The 8 Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds of 2023

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Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

At four 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, toys can become even more important to their development. Playing with toys is how they learn about the world around them.

Reviewed & Approved

Made from BPA-free material, the SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle ranks highest on our list as it helps promote visual stimulation and tracking skills. For a more budget-friendly toy, we suggest the Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush.

"Around four 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, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington.

Always consider toy safety since babies love putting anything, and everything, into their mouths. Moreover, look for age recommendations to ensure your child can safely play with a toy at their development level. We carefully considered toy safety, design, maintenance, material, and additional features when reviewing products.

Best Overall

SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

5
SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

Bed Bath and Beyond

Pros
  • Inspires learning

  • Includes a baby milestone pamphlet

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Only changes color when you hit/tap it

If you want to get a toy that will 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 to help 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 through age one, this toy will help inspire learning as babies track objects with their eyes, practice grasping and holding, listen to a rattle noise, and much more. It can be easily wiped down with a cloth when dirty and includes the three batteries required to operate the toy, so parents and caregivers don't have to add another item to the shopping list.

Price at time of publication: $24

Best for Tummy Time

Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Activity Station

Baby Einstein Glow & Discover Light Bar Activity Station

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Three modes of play

  • Easy to clean

  • Props up

Cons
  • Batteries required

Encourage tummy time with this light-up toy bar that lays flat or props up for easy use, with a lock and unlock switch to help keep the stand in place. Lights activate with the touch of each section or spin of the rattle drum. There are three modes of play: animals, color, and xylophone—all of which operate in English, Spanish, or French, thanks to a language switch button. Three AA batteries are required (not included).

Price at time of publication: $23

Best Gross Motor

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy

4.5
Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle & Sensory Teether Toy

Amazon

Pros
  • Durable material

  • Pleasing rattle sounds

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Hand-wash only

Pick up the Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy by Manhattan Toy to provide your baby 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 pleases 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 to 24 months.

"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," said a Verywell Family writer and product tester.

Price at time of publication: $14

Manhattan Toy Winkel

Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

Best for Teething

Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush

Baby Banana Yellow Banana Toothbrush

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches oral hygiene

  • Dishwasher- and freezer-safe

  • Comes in various colors/designs

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 it? The silicone bristles provide relief from teething while also teaching them the importance of oral hygiene (it's never too early to start!).

This teether can be used from 3 to 12 months; after that, kiddos 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.

Price at time of publication: $8

Best Mobile

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

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

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Attaches to strollers, carriers, and car seats

  • Develops gross motor skills

  • Durable clip

Cons
  • Flimsy material

Help baby develop 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 anywhere you go.

The high-contrast black-and-white patterns and color graphics are great for early visual and multi-sensory development. Moreover, 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.

Price at time of publication: $16

Best Book Toy

Sloth, Hurry Up! Taggies Touch & Feel Soft Cloth Book

Taggies Sloth, Hurry Up book for babies

Amazon

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 they explore the different textures on the cover and discovers how some of the pages crinkle. 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 Molasses the sloth will be one you and your little one can treasure for months to come.

Price at time of publication: $21

Best Musical Toy

LIGHTDESIRE Baby Toys Musical Caterpillar

LIGHTDESIRE Baby Toys Musical Caterpillar

Courtesy of Amazon

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 a rattle or a full-on recorded tune. Check out LIGHTDESIRE’s musical caterpillar baby toy to incorporate music into playtime.

When your baby squeezes the head of the caterpillar, they'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 also keep track of baby’s growth progress during playtime.

Besides the head, each additional section of the caterpillar features bells, rustling, and squeaks—all sure to delight and entertain your child.

Price at time of publication: $21

Best Playmat

Skip Hop Baby Play Gym

5
Skip Hop Baby Play Gym

Courtesy of Amazon

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 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 reach up. Other features include a mirror and crinkle toys to perk up their ears. Moreover, it even has a tummy time pillow that can help ease the discomfort some babies get when put on their stomachs.

Parents and caregivers will appreciate that this isn't so loud in color and design, while some may wish it had musical elements.

