25 Essential Toys for Baby Development in the First Year

As a parent, you want to give your baby the best start in life. Toys are an important part of a baby's development, and the right toys can help your baby learn and grow. But with so many toys on the market, it can be hard to know which ones are best for your baby's first year. Here is a list of the 25 essential toys for baby development during the first year.

For the first few months, your baby has a lot in common with a mole. They can't see very far and they don't have much control over their movements. That's why it's important to provide them with toys that stimulate their senses and help them practice their motor skills. Many play mats come with a bunch of toys to hang over the head, but these can be very stimulating for a newborn.

For now, remove the clip-on toys and place the mat on top of a rug to create a clean and comfortable place to practice tummy time. Activity cubes are great for developing fine motor skills, logic and thinking. Just like activity tables in terms of what they offer your little one, but smaller and more portable, these “busy” cubes are a great gift idea for baby's first birthday. In addition, the miniature versions are perfect for traveling by car or plane.

Your baby will love the cause and effect of a xylophone or Baby Einstein piano. These are perfect for hand-eye coordination and not as loud as electric toys that play music on their own. Balls make great toys for rolling, but little wooden shooters are also wonderful once babies start crawling or shuffling. Babies tend to have their first teeth sometime between 6 and 12 months, so chew toys are definitely on the list at this stage.

Suitable for newborns and 12-month-old babies, it is perfect for teething babies and the squeaky sound inside is ready to attract baby's attention. There are also toys that have lasting appeal and are still played with as babies move from their first year to infancy and preschool years. The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys (see on Amazon) offers versatility with its set of eight colorful cups. For babies between two and six months old, toys that can be grasped will help them develop gross motor skills.

While a Wubbanub probably doesn't technically count as a toy, when a baby is just one month old, it's close enough to consider it a toy for me, even if its purpose is more functional than fun. Links are also great for babies who are just starting to grasp things. These colorful and durable links can be used individually (they are the ideal weight for a baby who works grasping it) or they can be joined together to form a chain that is perfect for keeping toys attached to the stroller. Perfect for children 6 months and up, this innovative toy challenges babies to balance, nest, twist and stack these spheres at angles that defy gravity. And if the toy causes the sounds to crumple, chirp, squeak, it's even better because it offers auditory stimulation and teaches the baby the cause and effect. The Baby Einstein Octoplush was a gift from my sister and brother-in-law and is still a toy that seems to make Chase smile. Toys can certainly aid development and make life fun, but resist being seduced by flashy features or marketing promises (for example, your baby may not recognize letters or numbers for the first year).

While there are many toys on this list, rest assured that your baby doesn't need all the gadgets and gadgets to be happy and healthy.

Latasha Stokely
Latasha Stokely

Typical zombie scholar. Passionate bacon specialist. Proud bacon fan. Freelance food fanatic. Incurable social media evangelist.