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What makes a great baby toy?

The amount of baby toys and baby toy brands available on the market can be overwhelming to the savviest of shoppers. As a parent, you want to provide your little one with the right tools that best aid development. Here is a list of five toys you can count on to stimulate the senses and delight your child.

Baby playing with toys

Soft books

Choose soft books with contrasting colors and patterns. They are easy for your baby to see and will encourage exploration. It may not seem like much now, but the experience of enjoying playing with a book now may lead to a love of books later in life.

Unbreakable mirrors

Babies love mirrors. Even though they won’t understand they are looking at their own reflection until they are almost 1 year old, it is still a thrill to gaze and mimic a face that is moving, smiling and offering up all kinds of entertaining expressions. Add a mirror to a play mat, look for a mobile with mirrors or just hold your little one up to a mirror in your home.

Sensory toys

Soft rattles, rattle socks or even squeaky stuffed animals are fun sensory toys for a baby. Watch your child make music for the first time with her favorite shaker — these toys also help to demonstrate cause and effect.

Activity mats

In a way, this toy is a baby’s first playground! Activity mats come in a wide variety of styles, colors and designs, and all of them provide a nice change of scenery for your baby. The plush toys and rattles that come attached to the mat are fun to look at, and your baby is encouraged to develop fine motor skills by reaching out and grabbing the toys, pulling, rolling over and eventually sitting up. Many mats come with plastic, textured rings that are safe for your baby to chew on. Also, they are perfect to have on hand for a little tummy time each day.


Stocking a bucket with an array of different sizes of balls for your little one is one of the simplest and best ways to provide endless hours of play. Look for different textures and colors. There are some that make sounds and others that even light up. Balls are one of the few toys that your baby will not outgrow. An infant will explore just through touch and sight. When your baby can sit, you can begin to roll the ball to each other. As baby begins to walk, you can throw, kick and even chase the balls together.

No matter what toy you choose for your child, it is important to make sure that it is age appropriate and does not pose a potential choking or suffocation hazard to your baby. Also, always read through the instructions for use, care and warnings that come with toys — even if they seem unnecessary. Spending a few minutes reading before play may save you much more time and aggravation if a problem or question comes up.

Tell us

What is your baby’s favorite toy? Share in the comments below!

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