10 Best Infant Toys

Many anxious parents search for the best infant toys to stimulate and encourage their child's development. But like with so many other 'best' suggestions today, there is always some debate whether the ideas shared will really be that great. So, let's agree that you may very well find some specific toy that your baby prefers, but there are surely some key educational toys that have been assessed and given the thumbs up by many parents, therapists... and children. We'd like to focus on some of those infant toys here... and add our own little twist.

What's our main goal?

We start off by looking at one of the main goals during your baby's first 2 years… most development focus will be to acquire and progress gross motor skills like rolling, sitting, crawling, walking and running. These skills are also the foundation on which many other skills will be built.

Best infant toy groups

Now, rather than looking at very specific toy recommendations to assist with such development, I’d like to take you through what I consider to be the best infant toy groups. I've taken the highly rates and most frequently recommenced toys and grouped them for ease of reference. I mention a few key toys in each group which you can look at.

Age categories

In the graph below I’ve summarized the most appropriate ages for each of the 10 best infant toy groups which are made up of the most often highly rates toys. Next is to select the most appropriate age for each group, click the link to the relevant group and browse around till you find your best toy.

10 Best infant toys

Texture toys
Soft blocks
Activity mats
Activity centers
Puzzles with knobs
Material & board books
Push & pull toys
Stacking rings & cones
Nesting cups
Building blocks

Needs special mentioning

Tips for finding your own 'best infant toys'

10 Best Infant Toys

Texture toys

Texture toys are often overlooked by many parents, but they provide a rare opportunity for infants to develop a number of skills such as sensory, hand-eye-mind coordination and perceptual skills. Texture toys also include identifying colors and textures apart from matching different textures in different combinations. They great learning toys and ought to find their way into every child’s toy chest.

Baby texture rings
Texture rings
Texture activity toy
Texture activity toy
Bumpy ball for infants - texture toy
Bumpy ball

Soft blocks

Soft blocks are some of the most versatile toys any baby can have. These innovative toys stimulate your kid in many ways. They teach and encourage motor skills, developing visual ability, color recognition and spatial recognition skills. Soft blocks are easy to hold and play with, and they come in a bewildering assortment of colors and shapes… and nowadays also in a range of different textures!

If you ever find yourself at a lost for a great starter gift for any young baby… start with soft blocks. For more about soft blocks, visit this page on our site.

Knock knock soft blocks
Knock knock blocks
Baby squeeze blocks
Squeeze blocks
Melisssa & Doug match and build blocks
Match and build blocks

Activity mats

A brightly colored and brilliantly illustrated activity mat will not only sharpen your baby’s mind and intellect, it will also provide an excellent opportunity to spend some quality time by playing on her own.

Activity mats also act as a soft, resting surface with lots of colorful stimulation facilities for your baby when she lies down or plays on the mat.

Twist and fold activity mat
Twist and fold mat
Lights and music activity mat
Lights & Music activity gym
Fisher-Price deluxe gym
Fisher-Price Deluxe gym

Activity centers

Your infant needs a good measure of physical and mental exercises now. An activity center with its innovative features is the right type of tool to improve her skills and intellect. Activity centers come in a bewildering variety of designs and formats.

Choose the one that best fits the needs of your baby, but give some thought to the use thereof over the next few years. Maybe choose one that would rather be a little to difficult for her now than one that satisfies only the immediate needs. This is one of my all-time best infant toys.

Activity saucer
Activity saucer
Learning center that also works as aid to get baby from sitting to walking
Learning walker gym
Active learning center
Active learning center

Puzzles with knobs

I really like the first puzzles with the knobs for ease of handling by those little hands. Puzzle games and toys provide your baby an opportunity to learn, work, recognize and solve many interactive logical and analytical problems. These puzzles also improve muscular and nervous system functions. And the little knobs encourage and develop you baby’s intellect and smartness in performing several important perceptual functions and activities.

All around puzzles with knobs are really superb baby educational toys. I believe they’re probably one of the best infant toys anyone can buy! Great value-for-money. Below I've also included one of the peg puzzles which surely makes the list of our best infant toys... for slightly older infants.

Melissa and Doug's first shapes knob puzzle
Melissa & Doug's
First shapes knob puzzle
Jumbo knob farm animal puzzle
Jumbo knob
farm animals puzzle
Melissa & Doug's vehicle peg puzzle
Vehicle peg puzzle

Cloth & board books

Cloth and board books offer an outlet for your child to express and prove her intelligence and smartness! Initially stimulation comes from the texture and handling of the books, as well as the images and colors. These all provide a way of honing the learning skills and perception potential.

