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The Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds, According to Experts


By the time your little one reaches the half-way point of their first year, they’re completely different from that tiny newborn you swaddled in your arms. Six-month-old babies spend their days learning and exploring in a variety of ways, from grabbing, crawling and sitting to even standing. So what are the best toys for 6-month-olds to encourage these emerging skills? Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite developmental toys for 6-month-olds, plus some tips and safety guidelines to keep in mind when shopping for toys for your little one at this age.

What are Good Toys for 6-Month-Olds?

When it comes to the best toys for 6-month-olds, remember that for the most part, baby isn’t going to be very picky yet. It’s great to have a variety of toys that help them meet those all-important 6-month baby milestones. Six-month-olds are just starting to sit independently and get around by rolling or scooting on their bellies, says Lisa Lohiser, EdD, manager of early childhood development research at Fisher Price. “That’s why the best toys for 6-month-olds can be played with while sitting or lying on their tummy. Sit-at toys with lots of textures and activities provide a great core and fine motor workout,” she says.

Their fine motor skills are more developed than they were a few months ago, so your little one can hold and manipulate things more easily now, Lohiser says. “They are surprised and delighted with peek-a-boo activities and drop-through play. They are starting to understand action/reaction activities and that their actions make big things happen.

Six-month-olds are also exploring everything through their senses. “Kids this age are at the stage of full-blown exploration. While it’s still early for problem-solving and logic, it’s time for varied sensory experiences through sounds, colors and textures,” says Mark Coster, PhD, founder and chief editor of STEM Geek, a website dedicated to STEM activities and toys for kids of all ages. “Toys that react to the push of a button, or squishy toys that change their shape when you squeeze them are popular with this age group, as are indestructible books that baby can hold during storytime.” Rattles, balls, cups, bath toys and activity cubes are also great choices for this age group, he adds.

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And though you’ll find lots of toys that provide a variety of sensory experiences, there’s no need to overdo it at this age, Coster emphasizes. “Sometimes, a good toy will be incredibly simple, offering a single type of sensory experience, catering to their touch, vision or hearing.” Bonus points if the activities range from simple to complex so the toy can grow with baby as they develop.

How to choose safe toys for 6-month-olds

At 6 months old, you can be sure that every toy you hand your little one will go straight into their mouth. That means you’ll want to keep an eye on the size of the toy, as well as what it’s made from. “BPA-free plastic or wood are good materials for babies of this age,” says Coster. Look for toys that are specifically rated for 6 months, since these are designed with age-based safety concerns and skills in mind. What’s more, your 6-month-old will soon be on the move, whether it’s scooting, crawling or pulling up to stand. “While this impulse to explore is beautiful in its own right, you’ll have to double down on safety around 6 months old,” says Coster. “And that means lots of falling and tumbling! In other words, a playmat or a playpen is a must whenever you can’t directly supervise baby’s playtime.”

Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds

With this in mind, we’ve selected the best toys for 6-month-olds that will engage them without being overwhelming or too difficult for their little hands to maneuver.

Object Permanence Box

Adena Montessori Full Size Object Permanence Box

This simple, wooden ball drop toy helps baby learn cause and effect and object permanence. It’s an activity based on the Montessori method of teaching, which focuses on one skill at a time instead of offering your little one a toy that can be overwhelming. Once they drop the ball in the hole, they’ll see it come out of the open side of the box. In keeping with the Montessori principle of using toys made from natural materials, the box and the balls—which are large enough to prevent accidental swallowing—are all wooden. Age rating: 6 to 12 months

Indestructible Book

Indestructible Classic Nursery Rhymes

Experts stress the importance of reading to your little one, but at 6 months old, baby can be pretty tough on their books! “Try books made of indestructible paper that you can read to them, and enjoy the magic of their babbling back at you,” says Coster. This set of six nursery rhyme classics with a spin are chew-proof, rip-proof, nontoxic and 100 percent washable, so it’s safe to say baby will stay busy and entertained. Age rating: 6 months+

Lisa Lohiser, EdD, is manager of early childhood development research at Fisher-Price’s Play Lab, where she provides insights into how kids learn and play and how to best support their development. She has a doctorate in education with a focus on learning and teaching in social contexts, as well as a Master’s degree in creativity and change leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Mark Coster, PhD, is the founder and chief editor of STEM Geek, a website dedicated to STEM activities and toys for kids of all ages. He is an organic chemist with more than 20 years of experience in chemistry research and teaching. Also a father of three, he’s passionate about the power of STEM toys.





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