The 16 best toys for 6-12 month-old babies, to help aid their development

best toys for 6-12 month-old babies

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

If you're looking for the best toy for a 6-month-old to 12-month-old, you've come to the right place. Now that your baby can reach things, it's a great time to treat them to some fun baby toys that they can play with. Especially as they develop their gross motor skills even further in the run-up to their first birthday.

For starters, this is a great age to allow your baby to explore the noisier toys such as musical toys or electronic toys, so make sure you have your earplugs at the ready. These sensory toys often feature lights and sounds and are fab for stimulating your little one's senses. Meanwhile, toys that involve baby's touch help to develop their hand-eye coordination while providing hours of fun and engagement.

The best toys for 6-12 month-old babies at a glance:

Best baby walker toys for 6 months old: VTech First Steps Baby Walker - Buy now on Amazon UK
Best toy for developing motor skills: Taf Toys Sensory Wonder Tissue Box - Buy now on Amazon UK
Best toy to help develop crawling: VTech Crawl 'n' Learn Bright Lights Ball - Buy now on Amazon UK
Best musical toy: Bright Starts Press and Glow Spinner - Buy now on Amazon UK

The same can be said for shape sorters and activity cubes. These also encourage your little ones to develop their problem-solving skills. Additionally, baby walkers are recommended at this age to help them with the transition from sitting to standing to walking as this can help towards developing their muscles and coordination skills.

You'll find that all the best toys for 6-month-olds are colourful and have lots of texture. So that way, it'll keep your bubba engaged all while fine-tuning their skills. We've also tried to choose toys which will store away easily as well as some that you can take away with you on your travels.

If you're looking for some toy ideas to get you started, scroll down for lots of inspiration with help from our mum testers as well as some expert guidance and advice from founder of The Good Play Guide and child development expert, Dr Amanda Gummer.

How we chose and tested the best toys for 6-12 month olds

We chose these toys based on what our own little ones love to play with at home, as well as real mum reviews and the top developmental toys recommended to us by parents. Many of these products have been featured in the Mother&Baby Awards where we put every product to the test, rating their usability, design, quality, value for money and of course durability as we know how much their toys go through! Find out more about how we test products for Mother&Baby. We also spoke to child development expert Dr Amanda Gummer, to ensure that you get the best advice, and applied this when selecting the best toys for your baby's development over the next few months.

Types of 6–12-month-old toys

Stimulating senses – Anything with bright colours, loud noises and different textures will be great for stimulating your child's senses and act as a sensory toy for their development.

Physical development – Things like baby walkers, rolling balls and activity tables can really help encourage your little one to move, whether that's crawling or finding their feet and becoming more comfortable on their feet.

Hand eye coordination – Problem solving toys such as stacking toys or fun puzzles can really help develop their hand-eye coordination.

Creativity and imagination – Any toy that helps your child's imagination grow including instruments, role play toys and even toys that require a response can help improve their imagination as they grow.

How to choose the best toy for your 6-12-month-old

While there are a few important things to consider before buying a toy for your tot, the main thing is choosing toys to aid their development says Dr Amanda Gummer. "Encourage creativity, problem-solving, and independent play to support your baby's growth and well-being."

• Safety: Always check the age suitability of any toy before purchasing it for your child. You should also make sure any toy meets regulatory safety requirements, making sure it features the CE mark. "Prioritise safety when selecting toys. Always ensure they are durable, age-appropriate, and free from potential hazards." Amanda says.

• Storage: It's important to check the dimensions of any toy before you buy to make sure it will fit into your home or toy cupboard.

• Ease of use: Some toys can be quite tricky to set up and operate, so it's worth checking to see how easy a toy is to use before buying.

According to Dr Amanda, when selecting toys for your baby, parents should consider their developmental stage, interests, and safety. "Opt for toys that are age-appropriate, durable, and free from small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Look for toys that offer hands-on exploration and interaction, such as manipulative toys, stacking blocks, and shape sorters, which encourage fine motor skills and problem-solving." Amanda explains

"Try and choose toys with bright colours, different stand-out patterns, and interesting textures to stimulate your baby's senses. I love the benefits of interactive toys that produce sounds, lights, or movement that can capture your baby's attention. Any toys that inspire creativity and the use of imagination are great to help your baby learn at their own pace." Amanda continues.

Do I need toys for my 6 to 12-month-old?

When you're trying to drawback on your spending as a family, you may be questioning whether or not toys are worth your money. But according to Dr Amanda Gummer, toys are essential to your baby's healthy cognitive and physical development.

