Your baby is putting the newborn days behind them and taking a great, big, enthusiastic look at the world around them.
Now is a time when rolling over is fun, sitting up has either begun or is coming along, and one day soon, your little one will take off crawling.
As they start eating real foods, (hopefully) sleeping in longer stretches at night, and learning all these new “tricks,” their brains and bodies are rapidly changing. This is a perfect month to bring in some new stimulating toys to help your baby’s development while providing them with lots of fun.
Six-month-olds are working on fine motor skills, like grabbing and placing down objects, passing things from one hand to the other, and early practice at their pincer grasp (which is something to look out for by 9 months old).
The gross motor skills that are blossoming at this age include bearing weight on arms and legs during tummy time and supported play, rolling if they haven’t gotten that down yet, and kicking with their legs while laying down or seated.
Cognitively, your little guy or girl is hard at work on their early problem-solving abilities, learning about cause and effect, following lights and shapes with their eyes, discovering new textures, and getting to know what different objects are for (like that a rattle can shake and make noise).
You want to spend the next few months helping your little one master these skills and move on to what’s next, and the right toys and activities can help.
Smart playtime ideas for this age can be as simple as singing or reading to your baby, dancing with them, and doing peek-a-boo-type games. But there are also new playthings to discover together, and we’ve got the scoop on all the best toys for 6-month-old babies.
Stacking Toys for 6-Month-Olds
Your baby is working on their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, even if they don’t know it yet! This is a developmental moment that will serve them in the future, so make the most of it by supplying your kiddo with toys that help.
Stacking rings, like the set shown, are great for Baby to practice picking objects up and putting them down, passing them from hand to hand, and bringing objects to the mouth.
They might not be ready to stack the rings of this rainbow on its pole at 6 months old, but their interest now will lead to mastering it within the next several months.
Also, consider stacking cups. When playing with smaller, handheld toys, practice placing them within Baby’s reach but not right in front of them, so your little one can work on their near-vs.-far comprehension.
Another fun way to play is to place all the rings or cups in a container and dump them gently onto the floor. What seems like a needless mess to you is, for Baby, the early discovery of taking things apart and then putting them back together.
Tummy Time Toys for Babies
You don’t have to use flashing lights and loud music to make tummy time fun. At this age, your baby needs to strengthen those arms, shoulders, and neck to get them primed for crawling, so tummy time is still important, but it’s also finally fun, as most littles enjoy it more by 6 months than they did in the early days.
A fold-up mat—like the one shown—with bright colors and moving objects will engage your baby and get them to interact with their environment.
This one provides important visual stimulation and early cause-and-effect learning that comes when he presses into his mat and sees a fishy move. We also love this cute tummy time toy from Crate & Barrel.
Teething Toys for Babies
If those first pearly whites haven’t broken through the surface yet, they probably will soon. Sore gums need stimulation, and babies discover textures and density by exploring with their mouths anyway. It’s a good idea to have a selection of toys that are specifically designed for chewing.
The $6 Amazon mushroom teether is trendy right now with new parents, as it acts like a handheld pacifier for emotional soothing and teething relief in one.
If you opt for the traditional cold keys that babies have loved for generations (like this Nuby set), you can make them extra comfy for Baby by cooling them down first. But stick to the refrigerator for optimum comfort; freezing can make them too cold for those sensitive gums.
6-Month-Old Toys to Grasp
For cognitive development, a flashing handheld toy is perfect for a 6-month-old. We love the SmartNoggin developmental rattle that encourages Baby development in so many ways. The top lights up, encouraging your little one to follow it with their eyes;
they learn cause-and-effect as the glow occurs when they bat at the toy and the rattling sound occurs when they shake it; there are multiple textures for feeling and a mirror for admiring their reflection, and they can work on their grip with its sturdy handle.
That one’s a fave, but any rattles and light-up toys Baby can hold on their own are a win for this age. We love this colorful, woven one made of organic cotton; this one that doubles as a teether; and the classic handheld music maker for babies from Baby Einstein.
