Best Developmental Toys: The Infant Edition
As parents and therapists we can become easily overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of toys on the market. The best baby toys foster our child’s development, encourage opportunities for exploration, learning, movement, and independence.
Whether you are purchasing toys for your own child, a gift for a friend or family’s new addition, toys for a daycare or nursery school, or items to utilize with young patients during therapy sessions, you cannot go wrong with any of these recommendations!
Our Top Picks for Early Motor Learning:
O-ball products are designed to ensure children are able to grasp and manipulate. The flexible material is pleasing to the touch and the bright colors make them visually stimulating as well. O-ball toys are great to motivate child during tummy time, encouraging rolling, as well as facilitating sitting and crawling! Read more about Early Motor Milestones here.
The Mini Boppy Tummy Time Pillow, is an extremely helpful tool to encourage tummy time, offering support under child’s chest and arms to facilitate propping up through upper extremities. The pillow also offers sideline ring attachment of objects for child to touch, grasp and manipulate as they gain more confidence and strength in the tummy down position. For more of our Favorite Tummy Time Toys read our post here!
Every little one should have an activity mirror. The Giantsuper Tummy Time Mirror & Art Cards is one of our favorites as it is extremely versatile. The flip-and-stand playboard features a reflective mirror on one side and an easel on the other holding high contrast animal art cards. It can be used to encourage tummy time, rolling and crawling.
We love the Sassy Tactile Ring Set to promote grasping and reaching. The links are great to engage child during tummy time, to encourage rolling, sidelying play and supported sitting. Each link set offers different tactile element to encourage activation of intrinsic muscles of hands for future fine motor skills! This extremely portable and durable set can be used independently or to attach toys to carseat, stroller, or high chair!
Encouraging the child to move, shake, grasp, reach, and manipulate! Great to encourage visual tracking, crossing midline, tummy time, supported sitting, and standing! The Hohner 4 Piece Muscial Set includes a Mini Rainbow Shaker, Baby Maraca, Baby Rattle, and Cage Bell. Musical instruments are without a doubt among the best baby toys!
The Manhattan Toy Soft Birdhouse provides excellent sensory and fine motor opportunities offering colorful birds with a variety of textures for tactile exploration. It also introduces cause and effect understanding, as well as offers opportunities for language development!
The Playgro Sort and Stack encourages hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Helpful motivation for children during tummy time and one of my favorite toys to encourage independent and functional sitting! Read more about Tips and Tricks to Encourage Independent Sitting here!
The Melissa and Doug Take Along Shape Sorter is a superb developmental toy offering a padded shape sorter perfect for babies and toddlers. Great for sensory exploration, fine motor and gross motor skills as well as early learning of shapes and colors. The shape sorter also encourages problem solving and reasoning.
The Plush Taggies Ball is the perfect toy for tummy time, sitting and crawling. As the ball rolls along, the child is motivated to crawl after it. Offering a soft surface, bright colors, and fun-to-grip tags. Great toy for object manipulation, hand eye coordination and early ball play skills.
Bright Starts Grab and Stack Soft Blocks are a great developmental toy for infants offering easy to grasp soft blocks which can be thrown like a ball or stacked as blocks. They are colorful with different textures, stimulating sensory exploration and development of visual skills.
Stacking Cups are great for infants, and older children too. A great compact toy that can fit right in your diaper bag as a fun “on-the-go” toy. Children learn colors and spatial concepts of big and small as they work to nest the cups or stack them to build a tower.
Infants benefit from play in different positions. The Baby Einstein Activity Mat includes a prop pillow to promote tummy time play, which helps to develop important muscles of the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and trunk! This mat is easily portable too for any adventure!
Check out our next post in the series Best Developmental Toys: The Toddler Edition!
Learn more about Dinosaur Physical Therapy!