15 Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds to Support Their Development

Expert-picked toys to encourage sensory, motor and other developmental skills.
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Updated June 29, 2023
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By the time your little one reaches the half-way point of their first year, they’re completely different from that tiny newborn you held in your arms. Six-month-old babies spend their days learning and exploring in a variety of ways, from grabbing, crawling and even sitting.

So what are the best toys for 6-month-olds to encourage these emerging skills? We’ve consulted play experts and gathered tips and safety guidelines to keep in mind, and rounded up some of our favorite developmental toys for 6-month-olds. Like to be prepared at playtime? Browse our toy guides for 7-month-olds and 8-month-olds here.

What are the Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds?

When it comes to the best toys for 6-month-olds, remember that for the most part, baby isn’t going to be very picky yet. With that said, it’s a good idea to buy a variety of toys that’ll help them meet those all-important 6-month baby milestones.

Six-month-olds are just starting to sit independently and get around by rolling or scooting on their bellies, says Lisa Lohiser, EdD, manager of early childhood development research at Fisher Price. “That’s why the best toys for 6-month-olds can be played with while sitting or lying on their tummy. Sit-at toys with lots of textures and activities provide a great core and fine motor workout,” explains Lohiser.

Baby’s fine motor skills are more developed than they were a few months ago, so your little one can now hold and manipulate items. According to Lohiser, infants this age are surprised and delighted with peek-a-boo activities and drop-through play. These actions may seem simple, but in actual fact this type of activity teaches children about cause and effect.

Six-month-olds are also exploring everything through their senses. “Kids this age are at the stage of full-blown exploration. While it’s still early for problem-solving and logic, it’s time for varied sensory experiences through sounds, colors and textures,” says Mark Coster, PhD, founder and chief editor of STEM Geek, a website dedicated to STEM activities and toys for kids of all ages. “Toys that react to the push of a button, or squishy toys that change their shape when you squeeze them are popular with this age group, as are indestructible books that baby can hold during storytime.” Rattles, balls, cups, bath toys and activity cubes are also great choices for this age group, he adds.

And though you’ll find lots of toys that provide a variety of sensory experiences, there’s no need to overdo it at this age, Coster emphasizes. “Sometimes, a good toy will be incredibly simple, offering a single type of sensory experience, catering to their touch, vision or hearing.” Bonus points if the activities range from simple to complex so the toy can grow with baby as they develop.

How to Choose Safe Toys for 6-Month-Olds

At 6 months old, you can be sure that every toy you hand your little one will go straight into their mouth. That means you’ll want to keep an eye on the size of the toy, as well as what it’s made from. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), all toys and parts should be larger than your child’s mouth to prevent choking. In addition Coster says “BPA-free plastic or wood are good materials for babies of this age.” To keep things simple (and safe) look for toys that are specifically rated for 6 months, since these are designed with age-based safety concerns and skills in mind.

What’s more, your 6-month-old will soon be on the move, whether it’s scooting, crawling or pulling up to stand. “While this impulse to explore is beautiful in its own right, you’ll have to double down on safety around 6 months old,” says Coster. “And that means lots of falling and tumbling! In other words, a playmat or a playpen is a must whenever you can’t directly supervise baby’s playtime.”

Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds

Ready to start your search? Browse the best toys for 6-month-olds below. These expert-approved toys will engage the senses without being too overwhelming or difficult for young babies to maneuver.

Activity ball

LeapFrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo
Image: Walmart

This Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo ball is a toy that grows with your little one, providing hours of fun at any age. Six-month-olds working on sitting up can spin the ball and enjoy the colors, while older babies can begin to learn their ABCs and 123s. There are even 26 animal names and sounds for them to become familiar with, as well as a number of songs for them to sing along to.

Age rating: 6 months+ | Batteries required: Yes (three AA batteries included)

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Toy subscription

Image: KiwiCo

Searching for developmentally appropriate toys for 6-month-old infants? KiwiCo has done the hard work for you. These subscription boxes are packed with four to six toys catered to your child’s age and developmental stage. Each box comes with a play guide that explains how to continue to use the products as your child grows. Start baby off with the Panda Crate designed for ages 0 to 36 months and switch up your plan at any time. Bonus: For 50 percent off the first month’s subscription to any KiwiCo crate, use discount code THEBUMP.

