choice to add to the toy collection, The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys (view at Amazon) provides versatility with its set of eight, colorful cups. 

What to Look for When Buying Toys for Infants

Safety

It’s important for parents and caregivers to opt for larger toys when it comes to shopping for infants. Toys and their parts should not be able to fit into an infant’s mouth to prevent choking from occurring.

As for material, avoid toxic materials due to potential poisoning, as well as thin plastic, loose stuffing, button batteries, high-powered magnets, and toys with bean-like pellets. When in doubt, check the manufacturer's age recommendation that should be listed in the product description.

Milestones

By four months of age, babies have learned vital skills that help them learn, act, speak, and play. There are toys parents and caregivers can buy to hone in on those developmental milestones they reach every month. Here are some toys babies can play with and the developmental milestones they encourage. 

  • To encourage babbling, the LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book (view on Amazon) is a fun, interactive, and can be used throughout the first year.
  • Help them strengthen their ability to reach for toys with one hand with the Pretty Please Freeze Teethers (view on Amazon).
  • Get them moving and strengthening their upper body with tummy time/physical development with the Lovevery Play Gym (view on Amazon).

Physicality

Promote physical development, self-regulation, and peer interaction with toys that encourage physical activity. Check out balls, push and pull toys, or ride-on toys, when shopping for infants.

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 go-to infant toys are non-musical, easy to wash, and don’t take up a lot of space. Can you tell she has three kids?

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3 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. How to buy safe toys. HealthyChildren.org.

  2. CDC. What developmental milestones is your 4-month-old reaching? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  3. Toy buying tips for babies & young children: aap report explained. HealthyChildren.org.