The 8 Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds of 2021

Help develop your little one's senses with these top-picks

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Our Top Picks
Invented by a mom and Early Intervention Specialist, it offers multiple functions all in one toy and is sure to boost motor skills.
It makes the perfect teething toy thanks to its maze of vibrant tubes while also promoting clutching and two-handed play skills.
Offer baby relief from achy gums with this banana teether, and get a head start on encouraging oral hygiene.
Capture, and keep, your kiddo's attention with this activity ball, featuring a bead chaser and textured handles to play with.
A solid addition to travel days or long car rides, the mobile toy attaches to most strollers, infant carriers, and car seats.
Best Book Toy:
Soft Cloth Owl at Amazon
Your little one will love discovering the colors and textures of this cloth book, designed to stimulate their visual senses.
Squeezing the head of the caterpillar triggers a song, while the caterpillar’s body contains patterns to promote visual senses.
The playmat is sure to keep your kiddo occupied, and offer your arms a break, thanks to its crinkle toys and tummy time pillow.

At 4-months-old, most babies are becoming more mobile by beginning to roll over or reaching for toys. Now that they’re starting to move more consistently, more thought should go into what toys they’re playing with. 

Before purchasing any toy, always consider safety first since babies love putting anything, and everything, into their mouths. And, keep in mind, babies and toddlers should also be meeting developmental milestones, including physicality, which can be done through the toys they’re given.

"Around 4 months, babies are beginning to reach for and grab objects. They wave them around. They put them in their mouth. When they put objects in their mouth or feel them with their fingers, they are learning about object properties such as shape, texture, and size," says Elizabeth Zack, Ph.D., Outreach and Education Specialist at the University of Washington.

Here are some of the best toys for 4-month-olds if you’re in need of ideas. 

Best Overall: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

Pros
  • Inspires learning

  • Includes a baby milestone pamphlet

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Expensive

If you want to get a toy that will hit help inspire the growth and development of your 4-month-old the SmartNoggin NogginStik is your best bet. This light-up toy was invented by a mom and Early Intervention Specialist and comes with an included pamphlet on helping you understand what milestones your baby should be achieving at a certain month, as well as some ideas on how to encourage growth in these areas.

Designed for use from infancy till one-year-old this toy will help inspire learning how to track items with their eyes, grasping and holding skills, a rattle noise for the ears, and much more.

Parents say this toy mesmerized their child. Some note it only held their baby's interest for a month but others have said this has provided entertainment for a whole year. The price on this is a lot higher than other baby toys but you are getting multiple toys in one.

What Our Testers Say

"The SmartNoggin NogginStik provides hours of entertainment and sensory stimulation. With a compact design, it’s small enough to tote along pretty much anywhere you take your child. Retailing at about $25, it’s more expensive than most baby rattles. However, the interactive features and engaging design are the perfect combination for a curious, growing baby." Theresa Holland, Verywell writer and product tester

Best Gross Motor: Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy

winkel-rattle
Pros
  • Durable

  • Stimulating

  • Pleasing rattle sounds

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Hand wash only

Pick up the Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy by Manhattan Toy to provide your kid with a multi-use, functional object. This Amazon’s Choice product is a mesmerizing maze of safe and soft tubes that make the perfect baby teething toy, while the tubes also promote gross motor skills like clutching and two-handed play. The middle tube also gives off a rattling sound that’s very pleasing to babies.

This product has won multiple newborn toy awards, including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award. The plastic loops are BPA free and the toy is suitable for kids from birth till 24 months.

