Infant Toys for Development – Child Psychiatrist Recommends

A new baby usually means wonderful friends and family members bringing in toys.  As the child moves from the first weeks through the next several months, you might want to consider toys that will be fun but also aid in their development. As a child psychiatrist, here are some that I recommend:

Newborn Infant Toys

  • Activity Mat – Many play mats are filled with toys hanging overhead. Initially this may be too much stimulation but just remove the clip ons and allow the infant to stretch on the mat.  Add in toys as the baby grows.

  • Music – Hearing is one of the earlier senses that mature. Music can be calming and reassuring, especially a parent’s voice.

  • Mobiles – Babies start recognizing colors at about 3 months. Until that time high-contrast black-and-white designs are appropriate.


Two to Three Month Baby Toys

This time is marked by the baby holding its head higher and steadier and even the unexpected roll.  During this time the child will start to grasp objects and exploring other senses.

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Four to Five Month Baby Toys

This is when motor skills start showing up like pressing up in practice for crawling.  Senses are growing and some cognitive abilities to associate sound.

  • Teething – Although tooth buds don’t usually appear until about six months, gum sensitivity may begin earlier.

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  • Rattles – Always a good toy to explore cause and effect.

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  • Toys with sound – Soft, lightweight balls or blocks that are easy to grip.

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Six to Eight Month Baby Toys

With the baby sitting up, encouraging abs, trunk and spine is a good choice.  By putting toys in front and encouraging the child to reach, these muscles and tendons will get the stretching necessary for good growth.

  • Books – Board and cloth books are the right size for these tiny hands but at the same time are very sturdy.

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  • Stackable cups – This teaches hand-eye coordination and the surprise of having something else hiding underneath. Just be cautious about swallowing sizes of the hidden objects.


  • Balls – Hollow balls with holes help refine grasping skills.



Nine to Twelve Month Baby Toys

Pulling up and edging along furniture pieces in preparation for those precarious first steps.  At this age, the child can understand and process simple instructions and remember more.

  • Kitchen items – Both plastic toy type utensils and lower kitchen cabinet items are called for. They will help with self feeding and emulating the meal preparation. Don’t overlook egg cartons, cereal boxes, and empty food containers.


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  • Activity tables – Helping with balance during standing, these flat surfaces on legs that have buttons and holes are a great entertainment piece.

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  • Huggables – This is the time when children start to form attachments to blankets and stuffed or cuddly toys. They find comfort when upset or sleepy.

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Not everything needs to be expensive.  Shop garage sales and trade with new parents who have children of various ages.  Watch for loose or small objects that can be dangerous when put into small mouths.

*Note that purchases from the links on this page are affiliate links



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