The Best Sensory Toys for Baby

Sensory play is a major key to babies reaching developmental milestones, however many mainstream options are made with harmful materials like BPA and phthalates. In this article, we look at the importance of sensory toys and share our favorite non-toxic product picks.

Three babies playing with Mushie sensory stacking cups

If you’re looking for ways to help your baby’s cognitive and physical development, then sensory play is something you’re going to want to know about!

To help you fully understand the concept and find the right non-toxic toys for your tot, we’ll go over:

  • What sensory play is
  • The benefits of sensory play for babies
  • Chemicals to avoid in baby products
  • The best types of sensory toys for babies

Scroll down to learn more!

 

What is Sensory Play?

 

Wee Gallery Bath Book

 

While sensory play will look different as your baby gets older each day, it’s essentially any type of play that helps a baby develop their eyesight, hearing, touch, taste, smell and sense of balance.

Examples of sensory play with a baby include:

  • Playing peekaboo. (This shows a baby that even though they can’t see something, it still exists aka object permeance.)
  • Encouraging them to touch and explore a multi-textured teether. (This helps them prepare for trying solids.)
  • Filling up and dumping cups of sand. (This allows them to have a tactile experience with nature, while also honing their hand-eye coordination.)
  • Dribbling water onto a color changing surface. (This demonstrates cause and effect.)
  • Climbing on a Pikler Triangle. (This is important for developing a sense of balance.)
  • Smelling scented play dough. (This provides a pleasurable or calming aromatic experience.)

All of these types of activities are designed to help your baby understand the world around them while helping their physical and cognitive development.

 

 

The Benefits of Sensory Play for Babies

 

Wee Gallery Fox Rattle

 

The benefits of sensory play include, but are not limited to:

  • Building important nerve connections between the body and the brain
  • Developing both fine and gross motor skills
  • Developing a sense of self and relationship with the outside world
  • Ability to focus on an object and concentrate for a longer period of time
  • Building confidence and problem-solving skills
  • Demonstrates opposites such as: wet vs dry, smooth vs rough and hot vs cold
  • Can be calming for anxious kids
  • Can help a fussy eater overcome food texture issues

When done alongside active and open-ended play, sensory play will be an integral part of your child’s early learning and development.

 

 

Chemicals to Avoid in Baby Products

One of the issues with sensory play is that most of the toys end up in your baby’s mouth….which is fantastic because it’s how babies explore their world.

BUT this is why you must be aware of WHAT the sensory toy is made of.

At The Tot, we never use or recommended anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Safety Test. This means we’ve reviewed third-party testing, examined ingredients lists and asked in-depth questions about a product’s composition. When it comes to toys for babies, we always avoid the following chemicals because they have been suspected to cause a variety of health concerns such as cancer, endocrine disruption, allergic reactions, brain damage and behavioral issues.

  • Bisphenols (BPA + BPS)
  • PVC
  • Harmful Phthalates
  • Added formaldehyde
  • Pesticides + Herbicides
  • Carcinogenic and allergy-inducing dyes
  • Heavy metals

Click here for the full list of ingredients we avoid and why.

 

 

The best types of sensory toys for babies

While it’s important to show your baby high contrast illustrations and help them touch and explore a range of textures and sounds from Day 1, babies don’t usually start grasping objects until around three months of age.

In the first few months of your baby’s life, it’s best to stick to lightweight toys (like a crocheted rattle) that your baby can easily handle and explore. You can also hang a mobile or toy over their play area for them to look and bat at.

Because it will take some time for your baby to gain the strength needed to reach for, grasp, shake, and bring an object to their mouth, it may not be until 6 or 8 months that they’ll be able to play with toys like balls, blocks and shape sorters, which allows them to use their imaginations and problem-solving skills.

Our favorite baby sensory toys are things like:

  • A mobile
  • Interlocking discs
  • Crinkle toys
  • Soft multi-textures balls
  • Multi-textured teethers (Silicone, latex, wood or pesticide-free bamboo)
  • Shape sorter
  • Sensory beads
  • Stacking cups
  • Color changing books
  • Pikler triangle

Scroll down to see our product picks for each!

 

baby chewing on oli and carol wally the watermelon teether

 

All Tot Safety Tested and approved, the below products are free of harmful chemicals such as BPA + BPS, PVC, Added Formaldehyde, Phthalates and Heavy Metals.

 

Plantoys Mobile

PlanToys Mobile

 

$25

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Learn & Play Set 0-3 m

 

The Tot Play & Learn Set (0-3 Months)

 

$120

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Play & Learn Set 3-6 months

 

The Tot Play & Learn Sets (3-6 Months)

 

$120

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

The Tot Play & Learn Set 6-12 months

 

The Tot Play & Learn Sets (6-12 Months)

 

$120

EXCLUSIVE

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Kyte BABY Lovey with Removable Wooden Teething Ring - Lovey Storm

 

Kyte BABY Lovey with Removable Wooden Teething Ring

 

$17.99

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Oli & Carol Watermelon Teether

 

Oli & Carol Wally the Watermelon Natural Latex Teether

 

$17.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Oli & Carol Natural Latex Origami Boat

 

$16.99

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

Loulou Lollipop Bubble Teether

Loulou Lollipop Bubble Teether

 

Ranging from $20 – $25

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Wee Gallery meadow activity pad

Wee Gallery Meadow Activity Pad

 

$38.95

BUY NOW

 

 

 

 

Tender Leaf Toys Sensory Set

Tender Leaf Toys Sensory Set

 

$44.99

BUY NOW

 

 

 

BabyNoise Wooden Egg Shakers in Natural & White

BabyNoise Egg Shakers

 

$18

Available in more colors

BUY NOW

 

 

 

Mushie Stacking Cups

Mushie Stacking Cups

 

$14.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Green Toys Shape Sorter

 

Green Toys Shape Sorter

 

$19.99

BUY NOW

 

 

Wee Gallery Color Changing Bath Books Rain Forest

 

Wee Gallery Color Changing Bath Book

 

$12.95

Available in more themes

BUY NOW

 

 

Sprout Climbing Triangle with Ramp

Sprout Climbing Triangle with Ramp

 

$365

BUY NOW

 

 

Continue exploring