One of my favorite things about 6-month-old babies is how much they become aware of the world and begin to play. They start to develop personalities, and they show preferences for certain toys. To find the best toys for 6-month-olds, you need to know what your baby’s interests are and where they are developmentally. Try musical toys, like the LeapFrog Learn And Groove Play Drum and toys that promote motor skills, like a set of soft baby blocks.
The best toys for 6-month-olds let them explore new skills, such as the fine motor abilities it … [+]
As a mom to three kids and a product reviewer and tester, I’ve seen my fair share of baby toys. To learn more about what makes for the best toys for 6-month-olds, I also spoke to four experts, including two pediatricians. “Play allows for creative learning and is essential for healthy brain development,” pediatrician Dr. Esther Liu, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, told me. I also spoke to a pediatric physical therapist and a clinical psychologist. You can hear more of their thoughts on baby toys and play throughout this article.
As renowned psychologist Jean Piaget said, “play is the work of childhood.” By giving babies the tools they need to play and explore their world, you’re setting them up for success in all areas of development. Whether you’re looking for gifts or just want to grab something special for your curious baby, here are some of the best toys for 6-month-olds. While you’re shopping, you might also want to check out our holiday Gift Guides or these toy guides, including the best toys for 1-year-olds, best toys for 2-year-olds, toys for 3-year-olds and the best for 5-year-olds.
Best Developmental Toys For 6-Month-Olds
A Soft Set Of Blocks
These textured, squeezable blocks are soft so baby won’t get hurt when they knock the stack down. “Before they are even able to stack blocks independently, babies will explore blocks by passing them back and forth between their hands and banging them together,” says Dr. Charissa Chamorro, clinical psychologist in New York City.
An Interactive Push Walker
This interactive push toy includes a removable activity board that’s filled with fun toys for non-mobile babies, including musical keys and a faux telephone. It’s perfect for tummy time, and then, as they get ready to start trying out those first steps, it can be pushed around the room. Just remember to keep any dangerous areas, including stairwells and the kitchen closed off with a baby gate whenever you introduce a wheeled toy like this. Pediatric physical therapist Kaitlin Rickerd, however, explained that a push walker can actually help to encourage babies to crawl and pull to stand as they reach for the interactive toy.
Best Wooden Toys For 6-Month-Olds
They’ll Learn About Object Permanence
It’s really fun for babies to put things in and out of containers. “At this time, they become very interested in the concept of things being able to disappear and still exist, later reappearing,” says Dr. Chamorro. Playing like this can help them understand object permanence.
This Set Has Five Sensory Toys
Rattles, a car, a suction cup toy and a teether: this wooden set has so many interesting toys for babies. If you’re looking for gifts for a 6-month-old you don’t know very well, this Hape collection is a good option because it has a few different types of toys.
Best Music Toys For 6-Month-Olds
An Interactive Drum
Dr. Harvey Karp explained that “a baby-appropriate toy drum that they can rat-a-tat-tat on” can support gross motor development. This can also keep them entertained while they work on sitting independently.
A Food-Themed Guitar They Can Rock Out With
Babies love to listen to music, so it’s no surprise that musical instruments tend to be a hit with this age. Dr. Liu explained that toys with buttons, such as this toy guitar, teach babies cause and effect. They’ll rock out to the six songs and 10 guitar riffs included in this toy.
Best Sensory Toys For 6-Month-Olds
A Mat To Keep Them Occupied While They Build Their Muscles
This mat is filled with floating sea creatures, and it’s a mess-free way to get in some sensory play. “I really like the water mats on the floor to encourage babies to work on their upper body and core strength and engaging them without the flashing lights and noise that can distract them,” says Dr. Liu.
Their First Car
Oballs are easy for 6-month-olds to grab while they’re working on their pincer grasp and grip strength. This toy is an Oball, car and rattle in one.
Best Bath Toys For 6-Month-Olds
A Simple And Inexpensive Toy They’ll Play With For Years
Never underestimate kids and their desire to play with cups. “Stacking cups are one of my favorite toys to promote development. Babies can work on fine motor and problem-solving skills by learning to stack the cups, and caregivers can promote problem-solving skills by playing hide-and-seek with different-sized cups,” said Dr. Chamorro. They’re fun to play with in and out of the bath and are BPA-free.
A Bath Toy That’s Easy To Clean
This bath toy easily fills with water and then sends down rain showers when your 6-month-old picks it up. Traditional squirting bath toys develop mold easily, but this one comes apart for cleaning, so you don’t have to worry about mold buildup.
Best Educational Toys For 6-Month-Olds
A Finger Puppet Book
Don’t underestimate books when it comes to play for babies. This one incorporates finger play, music and animal sounds, all of which are sure to be a hit with 6-month-olds.
They’ll Play With This So Much, You’ll Know The Songs By Heart
Typically, I steer clear of overly electronic toys, but when a mom of a 6-month-old recently asked for toy recommendations in a moms’ group I’m in, this was by far the most recommended toy. It includes buttons, manipulatives, and it plays songs and sounds.
How We Chose The Best Toys For 6-Month-Olds
As a mom to three kids and a product reviewer specializing in parenting, I’m constantly researching and testing toys, both formally and informally. I used my own experience as a guide when deciding which toys to include (and which not to include). I also considered which toys are most popular, what the current toy trends are and which toys are most likely to engage 6-month-olds.
I spoke to four experts in the baby realm for this article as well: pediatric physical therapist Kaitlin Rickerd, PT DPT; clinical psychologist Dr. Charissa Chamorro, PhD; Dr. Esther Liu, MD, chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center; and Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician and founder and CEO of Happiest Baby, maker of the Snoo smart bassinet. I spoke to the experts about why babies need to play, where 6-month-olds are at developmentally and how parents and caregivers can support their play and development.
What Toys Should My 6-Month-Old Be Playing With?
Dr. Chamorro recommends that babies play with toys in each of the following developmental categories: communication, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, problem-solving skills and social skills. She suggested toys such as blocks, baby books, stacking cups and mirrors.
What Toys Are Safe For A 6-Month-Old?
Young babies like to put just about everything in their mouths, so safety is incredibly important when choosing a toy for a 6-month-old. “The best way to know if a toy is safe and appropriate for your baby is to check the label,” says Dr. Karp. “All toys are age-graded based on choking or safety risks and the physical and cognitive skills a child needs to play with the toy. Make sure you avoid any small toys or toys with small parts. And, when you can, opt for toys made of natural materials that are phthalate-, PVC- and BPA-free.”