12 of the best toys for 6 to 12 month olds

Our pick of the top toys for boy and girl babies between the ages of 6 months and 1 year

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Now that your baby can grab and hold things and bang them together, you can give him or her toys that ‘do’ more. He or she will particularly love toys that spin or move or make a noise when they’re touched or pressed (or banged).

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 This is also the age when toys can get pretty noisy – as things that make a sound, from clever electronic toys to simple very first musical instruments, are endlessly fascinating to the under-1 ear.

Here are the best toys for 6 to 12 months, as tested by babies…

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1. Skip Hop Explore & More Follow Bee Crawl Toy, £25 – best for first crawling

Age: 5 months +

What it is: A whizzy little cloud (14cm x 14cm x 10cm), with nestling bee rattle, that zooms around with rainbow lights flashing and (actually quite nice) music playing, encouraging your baby to crawl after it and grab the bee. It spins around in circles when the bee is removed. Batteries included.

Why we love it: We like its 2 whizz-around modes – a circular one for just-about-to-crawlers and a more random one for can-do-this-crawlers.

It also has an in-built sensor to stop it bashing into furniture, and the bee rattle has moveable beads and teeth-friendly rubbery stripes for babies taking a crawling time out.

Available from: John Lewis, Boots and Precious Little One

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2. Edushape Textured Pop Blocks, £12.99 – best for tactility

Age: from birth
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Baby Toy (6-12 months) – Gold

What it is: 10 colourful, tactile soft cubes that have appealing 3D textures. They have protruding shapes that can interlock, so they’re ideal for sorting and stacking.

Why we love it: These are bright, versatile blocks that will fascinate your little one through various stages of development. They are soft and squidgy, have a fantastic array of textures to explore, and their colours are appealingly bright. The interlocking shapes are great to encourage stacking and sorting.

Nicola, MFM tester and mum of Keira, 8 months, says the blocks were excellent for her daughter to play with. She says: “They are great for talking about numbers, colours, shapes and animals, and are easy for small hands to grasp.”

Available from: Halilit

3. Taf Toys Hunny Bunny Stacker, £12.99 – best for hand-eye coordination

Age: 9 months +
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Baby Toy (6-12 months) – Silver

What it is: Colourful, 26cm stacker toy that includes four stackable rings and a bunny on top. With a firm base, rattling beads and handles on the rings for easy grabbing.

Why we love it: This is a super-cute first stacking toy. Each of the brightly coloured rings has handles which make them easier to grab and the friendly bunny face on top will delight little ones. Stacking toys are great for hand-eye coordination and early motor skills, and this one is particularly tactile and appealing.

MFM Consumer & Reviews Editor Christy says, “This is a gorgeous update on a classic design – babies will love exploring the different sounds and textures, and it looks good enough to gift a new baby.”

Available from: Amazon

4. Skip Hop Farmstand Rock-A-Mole Guitar, £16 – best for musical tunes  

Age: 6 months +
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Baby Toy (6-12 months) – Bronze

What it is: Cute 28cm avocado guitar with a spinning ‘pit’ and various buttons to play 6 songs and 6 guitar riffs, plus various colourful lights. Requires 3xAAA batteries, which are included.

Why we love it: First of all, this guitar is super cute – we don’t know who thought of turning an avocado into a guitar, but it works. The shape and size are ideal for older babies to grab and interact with, and they will love making sounds and ‘playing music’. Our testers loved this, as it was easy for little ones to get the hang of – although the parents could do with some volume control. Len Bright, MFM tester and dad of Thea, 7, thought the product was great value, and his daughter was a fan: “She loved the loud music and enjoyed dancing along to it,” he says. “The avocado stone that rolls and is like stringing a guitar is a brilliant idea and was easy for her to pick up and play along.”

Available from: John Lewis, ELC and Victoria Leeds

5. V-tech Baby Turn and Learn Cube, £25 – best for interactivity

Age: 6 months +

What it is: A 16.5cm cube featuring oh-so-pushable, light-up buttons, sliding pieces, sound effects, sing-a-long songs and animal characters.

