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Toys that 3-6 Month Old Babies Love
Find an Excellent Gift For a 3-6 Month Old Baby -- Fun, Developmentally Appropriate Toys
Now that her eyes can see a bit farther and her hands are starting to have a purposeful grasp, your baby is ready to start playing with toys!
Watching my infant daughter start to grab and investigate with her hands and mouth was a lot of fun. I loved starting to interact with her in new ways as her senses developed. While her dad and I were still the most important 'playthings' in her life, we found there were some excellent toys out there for her to play with and learn from. We found some duds too, like a soft rattle that we'd gotten as a shower gift which started unraveling within a month (yikes!). Through the years of playing with my daughter, nieces, and nephew as well as volunteering in my church's nursery, I've gotten a pretty good handle on what kinds of baby toys tend to work the best.
To give you some ideas, I've compiled a list of my favorite toys in some general developmental areas to focus on for babies 3 to 6 months old. Whether you're searching for a great baby shower gift, looking for a Christmas gift for baby, or wanting a developmentally appropriate toy for your little one, you're bound to find an excellent selection for your 3-6 month old baby on this list. These baby toys have been gummed, grabbed, squeaked, and crinkled to the delight of many little ones who are starting to explore their worlds. In addition, they get high ranks with parents and children, including my own family and circle of friends, as well as in Amazon reviews.
Here's what it takes for a toy to make my favorites list:
- Holds child's interest for an age-appropriate amount of time
- Durable/Quality Construction
- Age and Developmentally Appropriate
FYI: I tend to give higher ratings to toys with songs and sounds that are the least annoying to parents when heard over and over and over. Remember, babies love repetition, so it's important to take this factor into account. You don't want to be driven nuts by your child's favorite toy.
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/futurestreet/3380299103/
We didn't have one of these for my daughter, but she loved playing with her friend's. It's pretty fascinating to babies to move around and like its name suggests, it squishes. The little balls on the end are perfect for gnawing on too.
How a 3 to 6 Month Old Baby is Developing and Playing
Knowing where your child is developmentally can help you choose the most appropriate toys for how they're learning and growing
Around the three month mark, you'll probably notice your baby having a new alertness and interest in the world. She'll have filled out a bit and is slowly getting stronger. By around 4 months or so, she'll amaze you with lifting her head and chest off the floor and supporting herself with her arms. If you're like me, you'll be getting the camera out even more often to capture every new baby 'trick' she does.
Her eyesight is making some improvements. Baby is able to see a bit farther away and her depth perception as well as her improving fine motor skills help her reach for and grasp toys. She'll have a mitten-like grip, using her thumb opposite the rest of her hand. By six months, most babies will be able to transfer a toy from one hand to the other. Nearer to the six-month mark, your baby will probably figure out the joy of dropping things to see what happens. Ah, the 'I drop it, mommy/daddy picks it up' game begins. It can be baby's favorite, but usually not the parent's favorite. ;)
During this time you'll also see your baby trying out her vigorous kicking skills. Putting a suspended object near her feet will delight her as she bops it around with her new foot-power. Most 3-6 month olds love being held and bounced in a standing position in your lap. It won't help your baby walk any quicker, but babies love bouncing and it strengthens their leg muscles. Be sure to not hold your baby's body weight by their hands or arms, though.
Remember, YOU are your baby's favorite 'toy'. He'll enjoy your facial expressions and just watching you, but as his world expands, he'll benefit from interacting with the new textures, colors and sounds that toys can provide as well. Why not play together?
Baby Gyms - The Super Gymini may be on the pricier end, but it's got a lot to mesmerize baby. I really like how versatile it is with a variety of activities. B
My daughter, nieces and nephew all loved being in the Gymini baby gym. It's basically a play mat with arches crossing over it and hanging toys for a baby to bat at, pull on, gnaw on, etc. It's excellent for when baby is on her back and starts to see that her motions have consequences. 'Wow, my hand touched that giraffe and it started rattling and swinging!'. While our extended family has had several updates of this toy, they've all been used quite a bit. We lent ours out to some friends, and their two sons had a ball rattling, jingling, and pulling too. For tummy time, there are flaps, crinkles, textures and some light-up flowers that play classical music when your baby presses on that part of the mat.
Video Review of Gymini Tiny Love Super Deluxe Play Mat
Lamaze has put together a series of stuffed animal toys with all sorts of stimulating activities for young babies built right in...and they have a clip to put on a stroller or carseat. The reigning king of this appealing collection of creatures: Jacques the Peacock. The back of Jacques' feathers have high-contrast black and white patterns to stimulate the vision of smaller babies, and on the front each feather has a different activity. There's a squeaker, a mirror, a rattle and a crinkly feather.
