Educational Infant Toys -
A Shortcut For Selecting The Best Ones

Educational infant toys must be playthings babies enjoy and have fun with.  But you'd surely be doing your child a disservice if her toys do not also help her achieve her developmental goals. Nowadays there are toys for all ages and developmental levels to help your baby get the best learning while playing.

Unfortunately most parents just look at the bells and whistles on a toy and don't really think about what else their baby can learn or get from it.  

Tip

One of the things I suggest is to be around your baby when he or she plays.  This is to make sure they are safe when playing. But it also helps you know whether your child is struggling to play with a specific toy or has passed that educational level and now needs something more advanced.

Of course you can also keep track of your baby's educational level and seek professional attention if your child isn't reaching specific milestones.  

Here are a few great toy selections:

Of course, you could also have a look at the 5 most important development areas when choosing another toy, or what others consider to be the best toy for your baby.

We've recently added a more detailed age specific infant toy guide here. You may also be interested in our 10 Best Infant toys.

Let's start by looking at some educational infant toys for...

0-3 Month Olds

As a general rule of thumb, at age 0-3 months, babies need:

  • soft toys to stimulate their senses

  • They also need toys of different textures so they can feel different things

  • Their eyes need further stimulation provided by mobiles

  • Activity mats help improve physical abilities and motor skills, along with activity toys and activity centers

  • Hearing and listening can be enhanced through the use of chime toys, rattles, soft blocks, mobiles and squeeze toys. 

Here are a few suggestions...

Lion mobile
Lion mobile


Activity mat
Activity mat

Freddie the Firefly texture toy
Texture toy

Links rattle which is also a good texture toy
Links rattle

Activity spiral
Activity toy

Wind chime
Wind chime

Baby squeeze ball
Squeeze ball

Plush elephant for babies
Plush elephant

The educational infant toys for...

3-6 Month Olds

  • When your baby reaches 3-6 months old they still need mobiles and rattles but now the goal is to have them reach for the toy by themselves

  • Toys should still have texture so kids get a sense of how different things feel

  • Activity centers are still good toys for this age, along with teething toys.  Babies are often teething at this age and should be able to hold a teething ring.  One suggestion is to make the teething ring textured for a different feel

  • Musical toys and toys that chime can stimulate the hearing/listening skills.  You can begin using board books that are brightly colored and help enhance vision

  • Soft blocks are also very appropriate for this age group

We also have a specific page on educational toys and tips to help baby sit up... since this is the age category when babies should start mastering this milestone.

 

Here are a few specific suggestions...  

Musical monkey baby toy
Musical monkey


Activity center
Activity center

Rattle and teether toy
Rattle & teethers

Soft blocks
Soft blocks

Plush books for babies
Plush book

Baby activity mat
Activity mat

Responsive teether for infants
Responsive teether

Take along tunes music toy for baby
Music toy

The general rule for the best educational infant toys for...

6-9 Month Olds

  • They like musical toys, activity boxes, activity toys and activity stations & mats

  • Building blocks teach stability and teach them what happens when the blocks are destabilized

  • If the baby can crawl or walk, then pull toys are appropriate.  Toys should encourage crawling, such as balls, or walking, such as push toys

  • Your baby should typically be able to sit up unaided and can play with toys such as stacking rings in that position.  As they advance, they can crawl around and reach for toys from a great distance. Here you may also want to try out a crawling tunnel

Here are a few specific educational infant toy suggestions...  

Count and compose music toy for baby
Music toy

One of the best toys for 6-9 month olds is an activity box

Activity box

Activity toys are almost must-haves for overall baby development stimulation
Activity toy

Activity stations are multi-area stimulation toys and work very well for babies and toddlers
Activity station

Duplo building blocks are ideal playthings for babies and toddlers
Building blocks

Pull toys are ideal for stimulating walking in young babies who just mastered this skill
Pull toy

The corn popper push toy is probably one of the best eduational infant toys I've ever purchased
Push toy

Consider a music activity table for 6-9 month olds next time you're looking for a baby toy
Music toy

Educational infant toys for...

9-12 Month Olds

  • When a baby reaches 9-12 months, he or she can usually walk and say a few words.  This is the time for activity cubes, musical toys, board or cloth books, simple puzzle toys, wooden blocks, balls, plush toys for comfort, and building or water toys.  For more suggestions, have a look at this page.

  • Babies can also have fun in the bath and learn things at the same time.  This is the time of a lot of exploration so keep toys vibrant, fun and operational.  

Here are a few specific toy suggestions...  

Music activity table
Music toy

activity cubes are select toys for 9-12 month olds
Activity cube

A good baby book will not only last a long time, but also give your baby valuable learning time
Books

Simple color and texture puzzles are great alternatives to ordinary ones
Texture puzzles

Wooden blocks are probably some of the very best value for money toys for all ages
Wooden blocks

Stacking cups can be great for bathtime and outside fun.
Stacking cups

Building blocks are great all-rounder educational infant toys
Building block

Bath toys are a good alternative form of educational infant toy
Bath toy

 

Educational Infant Toys for 12-24 Month Olds

  • At this age toys can be very diverse.  They may still wish to play with the same plush toy they had when they were a tiny baby and...

  • S/he begins to play with more advanced puzzles at the same time

  • Toy telephones can mimic what adults do

  • Other toys can be musical or offer bright colors for visual stimulation

  • Toys your child can push, pull or ride on are certain favorites and stimulate large motor skills which are very important at this age.  

Here are a few suggestions...

Sit to stand learning walker
Learning walker

Toy telephones for babies 12 months and older are great to mimic what adults do
Toy telephone

this is a very entertaining & learning two-sided play house
Learning home

The peg puzzle bundle is very entertaning, fun and provides ample learning
Peg puzzles

bathtime letters for 12-24 month olds
Bathtime letters

Alphabet blocks may be a bit too advanced for 12-24 month olds. but they're great for buiding... and your baby will grow into them.
Alphabet blocks

The ride-on trike is a favorite with girls and boys
Ride-on trike

Big plush toys will always be favorites of all toddlers and babies
Bath toy

OK, I've listed a few very popular educational infant toys. How about you? Seen any lately we should be aware of?

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