The 10 Best Toys for Babies Under 1
Even the youngest babies need to play! Play is how babies and kids learn and develop. Knowing how to play with your baby and what to play with, may not be easy to figure out. I’ve listed some of the best toys for babies under 1 that have been great for my kids. You’ll also find some great baby play ideas that correspond with your baby’s developmental milestones.
0- 3 Months
What’s Happening With Your Baby?
So many exciting milestones happen in the first 3 months. During this period babies “wake up” and become interested in the world around them. This is the time to help your baby sustain a calm and alert state of arousal which will set the stage for them play and interact with you in the months to come. Visual perception develops rapidly and babies find images and toys with high contrast fascinating to look at. Social smiles develop in response to familiar faces and songs which are the first signs of communication – so exciting! Your little one is just beginning to control their little body and can grip onto toys that you put in their hand and may begin reaching or flapping their hands against toys- a step towards grasping!
Toys for 0-3 Months
1. My daughter loved this little bug rattle because its colourful, crinkly and it was easy for her to grip onto when I wrapped her hands around it.
4. At around 2 months both of my kids loved looking at themselves in the mirror. They’d stare at themselves shrieking and smiling. My son has little “conversations” with himself in the mirror. So cute! I love this portable floor mirror because it is easy to move around anywhere and encourages tummy time!
Activities for 0-3 Months
- Move colourful toys/rattles slowly across your baby’s visual field and help them to track the object with their eyes. This is also a great activity to help babies turn their heads in both directions as many newborns have a preferred side they turn towards due to their position in the womb (this is known as Torticollis).
- Experiment with various voice tones and touch to see how your baby responds and what they like best. Most babies prefer higher pitch tones but you can try different noises such as popping your lips, clicking your tongue or whistling to see what keeps your little one’s attention the longest. Many babies also enjoy the sensation of air on their face. Try blowing gently on your baby and wait for their reaction.
What’s Happening With Your Baby?
At this stage, babies really begin to use their hands to explore the world. Babies will spend their days purposely grabbing onto objects then putting them in their mouths. You can help your baby to move objects from one hand to another by offering them easy to grip toys and rattles. Since everything goes in their mouths, be sure to have baby safe toys and nothing that could pop off or hurt your child. Language development is already in process at this stage and babies are recognizing different sound patterns and intonations. Reading is always a great activity to do at any age and it exposes your baby to new language and rhythmic speech patterns. By 6 months many babies recognize the sound of their own name and will turn towards you.
Toys for 4-6 Months
6. My son particularly does not love tummy time but we were really trying to push it because he was developing a large flat spot on the back of his head (you can read about our journey with correcting his flat head here). I bought this Tummy Time Activity Pillow to help make it more interesting, and I love it! It’s colourful and bright and the toys detach so you can add your own toys as well. The musical toy piano will likely entertain him for a few months to come. I also like that this pillow is not too big so you can bring it to someone’s house or outside on a blanket.
7. Of course all books are great to read to your little one but I really like Barnyard Dance because it rhymes and is so fun to read. We have so many Sandra Boynton books– they are a favourite in our house!
Activities for 4-6 Months
- You’ll notice your baby is much more tuned into you now than they were in the first couple months of life. There’s nothing better than talking with your baby and imitating their vocalizations and coos. Let your baby “talk” and then you respond, going back and forth like a conversation. See how long you can chat together and what sounds and voice tones your baby tunes into the most. Use a lot of animated facial expressions, smiles and dramatic pauses to help hold your baby’s attention.
- Singing songs and chants with actions and anticipation are great ways to get lots of smiles and giggles and also to build emotional connections.