Stuffed Toys for 6-Month-Olds
It’s very important that your 6-month-old still be placed in their own sleep space on their back with no toys or blankets. Daytime supervised cuddles and the beginning of learning how to “care for” their stuffed buddies can start now, though!
Look for loveys, stuffed animals, or plush dolls that feature a silky texture on the ears or elsewhere, and even better if their nose or toes is bumpy. A variety of textures is great for sensory awareness and the silkiness especially is comforting.
We love the Baby Gund puppy shown, any Carters brand plush, and the variety of sweet Baby Starters dolls, featuring various skin tones and fun textures for Baby’s hands to explore.
Another great stuffed animal for your 6-month-old is SNOObear, which doubles as an on-the-go sound machine!
Learning Cube for Little Hands
It’s always nice when you find a toy that will last a while, like a learning cube that grows with Baby from the 6-month mark into early toddlerhood and beyond.
This one from Best Learning stimulates your baby without frustrating them as it’s easy for them to hold onto even at 6 months old.
Flashing lights and music are fun now, and as they grow, they’ll enjoy learning animal sounds, and later, letters and numbers with this same clever toy.
The squishy, crinkly, non-electronic learning cube from Wimmer Ferguson is a less flashy but just as special choice for your curious little babe.
Sensory bins and stations are not too far in your future, as this skill set remains important through preschool and beyond.
However, young babies are apt to put things in their mouths which can become quite dangerous fast. So, for your 6-month-old baby, you’ll want to grab some age-appropriate sensory toys to get them accustomed to different textures and exercise that curious little brain without a choking risk.
This handheld “Dimple” from Fat Brain Toys provides tons of fun for Baby as those tiny hands press through the silicone dots and discover them popping in and out of position.
It’s also safe for chewing, which is so important. Babies also love sensory balls that can be squished, tossed, and gnawed on, teaching them about bumpy/spiky terrain, and this wild-looking rattle by Manhattan Toy Company is a big win, too.
Mirror Toy for 6-Month-Olds
Mirrors are important for your baby’s cognitive development. Your little one won’t recognize their face until closer to 18 months old, but for now, the friendly face they see in the mirror will seem like an exciting new friend.
Placing a mirror in front of your 6-month-old’s tummy time space will also encourage them to keep their head up longer, which builds strength in their head, neck, and forearms. Mirrors encourage eye development, so any toy you can get for your baby with a mirror on it is a win. Some of our favorites are listed here:
- Lay out the Sassy Tummy Time Mirror in front of your tummy time mat for lots of giggles and fun on the belly.
- The Portable Mobi Peeka Developmental Mirror is perfect on the go, features handles for Baby to grip, and has sensory toys on its top bar.
- Don’t worry, you won’t have a tiny Narcissus on your hands, but it’s safe to say your little guy or girl will adore holding onto—and seeing their sweet face reflected in—this small handheld mirror toy with rainbow details around the edge.
Exercise Center Toy for Babies
Some of your baby’s favorite toys for downtime will be the things that get their little bodies moving. For gross motor development, and to give yourself a break to heat that coffee for the 30th time or use the toilet, an exercising station is fun for your 6-month-old.
The Skip Hop Activity Center shown encourages Baby to bear some weight on their legs, kick, and press the musical buttons with their toes.
Up top, there are flashing lights and cause-and-effect toys to discover with their eyes and hands. What’s fun about this one is, that once they outgrow it as an infant bouncer, you can convert the structure into a cool toddler table.
It’s not recommended to leave your little one in a bouncer or exerciser for long periods, but for a short burst of fun and a hands-free moment for you, these are great.
Another way to work on gross motor skills for your 6-month-old is with a toy that is sturdy enough to encourage them to pull up on it.
The ALEX Wooden Activity Cube is an example, and a tummy time mat with kick-piano, like this one from Fisher-Price, also helps with gross motor skill development at 6 months old.