When to Give Baby Sensory Toys?

Finding the right toys to stimulate your baby’s development can be challenging for new parents. While every child develops at their own pace, sensory toys can provide important visual, tactile and audio stimulation during the first year. We spoke with three moms to get their take on when and how to introduce sensory toys to babies.

Sarah, mom of a 6 month old:

“Around 3 to 4 months old, I started introducing more black and white, high contrast toys and pictures to my son. Babies start to see color and focus better at this age. We have black and white patterned cards on the walls by his changing table and play mat that he loves staring at. We also got him a play gym with dangling shapes, mirrors and crinkly toys that he bats at and reaches for now.”

“At 5 months we introduced more toys with texture, like rubber teething keys, soft books and plastic rings he can grip easier. I think sensory toys really help babies understand their world better through sight, sound, touch and textures. Just make sure to watch for choking hazards.”

Emily, mom of a 9 month old:

“My daughter was born premature so she needed extra sensory stimulation that came a bit later. Around 6 to 7 months we introduced more interactive toys like stacking cups, shape sorters, pop-up toys and simple musical instruments. I think cause and effect toys are great at this age when they’re starting to understand object permanence.”

“Between 7 to 9 months we included toys with switches, doors, flaps and different textured surfaces. Things like soft activity cubes, crinkly books, teether toys and ball drop toys were good for developing her hand-eye coordination and problem solving. Just make sure to supervise so she doesn’t put anything dangerous in her mouth.”

Lauren, mom of a 12 month old:

“My son was grabbing and mouthing everything really early on so we introduced lots of safe, sensory rich toys around 3 months. Brightly colored teethers, rattles, activity gyms and black and white board books kept him engaged. We also hung dangling toys like rings and soft blocks near his play area.”

“Around 9 months is when he really started interacting with more cause and effect toys, shape sorters, stackers, pop-up toys and wooden puzzles. I think sensory toys that allow them to engage their emerging problem solving skills are great at this age. And anything with music, noise or lights adds extra interest for their developing senses.”

While every child will develop on their own schedule, sensory stimulation through interactive toys can be introduced gradually from 3 months onward. Simple black and white, tactile and grip-friendly toys help in the early months, leading to more complex cause and effect and problem solving toys from 6 months and beyond. Paying attention to your baby’s emerging abilities is the best way to know when they are ready for new sensory toy challenges!