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11 best toys to help your baby learn

Which baby toys are best?

Toys aren't just an essential part of childhood. Playing with toys is integral to your baby's growth and development, because play is how children learn and build critical social, cognitive and physical skills. Every new color, shape, sound, texture and taste is a learning experience for them.

The best toys for babies are those that will engage their senses, spark their creativity and enhance their problem-solving skills. And, of course, they must be safe and appropriate for your child's age.

Best baby toys

Best baby toys for 0 to 3 months

The Play Gym by LoveEvery

This eco-friendly activity gym and play mat includes everything your baby needs for their first year of play. Designed by child development experts to cover all your baby's learning stages, it goes easily from tummy time to an activity gym and offers a range of visual, teething and tactile toys. It also converts into a fort for older babies, so your little one can use it for several years.

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Jellycat Bashful Beige Bunny

A great gift for newborns, this irresistibly cute super-soft bunny by London-based Jellycat is sure to become their favorite stuffie. Your little one will enjoy endless snuggles and naptimes with this cuddle buddy. It comes in six sizes, is soft and plush for safe play, and withstands the test of time and roughhousing by little kids.

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Wee Gallery Art Cards for Baby

Newborns see only in black, white and shades of gray until 4 months, so these gorgeous black-and-white art cards, in a variety of animal prints, are great to share with your baby from day one. They're a solid addition to interactive play, helping stimulate your newborn's visual perception and brain. They're printed on sturdy board book material with smooth, rounded edges for safety, and are easy to wipe clean.

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Best baby toys for 3 to 6 months

Baby Einstein Octoplush Musical Toy

This cuddly octopus toy does more than play music. Every squeeze introduces your baby to new sounds, colors and textures. The language can be set to English, Spanish or French, or parents can switch to introduce older babies and toddlers to new languages. It's also a wonderful companion for little ones to explore classical melodies from Bach, Mozart and Beethoven for early music appreciation.

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Mary Meyer Taggies Crinkle Me Toy

A combination sensory toy, stuffed animal and teether, Taggies can help keep your baby occupied both at home and while on the go, whether in a stroller or on a plane. This one features a soft fabric exterior, adorned with a sweet animal of your choice and lots of tags around the outside in various textures. It also includes a flexible hoop you can attach to your baby's stroller.

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Homi Baby Organic Wood Rattle

Once your baby can pick things up or toss them around, they'll love playing with rattles. This classic Montessori-style wood rattle is as functional as it is cute. The wood is sanded to perfection and sealed with a mixture of coconut oil and beeswax, so you know it's nontoxic and safe, even when your baby decides to use it as a teether.

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Best baby toys for 6 to 12 months

B. Toys One Two Squeeze Blocks

Blocks can not only promote logical thinking and problem-solving, but they can also promote more engaged play than any other toy. These bright, squishy blocks are easy to grasp and stack, and are embossed with images of animals and numbers from one to 10. Babies love stacking them and knocking them back down while discovering different animals and numbers.

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Usborne "That’s Not My Puppy" Touchy-Feely Board Book

Board books are perfect for babies because they're easy for little fingers to grasp and flip through pages. Reading to your baby is not just a way to inspire a love of books but also a great way to help expand their vocabulary. This one has bright, bold illustrations, paired with tactile patches that encourage little ones to learn and explore through touch.

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Kidsthrill Rainbow Stacking and Nesting Cups

Stacking cups are a classic for a good reason. They're a great open-ended toy that can be used in a variety of ways and continue to be a fun activity even as your baby grows. They can be used for nesting, stacking, pouring and introducing your child to the world of colors. Plus, they can help boost fine motor skills.

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Best baby toys for 12 to 24 months

Lego Duplo My First Number Train

This train-themed Lego set is the perfect introduction to numbers and counting, making it a great starter set for babies and toddlers. It includes 23 large, easy-to-grasp Duplo blocks kids can arrange in different ways while immersing themselves in imaginative play and developing their fine motor skills. It's also a great way to help kids learn early number recognition.

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Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Take-Along Shape Sorter Baby Toy

This padded on-the-go activity center is much more than a basic shape sorter. Your baby can lift the crinkly flaps that have colorful pictures of familiar shapes, match the shapes and drop the blocks through the sorter. The set features nine textured shapes and a carrying case for young learners to sort and play with.

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Esha Saxena writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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