"As an advocate of play in the early years, toys play a vital role in stimulating your baby's development during this critical stage. They serve as tools for exploration, learning, and sensory stimulation, providing valuable opportunities for your little one to engage with their environment and develop essential skills. From enhancing fine and gross motor skills to fostering cognitive abilities and promoting social interaction, the right toys can support multiple aspects of your baby's growth. Toys are fun! They can spark curiosity, encourage problem-solving, and ignite creativity which will help lay the foundation for future learning and development." Says Amanda.

Best toys for 6 months to 12 months old

Best baby walker toys for 6 months old

best-toy-6-month-old
Price: $64.16

It was also shortlisted for a 2020 Mother&Baby Award.

Parent testers loved the bright flashing lights and vibrant colours of the walker which instantly caught their toddler's attention, keeping them engaged and entertained as they navigated around. The range of activities provide additional stimulation, promoting cognitive and motor skill development. Parents also loved the compact design, making it easy to store away when not in use.

Parents also commented on how easy it was to clean, as it can easily be wiped down. It's also great in supporting those first steps and balance.

If you'd prefer an alternative to a baby walker, you might prefer the HERSITY Musical Learning Activity Table.

Read the full VTech First Steps Baby Walker review

Pros

  • Can help toddlers develop their balance and first steps
  • The walker also acts as an activity table and sit and play centre
  • Easy to keep clean

Cons

  • Product doesn't include batteries
Suitable for ages:9 months+
Dimensions:46 x 40 x 50cm
Batteries required:Yes
  • Light up buttons
  • Shape sorter
  • Role play phone
  • Textured wheels
  • Easy grip handle

Best toy for developing motor skills

Best toys for 6 months old Taf Toys Sensory Wonder Tissue BoxAmazon

Rrp: $24.95

Price: $14.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$24.99View offer

This toy was shortlisted for the Mother&Baby Awards 2022.

The vibrant colours and textures of the eight organza squares and two crinkle blankies of this toy with fluffy textures provided endless exploration opportunities.

Our mum tester found it fantastic for entertaining her nine-month-old, as it encourages baby to reach, grasp, and manipulate objects – a crucial aspect of their motor skill development.

Parents also found The Taf Toys Wonder Tissue Box provided valuable sensory experiences and interactive play, with one toy serving as a multitude of learning purposes and play, rather than needing five different toys to teach, which saves space in the toy box.

Read our full Taf Toys Sensory Wonder Tissue Boxreview

Pros

  • Promotes sensory play with textures, sounds and colour recognition
  • Helps teach about cause and effect
  • Encourages both motor and cognitive skills

Cons

  • The pull scarves could be lost easily
Suitable for ages:12+ months
Dimensions:14 x 14 x16cm
  • 8 x organza fabric squares
  • 2 x crinkle blankies
  • 1 x fluffy side square

Best toy to help develop crawling

VTech Crawl 'n' Learn Bright Lights BallArgos/VTech

With a built-in motor that'll get your baby to crawl after it, parents loved how many development opportunities were available in this toy from motor skills to sensory development, discovery to exploration.

Babies can twist, slide and spin the features with fun music and animal sound effects, a feature parents found older children loved too.

The VTech Crawl 'n' Learn Bright Lights Ball has limited controlled movement so that it doesn't roll too far away from baby. However it might be more suited to wooden, laminate or tiled floors as it doesn't move as easy across thick pile carpets.

Pros

  • Various lights and tunes to keep child occupied
  • Helps work baby's muscles and aids crawling development

Cons

  • Doesn't move that great on carpet (better on wooden floors)
Suitable for ages:6+ months
Dimensions:14 x 14 x 14cm
Batteries required:Yes
  • Limited controlled movement
  • Built in motor
  • Buttons
  • Lights

Best musical toy

best toy 6 month old Bright Starts Press and Glow SpinnerAmazon

Rrp: $13.88

Price: $11.19
Alternative retailers
Walmart$11.19View offer

With over 20 cheerful melodies, your tot will have hours of fun with this Bright Starts Press & Grow Spinner. One parent said they bought it for their little one as they loved playing with it at playgroup!

It's great for encouraging babies to play and learn. Parents love how this toy allowed their child to associate cause and effect, identify seaside animals and tune their fine motor skill as they press buttons to make the sounds.

Some parents found the spin function a little temperamental at times, but their children still loved getting it to spin and playing with the other features.

Pros

  • Great for cognitive development
  • 20 different melodies included
  • Playful way to explore cause and effect

Cons

  • Some parents found the spin function was a little temperamental
Suitable for ages:6+ months
Dimensions:16 x 16 x 18cm
Batteries required:Yes
  • Push top
  • Lights and sounds

Best soft toy

With this interactive honey pot, your little one can enjoy four sing-along songs and 15 happy melodies as they play peek-a-boo with the cute soft, fabric bear. There are two learning buttons and parents loved the little bumble bee that makes the bees on the front spin when pushed down.

