Best Baby Sensory Toys
Discover the best baby sensory toys as well as the many benefits to babies of sensory play.
Babies learn about the world around them through their senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. And sensory play is simply play that employs one or more of those senses. So for little babies at least you could say that all play is sensory play.
A simple play mat, a rattle or a teether are all sensory toys as they make use of babies senses for learning and discovery. And many of the best sensory toys are very simple tactile toys that stimulate visually or auditorily. And there are plenty of great sensory baby toys that aren't toys at all.
Importance of sensory stimulation and development
Babies discover and interpret the world around them using their senses just like we do. Yet for babies each situation, sound, smell, noise, sight and feeling is totally new. Sensory play is vital as it builds important neural pathways in the brain which in turn boosts their learning abilities.
Sensory play has been shown to help with language and communication skills, improves fine and gross motor skills, and can help calm a child.
There are also other benefits to sensory play that might not be immediately obvious. For instance, a fussy child that doesn't like the texture of certain foods might become more adventurous if they get used to different textures in a non-threatening messy play environment.
Our top picks
A simple rattle is one of the best sensory toys for babies and has to make the list and there are plenty of great rattles to choose from. We particularly love the Moulin Roty rattles for their gorgeous designs as well as the way they include so many textures and materials. A single toy can be used as a rattle, comforter and teether making them a great gift for new babies. Alternatively, you can't go wrong with a traditional wooden rattle and Grimms have some lovely options.
Play silks can be wonderful sensory toys for babies. They will follow them visually as you move them through the air or you can stimulate their sense of touch by creating a breeze or gently stroking them across the skin. Plus they still make great sensory toys for toddlers and older children so they're a great investment.
We love Tender Leaf Toys and their sensory trays are perfect for little ones to play with and learn. There are three trays, audio, visual and touch, and each one also doubles as a shape sorter.
A mirror might not sound like something you would want to give your baby, however, they love nothing more than looking at your face or their own. There are plenty of sensory toys that incorporate mirrors. Our favourites include the Plan Toys sensory tumbling balls and the Moulin Roty activity rattles.
If you are looking for something a bit different then we love the Just B Wheeeee-Ls. These colourful cars are perfect for babies and toddlers, and they each make a different noise making them great for auditory stimulation.
If you are shopping on a budget check out the Small Foot Little Explorers Building Blocks. These are great for stacking, counting and learning colours as well as having lots of sensory features including a rattle, a mirror, a prism and a pretend telescope.
And if you would like to learn more about sensory play check out our what is sensory development for babies article here.