When your baby is beginning to move and explore, it is time to acquaint them with numbers, alphabets, animal names, and more. So, here’s our list of the best learning toys for babies to help your child reach their developmental goals. With lights, sounds, and bright colors, these toys can keep your children engaged and improve their motor, cognitive, thinking skills, and hand-eye coordination. They are made of child-safe materials to protect them from injuries.
So, explore our list of some best-selling and parent-recommended toys to choose the right one for your child.
19 Best Learning Toys For Babies In 2023
1. Best Eco-Friendly Kids Bath Toy: Baby Loovi Foam Bath Toys
Some babies enjoy spending time in the bathtub, but not at their study desk. So, how do you get them to learn something new? Well, get them these foam bath toys that come in the shape of animals and letters of the English alphabet. Check out this video to learn how this alphabet toy for babies works.
- Made of eco-friendly EVA material
- Safety-tested and meets the U.S. and European toy safety standards
- Toys help teach colors, letters of the alphabet, names of animals, and more
- Toy pieces can float on water and can easily be stuck to the wall
- Sticking the toy characters to the wall helps improve the baby’s hand-eye coordination
- Pieces may be small
- Suction power could have been stronger
2. Best For Keeping The Baby Entertained: Baby Gund Animated Flappy The Elephant Stuffed Animal Plush
This soft elephant flaps its ears to play a game of peek-a-boo with your little one. And its huggable body provides the kind of comfort your baby needs. The plush toy for babies by the trusted brand Gund makes a good birthday gift for little ones.
- Pressing the hidden button helps the baby learn cause and effect
- Plays music to keep the baby entertained
- Easily washable in a machine
- Made of premium plush
- Changing the batteries can be a task
3. Best For Awakening Curiosity: Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack
Stacking is an oddly satisfying activity not just for adults, but also for babies. The stacking toy for babies helps develop multiple skills that boost the baby’s all-round growth. This toy set from the trusted brand Fisher-Price includes five colorful rings and a wobbly base. Take a look at this product testing video by a reviewer to get more information on the product.
- Smallest ring has a transparent surface and features rattling beads
- Arranging the rings size-wise helps the baby understand the concept of relative size
- Suitable hand-eye coordination toy for babies
- Helps improve balance
- Awakens the baby’s curiosity
- Children may find the top ring to be hard
- Small holes may be prone to molds
4. Best For Problem-Solving: Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks
Shapes and colors are some of the first things that babies learn. And this skill-building toy helps babies get acquainted with both. Here’s a brief video you can watch to make the most out of this problem solving toy for babies.
- Set includes ten colorful blocks of various shapes
- Blocks come packaged in a lovely storage box with handle
- Sorting and inserting the blocks to their respective spots help boost problem-solving and motor skills in babies
- Improves child’s hand-eye coordination
- Lid may not have a locking mechanism
- May not suit rough and tough play
5. Best For Learning Languages: LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
This book of words helps your baby learn new words. This language development toy for babies is a bilingual book that teaches words in English and Spanish.
- Sturdy plastic pages for smooth play
- Images when touched play audio, teaching the baby different names and words
- Plays content in three modes, namely fun facts, music, and different types of sounds
- Handle makes it portable
- May be excessively sensitive to touch
- Volume may not be loud enough
6. Best For Fine Motor Skills: Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Baby
This tiny portable toy offers five colorful bubbles that babies love to press and pinch. The cognitive skill toy for babies is a good way to strengthen hand muscles and keep the baby busy.
- Bubbles made of BPA-free and food-grade silicone
- Frame made of ABS plastic
- Helps the baby understand cause and effect
- Improves fine motor skills
- May not hold the baby’s attention for long
7. Best For Tactile Senses: Melissa & Doug Flip Fish Baby Toy
- Squeaker tail strengthens grasping skills
- Crinkly texture offers tactile stimulation
- Colorful body is a visual delight
- Soft body is ideal for cuddling
- Suitable tummy time toy for babies
- Easy to clean
- May have an unpleasant odor when new
- Seams may come apart after extended use
8. Best Non-Toxic: Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle And Teether
If your baby is going through the teething phase, they are bound to put toys into their mouths. This multi-purpose toy helps relieve teething pain and ensures your baby is entertained. It also makes a great color recognition toy for babies.
- Made of sustainable wood and non-toxic water-based paint
- Design allows for easy clutching
- Rattling beads easily attract the baby’s attention
- Suitable for gifting during baby showers
- Tiny beads may pose a choking hazard
9. Best For Understanding Shapes: Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape-Sorter Toy
Shape-sorters are toys that encourage children to put in blocks of different shapes into their designated holes. This shape sorting toy for babies by the trusted brand Melissa & Doug can help them understand spatial relations and also differentiate between various shapes.