Auntie Cara said: "My niece loves playing peek a boo and loves this toy! Laughs at it every time she plays with it! Great for little ones."

Pros

  • Interactive and helps to develop fine motor skills
  • Peak-a-boo game very entertaining for baby

Cons

  • Child may get bored quite quickly once they figure out which buttons make the bear pop up

Best toy for developing communication skills

With over 75 different songs that are bound to get stuck in your head, phrases, jingles and tunes, this entertaining puppy dog is brilliant for helping develop your baby's language and speech with their first 100 words being taught with the puppy. This product was also shortlisted in our Mother&Baby 2016 Awards.

Mum Stephanie said: "My daughter was immediately drawn to this toy. She has started to hug and kiss the puppy, which she hasn't done before with any other soft toy. I like the 3 different levels of learning, which correspond to different ages. It's easy to use and I like the various different songs."

Read our full Fisher-Price Smart Stages Puppy review

Pros

  • Cuddly and educational
  • Batteries included
  • Introduce parts of the body, shapes, counting, the alphabet and more

Cons

  • Our mum testers weren't keen on the design

Best activity table

There are loads of fun sounds on this entertaining activity table, from animal noises to catchy tunes to help develop their fine motor skills. With a range of bright colours, parents found there was plenty to stimulate baby's senses and is the perfect toy from 6 months up to their toddler years.

Grandma Sharon said: "Gave this to my 6month old granddaughter for Christmas. When she can sit on her own it will be brilliant but even now she sits and touches it and loves the different colours and music. Also nice that the volume has two levels, really happy with it"

Pros

  • Can hang the toy in a crib strollers or the back of car seat
  • Can either play sitting (legs remove) or standing

Cons

  • No batteries included

Best to develop hand and eye co-ordination

Enjoy hours of fun stacking these brightly coloured rings, bursting with tickly textures and tactile finishes. This fun game helps your baby develop their problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination. This was also shortlisted for a Mother&Baby Award in 2019.

Mum Jasmine said: "The glow rings were easy to use and straightforward. Each ring was different to look at and feel. My baby enjoyed chewing and sucking on the rings but other than the one with the beads in she didn't really play with the others. When the head came off she liked to play with the tags on top. I'm unsure whether I would recommend it or not, it is nice to look at and is a great visual sensory toy but I am not sure there is enough for the child to play with."

Read our full Little Senses Glowing Stacking Rings reviews

Pros

  • Durable
  • Glow setting useful for helping baby get to sleep

Cons

  • Our mum testers said the stacking rings are quite heavy for little hands

Best toy to grow with baby

best-toy-6-month-old

Rrp: $59.99

Price: $48.00

Designed to grow with your baby through two stages of play, this interactive floor-into-table challenges and encourages little ones to play with 20 developmental activities with a light-up piano, a swirl slide, and eight cute and colourful balls. It also includes three character super spinners.

One reviewer said: "My grandson plays with this every time he is at my house, and it is one of the main reasons he started trying to stand up so he could get to it faster than I was moving. He also loves the music and will dance when it is playing. I have definitely gotten my money's worth in the last few weeks with the amount of time spent playing with it."

Pros

  • Great for helping your baby to stand independently
  • Removable legs for floor time fun

Cons

  • Ball game quite tricky for baby to figure out

Best toy for learning colours and numbers

LeapFrog Learn & Groove Rainbow Lights Piano
Price: $42.77

This preschool learning piano can help little ones become familiar with colours and numbers in English or French! They can explore different instrument sounds, learn to play two popular songs, and designed for sensory play, they can press the melody button to hear 17 delightful melodies to play and sing along with.

Parent Gerry said: "Ordered this for my son! Nice quality! My son loves it! easy to use! Nice size! Nice musical toy! Nice and sturdy! Good value for money."

Pros

  • Batteries included
  • Ideal for learning about colours and numbers
  • Early introduction to musical instrument

Cons

  • Some parents found the removable parts were hard to reattach

Best toy to develop gross motor skills

Little Tikes 3-in-1 Activity Walker
Price: $31.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$31.99View offer

Designed to inspire and motivate your baby to get moving and walking, the walker features over 70 activities, songs, and sounds to help get your baby on their feet and help them walk until they're confident little walkers, and parents loved how it provided their tot with some stability. This product was shortlisted in the 2018 Mother&Baby Awards.

Mum Georgia said: "I’d recommend this product for its strength and stability. My daughter is quite heavy-handed, and yet even after she had pushed this walker into tables, chairs and climbed all over it, there were no signs of breaking. I would also recommend it for the disco ball at the front, which reflects onto the floor and had my daughter dancing and singing to the melody."