What Our Testers Say

"My favorite thing about this toy is that it not only occupies my baby now but will also keep her interest in other ways as she grows. If you’re filling out your baby shower registry, or are simply on the hunt for a toy that will keep your baby entertained without flashing lights or loud noises, the Manhattan Toy Winkel is the one for you. It’s a simple toy that will help your baby develop in so many ways, and it’s durable enough to make it through multiple milestones." Ashley Ziegler, Verywell writer and product tester

Best for Teething: Baby Banana Yellow Banana Toothbrush

Pros
  • Teaches oral hygiene

  • Dishwasher- and freezer-safe

  • Comes in various colors

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Dirt and hair stick to it easily

Why not get a laugh while your baby gnaws away on this baby banana that helps massage achy gums as your little one chews on. The silicone bristles do a good job of providing relief from teething while also helping to prime them to learn about the importance of oral hygiene (it's never too early to start!).

This teether can be used from 3 months till 1 year old, and after that, they can graduate to a model more suitable for more teeth. You won't have to worry about the baby choking since the "peel" part prevents them from pushing it back too far into the throat.  

This teether gets glowing reviews from parents saying it has helped their baby get through the cranky days of teething and helps keep the baby entertained. Many parents say this is a must for any household with an infant.

Best Sensory Skills Toy: Bright Starts Clack and Slide Activity Ball Toy

Pros
  • Promotes sensory play

  • Easy to grasp

  • Stimulating

Cons
  • Hand wash only

The Bright Starts Clack and Slide Activity Ball is an Amazon’s Choice product approved by hundreds of parents whose kids have fallen in love. There are many play options that are a part of this toy that will help build your kid's sensory skills. For example, it includes a spinning frog character and caterpillar bead chaser, a spinning paddle with mirror, a squeaker with clacking rings, a roller ball with colorful rattle beads, and handles with multiple textures that are easy for baby hands to grasp.​

Best Mobile: Manhattan Toy Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile to Go Travel Toy

Pros
  • Attaches to strollers, carriers, and car seats

  • Develops gross motor skills

  • Durable clip

Cons
  • Made of paper

Help baby develop his visual skills with the Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile To Go Travel Toy by Manhattan Toy. This product attaches to most strollers, infant carriers, and car seats with a plastic clamp, which means you can bring the entertainment with you anywhere you go.

The high contrast black and white patterns and color graphics are great for early visual and multi-sensory development, and three reversible cards display black and white graphics on one side and color images on the other. The toy is recommended for kids from birth to 5 months.

Best Book Toy: Soft Cloth Owl Crinkle Sensory Preschool Toddlers Toys

Pros
  • Easy to grasp

  • Machine-washable

  • Promotes sensory play

Cons
  • Air dry only

Reading to your little one is bound to be one of your favorite activities, so why not add a book to your routine that’s just perfect for little hands to touch, feel, and play with? The book is suitable for kids from birth to 2 years and is made with soft polyester that your baby can grab and hold on to.

With just enough detail and contrast to keep your little one’s interest while you read, your baby will love looking at the different pages as she explores the different textures on the cover and discovers how some of the pages crinkle which according to Dyan Hes, MD, Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City "[babies] love the toys with the crinkled paper inside.”

The story of Oodles, the owl, will be one both you and your little one can treasure for months to come.

Best Musical Toy: LIGHTDESIRE Baby Toys Musical Caterpillar

Pros
  • Promotes visual development

  • Measures baby's growth

  • Includes songs, bells, and other sounds

Cons
  • Music button is hard to press

If you’ve been researching toys for your four-month-old, you’ve likely discovered that most come with some sort of musical element, whether it’s a rattle or a full-on recorded tune. If you’re looking for the perfect musical toy, though, check out LIGHTDESIRE’s musical caterpillar baby toy.

When your baby squeezes the head of the caterpillar she’ll be greeted with a song, while the caterpillar’s body contains a variety of colors and patterns to promote visual development. The tummy functions as an actual ruler in both meter and foot scale, so mom and dad can keep track of baby’s growth progress during playtime, as well.

Besides the head, each additional section of the caterpillar is designed for functionality and entertainment. There are bells, rustling, and squeaks, all sure to delight and entertain your child.

