Editor's Picks: Infant Toys (6-12mo.)
Updated November 2016
There’s tons of fun to be had during playtime at this stage, as your baby starts interacting with the world from his new (e.g. seated, crawling, and standing) positions!
Here’s what you can expect developmentally at each stage, and some toys that might be helpful in supporting that development:
- 6-9 months: By six to eight months most babies are sitting up; and by seven to nine months most babies are crawling. So it's time to put away the activity gym and start challenging your baby in these new positions! Rolling toys (e.g. balls) will encourage your baby to get mobile. Things that they can bang or otherwise engage with while sitting up, like drums, will also be a big hit.
- 9-12 months: By nine months, many babies are pulling up to stand, and shortly thereafter they begin "cruising" (walking around with the support of furniture). A stable push toy/wagon can help them to to develop their sense of balance and learn to walk. Around this time, your baby will will likely also enter an "organizing" stage — where he'll start enjoying nesting/stacking cups, taking things in and out of containers, etc. You can also introduce slightly smaller toys (e.g. medium-size stackable blocks) to help him start to refine his motor skills.
Below are our editors’ picks for best infant toys (6-12mo.) by subcategory:
Note: Our editors developed this list by summarizing TotScoop parent favorites and adding a few hand-picked editor favorites and new releases. Our picks are 100% unbiased — we never accept compensation in exchange for coverage. That said, this page may contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small commission on any purchases that you make (at no cost to you); see our full disclosure.
You may also be interested in the following related guides:
Best stacking/nesting cups
Stacking/nesting cups are perfect for the organizing stage. Baby can not only stack them up into a tower and nest them back together, but also put small objects in and take them out (over...and over...and over again!). Here are a couple favorites that are a good size for 6 to 12 month olds to be able to handle easily.
These simple, non-toxic stacking/nesting cups (MSRP $6) store up compactly and double as great bath toys (they have holes in the bottoms). They are made of polypropylene, and are BPA, PVC, and phthalate free.
Handmade in Germany, these wonderful Waldorf-inspired rainbow stacking and nesting bowls (MSRP $30) can be stacked, nested, filled with little objects, or used as play dishes or cups. They are constructed from solid alder wood, and are finished with non-toxic, water-based stains.
Best first blocks and activity toys
These soft, squishy blocks ($11 at Amazon) are our favorite first blocks set for baby — we've never met a baby who didn't love chewing on and squeaking these. Just take care not to get water inside the squeak hole when washing them. Phthalate and BPA free.
The Fill and Spill bug jug ($19) includes a plush spider, butterfly, ladybug, and grasshopper, each with their own distinctive sound. Your child will enjoy squeezing and shaking them, and taking them in and out of the mesh-topped container.
The Skwish (MSRP $16, Amazon $12) is the toy that all the babies are trying to steal away from one another at playgroup! Vaguely reminiscent of high school chemistry class, it has an uncanny ability to captivate adults as well. It flexes in lots of different directions, and is surprisingly sturdy. It comes in classic bright colors as well as natural. It’s made from renewable rubberwood and finished with non-toxic, water-based paint.
This adorable plush activity toy ($15) from Skip Hop rattles, crinkles, and has a removable soft bandana teether for when it’s time for a little gnawing action. A clip makes it easy to attach to a stroller or car seat on the go.
It might be gaudy and loud, but babies undeniably love this activity walker (MSRP $35, Amazon $30). The activity panel can be removed and used on the floor for younger babies. BPA free.
This is our favorite push wagon (MSRP $80, Amazon $76) for younger babies (typically around seven to 10 months) who are just learning how to stand and cruise. The wheels only move in two directions (backwards and forwards), making this wagon difficult to turn, bt extremely stable. Not only will your baby love pushing this cart around, but he'll also love being pushed around by you!
This versatile walking-aid/ride-on-toy (MSRP $65, Amazon $45) grows with your child as he develops his motor skills. From approximately ages eight to 12 months, your baby can stand in front of it, hold on to the handlebars, and use it as a walking aid. Its wheels move freely on all four directions (rather than just moving rigidly either forward or backward), making it more challenging for a baby just starting to pull up to stand to use, but making it a much better aid for actually learning how to walk a couple of months later. Then after your baby grows and develops a better sense of balance, it's a classic ride-on toy.
Best electronic toys
Made by one of the leaders in electronic learning toys, this electronic musical table (MSRP $40, Amazon $38) is the time-tested gold standard in the category. Yes, it will take up a reasonable chunk of floor space, but your baby will love and get tons of use out of this (giving you some much needed breaks!). The removable legs grow with your baby: use it flat on the floor (with no legs) when your baby starts pushing up, use it with two legs when your baby starts sitting up, and use it with four legs when your baby starts pulling up to stand.
It may be a little bit of an eyesore, but this electronic musical drum (MSRP $30) is invariably a baby favorite. Baby will be mesmerized as his banging turns into music -- teaching him cause-and-effect. When placed on its side, it also rolls, providing a fun musical object for crawlers to chase.
Even the most serious baby won't be able to help but dance to this cute little musical turtle (MSRP $20). It features two fun modes to grow with your child: early on (6-12 months), baby can hit any button to play music, and later (12-18+ months) baby can use "composer" mode to add and subtract instruments. And we are pleased to report that the music rates very low on the adult annoyance meter. Phthalate, BPA, and lead free.
The most realistic set of play car keys we've found ($16 at Amazon) feature four fun (and not-too-annoying) car sound effects and a push-button flashlight. Make no mistake, your baby will still prefer your real keys, but these may just be sufficient to distract him or her while you hide yours. Made of plastic and stainless steel; phthalate, BPA, and lead free.
Best first musical instruments
These shakers (MSRP $16, Amazon $10) are a staple in baby music classes everywhere, and with good reason. Made of wipe-clean plastic with non-toxic steel shot fill.
B Toys has another winner in this excellent value multi-piece music set ($44 at Amazon, $23 at Target). It includes a drum (which doubles as storage container), drumsticks, tambourine, bells, large shaker, and two egg shakers.
Best soft toys
If your little one is a gnawer, consider paying a bit more for organic cotton and/or machine washability. Also, if your babe doesn’t have a lovey yet, you can see our top lovey picks here.
Jellycat plush toys are parent and baby favorites. They’re made of typical materials for stuffed animals (100% polyester), but are INSANELY soft and cute. They are available in a wide range of designs and run $22.50 for a medium (12”) doll. Suitable for use from birth. Hand wash only.
Made of 100% organic cotton and filled with corn fiber filling, Apple Park’s organic plush toys (*MSRP $15.50, $19 on Amazon for the featured 14-inch fox doll) are cuddly companions for playtime, naptime, or anytime. They’re not only complete safe for your baby, but also eco-friendly as well. Available in a wide range of characters, also including a bunny, frog, sheep, racoon, pig, cat, cow, mouse, dog, pony, and farmgirl.
Under the Nile makes a great line of organic plush toys, ranging from “scrappy” toys (including the dogs shown here, an elephant, and a colorful octopus) made with leftover scrap material from their clothing manufacturing to fun fruits and veggies. Not only is the exterior 100% certified organic Egyptian cotton, but they are also filled with 100% organic cotton (a real rarity in the toy world!). They’re quite reasonably priced ($7-15 per piece) given the quality as well.