The best toys for your baby’s first year

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There are a million and one toys to choose for your new bundle, so it can be hard to narrow down which ones you actually want to buy. We reached out to our partners at Lovevery because they’re obsessed with using research to build the best toys. Designed by child development experts, their toys are exactly what children need at each stage. Here’s what they recommended.


This soft Montessori ball is thoughtfully designed to be easy for babies to grasp and move. Moving a ball from one hand to the other is an important skill that babies develop — one that requires dexterity and hand eye coordination. And since it’s made of organic cotton, you don’t have to worry about your baby putting their mouth all over it.

Ideas for play:

  • Practice eye tracking with babies 0 – 8 weeks by slowly moving the high contrast ball in front of your baby’s view.
  • During tummy time, have your baby reach for, grasp, grip, squeeze, and mouth the ball.
  • Roll the ball back and forth in front of them to begin learning about how spheres move.
  • At the end of month 6, your baby may be able to find objects that you partially hide under a blanket, pillow, or furniture. You can start to play hide-and-seek with the ball!


Sometime during their fourth month, your baby will start trying to find where sounds are coming from. Understanding that objects (and people!) can make sounds is an early lesson in cause and effect. This classic rattle is made with sustainably harvested wood and safe non-toxic water based paint.

Ideas for play:

  • Shake the rattle near your baby’s face; keep rattling while moving it past his eyes until he notices the rattle’s making a sound and starts tracking the sound with his eyes.
  • For an early lesson in math shake the rattle in a rhythm—e.g., Shake, shake, pause; shake, shake, pause—and then vary the pattern. He’ll soon be able to tell the difference between the number of shakes he’s hearing.
  • Help your baby shake the rattle and learn that two shakes feels different from three—this helps them start building associations between numbers, sounds, and movement.


Passing an object between their hands is a step babies work toward for months—getting it right involves coordination across the center of their bodies. Skilled hand-to-hand transfer won’t happen until sometime between months 5 and 7. It’s the basis for later motions dressing themselves, eating with utensils, holding crayons, and even running! These joined discs are a classic: they help babies practice handling an object in one hand and eventually passing it to the other.

Ideas for play:

  • At first, your baby may grasp other things (like rings or rattles) while struggling with the discs, since holding them requires him to build up new fine motor skills.
  • Holding the discs by month four is a major accomplishment for any baby—don’t worry if it takes some practice!


This circle puzzle helps your baby develop fine motor and problem solving skills. As their hands and eyes work together to remove the puzzle piece, they’re also working on shape recognition! Circles are the easiest shape first learners. We love this puzzle because it’s made with sustainably harvested wood and has a baby friend inside.

Ideas for play:

  • Long before your baby learns how to put the puzzle piece in, he can pull it out.
  • Have your baby practice grasping the knob and pulling the piece out and then show him how it fits back in.
  • Let him explore the two parts of the puzzle by mouthing them and banging them together—banging objects together requires your baby to use both sides of the body at once, which is a very important skill.
  • You can cut out and adhere pictures of family members or pets for a surprise inside.

Toys that help your baby learn and grow make all the difference. Every toy mentioned above is from Lovevery’s Play Kits. The Play Kits subscription program delivers the right products and the right information, at just the right time during each stage of your baby’s first year. Tap below to get started.

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Read the full article on the Lovevery blog.

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