- Toy bag doubles up as a storage case after play
- Portable case makes the transfer of toy easy and convenient
- Padded case ensures safe play
- Features crinkly flaps that come with pictures of familiar items on top and their corresponding shapes beneath
- May be slightly bulky
- Quality of the zipper could have been better
10. Best Colorful: Melissa & Doug Classic Bead Maze
Wish to keep your baby busy for a while? Hand them this colorful and entertaining bead maze that can hold their undivided attention. This fine motor skills toy for babies will become their absolute favorite.
- Helps improve color and shape recognition skills in children
- Strengthens fine motor skills
- Comes with a strong wooden base
- Includes 18 easy-to-grip wooden beads that the baby has to slide through three roller-coaster wires
- Splinter may pose a choking hazard
- Paint may wear off
Teaching children to read can be difficult because they seldom sit in one place. And if you hand them a book, they will likely tear it or get it soiled. The perfect solution to this dilemma is this cloth book that can be washed and used over and over again.
- Made of quality cotton fabric
- Non-toxic and free of BPA
- Tear-resistant and easy to wash
- Suitable teething toy for babies
- Variety in textures helps develop tactile senses
- Contains several interesting activities for babies
- May have a peculiar smell when new
- Content may not be grammatically correct
Rattling toys always help you get your baby’s attention. This rattle toy for babies looks attractive with its colorful design and is easy to bend and squeeze.
- Made of flexible BPA-free plastic
- Easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth
- Inner ball makes a rattling sound when shaken
- Designed for easy grip and play
- May be slightly heavy
- May be slightly hard
This xylophone toy can help instill a love of music in your baby. And you never know, your kiddo might be a child prodigy. This cause and effect toy for babies by the trusted brand Hape Toys can help support their development in early childhood.
- Baby can play with the toy in multiple ways
- Strengthens hand-eye coordination
- Helps the baby understand cause and effect
- Durable build with round edges
- Water-based paint for safe play
- Paint might chip
Xylophone may be out of tune
Musical toys are almost always the most fool-proof way to keep your baby entertained and develop their mind and body. This musical and light-up toy for babies plays different kinds of music with light effects, aiding in stimulating multiple senses.
- Helps inculcate a love of music in babies
- Large buttons are designed for the tiny hands of babies
- Offers two modes of play, namely Discovery mode and Composer mode
- Lights encourage the baby to hit the button more often
- Easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth
- May not hold the baby’s attention for long
- Not ideal for rough play
Need a toy to keep your baby distracted while on the go? This multi-sensory toy by Manhattan can do the job perfectly.
- Comes with rattles, squeakers, crinkle paper, and more
- Grasping the loops helps strengthen hand muscles
- Baby-safe mirror promotes self-discovery
- Plastic loop helps attach the toy to strollers, cribs, and car seats
- Color dyes may leak
- Seams may pull apart
Activity cubes are popular amongst parents because they offer engaging activities that help develop both the mind and body of little kids. This activity cube is an educational toy that offers five engaging activities, one on each side of the cube.
- Sturdy body with smooth edges
- Non-toxic water-based paint
- Shape-sorting the blocks helps the baby understand spatial relations
- Spinning the gears helps develop fine motor skills
- Bead maze on the top can be detached and used separately
- Activities help promote problem-solving skills
- Paint may fade easily
- Lid may come off occasionally
This learning kit comes with board books and one-piece puzzles that help teach your baby numbers, words, sounds – you name it. This number toy for babies is suitable for early introduction of numbers and words to your child.
- Set includes finger puppets, books, blocks, and mirrors
- Promotes self-awareness by teaching parts of the face with respective images
- Comes with a teaching guide
- Helps develop tactile senses and hand-eye coordination
- May not have clear instructions about how to go about with the kit
- Puppets may be poorly crafted
Promote learning and support your child’s development with this interactive ABC learning book for toddlers by Cali’s Books. Suitable for children aged one to four years, it features six educational songs that play for 15 seconds each and a melodious ABC song. The charming illustrations that accompany every letter help make learning even more fun. The book has a safe battery compartment and runs on three AG10 batteries.
- Easy-to-push ergonomic sound button
- Promotes fine motor skills
- Develops hand-eye coordination
- Interactive toy for babies
- Teaches about cause and effect
- Has an on/off button
- Book may be a bit heavy for toddlers
- May require frequent battery change
Play cubes are quite popular with babies, and this Farmyard Cube, in particular, is a hot favorite. This textured toy for babies by the trusted brand Melissa & Doug offers different activities on each side and helps with the baby’s cognitive and physical development.
- Cube comes with a teether, plastic mirror, and crinkly flower petals and tabs
- Animal characters make sounds when their noses are pressed
- Flaps and textured fabrics help develop the baby’s tactile sense
- Plastic mirror promotes self-exploration
- May not be easy to find the buttons
- Sounds may be distorted
How To Help Your Baby Learn Through Play?
Here are some tips that can come handy while trying to teach something to your baby through a toy.
- When showing a toy to your baby, try to speak aloud about it. Tell your baby what the toy is and what it does. This way, your baby will catch words and understand their meaning through the action that the toy does.
