If you are a parent of a toddler, you should consider investing in the best sensory toys for toddlers. Sensory exploration toys stimulate the senses of taste, touch, smell, sight, and hearing. These toys come in different shapes, textures, colors, and sizes to grab the baby’s attention.
Children with special needs, such as autism, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, or intellectual disabilities, may greatly benefit from these sensory-stimulation toys (1). In this post, we’ve put together a list of the finest sensory toys that will stimulate one or more of the senses in your toddlers. So, keep scrolling to explore these time-tested options and pick a suitable one to aid your toddler’s development.
15 Best Sensory Toys For Toddlers
If you do not want to get home bulky toys, you may consider this hedgehog toy. The colorful peg-shaped pieces fit the back of the toy when not in use, while the quills are soft and easy to hold for a toddler or a preschooler. The tried and trusted set includes a two-piece hedgehog and 12 quills with an activity guide. Check out this review cum testing video for more information.
- Stimulates color recognition, curing and sorting skills
- Lightweight and convenient to hold
- Aids motor development
- Enhances cognitive skills
- Plastic construction is durable
- Easy to clean
- Baby’s fingers may be stuck in the holes
- Spikes may not fix into the holes smoothly
Your little one might enjoy this musical doodle board that plays around six songs. It has a gel-based surface board to doodle on, which makes it one of the best sensory toys for toddlers. It runs on three AA batteries and is suitable for children aged two to ten years. If you want to know more about the benefits of this interactive learning toy, check out a tester’s experience in this review on YouTube.
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- Musicals develop the baby’s auditory system
- Lights stimulate the visual sense
- Mess-free and portable
- Reusable coloring tablet
- Gel has to be spread manually after each drawing
- Gel in some areas may become thick and clumpy
- Does not include batteries
The Fisher-Price cube is loaded with unique activities on all six sides for an enhanced sensory experience. It has rubber and metal buttons, a rubber joystick, a toggle switch, spinning rollers, fingerprint scanner, and a notch. All of these with different colors, textures, and sounds stimulate the baby’s senses. Here’s an honest review cum testing video to help you make an informed decision.
- Quality cause and effect toy
- Easy to grasp
- Improves dexterity
- Enhances auditory and tactile sense
- Easy to clean and compact
- Too big for small babies
- May not be as durable
Your baby would be delighted with this tummy-time toy as it has a fascinating sea graph and floating toys in the water. They could have fun catching the floating toys and may learn to support their weight, with time. The safety-tested toddler sensory play mat is made of 100% BPA-free and non-toxic PVC materials.
- Leakproof and durable
- Strengthens arm muscles and legs, preparing the baby to crawl
- Environmentally friendly mat
- Enhances hand-eye coordination
- Easy to use and pack
- Requires high maintenance to keep it away from mold or mildew
- Gives strange PVC odor
The safety-tested Manhattan treetop adventure toy is fully packed with exciting features. It comes with four quadrants having a variety of activities – six bead runs with colorful wooden beads, spring flower, six tracks of animal-themed gliders, and more.
- Strengthens bilateral coordination skills and helps flex the hands as they move the animal gliders
- Boosts creativity
- Develops communication skills
- Promotes curiosity and adventure
- Non-toxic and water-based finish
- Assembling may be difficult
- Base may keep wobbling
The Gleeporte toy contains 60 bears of six different colors. It also includes six stacking cups to help your little one sort the bears. These visual stimulation toys help pre-K and kindergarteners learn abstract mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, and also multiplication.
- Aids in visual stimulation
- Develops coordination skills
- Improves hand-eye coordination
- High quality and non-toxic
- Some bears may have sharp edges and could be a choking hazard
Here is another safety-tested sensory and brain development toy for toddlers that keeps your little one busy sorting and piling the shapes and colors. Each shape contains a specific number of holes and place on the board. Small hands could easily grasp the stacking blocks, and playing with them could prepare the baby’s mind for future learning.
