Developmental toys for newborns to 6 month olds

It’s amazing how much you forget from one child to another! I think it’s because the sleep deprivation means that those first 6-12 months of parenthood are a distant fog! So when I had our second, our baby boy, I thought I’d be ahead of the game and remember everything I needed and know exactly what I’d need to buy etc. One thing I seem to have totally lost track of is toys! Particularly in those first months when they need something simple, yet sensory! So today, I’m going to talk about a few of the developmental toys for newborns that I own.

Please note: I’ve included some links to buy, in case the products interest you. They are affiliate links, which means I make about 1p from your purchase. 

Developmental toys for newborns – what do they need?

It may seem young to have toys for your little one, but really, you can’t introduce anything sensory to your baby too early! As soon as they’re born, they drink in everything surrounding them and it all comes down to the senses in those early months – particularly sight, sound and touch!


Some of the initial developmental toys for newborns I bought were concentrating on the visual – you know, when your baby just lies there and looks up and out at the world (but doesn’t do much else!). Their attention span is really short, they get tired quickly and frustrated if they can’t sleep when they want to. There’s not a lot of play time available in these early weeks of your baby’s life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t play at all.

We concentrated on black and white books – as your baby will be processing site very minimally, still learning to focus and not much distance of vision, they really react to black and white images, bold graphics and patterns. Ever noticed something catching you baby’s eye and them just staring away? I bet it’s got a bold repeated pattern or is black and white? We own this book and used it for both our children:

3-6 months: The Play Mat

Next, you’ll be thinking about when they like to be out of your arms and lying down a bit more. ie. free to kick and wave their arms to their heart’s delight. This is the time when you regain your arms for small chunks of time throughout the day – when your baby is happy to be distracted by sound and starting to reach out to grab and play with things. Cue the Play Mat! Every new parent’s necessity.

We were gifted the Taf Toys Musical Newborn Cosy Gym which I absolutely love! You can use it from really early on, as it adapts as your baby grows. To start with, it’s a cosy mat that encapsulates your child safely and softly so they can lie down and have a fidget. Next, you can introduce the hanging toys for them to look up to and the musical mobile for that extra sensory experience. Our baby boy loved this, watching things swinging above him whilst he was starting to reach out to grab.

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When your baby starts to roll over, it’s the perfect mat for tummy-time and you can let the bolstered sides down, so it lays flat and gives more space for fidgeting. Our boy loves it now he’s on his tummy as you can lay the hanging toys that come with it, down in front of him to reach for, grab and inevitably chew.

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I genuinely like the design of this Play Mat – it’s unisex (we always try to buy unisex!), the colour palette is attractive and less brash then some of the usual toys you see and the characters are less cliché (a seal, a penguin, a rainbow). It’s almost scandi-looking.

6 months +

Now our little boy is nearly sitting up unaided and has a longer attention span, he’s looking for the next level of sensory stimulation from his toys. He still enjoys his play mat, but also still loves to be held. When he wants to be sat on our laps, or in those moments he’s in his Bumbo chair, we use the Taf Toys Laptoy Activity Centre, which is a great way for him to fiddle around, pull, turn, and spin the bits in front of him. Again, it’s a really attractive design, it’s light-weight and has a musical element too.

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The Laptoy has a handle, which makes it easy to carry around and we actually took ours away with us on holiday as it fit neatly in my baby bag hand luggage and was guaranteed to keep him happy and distracted in those moments where we needed it. (It can also be fastened to the side of the crib, which is super cool!).

Other great developmental toys for newborns?

Some other things we keep in our toy trunk, ideal for newborns are: wooden rattles, tambourines, soft building blocks and cuddly toys (ideally anything they can get a grip on, hold and bash about!).

If you like the Taf Toys I mentioned, you can find them online as I’ve linked but also in store at JoJo Maman Bebe, Dunelm, Argos, Kidly, Boots and Dunelm. I’ve been gifted and am road-testing some more of their products, so keep your eyes peeled as I’ll be sharing what I really think over the coming months. 

A fellow parent? You might want to check out my post about flying with a 3 year old and a baby!