- Repetition is the key to learning. When you show your child the same toy and explain its functions repeatedly, they will start remembering details and will be able to recall words and the corresponding actions.
- It is okay if your baby does not play with a toy the way you want them. Every baby perceives a toy differently, and it is up to them to make sense of the toy their way.
- The educational toys mentioned in this list are designed to sharpen certain skills in kids. You can pick a toy based on the skill that is lacking and thus requires more effort in development.
What Type Of Toys Can Help With Your Baby’s Education?
Toy brands design toys to suit a certain age group of babies and certain developmental qualities. These toys help to develop physical, social-emotional, and language skills in babies.
- Babies love to arrange their toys; hence, stack toys are very popular with kids. Stacking might help develop problem-solving skills in babies.
- Musical toys that play songs help children learn new words and phrases. These toys mostly come with flashing lights to help attract baby’s attention.
- As kids grow, they start to get more imaginative and prefer pretend-play games, where they create their own scenarios and play certain characters. Toy cars, dollhouses, soft toys, and other toys help promote imagination in kids.
- Toys like puzzles, mazes, and shape sorters help babies understand spatial relations. They also help develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
How To Choose The Right Learning Toys For Babies?
Here are some tips for buying the best learning toys for babies.
- Start with a small set of toys and then gradually increase the baby’s toy bank. Showcasing too many toys at once to a baby could overwhelm them, and they might not be able to reap all the benefits of each toy.
- As babies grow, their needs and choices also change. Replace toys as your baby grows. Opt for toys that are suitable for your baby’s age and preferences.
- Some toys are meant to grow with the baby, which means the toy’s utility also increases as your baby grows. Buying such toys is like a long-term investment.
- Not all toys that claim to be ‘educational’ are indeed so. Always try to understand how the toy will help your baby grow and then buy it.
Babies are very adaptive and will usually play with anything you give them. But gifting your baby an educational toy can let them have fun while also polishing their developmental skills and milestones.
Heather Welch, a play advocate, educator, mother of two, and an expert in children’s products and toys, says, “Babies learn about the world and themselves through play. First, they start exploring with their mouth and hands and use their five basic senses — sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. Therefore, when choosing an educational toy for your baby’s development, look for a toy that can stimulate these senses so that your baby can enhance their cognitive skills while having fun.”
Why Trust MomJunction?
Our experienced writers and reviewers understand parents’ concern about picking the right educational toys for their children. After going through several products, we have put together this list of the best learning toys for babies based on a thorough study of customer reviews and satisfaction levels. Only the ones with the best reviews and high-quality construction have been chosen for you. We have also prepared a buying guide to help you streamline your needs and make an informed purchase.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do learning toys help children develop?
Learning toys can stimulate your child’s brain and help them learn hand-eye coordination and motor, social, and emotional skills (1).
2. When should I introduce toys to my baby?
Your infant tries to grasp things around four months. This might be the right time for you to introduce toys like a rattle (1).
3. Do babies need learning toys?
Children learn while they play, and toys are integral to their development. Learning toys stimulate young learners to develop language skills, promote hand-eye coordination, improve fine motor skills, and help color and shape recognition.
4. Are learning toys safe for babies?
Learning toys are safe as long as they meet toy safety standards. Toys with small parts can cause a choking hazard, so parents or caregivers should monitor children below three years as they play (2).
5. How long do learning toys last?
Toys made from superior quality material last long, even if your baby outgrows the learning toys. If these toys are well maintained, they last even longer.
6. Can too many toys cause problems?
Having too many toys can be distracting, and your child may get confused about choosing a toy to play with. In addition, it might get challenging to take good care of the toys.
7. Do babies get bored of toys?
Yes, babies can get bored of toys when they outgrow their developmental age for certain toys. Babies curiously search for toys that match their developmental age.
A growing baby needs to be surrounded by informative things that help develop their skills. Toys based on certain themes, such as animals or plants, are a great way to introduce these concepts to them. Hence, consider buying the best learning toys for babies to aid their cognitive skill development. To choose the right toys, ensure they are made of non-toxic materials, easy to hold or interact with, and easy to clean. Also, opt for colorful toys or ones that produce sounds to capture the attention of your little one for longer.
Infographic: What Are The Various Kinds Of Learning Toys For Babies?
Learning toys are a great way to keep curious hands occupied while keeping babies happy, allowing them to explore and work on various skills, and fostering early childhood development. Explore the following infographic to discover the different categories of learning toys, along with their unique features, helping you understand the purpose of each type.
- Smart Toys for Every Age
- Choosing Safe Baby Products: Toys
- The Influence Of The Number Of Toys In The Environment On Toddlers’ Play:
- Nevin Cetin Dag et al.; (2021); Children’s Only Profession: Playing With Toys
- Using Toys To Support Infant-Toddler Learning And Development
- Smart Toys for Every Age