What I really like about cloth and board books is that they're cheap, yet great starter aids to better your child’s perception skills.

Tip: look for ones that come with different textures.

Touch & feel cloth book
Touch & feel cloth book
Delightful interactive baby's belly button book
Delightful interactive
Baby's belly button book
Elmo cloth book
Elmo cloth book

Push & pull toys

These must be all-time favorites among little ones. Push and pull toys provide unlimited entertainment and plenty of exercises to your growing baby! Push and pull toys require physical strength and stamina and they’re absolutely brilliant to improve strength, coordination and encourage walking and running! Regardless of which one you choose, but in my opinion every child should have one.

Push and pull toys really work since they focus your baby’s attention so effectively on the toy, while unknowingly teaching him all the walking and mobility skills s/he needs.

Fisher-Price corn popper
Fisher-Price corn popper
Dump truck pull toy
Dump truck pull toy
Little red push or pull wagon
Little Red
push or pull Wagon

Stacking rings & cones

You know, there really is nothing else like stacking rings and cones for developing and improving your baby’s hand-eye coordination, color and shape recognition and many other perceptual learning skills. These toy sets come in many shapes, colors, formats and designs - each one with its own unique functions and practical values. This group of educational toys is every time one of the first to reach our list of 10 best infant toys.

Fisher-Price basic stacking rings
Fisher-Price
basic stacking rings
Cone stacking & sorting
Cone stacking & sorting
First stacker toy
First stacker toy

Nesting cups

Nesting cups provide a novel method to improve spatial and organizing skills of arranging things and shapes. The different sized cups encourage learning vital basic positional concepts such as “in”, “out”, “under” and “above”. These toys also provide a unique way of detecting and identifying different shapes and patterns in a colorful way.

Nesting cups are very affordable thus making them the perfect gift and presents for any baby!

Tip: First prize is always to find a toy that can be used for more than one purpose!

First Years nesting cups which can also be used for stacking
First Years nesting cups
Nesting stacker with several wonderful uses for little ones
Nesting stacker
Stack and nesting sensory toys
Stack and nesting
sensory toys

Building blocks

Building blocks form one of the most useful toys to help your baby develop many physical and perceptual coordination and skills. Building blocks are great for encouraging learning to grip solid objects and identifying colors and geometric shapes. They’re also most helpful to teach arranging solid objects in meaningful, creative ways. In my opinion, building blocks also rate as another evergreen toy. I have a huge crate of building blocks at home… some of them almost 30 years old! In short, they last a lifetime.

Press and stay texture blocks
Press & stay blocks
Mega blocks first builder
First builder blocks
Melissa Doug wooden blocks
Melissa & Doug wooden blocks

Needs special mentioning

There are always a few toys we find that all of us overlook, but are great and evergreen ones. Some of these we've have for many years... and literally hundreds of children enjoyed lots of fun-time with them. These are ones that definitely makes it to our list of best infant toys.

Melissa & Doug's latches board
Melissa & Doug
latches board
Highly popular take along tunes
Ever popular
Take Along Tunes
Baby Einstein Bendy ball
Baby Einstein
Bendy Ball

Tips for finding your own 'best infant toys'

  • Brightly colored toys will always draw your little one's gaze and attention. Here we're specifically looking at yellow, red, blue, and other bright colours.

  • Many great infant toys nowadays come standard with some sound-making capability. If you want to get your child’s visual and audible attention, pick toys that that play soft, soothing sounds and tunes rather than loud, harsh noises.

  • Windup and manual toys are always better than battery operated ones

  • The best infant toys are the ones that are simplest to operate and preferably requires your child to 'do' something to get most play value. So, the less complicated the better... and preferably no batteries!

  • Another important aspect is safety. Pick toys that are certified safe for infants, with no small, breakable parts; toys made from 100% nontoxic and baby safe materials.

  • Lastly, be guided by what works for your baby. Babies are such individual little people that where one may delight in a pretty toy, another may find it far more interesting to bang a spoon and pot.


Don’t be disappointed if your baby doesn’t take to some of the fancier toys right away. It could take time; meanwhile if banging a pot with a spoon is what your baby enjoys, let her! If you're interested in a few more infant toy ideas, please visit this resource.

Best Infant Toys >> Baby Toys