What baby toys are best

What baby toys are best
Babies learn through play. What toys are recommended for a child in the early months?

Depending on their age and skills development, a toddler is interested in different toys. Determine what entertains your baby in their first year of life.

If your child is older, have a look at our fact sheets:

What a 0- to 6-month-old child enjoys

In their early months, a baby learns to discover their environment using all their senses. The colours, shine, movement, sounds, and textures of objects capture their attention. The child looks at them, touches them, and listens to the sounds they produce. Their senses are stimulated, promoting gradual development of motor skills.

Activity mats are a good idea at this age, because they allow for several different types of stimulation. Auditory stimulation toys such as musical crib mobiles, rattles, and music boxes are also suitable for babies under 6 months old. Soft plush toys and fabrics with different textures are other fun toys to stimulate the sense of touch and help a child this age gradually become aware of their body.

It should be noted, however, that up to 3 months old, a baby is more interested and stimulated by the faces and voices of significant people rather than by objects. Thus, the interactions that parents have with their toddler are important in entertaining them and stimulating their senses. All you need to do is talk to them, cradle them, sing them soft songs, caress them, massage them, etc.

Toys become more important around 4 months old, when the baby begins to understand how to voluntarily grasp them. Around 5 or 6 months old, they like objects that they can easily hold in their hands, and even more so toys that make noise, such as rattles.

Toys recommended for a 0- to 6-month-old baby
  • Cloth animals
  • Music box
  • Rattle
  • Teething toy
  • Toys that float in the bathtub
  • Mirror near changing table
  • Mobile
  • Plush toy
  • Activity mat

What a 6-month-old to 1-year-old child enjoys

Recommended ages on packaging are a good indication. Toys that are too complex for a child can cause them to lose interest, even later when they would be able to use it.

The baby is still exploring their body and environment. Thus, games that stimulate their sense of touch are always winners with a child of this age. For example, they like to play with stuffed animals, cushions, or fabrics (security blanket) of different textures.

They also enjoy looking at books with an adult. They like images, but also books that allow them to touch different textures. While still drawn to mirrors, children are not yet aware that it is their own reflection that they are seeing. They also have fun imitating their parents’ gestures. They enjoy playing peek-a-boo, hearing their parents exclaiming “yay,” and waving goodbye with their hand.

From 6 months old, a toddler also enjoys handling objects of different shapes and sizes (e.g., balls, balloons, blocks, stuffed animals, cushions, blankets, etc.). These activities help them practise movements and the use of their hands and fingers to grasp objects.

Around 10 months old, a baby becomes more skilled in handling and begins to have fun repeatedly emptying, filling, opening, and closing containers. The cupboard full of plastic containers in the kitchen then becomes a very attractive toy chest for them. They also have a lot of fun with containers at bath time.

At this age, a toddler also likes to interconnect objects and build block towers. Fabric and soft rubber blocks are preferred over wooden blocks to prevent the baby from getting hurt if their tower falls on them. Fastening and unfastening Velcro is another fun activity that also has the advantage of developing fine motor skills.

A baby also explores by moving on their own means, first by crawling on their stomach, then on all fours and, finally, walking. Around 10 months old, obstacle courses created with, for example, cushions, blankets, and cardboard boxes provide a lot of enjoyment.

Toys recommended for a 6-month-old to 1-year-old baby:
  • Ball
  • Fabric or rubber blocks
  • Container to fill and empty
  • Musical instruments (xylophone, drum, etc.)
  • Interconnecting, stacking toys
  • Push and pull toys
  • Imitation toys (phone, etc.)
  • Hardcover image books
  • Unbreakable mirror
  • Teddy bear
  • Activity gym or table

Things to keep in mind

  • A 0- to 6-month-old baby is attracted to objects that stimulate their senses, but up to 3 months they are more interested in the faces and voices of people they know rather than in toys.
  • Toys become more important around 4 months old, when a baby starts holding objects in their hands.
  • A 6-month-old to 1-year-old child enjoys handling various toys such as empty containers, balls, blocks, and books, and has fun with them.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Valérie Ferron, M. Sc., occupational therapist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: April 2021


Photo: iStock.com/rbv


Useful links and resources

  • FERLAND, Francine. Et si on jouait? Le jeu au coeur du développement de l’enfant. 3rd ed., Montreal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 240 pp.
  • FERLAND, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Montreal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • FERLAND, Francine. Le monde des jeux et jouets. Montréal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2013, 180 pp.
  • MASI, Wendy S. and Roni COHEN LEIDERMAN. Jouer avec votre bébé : 100 activités amusantes pour maximiser le développement de votre bébé. Saint-Constant, Éditions Broquet, 2011, 182 pp.
  • SANTINI, Céline and Isabelle LEDDET. 200 activités d’éveil pour des enfants de 0 à 3 ans. 2nd ed., Paris, Éditions First, 2019, 256 pp.