Top educational toys for baby’s first year

Simply the best brain-boosting toys for the first year of your baby’s life.

Looking for the gift that’ll encourage your baby through those major developmental milestones in their first year? We know the choices can be overwhelming, so we’ve compiled this super-helpful, at-a-glance guide to toys that promote the development of skills crucial in your baby’s first year.

 

Little Olympians Wooden Baby Gym ($39.99)

wooden-baby-gym

Skills developed:

Hand-eye coordination

Rolling

Midline play

Reaching

Grasping

Depth perception

Place baby on her back, side or tummy beneath the baby gym, which features colorful, contrasting shapes that she’ll love batting and kicking at, and reaching for and grasping. The toys on the side bars encourage rolling to the side, while those above her will get her to bring her hands together at midline.

 

Smart Shapes Sorting Cube ($12.99)

 

traditional-wooden-sorting-cube-babies

Skills developed:

Hand-eye coordination

Color recognition

Shape recognition

Spatial reasoning

Fine motor skills

A sorting cube is a childhood classic for a reason – it works on so many levels for young ones. They not only start learning about shapes and colors, there’s a lovely sense of accomplishment in finding the right slot, and enormous pleasure listening that pleasant thunk as it plops right in. All that manipulating, flipping and fitting does wonders for their fine motor skills. And, at only 5.5” x 5.5” x 5.5”, it’s handily sized to pack neatly into your diaper bag.

 

Rainbow Rings Stacking Tower ($14.99)

 

rainbow-rings-wooden-stacking-toy-toddler-babySkills developed:

Midline play

Grasping

Gross motor skills

Reaching

Depth perception

Transferring between hands

Cause and effect

Hand-eye coordination

What makes this classic toy so important to development? For starters, the circular shape of the rings encourages baby to hold them with both hands in midline. Plus the toy’s design means that she will take the rings off and on, on and off, transferring them from hand to hand, reaching and grasping, honing her hand-eye coordination. And if you place it on a raised surface, like the coffee table, she will pull herself up to get to it, boosting her gross motor skills.

 

Push-n-Play Walker ($53.99)

Also available in pink

Skills developed:

Gross motor skills like sitting, kneeling, squatting and standing

Fine motor skills

Cause and effect

Dexterity

Hand-eye coordination

Extension play

Even if your baby isn’t yet walking, the sensory activities on this walker will encourage little ones aged 5 months+ to sit and play – in fact,by bending their wrists back as they play (extension play), they’re exercising the muscles they’ll need one day for good handwriting control. The rubber-rimmed wheels create a good amount of resistance, but do make sure the walker is placed so that it can’t easily roll away.

 

Developmental Wooden Bead Maze Game ($17.99)

Skills developed:

Fine motor skills

Hand-eye coordination

Cause and effect

Sensory exploration

Tracking skills

Early exposure to colors and shapes

With their complex wires and brightly-colored beads, little fingers find it near-impossible to resist a bead maze. Sliding, pushing and spinning the beads along their tracks does wonders for fine motor skills. And watching them move around and bump each other teaches young minds all about cause and effect. Compact enough to fit into your diaper bag, this wooden bead maze is an essential for tactile exploration.

 

More educational toys for baby’s first year

 

1 5-in-1 Deluxe Activity Hub ($34.99)  2 Developmental Wooden Bead Maze Game ($17.99)  3 Smart Shapes Sorting House ($26.99)  4 Building Blocks Wagon ($24.99)  5 Animal Friends Hammer Bench (SOLD OUT – $16.99)  6 Rainbow Rings Stacking Tower ($14.99)  7 Friendly Farm Match & Stack Nesting Blocks ($17.99)

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