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11 of the best baby toys for newborns to 6-month-old babies

Our pick of the top fun-filled toys for babies from birth to 6 months, as tested by babies (and rated by their parents)

best toys for newborns

Teeny-tiny, just-been-born babies don’t need toys: they can’t hold anything and they can’t see much. But roll forward even a few weeks, and your baby will love looking at things with bright or high-contrast colours and listening to things that rattle or tinkle or shake.

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And, by 3 or 4 months, when your baby is able to grab and grasp (sometimes more by accident than design), toys with different fabrics or knobbly textures to feel and mouth and chew are great buys for keeping your baby’s attention and stimulating their sensory development.

How to choose and use newborn toys safely

It’s particularly important with newborns to consider safety when choosing toys. Here’s what to look out for.

  • Look for the CE mark, which is the sign from the manufacturer that the toy meets regulatory requirements
  • Look for the voluntary British Toy and Hobby Association’s Lion Mark (a red lion inside a yellow triangle)
  • Buy from retailers that you know and trust
  • Ensure the toy is appropriate for your child’s age. Small pieces (including things like plastic eyes on teddy bears that are ‘fastened on’ rather than super-securely attached) are choking hazards for newborns.
  • Beware of any items that detach or have sharp edges
  • Check toys regularly for things like loose threads or escaped filling
  • Supervise your newborn at all times when they’re playing with toys
  • Never leave toys in your baby’s cot while they sleep, even if they are said to be safe from birth

Here is our pick of the best toys for 0 to 6-month-olds, as tested by babies and their parents:

1. Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Monkey, £18

– Great for sensory exploration

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 24cm x 19cm x 23cm multicoloured, multisensory monkey that features rattles, a squeaker, crinkly, smooth and knitted fabrics, chimes, a mirror, a teether and a removable yellow bandana that can also be used as a teether. Attaches to a stroller, buggy, or car seat with a clip.

Why we love it: He’s super cute and has a lot of very well placed, well thought-out sensory features. The fabric choices are very good and the soft silicone bandana has a lovely knobbly surface – interesting to feel and just perfect for soothing irritated gums. Frankie, mum of our child tester Heath, 4 months, said, “Heath’s loving this toy! The different noises really appeal to him and he is so happy when he’s playing with it.”

Available from: Huggle, John Lewis, and Amazon

2. Sophie La Girafe Teether, £14.99

– Great for sore gums

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

Awards: Gold, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A soft, lightweight, 100% natural-rubber 17cm-high giraffe teething toy that you can grab, wave, squeak and chew.

Why we love it: Sophie’s design has remained unchanged since 1961 and that’s simply because you don’t mess with a toy that’s entranced babies for generations – and consistently soothed their sore gums. We love that Sophie is so easy to hold, and her squeaks, contrasting colour and spots make her endlessly fascinating to very little ones. Emma, mum of our baby tester David, 7 months, said, “He loves Sophie! He gets very excited when he sees her and loves to hear her squeak. When it comes to teething, I would pay a lot of money for a product that works. And this product works! David is able to hold it and chew on it and it seems to give him relief.”

Available from: John Lewis, Amazon, and Smyths Toys

3. Taf Toys Savannah Tummy Time Book, £16.99

– Great for introducing tummy time play

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 21cm x 20 cm soft, colourful, textured double-sided book that can stand up on its own. One side features high contrast black and white pictures for newborns to gaze at, and the other side features more colourful pictures for older babies in different prints, textures and fabrics, along with flaps, a mirror, a teether and ribbons.

Why we love it: The design of this book is very well thought out and we like how if folds down neatly so you can stow it easily in your pram or bag. Many tummy time toys have loads of interactive features to push and pull and press and, while that’s exactly the kind of stuff that older babies love, smaller babies can find them all a bit overwhelming. For them, a spot of gazing at high-contrast pictures is just the right amount of stimulation while they get used to being on their tummy. We do really like the big mirror, too and it was a huge hit with all our baby testers. “The mirror seems to surprise and entrance him each time we turn the page!” said Zoe, mum of Stig, 8 months.

Available from: Kidly, Good Little Egg, and The Little Sensory Box

4. Jellycat Bredita Bunny Soother, £13

– Great for comforting touch

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A 23cm soft blankie with a furry rabbit’s head and ears and a smooth, stripy pink shirt. Made from 100% polyester velour; machine-washable. Also comes as a blue Duck.

Why we love it: It’s beautifully soft and has a lovely, friendly face and fluffy ears. We also love the knotted corners because they’re just right for clutching and chewing on. The mum of our 3-month-old  tester Isaac says, “It’s very well made and would definitely withstand being chewed and sucked on by a teething baby. No bad points from me at all!”

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe and Jellycat

5. Mini Mizzie, £9.95

– Great for gripping and chewing

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

Awards: Bronze, MadeForMums Toy Awards 2021

What it is: A 100% natural rubber teething ring toy with a kangaroo head. It has no hole and is free from BPA, PVC, nitrosamines and phthalates. Wipe-clean only.