Read our full Little Tikes Light n Go 3 in 1 Activity Walker review

Pros

  • Helps to develop baby's first steps
  • Walker, standing activity table, and sit and play activity centre all-in-one

Cons

  • Batteries not included

Best food toy

This learning toy suits your baby's needs as they grow and provides plenty of ways for them to play. With each of the six eggs that crack open to reveal different faces and colours, they can play hide and seek, shape sort, colour match, and more and parents loved how it boosted their child's cognitive and physical development.

Parent Liang said: "Probably one of my best investments in toys! My son has been playing with them from 6 months and he's still playing with them now at nearly 26 months, in very different ways."

Pros

  • Helps develop fine motor skills
  • Case makes them easy to take around out and about

Cons

  • Baby needs to press the egg down quite hard to hear the chicks 'chirp'

Best for hand-eye co-ordination

safari plush stacking toysJojo Maman Bebe

This is a lovely gift for little ones. It includes soft stacker crocodile, tiger, elephant, lion, and parrot stacking toys. Your baby will find these really engaging, plus they will help with hand-eye co-ordination and animal association.

One reviewer said: "Beautiful item from JoJo … suitable for very small little people to clasp with small fingers and will still be age appropriate as she progresses to sorting stacking and counting. Excellent!"

Pros

  • Helps develop dexterity and hand-eye coordination
  • Suitable from birth

Cons

  • Hand wash only

Best sensory toy

Parents and their tots found this toy both fun and educational! Your little one will love exploring everything it has to offer. It is designed to grow with your baby, and it provides lots of stimulating activities, including a clock with movable arms, doors with a sliding lock, a peg maze, peekaboo curtains, a bead maze, a turning barrel and flower cogs.

One reviewer said: "Beautifully packaged!!! Perfect gift for my little boy who adores his sensory. I loved it so much that I also bought one for my friends daughters Christmas."

Pros

  • Great for sensory play
  • Designed to support their fine motor skills

Cons

  • Not suitable for babies under 12 months

Best Montessori toy

This jam-packed set of Montessori toys will keep your baby entertained for hours. With unique shapes, bright colours, and various ways to play there is so much for your little one to explore, plus all toys are safe to chew, squeeze, and grasp. The great news for you is they are also easy to clean and won't fade over time. This set includes: 6 Stacking Blocks, 5 Stacking Rings, 1 Pull String Activity Toy, and 1 Montessori Cube + 6 Shape Blocks.

One review said: "I have a very inquisitive baby and she loves these. They can all be washed and wiped down. They don't have a garish colour but still attract the baby's attention. Great price and good selection of different activities on the toys."

Pros

  • Variety of different toys included
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Some parents found it smaller than it appeared on the web

Best for learning to crawl

toys for 6 month olds inchworm toy
Price: $15.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$29.99View offer

There will be lots of fun with this interactive inchworm toy. Your little one can press down on the middle ball to flatten the inchworm, then when they release it the inchworm will crawl and your baby can chase it. Plus, it has a light-up face and plays music. Not only will your little one be fascinated but it help develop muscle strength and gross motor skills.

One mum tester said: "My sons on second one now lasted 2 years of him dropping it banging it on floors and chewing it. Finally gave up. only weak point is the neck. Helped to get him crawling plus gives him loads of belly laughs when it bumps into him."

Pros

  • Encourages baby to crawl
  • Includes music and lights

Cons

  • Some parents found it got stuck, particularly on carpets

What is the best toy for a 6-month-old to 12-month-old?

In our opinion, the best toy for this age range would have to be the Taf Toys Sensory Wonder Tissue Box. Shortlisted in the Mother&Baby Awards, it also has some great reviews from our testers. Parents loved how unique this product was and how it kept their little ones interested.

How should I use toys to help their development?

Dr Amanda says there are ways to maximise the developmental benefits of toys for your baby. "I believe it's essential to engage in purposeful and interactive play. Actively participate in playtime with your little one, offering guidance and encouragement as they explore and interact with their toys. It’s not difficult to create a simple but stimulating environment by introducing a variety of toys that target different senses and skills, from sensory-rich textures to engaging sounds and different, bright colours. It’s worth rotating toys regularly to maintain your baby's interest and provide new challenges for them which in turn will fostering curiosity and exploration. Playtime is a great opportunity to bond with your baby, nurturing your relationship and creating positive associations with learning and discovery - always make time for play!"

About the expert

Dr Amanda Gummer is a child development expert who founded The Good Play Guide in 2012. Amanda has a PhD in Neuropsychology, the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education and over 20 years’ experience working with children and families. Having worked in children’s industries for many years, Amanda is now widely considered as the UK’s go-to expert on play, toys and child development.

Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor and has been a writer for titles such as Mother&Baby and Yours. In her role, she has researched and recommended the best products for parents, from breast pumps to toys, nursery décor to car seats. She's also kept a keen eye on celeb mums and influencers to share what they've been using to help make parenting that little bit easier.

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