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The Best Toys for Your Baby’s First Year (That You’ll Love Too)

Let’s start this article with a huge caveat: Babies don’t always need toys. When they’re first born, they certainly can’t stay awake or focus long enough to care about the handcrafted, sustainable rattle you place in their curling tiny hands. And when they’re 9 months old, they are so much more interested in your shoelaces, a tuft of lint and your dog’s tail. But there are other times when you will be very happy, and so will they, that you have a selection of the right kind of baby toys.

By “right kind,” we don’t mean expensive and straight out of someone’s perfectly curated Instagram. We mean the toys that will help them along with the lightning-speed development that babies undergo in their first year of life. The toys that will stimulate those little minds, and that will also be completely safe for their brand-new bodies.

We enlisted the help of Dr. Navya Mysore, a family physician at One Medical in New York City, who also happens to be the mother of a 5-month-old son.

“I don’t think you need to go crazy and buy every single toy that websites suggest,” Mysore told SheKnows. There are some household items, like a bunch of plastic food storage containers for stacking or a blanket for peek-a-boo, that work great as baby toys.

On the other hand, the advantage of toys made for babies is that they’re usually tested for safety. Sure, putting a bunch of pebbles or marbles in a sock makes a sound like a rattle, but… “If that breaks, they can put the marbles in their mouth and there’s a choking hazard,” Mysore said. “You obviously want to have [toys] that are safe around the house.”

Mysore didn’t choose the toys listed here personally, but we’ve used her expertise to guide us in finding the best toys for babies, ages 0-12 months, in a variety of price ranges.

Our mission at SheKnows is to empower and inspire women, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale and the retailer may receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes. 

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