Best toys for babies 6-12 months in 2021

Best toys for babies 6-12 months in 2021

We cover the best toys for babies 6-12 months to encourage development in your baby’s cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills.

From 6-12 months, your little one is reaching a more active, tactile phase. So, we’re looking at how playtime is an amazing way to help your baby develop their cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills - and what toys, in particular, can facilitate your little one’s growth and development.

As your little one’s first birthday comes closer and closer, you’ll find your child banging things together, toppling objects and, in general, becoming more active, mobile and energetic. Nurturing these active qualities can help to promote your little one’s physical AND motor skills in a number of ways. 

But, of course, it’s all easier said than done! You may now be wondering “what are the best toys for my 6-12 month old baby?”. Well, according to Laurie Leahey, senior editor at Toys, Tots, Pets & More:

‘As babies get older, you want developmental toys that encourage your baby to sit up and play, and even start crawling. Once babies become more mobile, they need toys that can keep up!’ *💙

We’ve got you covered with the specifics.

🧸 Developing your baby’s play in the first 6-12 months.

Let’s look at some general developmental milestones (do note that every baby is different and develops at their own pace, so this may vary):

  • At 6 months your baby may be learning to recognise objects, familiar faces and responding to their own name. They might also be rolling, reaching, grasping and, all around, expressing themselves through movement and touch!
  • At 9 months your baby may be more mobile and curious. They might be making sounds and communicative gestures AND learning to crawl!
  • At 12 months, your baby may start to use words, stack objects, and push and pull their toys.

    🎁 What are the best toys (and methods of play) for babies, 6-12 months?

    Let’s dive into the best toys (and methods of play) for the latter part of your baby’s first year.  ✨

    📚 6 months and up: mobility-enhancing toys, books and pop ups for memory, cognition and object permanence

    Sensory, tactile and physically mobile toys are FANTASTIC for your 6 month old. Your little one is recognising objects and faces AND learning to move, crawl and sit up - so this is a wonderful time to practice developing your baby’s physical skills alongside their cognition and memory (and help to combat separation anxiety when they hit their toddler years).

    Peekaboo or hide-and-seek based sensory toys, with a lot of pop ups and with a lot of tactile, textured surfaces, can help to facilitate your baby’s developing memory and learning. This helps to solidify your baby’s object permanence - the concept that an object, or person, exists even if we can’t see, hear or touch it!

    We all develop object permanence in our infancy. Object permanence usually solidifies by the time we hit our toddler years (sometimes beyond!) - so, practicing with your 6 month old, by getting out a number of fun and engaging toys, can be incredibly helpful in easing separation anxiety.

    Best toys for babies 6 months and up: Sensory activity panels, stacking toys, pop up books or boxes, textured toys and lock and key activities are VERY useful in helping to develop your little one’s memory, functional skills, and motor development. Books are also helpful for developing communication, creativity and vocabulary.

    We also LOVE any toy which is catered as ‘sensory’ (such as little textured, colourful, musical cuddly toys). Train sets, wagons or anything which helps to develop your baby’s fine motor skills (through pushing and pulling) are also essential.

    Top tip. Peekaboo sessions, hide-and-seek marathons and sensory books (with lots of pop ups which come and go!) will help with object permanence while also engaging and occupying your little one’s brain.

    9 months and up: mobile activity centres, soft blocks and balls.

    By the time your baby hits 9 months, they’ll likely be learning how to gesture to communicate, turn the pages of a book, sit up, crawl, perhaps stand and grasp objects and food with their fingers. In other words, we want to encourage their budding mobility!

    Best toys for babies 9 months and up: Anything to promote your little one’s fine motor skills is perfect. Activity centres, little gyms, blocks, balls, wagons, carts - these are all perfect to help your little one learn to grasp, walk, and become more mobile and energetic. 

    Any multifaceted toy (with textures, colours, noises, and push/pull/stacking components to it) is a great opportunity to develop your baby’s cognition, memory, focus and brain function. 

    Vocal toys are also a fantastic opportunity to help your child’s vocabulary, speech and language recognition. 

    Books are ALWAYS an ideal way to get your little one gesturing, talking, and learning. We love pop up books, textured and colourful books and books with buttons or sounds to occupy your baby’s awareness, engagement and attention.

    Top tip: Take this time to really engage your child with books, words and vocabulary. Set a consistent reading routine, talk to your little one all the time and point out different shapes, colours and objects at any given opportunity! This will help your child learn to speak, by helping to develop their engagement with the world AND their observational skills!

    🧸 ♻️ 🧸 12 months and up: implement toy rotation!

    By the time your baby becomes a toddler, they’re probably tactile, interested in their world and filled with new curiosity. 

    Interestingly enough, when your little one hits the 1 year mark, they’re slower to develop than when they were younger. So, this is the perfect time to introduce a few high-quality, open-ended (can be played with over and over again) and engaging toys. 

    This is an important time to introduce toy rotation into your little one’s routine. This has been shown to implement patience, memory, creativity and cognition. But, if your little one has access to a vast number of toys, they might end up losing their attention span. 

    This is when you simplify and minimise the number of toys you buy for your little one (we know...this is easier said than done!). But the benefits of toy rotation are brilliant - from helping your child with independent play, teaching them to care for their toys, improve their focus, provide meaningful play experiences, fosters innovation, creativity AND reduces clutter and clean up time.

    Best toys for toddlers 12 months and up: We love anything multifaceted, with the ability to keep your little one engaged, active and mobile for a long time. 

    Open-ended and creative toys are a great way to get toy rotation going in your household. So, activity centres (especially those which allow your little one to do a variety of different things, such as climb, stack, move things and push and pull), wagons and carts, cuddly toys (trust us, a good cuddly toy goes a loooong way!) musical toys and ANYTHING multi-sensory works perfectly.

    Top tip: To keep your little one occupied, try and set allotted times with each toy. This can help your baby get into the routine of playing with a smaller number of toys at a time.

    🧸 Toy safety for babies 6-12 months. 🧸

    The right toy can be a wonderful way to stimulate and develop your little one's functional, motor, cognitive and independent skills. It's vital to also consider your baby's safety when choosing the best toys for their age. 

    • Look for the CE and UKCA marks on any toy you buy. This means that the toy meets regulatory requirements.
    • Look for the voluntary BTHA lion mark. This stands for the British Toy and Hobby Association and ensures the toy meets statutory safety requirements. 
    • Avoid toys with long hair, loose ribbons and other hazards.
    • ALWAYS check the age grading before purchasing ANY toy.

      🤔 To conclude: “What are the best toys for my 6-12 month old baby?”

      To get the best out of your 6-12 month old’s development, try to buy sensory, musical, multifaceted toys to help encourage:

      • Mobility and movement 🕺🏽
      • Vocabulary 💬
      • Problem-solving 🧮
      • Cognition 🤓
      • Object permanence 👀
      • Memory and executive function 🧠

      From toy rotation to object permanence, the toys you buy AND the way you implement them into your little one’s playtime, are so important. Remember: with every minute of playtime, you’re encouraging each development milestone! 💙✨

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      * Reference from

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