Why we love it: There’s never a dull moment with this toy, that’s for sure! All the different features are designed for motor-skill development, language development and imaginative play. But basically it’s a fun toy that does lots of good stuff when you bash, press and spin it. It’s nice and robust, too.

Available from: Amazon, The Toy Shop and ELC

6. Mamas and Papas Offspring Tummy Time Toy, £19 – best for tummy rest

Age: from birth

What it is: A soft, but not too squishy, 42cm cushion, designed to encourage your baby to play on his or her tummy, and covered with things to grab, pull, rattle and chew.

Why we love it: Some babies find tummy-time play (thought to help build muscle strength and generally stimulate physical development) a bit difficult at first but this brightly coloured toy is packed with fun things to do. Even the tummy-timid should be tempted to hang out this way up for longer.

Available from: Mamas and Papas

7. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Rock-a-Stack, £11 – best for first fine motor skills

Age: 6 months + 

What is it: A set of 5 brightly coloured rings that fit over a stacking cone base, from big to small. The whole toy is 24cm x 12.5cm x 12.5cm.

Why we love it: It’s a brightly coloured, no-frills baby pleaser. The rings are nice and grabbable and the top one is filled with shiny, rattle-y stuff. The base rocks if you tap it, and you can tell yourself that your baby is learning all about size and sequence as you (endlessly) stack the rings back on the base once your baby has grabbed them all off.

Available from: Argos, Amazon and Boots

8. Halilit Baby’s First Birthday Band Musical Instrument Set, £22.49 – best for musicianship

Age: 6 months +

What it is: A sweet set of 4 baby-sized musical instruments, in a zip-up vinyl carry case.

 Why we love it: Musical toys, admittedly, can grate a little bit. But we like this one, because the instruments (rainbow shaker, maraca, clip clap and cage bell) look lovely, are just the right size for babies to grab, and actually make different and interesting sounds.

Available from: Boots, Argos and John Lewis

9. Tomy Hide N Squeak Eggs, £8.99 – best for shape sorting

Age: 6 months +

What it is: A 16.5cm yellow plastic box of 6 ‘eggs’ with different faces, which each split open to reveal a brightly coloured chick that peeps when you press it.

Why we love it: These toy eggs are an absolute baby magnet. Although the toy is designed as a shape sorter (each egg has a differently shaped base that fits into a particular hole in the egg box), under 1s generally just have fine old time grabbing the eggs out of the box and bashing them together or squealing in delight when you push the chicks and make them peep. Later on, your child will progress to making them peep him or herself and fitting the halves together. We’ve seen this toy transfix all ages from 6 months to 3 years.

Available from: Very, Smyths Toys and Ocado

10. Jellycat Jungle Tails Boing Ball, £10 – best for throwing

Age: from birth

What is it: A soft 13cm ball, covered in bright animal pictures, that makes a cute ‘boing’ sound when it hits the floor.

Why we love it: A good-sized ball for an under-1 and it wipes clean pretty well. The animal characters are great and we really like the ‘BOING!’ sound.

 Available from: Jellycat, Jojo Maman Bebe and John Lewis

11. BRIO Sensory Blocks, £19.99 – best for imaginative free play

Age: from 12 months +

What it is: 6 super-high-quality wooden blocks, made from FSC certified wood, with plastic details to add colour and function, inviting babies to hold, twist, shake and listen. Dimensions: 13cm x 8cm x 23cm.

Why we love it: These blocks are irresistible: turn them over and explore the different textures, twists and splits, colours and sounds. Then, stack them up and tear them down!

Yes, they are labelled as suitable from 12 months but our testers’ mums were unanimous that these blocks are perfect from 9 months – or even earlier.

Available from: Amazon, Wooden Toy Store and Brio UK

12. Infantino Sensory Textured Multi Ball Set, £9.99 – best for touch

Age: 6 months +

What it is: A set of 6 (roughly 19cm) BPA-free, lightweight textured balls in different sizes, shapes and colours.

Why we love it: This is back-to-basics with a twist. Each brightly coloured ball has got something interesting to see, feel and prod: simple idea but a winner.

Available from: Amazon

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