My nieces couldn't get enough of crinkly things, and my daughter giggled hysterically at squeaking noises, so there's something to this cute, colorful little bird for every baby. His big, high contrast eyes draw lots of kids in too. Plus, he's got a soft, cuddly body. There's a reason why the vast majority of my friends have gotten Jacques the Peacock for their babies.
A Top-Notch Take-Along Toy - While Jacques the Peacock is the most popular of the adorable characters in this line, he's got lots of quality company.
Quite a few of my friends' children have also been delighted by Lamaze's take-along moose, who has such silky, touchable fur. In addition, they offer a pirate-y octopus, a robot, a kitty cat, a horse, and the runner-up in popularity, Freddie the Firefly.
Playing with the Gund 'Spunky' dog stuffed animal
...and there's a new Sophie the Giraffe on the block
Just in case you don't want your baby sticking Sophie's legs in their mouth, here's a Sophie teether with handles. My sister got this one for her daughter.
Whoozit -- An Excellent All-Purpose Toy - Is Whoozit a teether? On-the-Go Toy? Stuffed animal? Rattle? ....All of the above.
Whoozit is a toy that somewhat defies definition. It's one that's soft enough for baby to have in their carseat or stroller to delight them with its rattly star antennae and the rest of its flappy appendages. There are a number of softer textures to feel on Whoozit, and inevitably one of its features will end up in your baby's mouth for exploring. My nieces liked the triangle tail and my daughter couldn't get enough of chewing on the soft nose that contains a squeaker. Lift up the nose and there's a tiny mirror to peek-a-boo with. The back of Whoozit has a black and white target pattern for more vision stimulation.
While Whoozit is unusual, he's a great pal for babies to grasp, shake and enjoy looking at a friendly, silly face.
Engrossed in Chewing on Whoozit - My daughter at 3 months loved chewing on her Whoozit's face. It was her favorite activity as she watched me sweep the back pat
Board Book Top Pick - Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? is easy for babies and parents to love. My daughter adored it.
It's not too early to read to your baby, especially with a book that has bright animal-shaped splashes of color. Most of the colors have enough contrast against the backgrounds to be visually stimulating to a 3 month old and Brown Bear will only get more entertaining as your child gets older. There are plenty of familiar animals and colors and an easily readable, rollicking story.
When my daughter was really little, she just liked staring at some of the pages with their big, bold colors. As she got bigger, I made the animals' sounds along with the book ans she loved that too. I haven't read the other two books with this gift set, but Eric Carle does such a great job with books for small children that they're most likely quality books, and it's a great price for this set.
Musical Toy - This is by far one of my favorite musical toys
My daughter really enjoyed the lights that flashed to the classical music that this sunny, happy caterpillar plays. We took this thing everywhere and called it the 'caterpillar radio.'
From a parent's perspective, the music is all the real versions of classical tunes that sound like they're being played on a toy piano. It's soothing and playful at the same time, and the music plays long enough so that parents or baby don't have to keep pressing the button all the time. Another plus: the volume isn't deafening like many baby toys. You won't have to put clear tape over the speaker to make it quiet enough for baby to hold and play with for a long time. I also like that Baby Einstein has updated this classic and put some sliding beads on the handle for extra baby entertainment.
Twins Fight Over Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes - While the volume on the toy is off in the video, you can see how much these babies love their caterpillar
Play Mat - You might not think of this as a toy, but this mat also provides activities for baby so he can play cleanly and safely while you're away from home.
Take this mat on playdates, to the beach, to the park, to grandma's house. It'll be a soft, clean play surface for your baby. This Tiny Love mat isn't just a colorful blanket with animals, shapes and flowers on it, though. It's got an adjustable/removable mirror to entertain baby during tummy time, a foot-shaped teether, and plenty of crinkly flaps for lifting, squishing and chewing on. Some friends have these and bring them everywhere. I wish I would've had this for my daughter! I'll definitely be registering for one for the next baby.
More Award-Winning Toys
Here are some more great choices for your baby's first toys.
Further Resources for Finding Great Baby Toys
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
Oppenheim has been reviewing toys for years and they give out awards for toys with excellent workmanship, play-ability and developmentally appropriateness. You can search by age and category of toy to find the best fit for your child.
This little worm is extremely popular with all babies I've seen interact with it. My church's nursery had one and it got a lot of use. Each segment has a different activity...one squeaks, one has a tinkling bell, one rattles, one crinkles....you get the picture. :)