The 8 Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds of 2022

Help develop your little one's senses with these rattles, teethers, and more

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Best Toys for 4-Month-Olds

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

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, 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.

Before purchasing any toy, always consider safety since babies love putting anything, and everything, into their mouths. "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. We considered toy safety, design, maintenance, material, and additional features when reviewing products.

Here are our favorite toys for the 4-month-old in your life to enjoy all day long. 

Best Overall: SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

5
SmartNoggin NogginStik Developmental Light-Up Rattle

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Inspires learning

  • Includes a baby milestone pamphlet

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Costly

Who else recommends it? Today and Healthline both picked the SmartNoggin NogginStik Light-Up Rattle.

What do buyers say? 91% of 4,400+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

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 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 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.

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

4.5
winkel-rattle

Courtesy of Amazon

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 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’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.

Manhattan Toy Winkel

Verywell Family / Ashley Ziegler

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 Infant Toothbrush

Baby Banana Yellow Banana Toothbrush

Courtesy of Amazon

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 to 12 months, 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

Bright Starts Clack and Slide Activity Ball Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

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

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
  • 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

Taggies Oodles Owl Plush Rattle

Courtesy of 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 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

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 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

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 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 to be used until your little one reaches one year 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 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,” pediatrician Dyan Hes, MD, 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 4 months old, babies are begin to reach many exciting new milestones. While every baby develops at their own pace, common milestones at this age include:

  • Mimicking facial expressions
  • Babbling and exploring language
  • Strengthening hand-eye coordination
  • Tracking objects with their eyes: Wimmer-Ferguson Infant Stim Mobile To Go Travel Toy (view on Amazon)
  • Holding up their head steadily without support
  • Rolling from tummy to back
  • Holding and shaking toys: try the SmartNoggin NogginStik (view on Amazon)
  • Swinging at dangling toys: SkipHop Treetop Friends Baby Play Mat (view on Amazon)
  • Bringing hands to their mouth: Baby Banana Infant Toothbrush (view on Amazon)
  • Pushing up to their elbows when they’re on their tummy: LIGHTDESIRE Musical Caterpillar Baby Toy (view on Amazon)

The toys you give to 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 both 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 has been a digital content producer and news and feature writer for more than six years. She has covered local and national news as well as writing and researching parenting topics. 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.

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.
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By Cheryl Lock
Cheryl Lock is a Denver-based writer and editor who has written for Parents, Woman's Day, Business Insider, USA Today, Family Circle, Runner's World, and more.