Age rating: 0 to 36 months | Batteries required: No

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Activity cube

VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube, Learning Toy for Infant Toddlers
Image: Walmart

While most 6-month-old babies aren’t walking yet, they do enjoy practicing their sitting and crawling skills, which is why an activity cube makes a great educational toy for them. They can enjoy all five sides of it while sitting on the floor, as well as scooting or crawling toward it. This one from VTech is highly interactive, with music, lights, colors and more. Different buttons help familiarize baby with different shapes and animals, while blocks that slide and spin encourage fine motor skill development. With its array of activities, this block will easily keep your little one entertained.

Age rating: 6 to 36 months | Batteries required: Yes (two AAA batteries included)

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Stackable cups

Mushie Stacking Cups
Image: Target

Along with helping baby practice hand-eye coordination, these simple toys for 6-month-olds can be used to introduce object permanence, the concept that items continue to exist even when you can’t see them. Hide smaller items under the cups (just watch out for anything that might be a choking hazard) and then make a game of lifting the cups up for the reveal. This Danish-made set is made from 100 percent food-grade PP plastic and is BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free.

Age rating: 6 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Sensory balls

Sensory balls
Image: The Tot

Teething babies love to gum on everything (and anything)—but with these developmental toys, you don’t have to worry about what’s going in their mouth. Made from sustainable and non-toxic rubberwood, these sensory balls stimulate baby’s visual and tactile senses and encourage shape and color recognition, hand-eye coordination and spatial perception. An extra-nice feature: These don’t have any air holes, meaning you can bring them into the bath without worrying about mold.

Age rating: 6 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Light-up rattle

This award-winning rattle from SmartNoggin has won over parents and babies alike. It’s equipped with fun textures to promote tactile learning, a soft rattle for auditory cues and multiple colored lights that encourage visual tracking and attentiveness. These features help with baby’s developmental milestones from day one. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also BPA-, PVC- and phthalate-free.

Age rating: 0 months+ | Batteries required: Yes (three LR44 batteries included)

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Stacking toy

Explore & More Fox Stacking Baby Toy
Image: Skip Hop

Colors and textures are abundant with this adorable fox-themed stacking toy for 6-month-olds. Baby can stack four colorful rings and a fox head on a base that wobbles, or simply explore the rings with their hands and mouth (far more likely at this age!). Along with textures, some of the rings feature rattles and a bead mover to help them with their hand-eye coordination and sensory development. Nothing like some stacking fun to get them learning!

Age rating: 6 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Musical plush puppy

LeapFrog, My Pal Scout, Plush Puppy
Image: Walmart

This plush puppy will quickly become your little one’s favorite friend. It helps encourage baby’s first words, feelings and emotions with a variety of colors, lights and simple learning activities. The programmable toy even allows you to customize the pre-loaded songs with baby’s name, as well as their favorite foods and drinks. With an age range of up to 3 years, baby will be holding on tight to this puppy pal for a while.

Age rating: 6 months to 3 years | Batteries required: Yes (two AA batteries required)

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Fidget toy

Manhattan Toy Click Clack Ball Developmental Baby Toy
Image: Walmart

This unique toy comes with all the bells and whistles, so those tiny hands will surely stay busy. With the twist of every one of the ball’s colorful handles, baby is greeted with a click, and with every shake, the beads inside will rattle and roll. This helps refine baby’s motor skills, while the bright colors offer visual stimulation. You can encourage your kiddo to work on crawling by moving the ball slowly away, allowing them to move closer to it.

Age rating: 0 months to 3 years | Batteries required: No

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Baby-safe mirror

Sassy Tummy Time See Me Floor Mirror
Image: Amazon
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Six-month-old babies are just beginning to learn about themselves. “Toys that include baby-safe mirrors are excellent educational toys for a 6-month-old, as baby's sense of self is starting to develop at this time,” says Coster. This standing floor mirror does just that, with some added playful accents to keep them entertained.

