As soon as your child expresses an interest in something other than bottles and pacifiers — like singing teddy bears or cloth books — you might want to consider working fine motor toys for babies into their playtime routine. After all, exploration plays a key role in early development, and the easiest place to spark a little one’s curiosity is in the playroom. Fine motor toys that capture your child’s attention encourage interaction, and the more they grab, press, poke and prod, the sharper their fine motor skills will become.
In case you need a refresh, fine motor skills are the coordination of muscles through movements. Grabbing and holding toys, flipping pages in a book, banging things together, turning their head to identify the source of noise, and even sucking on their own fingers are all examples of a baby’s fine motor skills. Some toys are specially designed to enhance your child’s capabilities; others do so coincidentally. Note: You don’t have to buy out your nearest toy store to help your child along. At the end of the day, the best fine motor toys for babies are the ones that get and sustain your child’s curiosity. Here are our favorite, most engaging options.
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1. Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
Don’t be surprised when your little one becomes obsessed with Sassy’s Developmental Bumpy Ball: The different colors, textured materials and the gentle rattle sounds it emits when rolled will almost overstimulate your child’s senses, but in the best way possible. Babies love exploring the different components that make Sassy’s fine motor toy so beneficial to their development, and you’ll love watching them make sense of it all.
Perfect for infants six months and older, the ball features easy-to-grasp bumps decorated with vibrant colors and funky patterns to help strengthen your baby’s vision and focus. The chunky design invites your child to reach, grab, toss and roll, and the best part is, through play, they won’t even realize how much they’re learning.
2. Lamaze Rainbow Stacking Rings
You probably have stacking rings listed on your registry, but did you know this classic baby toy isn’t just fun for kids, but also highly educational? Sure, the act of picking up the rings and dropping them over a pegged base might seem like a mindless activity to keep your child busy while you tidy or cook dinner, but this simple act isn’t so simple for infants. Rest assured the wheels are turning in that baby brain of theirs as they figure out the correct order to stack the rings.
Lamaze’s fine motor toy in particular features multi-textured, vibrant rings in order to stimulate your baby’s tactile senses and awareness of color. It also includes crinkly rings that will jog their auditory senses, too. Trust us, this is one toy your little one will want to explore for hours.
3. TEMI FutureMore Baby Rattle and Teether Ball
When your baby’s teething and the crying is all-consuming, strengthening their fine motor skills might seem low on your priority list for the time being. But what if there were a fine motor toy that catered to teethers and fine tuned their skills? Enter TEMI’s FutureMore Baby Rattle and Teether Ball: Your baby’s one-stop shop for soothing and learning.
The FutureMore is a precious ball made with soft, chewable rubber rings that are easy to grip and gentle on baby’s sore gums (pro tip: chill it in the freezer for even more relief at playtime). It’s also the perfect size for teensy fingers to grip, shake and jumble its rattling beads. With just one toy, your little one will strengthen their motor skills and hone in on their vital senses including touch, smell, hearing and sight.