Best Playmat: Skip Hop Baby Play Gym

Pros
  • Promotes sensory play

  • Helps easy stomach discomfort

  • Folds down for easy storage

Cons
  • Expensive

Don't have a playmat? Now might be the time to invest in one that will not only delight your baby but will also give your arms a solid break. This pick from Skip Hop will delight all of their senses with toys that are moveable to keep up their visual interest and have them reaching up. Other features include a mirror and crinkle toys to perk up their ears. What's more, it even has a tummy time pillow that can help ease discomfort some baby's get when being put on their stomach.

Parents love that this isn't so loud in terms of color and design while some note that they wish it had musical elements (others are happy it doesn't). Many say that this mat is a daily activity for their baby, which both mom and kid enjoy.

Final Verdict

Celebrate baby’s first few months with a multi-functional pick. Designed for usage until your little one reaches one years old, the SmartNoggin Light-up Rattle (view at Amazon) promotes both visual and sound stimulation and includes a guide on understanding milestones.

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. 

What to Look for When Buying Toys for 4-Month-Old

Safety

As with all purchases for a baby, safety is one of the first things you should be mindful of when looking for toys for 4-month-olds. “A 4-month-old brings everything midline or to the mouth,” pediatrician Dyan Hes, MD, tells Verywell Family. Dr. Hes continues, “make sure that all toys are safe from choking hazards.”

She also explains that babies start to teethe around this age, so not only should the toys be safe for the mouth (in terms of materials) but they should also be free of any pieces that can somehow come apart with force. “We do not want any parts that can be sucked off,” she says, “it is amazing what strong gums can do.” 

Look for toys made from materials that are free of toxins, won’t grow mold when they get wet (from saliva), and are easy to clean. Also, since you can assume any toy you give them will go into their mouth whether it is meant to or not, look for products with different textures that can massage sore gums. 

Milestones

By 4 months old, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says babies will begin mimicking facial expressions, babbling and exploring language, strengthening hand-eye coordination, tracking objects with their eyes, holding up their head steadily without support, rolling from tummy to back, holding and shaking toys, swinging at dangling toys, bringing hands to their mouth, and pushing up to their elbows when they’re on their tummy. Of course, babies develop at their own pace so some may be ahead or behind these milestones,

The toys you give to your baby to play with can help support these areas of development as long as they are mindfully chosen. Look for toys without sharp edges, that make sounds when shaken or played with, and have different textures both for sensory play and teething. 

  • Holding and Shaking Toys: The SmartNoggin NogginStik (view on Amazon)
  • Swinging At Dangling Toys: SkipHop Treetop Friends Baby Play Mat (view on Amazon)
  • Teething and Bringing Hands to Mouth: Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush (view on Amazon)
  • Tummy Time Toy: LIGHTDESIRE Musical Caterpillar Baby Toy (view on Amazon)
  • Tracking Objects: Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile To Go Travel Toy (view on Amazon)

Physicality

At this age, babies are starting to move more and more, developing and strengthening their gross motor skills. This physical movement is important to encourage because it will continue to evolve into larger movements as the baby grows such as sitting, rocking, crawling, and eventually walking. Right now, you want to provide your baby with toys that will get them rolling and lifting themselves up during tummy time. 

For these larger movements, playmats are perfect. “Playmats are great for both tummy time and looking up at the arches with toys. Playmats with mirrors [also] encourage a baby to lift their head up and look at their image” Dr. Hes explains. Additionally, individual toys that will keep your baby’s attention and can be played on the floor during tummy time are great for getting your child to master pulling up onto their elbows and holding their head steady while they play.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Katrina Cossey has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered topics ranging from local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting content. Katrina is a parent herself and loved crinkle sensory toys, like the Soft Cloth Owl Crinkle Sensory Preschool Toddlers Toys (view on Amazon), for her kiddo at this age. They're typically machine washable, promote sensory play, and keep babies' interests as they feel different textures.

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