- Teaches shapes, colors, and sizes
- Improves vision
- Facilitates tactile exploration
- Heightens hand-eye coordination skills
- BPA-free, phthalate-free, and non-toxic
- Wooden pegs are not sturdy and may fall off
- Emits an unpleasant smell
These beanbags for babies come in eight different bright colors and shapes, including a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, rectangle, circle, star, and oval. Each bag has the name of their shape embroidered on it, and measures around four to five inches in size, perfect for tiny hands. This developmental toy comes with a ‘tip sheet’ packed with fun activities to make learning shapes exciting for toddlers.
- Teaches shapes and colors
- Develops balance and hand-eye coordination
- Handy drawstring bag for storage
- Keeps the child entertained and engaged
- Lightweight and easy to clean
- Fewer beans, and may get punctured easily
- Ripped seams may cause a choking hazard
With this Infantin block set, your baby can have a simple and nice selection of blocks in different contrasting colors. The set contains 24 blocks measuring two inches each. Your baby would love to pull apart and put them together from any angle. They have a textured surface for enhanced sensory stimulation and can be stacked one above the other or built sideways.
- Encourages imagination
- Ideal blocks to develop early engineering skills
- Great interlocking pattern
- Plastic construction, and easy to clean
- Suitable for babies above six months of age
- Restricted pyramid shapes
- Hard with sharp corners
- May give an unpleasant odor
10. Best To Develop Fine Motor Skills:TOP BRIGHT Magnetic Toddler Toy Game Set
How about bringing nature to your home? This magnetic toy set would help you teach your baby about nature, insects, and birds. It is constructed with hardwood and has a mom bird, a younger bird, and cute caterpillars. Play with your child with this hand-eye coordination toy and pretend to feed the young bird while teaching them how to take care of nature and animals around us.
- Improves communication skills
- Great fine motor toy
- Feeding the birds could instill compassion and a sense of responsibility
- Develops hand-eye coordination
- Smooth paint finish and rounded edges
- Improves color-recognition skills
- Prepares their minds for future learning
- Paint may wear off
- Worms may get stuck in the trunk sometimes
- Magnet may not be that strong
The Montessori sensory board will help your child practice the necessary skills of getting up, dressing, and going outdoors. Created with soft welt wool, it features nine different ties, buttons, and buckles to teach them to put on a shirt, pants, coat, and shoes. It could be one of the best sensory toys for kids, covering broad areas of development.
- Teaches essential dressing skills
- Promotes hands-on learning and fine motor skills
- Buttons and buckles designed with varying difficulty levels
- Challenging and soothing activity
- Removable carry strap suitable for travel
- Some parts may be a choking hazard
- Puzzles may seem too close to one another
This sorting puzzle has spaces to sort and fix the right shapes in them. The 12 different, brightly colored shapes have unique spaces on the cube. This educational toy teaches your child how to sort and helps improve their coordination skills. Fixing the right shape in the slot will also strengthen their muscles.
- Ideal problem-solving toy for toddlers
- Boosts creativity and imagination
- Teaches colors and shapes
- High-quality BPA material stained with water-based and non-toxic paint
- Sturdy and durable blocks with smooth edges
- Paint may chip off with time
- Lid slides off easily
Keep your toddler engaged and excited during bath time with this Happkid bath toy. It comes with a little brush and water cup with spinning gear, water jet, and a cute water faucet. Pour water into the yellow cup and let the baby turn on the tap for flowing water or let them press the bright orange button to activate the water jet. When your baby pours water into the cup, their hand-eye coordination also improves.
- Hones fine motor skills
- Suitable for children aged from one year to three years
- Easy to assemble and store
- Non-toxic, soft rubber materials
- Rubber suction has mixed reviews
- Cup is too small to hold enough water
Add some musical fun to your child’s playtime with this iPlay iLearn music learning cube that has a jazz drum, a guitar, and a trumpet. This auditory stimulation toy has three buttons to change and control the songs, along with volume and power control buttons. There is a microphone set too, for your child to perform karaoke.