Why we love it: It’s has such a cute, friendly face and, when your baby’s not holding it, it’s easy to hang from a pushchair, where, according to his mum Christy, our baby tester Bran, 3 months, spent ages staring at it. “It looks so lovely with nice, bright colours,” she said. “The pointed angles of the nose and ears fit nicely in a little baby’s mouth, too. It’s soft and bouncy to touch and the loop-shaped body makes it perfect for little hands to hold.”

Available fromMini Mizzie UK

6. Lamaze Freddie the Firefly, £9.99

– Great for stimulating textures

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What is is: A friendly 25cm x 6cm x 30cm soft-toy bug with crinkly wings, squeaker, teether, and peekaboo mirrors. Comes with a ring to attach it to a pushchair or car seat.

Why we love it: Freddie’s bright colours and different sounds and textures mean he’s a bit of a baby magnet: so much to see, feel, hear and chew! Our tester’s mum was really taken with the toy’s quality and how much it stimulated and held her 3-month-old baby Andy’s attention. A couple of months later, she’s still impressed with it. “It’s a lovely toy,” she says, “and it washes great – it’s been machine-washed a billion times!”

Available from: Smyths, JoJo Maman Bebe and Amazon

7. Nattou Piu Piu the Octopus, £19

– Great for cuddles

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A 21.5 x 8cm x 6.5cm plush toy with sensory, plaited, colour-contrasting tentacles. It’s 100% polyester and available in a number of colours including grey (pictured), pink, green, blue and ochre.

Why we love it: It’s super-soft and the fabric doesn’t shed. The twisty tentacles are a good size for little fists to grasp and not too squishy. They’re apparently designed to mimic the umbilical cord, offering your baby something soothingly familiar to feel – and we’ve heard that it’s a toy often given to prematurely born babies in hospital. Once your baby gets a little older, there’s plenty of scope for tentacle grabbing, pulling and twirling – all great for developing and strengthening grasp and fine finger control.

Available from: Kidly and Jojo Maman Bebe

8. The First Years Rattle, £7.50

– Great for jingly fun

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A 17cm-long multi-textured, multi-coloured soft rattle that’s shaped for baby fingers to grasp. Features crinkly feet and antenna. Machine-washable.

Why we love it: It’s lovely and soft to hold and makes a nice little jingle sound when it’s jiggled about. We like its bright colours and friendly face and we love the crinkly feet and antenna. Simple but stimulating – and you can chuck in the washing machine. Result!

Available from: Amazon

9. Little Dutch Wooden Music Mobile in Ocean Blue, £58

– Great for soothing bedtimes

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A 52cm x 75cm x 37cm cot mobile with a music box and 5 soft toys hanging from a wooden frame. Also comes in mint.

Why we love it: The sea-animal-themed toys are interesting for baby eyes to look at – including an octopus with dangly legs and an oyster shell with a mirror – and pretty beautiful for grown-up eyes, too. The wind-up music box (no batteries needed) plays a sweet Old McDonald tune (no farm here, of course, but we don’t mind) and the animals gently sway, rather than whizz, around when the music plays. All very soothing.

Available from: Natural Baby Shower and Scandiborn

10. Manhattan Toy Baby Whoozit, £10.99

– Great for little fingers to explore

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A 7-legged 13cm x 8cm x 25cm beanbag friend with a squeaky red nose and a big smiley face.

Why we love it: It’s small enough to tuck into your changing bag but the Whoozit’s BIG on baby entertainment – with loads of differently patterned and textured fabrics to see, touch and feel, and a little mirror hidden behind his nose. Our 5-month-old tester Oliver’s mum loves the dangling legs with different shapes on the end, and the little Velcro strap that lets you attach the toy to your baby’s car seat or pushchair.

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe and Amazon

11. Wee Gallery Organic Cotton Crinkle Toy, £14

– Great for scrunching

Age suitability: From birth | Batteries: None

What it is: A big (25cm x 20cm) cotton leaf printed with high-contract black and white patterning (black with white detailing on one side; white with black detailing on the other) and filled with crinkle paper.

Why we love it: We love its generous size and the lovely crinkling sounds it makes when you touch and scrunch it. Our smallest baby testers were mesmerised by the monochrome patterns, while the older babies enjoyed the crinkly sensory play that comes with grabbing and waving and holding it.

Available from: Kidly and Wee Gallery

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About the author

Helen Brown is Deputy Editor of MadeForMums, the author of Parenting for Dummies (Wiley, £17.99) and the Head Tester for our MadeForMums Toy Awards. She has written about parenting for Mumsnet, Pregnancy & Birth, Prima Baby, Boots Parenting Club and She Magazine and she’s also been Consumer Editor of Mother & Baby. She has 3 boys and a heavy-duty washing machine.

 We’ve got more top tested and rated toys here…