Price at time of publication: $80

How We Selected the Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds

We chose the best toys for 4-month-olds by studying the design and features of more than 20 toys on the market. We also researched reviews from customers and competitors while monitoring shopping trends to bring you the best and most up-to-date offers on toys for 4-month-olds. We considered age recommendations, material, toy safety, developmental milestones, and value when reviewing products. 

Additionally, we reviewed guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on toy safety. We also spoke with Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington, and Dyan Hes, MD, pediatrician and Medical Director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City, on what to look for in toys for 4-month-olds. 

What to Look for in Toys for 4-Month-Olds

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, so it's important to make sure that all toys are safe from choking hazards,” Dr. Hes tells Verywell Family.

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,” Dr. Hes 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. 

Developmental Milestones

By four months old, babies begin to reach many exciting new milestones. While every baby develops at their own pace, common milestones at this age include:

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

Gross Motor Skills

At this age, babies are starting to move more and more, developing and strengthening their gross motor skills. It's important to encourage this physical movement, because it will continue to evolve into larger movements, 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,” says Dr. Hes. Look for these and other toys that keep your baby’s attention and help them master pulling up onto their elbows and holding their head steady.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What toys should my 4-month-old baby have?

    The best toys for 4-month-olds will support their developmental needs while also providing safe entertainment. 

    At 4 months old, your little one will likely be rolling over from front to back and may be sitting with support. Not only will a soft playmat make tummy time and rolling more comfortable, it will also provide a safe landing for when your baby starts attempting to sit up. A playmat that doubles up as an activity gym will help encourage the gross motor skills needed for this developmental leap, while dangling objects will help stimulate your baby’s newfound skill of exploring their environment by looking around.

    Your baby may have just learned how to reach out and grasp with one hand, so colorful, crinkly grabbing objects that are safe to go in their mouths (at this age, much of your little one’s exploration is done via their mouths) will be a great way to exercise their newly acquired abilities. Rattles, baby teethers and soothers are perfect for this.

  • What can my 4-month-old play with?

    You! At 4 months, your baby will be receptive to reciprocal play. This could involve you responding to your little one's babbles, which will prompt them to respond back. This turn-taking could even extend to playing peek-a-boo or just smiling or making different facial expressions at one another.

    Your baby is also busy learning about cause and effect this month: if they push the soft ball, it will roll away; if they shake their rattle, it will make a sound. Opt for toys that facilitate this development, such as soft blocks or toys that make a sound at the touch of a button,

    Remember, your little one is learning through touch, sight and taste, so everything they play with needs to be sanitary and large enough to not pose a choking risk. Toys made up of different weights, textures and sounds will provide the sensory stimulation that your little one craves. 

  • Can my 4-month-old play alone?

    At 4 months old, your little one will need direction when it comes to learning how to interact with their toys. While every baby will hit their milestones at their own pace, a 4-month-old may have difficulty manipulating their toys without your help. 

    Encourage independent play by sitting quietly nearby as your child explores a toy or object. Even the small act of choosing what to reach for is significant; your little one is exercising their independence. Allowing them to explore their toys at their own pace is a good foundation for solitary play as they get a little older.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Katrina Cossey is a commerce writer for Verywell Family with nearly eight years of experience under her belt. Katrina’s background in journalism began at an Emmy Award-winning news station in Oklahoma before she obtained her B.A. in professional media. Her love for service journalism, helping others, and becoming a parent led to her commerce writing role, which allows her to research and recommend the best products for families, pregnant people, and kids of all ages. She used the Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush for her son when he first sprouted teeth. Tip: Throw the banana teether in the freezer to give little ones even more relief from teething pain.

More Toys and Gifts for Kids

When it comes to toys and gifts for kids, our team has you covered. The Verywell Family team of editors (who are parents or have nieces and nephews of their own) have tested, gifted, and personally recommend every item we feature. Find more of our top gift and toy picks for every age and stage here:

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

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

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: Your baby by four months.

  4. Dosman CF, Andrews D, Goulden KJ. Evidence-based milestone ages as a framework for developmental surveillance. Paediatrics Child Health. 2012;17(10):561-568. doi:10.1093/pch/17.10.561

  5. Yogman M, Garner A, Hutchinson J, et al. The power of play: a pediatric role in enhancing development in young children. Pediatrics. 2018;142(3):e20182058. doi:10.1542/peds.2018-2058