Collection: Baby 0-18 months

How they play 0-12 months

For the first three months, your baby isn't able to do much more than observe her surroundings. Because her vision is still blurry, she sees bright, boldly patterned items best. "Toys don't have to be black and white so long as the colors contrast with each other," says Nora Newcombe, Ph.D., a developmental psychologist at Temple University, in Philadelphia. As your baby grows, she'll enjoy toys that engage her other senses as well. That's why so many toys are designed to promote interaction in a variety of ways: They may make a squeaking or crinkling noise, have a nubby texture, and be soft and cuddly. Infants tend to mouth toys, and textured ones can help relieve teething pain.

Top Toys:

Brightly colored, multipatterned crib mobiles (Note: Remove from crib once your baby can sit up)RattlesUnbreakable mirrorsFloor gymsActivity boardsSoft, washable, colorful stuffed animals or dolls with a smiling faceSmall stuffed fabric balls

How They Play: 1-2 Years


"Your baby is fascinated by cause and effect and will enjoy any toy that responds to his actions and makes use of newly acquired motor skills," says psychologist Robin Goodman, Ph.D., director of NYU Child Study Center's Website, For instance, he'll love toys that allow him to hit a ball with a hammer as well as toys with buttons that cause music to play or characters to pop up. Some high-tech toys for this age will name a letter, a shape, or a number when your baby presses a button. He's too young to actually learn his ABCs, but he'll still enjoy interacting with these toys and being exposed to language.

Top Toys:

Stacking rings

Nesting cups or boxes

Push- or pull-toys that make noise or have pieces that pop up or move

Hammering sets that let kids hammer pegs or balls through holes

Simple, sturdy musical instruments like tambourines, drums, or maracas

Shape sorters

Large play vehicles, such as a school bus or a fire engine, plus plastic people that ride in them

Puzzles with four or five pieces

Rubber ducks or toy boats for bathtime