Age rating: 0 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Floating bath toys

Munchkin Float & Play Bubbles Baby Bath Toy
Image: Walmart

This four pack of BPA-free plastic balls is just right for baby’s bathtime fun. Each ball houses a different colorful character that spins and rattles around inside for endless fascination. Perfectly sized for little hands, these bath toys help babies learn to reach, grasp and practice hand-eye coordination. Most importantly, the toy features holes for easy drainage, so you don’t have to worry about mold or mildew.

Age rating: 4 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Piano gym

Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick & Play Piano Gym Baby Playmat with Electronic Learning Toy
Image: Walmart

An interactive play mat grows with baby through a number of phases, from laying on their back or tummy to learning to sit upright—and this one is all about the music. The mat features five light-up piano keys, a repositionable toy arch and four sound settings to always keep them grooving. And once baby is able to sit up, the piano keys can flip so they’re flat and the jamming out can continue. Best of all, the learning content adapts to baby’s age and stage, with a range of sensory, discovery and exploratory settings.

Age rating: 0 to 36 months | Batteries required: Yes (three AA batteries required)

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Sensory tumblers

PlanToys- Sensory Pastels
Image: Amazon

These wooden stackable, rollable balls are great developmental toys for 6-month-olds that are honing their hand-eye coordination and motor skills. Each offers a different sensory surprise: The auditory tumbler has a rattle, the texture tumbler features soft fabric and the visual tumbler contains a mirror. They’re made from renewable, non-chemically treated organic rubberwood and non-toxic vegetable dyes.

Age rating: 6 months+ | Batteries required: No

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Indestructible baby book

Experts stress the importance of reading to your little one, but at 6 months old, babies can be pretty tough on their books! “Try books made of indestructible paper that you can read to them, and enjoy the magic of their babbling back at you,” says Coster. This tale is focused on language development (perfect for your little babbler) and is chew-proof, rip-proof, nontoxic and 100 percent washable. \

Age rating: 0 to 2 years | Batteries required: No

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Object permanence box

Adena Montessori Full Size Object Permanence Box with Tray Three Balls Montessori Toys
Image: Amazon
Buying Options

This simple, wooden ball drop toy helps baby learn about object permanence and cause and effect. It’s an activity based on the Montessori method of teaching, which focuses on one skill at a time instead of offering your little one a toy that can be overwhelming. Once they drop the ball in the hole, they’ll see it come out of the open side of the box. In keeping with the Montessori principle of using toys made from natural materials, the box and the balls—which are large enough to prevent accidental swallowing—are all wooden.

Age rating: 6 to 12 months | Batteries required: No

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How We Chose the Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds

We get it—the wealth of toy options can be overwhelming to new parents. To help you find age-appropriate playthings we consider a list of criteria when sourcing toys, including quality, cost, materials, sensory appeal, entertainment-value and, last but definitely not least, safety.

To decide which toys for 6-month-olds are the best options on the market, we leverage our familiarity with leading baby brands to make sure items are from reliable manufacturers, and read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these products work for families. And since many of us are also parents, we rely on our editor’s personal experiences.

To make sure we’re highlighting playthings that are safe and age-appropriate, we spoke with two early childhood experts to understand key developmental priorities and safety considerations to keep top of mind. We also followed toy safety recommendations outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.


Lisa Lohiser, EdD, is manager of early childhood development research at Fisher-Price’s Play Lab, where she provides insights into how kids learn and play and how to best support their development. She has a doctorate in education with a focus on learning and teaching in social contexts, as well as a Master’s degree in creativity and change leadership and a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Mark Coster, PhD, is the founder and chief editor of STEM Geek, a website dedicated to STEM activities and toys for kids of all ages. He is an organic chemist with more than 20 years of experience in chemistry research and teaching. As a father of three, Coster is also passionate about the power of STEM toys.

American Academy of Pediatrics, How to Buy Safe Toys, July 2021

Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial process.

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