- Develops auditory skills
- Keeps them engaged and entertained
- Promotes interaction and exercising of hands and fingers
- Enhances motor development
- Portable headset encourages active play on-the-go
- Soft volume settings for gentle baby ears
- Volume may get low at times
morwant 3D building blocks feature soft rubbery bristles that easily allow children to interlock the pieces together at different angles. The set contains 126 pieces that offer endless possibilities to your little one’s imagination and creativity. It also has 16 rolling wheels to add motion to the built objects.
- Develops the baby’s muscles
- Improves hand-eye coordination and engineering skills
- Teaches colors and shapes
- Improves memory, attention, and concentration
- Easy for small hands
- Free from BPA and phthalates, and safe to keep in the mouth
- Comes in a portable bag that is easy-to-store
- Pieces are flimsy or fragile
- Building may fall apart easily
How To Choose The Right Sensory Toys For Children?
To invest in the best sensory toy for your child, you should consider the following criteria.
- Color: Consider bright and vibrant toys with contrasting patterns and colors that are visually appealing to the child and catch their attention.
- Texture: Find toys that have raised or soft textures which the small hands and fingers can feel. It will be fun for the baby to touch and discover different textures while playing with textured toys.
- Sound: Toys that make noise or play music are ideal. Look for musical toys that play a sound when buttons are pressed or toys are squeezed.
- Safety: Choose toys made of high-quality wood, fabric, or plastic that is free from BPA, phthalates, lead, or PVC. There should be no rough edges, loose screws, or small parts that may become a choking hazard.
- Toys by age: Invest in toys that grow with the child and keep transforming with your child’s growing age, so that they can use them for a really long time.
Why Trust MomJunction?
Priti Bose is an experienced writer specializing in toys and gift product reviews. Using her skills, she brings you the best sensory toys for toddlers that are crucial for their physical and mental development. Not only do these best-selling and consumer-tested toys keep toddlers engaged with their bright colors and unique shapes but they also help develop communication and social skills. Apart from comparing toys from different websites, she has also looked at user reviews before presenting you with the best ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can sensory toys calm my overstimulated child?
Sensory toys can be a safe object that your overstimulated child can concentrate on to calm themselves. If your child feels safe with a sensory toy, they can also be encouraged to explore new and different stimulations (4) .
2. What age are sensory kits good for?
You can give sensory toys that are not a choking hazard to kids as young as one. Kids start exploring things by this age and can even play with simple toys (5). However, young kids should only be given any toys under supervision.
3. How do I introduce a sensory toy to a toddler?
Initially, you can play with the sensory toy near the child to pique the toddler’s interest (6). Introducing a toy can also be easy if you get a colorful toy with the child’s favorite things, such as a ball, zippers, threads, or rings.
4. How do I play with sensory toys?
There are many ways to play with sensory toys. You can click the toy’s buttons, roll them in your palms or fidget with the toy’s rings, threads, balls, or other attachments.
Sensory toys are specially designed to stimulate your toddler’s senses. Besides stimulating toddlers’ senses, these toys also help improve their hand-eye coordination and motor skills and introduce shapes, numbers, and colors to them in a fun way. When choosing one for your little one, it is important to ensure the toy meets all safety standards, is BPA-free, and is made of eco-friendly and non-toxic materials. If you are looking for a lightweight educational toy, that is ergonomically designed to fit into tiny hands, the Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog might be suitable. The Crayola Musical Doodle Board is noteworthy for providing diverse visual, musical, and tactile experiences. You may also try the Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center, which helps develop communication and creativity.
Infographic: Why Are Sensory Toys Important For Toddlers?
Sensory toys are those that stimulate any of the five senses, facilitating sensory play. This type of play not only keeps your curious little one enthralled and entertained but also contributes to their cognitive development. Check out the following infographic to learn about the benefits of sensory toys and play for toddlers.
- Toy Tips: Ideas and Options for Children with Special Needs; Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
- Jackie Andrade; (2009); What Does Doodling do?
- Exploring the Benefits of Sensory Play for Children
- Designing Interactive Soft Toys for Children with Autism
- Important Milestones: Your Child By One Year
- Interactive Sensory toys that encourage Social Interaction