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Babies are fickle creatures. Get them the wrong gift, and it'll be tossed aside to the corner of the room, never to be picked up again. Avoid that disappointment with one of these best toys and gifts for 6-month-olds. The following products — perfect for baby boy gifts or baby girl gifts — all come recommended by an expert, scores of Amazon reviews, or personal parenting experience. Before compiling the list, we wanted to consider where six-month-olds are at in their physical and mental growth, so we consulted a childhood development specialist.
"Six-month-olds are just starting to sit independently and get around by rolling or scooting on their bellies," Lisa Lohiser, Ed.D., Manager of Early Childhood Development Research at the Fisher-Price Play Lab tells Woman's Day. According to Lohiser, babies at this age are beginning to comprehend action and reaction, meaning toys that showcase cause-and-effect are great for their growing understanding of the world around them. She recommends toys for 6-month-olds with different textures (for touching and teething) as well as music and lights for a sensory experience. Overwhelmed? Don't be! Just pick one of the tried-and-true baby gifts ahead.
If you're searching for gifts and toys for kids of other ages, be sure to check out our complete list of toy gift guides for every age, at the end of the article.
4-in-1 Learning Bot
According to Lohiser, this Learning Bot touches on four different areas of growth: gross motor, cause and effect, fine motor, and early academics. Perhaps most valuable of all, though, is it encourages crawling by engaging with the baby and moving away. (I can personally attest that both my baby and my toddler were delighted by this toy.) Ages 6 months- 5 years
Laugh & Learn Baby Crawl Around Car
How cute is this little car? It may be adorable, but it also fosters an understanding of cause and effect as baby interacts with the dashboard and all of its musical features. It will require a few minutes of assembly, but parents and grandparents rave that children love their new set of wheels. Ages 6 months- 3 years
Meet Spike, baby's new favorite Ankylosaurus. This toy not only helps with grasping ability, but the color scheme will also help them identify and sort colors blue, green, yellow, and orange. (I speak from personal experience; my son cannot get enough of this little spiked dome.) Ages 6 months+
'See, Touch, Feel: A First Sensory Book' by Roger Priddy
Books are one of the keys to a healthy bedtime routine, and this sensory board book encourages babies to touch and explore various textures, colors, and actions to build on their curiosity and interaction with the world. With over 11,ooo ratings and an average of 4.8/5 stars, we'd say it's a safe bet baby will like the book! Ages 0- 1 year
Wearable Baby Blanket
Give baby (and parents) a good night's sleep with this breathable, wearable blanket that comes is four cute colors and patterns. The two-way zip is especially convenient for nighttime changes. Sizes range from S (0-6 months) to L (12-18 months).
'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' Activity Toy
This popular book character from The Very Hungry Caterpillar comes to life in the form of an activity toy. Baby can pull, jiggle, squeeze, and chew. It's an easy toy to toss into a diaper bag and interactive enough to keep the little one busy for an entire car ride. Ages 0+
4-in-1 Shop ‘n Cook Walker Shopping Cart
Parents rave about this interactive toy, which comes with a removable cart top. Even if the little one doesn't need their first pair of walking shoes yet, they can still play with the shopping cart elements like a busy board. Ages 6-36 months
RELATED: Best Baby Shoes for New Walkers
Dancing Cactus Mimicking Toy
This viral baby toy has taken the internet by storm. It comes equipped with 120 songs to wiggle and dance to, or it can parrot baby's babbles back to them, which always elicits a funny reaction. Ages 6 months- 6 years
Baby Splash Play Mat
For the baby just beginning to get comfortable with water, consider a splash mat with a built-in backrest. This option, from The Original SwimSchool, also comes with stacking rings and a tower to help build dexterity while lounging. The most important part, though, is the canopy for sun protection. Ages 6-24 months
My First Baby Tissue Box
Have you ever given a baby a tissue box? There goes four dollars. (Or, you know, whatever a box of tissues costs in your area.) This sensory toy gives them the same feeling of pulling tissue after tissue out of the box, only you can refill it with the included crinkle paper. This one comes with three crinkle papers and eight colorful cloths, so baby can get feel the different materials. Ages 6-12 months
Mix & Learn DJ Table
For a baby, musical instruments are the best thing since sliced bananas. This set comes with three piano modes, multi-colored lights, and 12 engaging activities. But perhaps best of all, the set comes with three learning levels to grow with your little one. Ages 6 months- 3 years
Chenille Baby Blanket with Satin Trim
If you didn't get one of these for your newborn, it's not too late. Little Giraffe blankets are on the expensive side, but that's why it's a gift, right? They are impossibly soft and ideal for babies, toddlers, and kids, depending on the size. (Your teen might even be caught sleeping with a scrap of it years from now.) No age listed
Plush Baby Rattle Toys
Four farm animals walk into a barn and…well, there's a joke in there somewhere. These animals double as rattles that will improve baby's fine motor skills. They just so happen to happily live in this portable plush barn! Ages 3 months- 12 years
Busy Learners Activity Cube
This activity cube has made it through both my children's grubby paws and come out impressively unscathed. The five sides all play to a different skill; some sides light up, others play music, and some do both. Ages 6 months- 3 years
Inflatable Tummy Time Mat
Tummy Time is extremely important for babies to strengthen their core muscles. This inflatable mat will encourage them to do so while capturing their attention with floating sea creatures. Ages 3-24 months
Lil' Nibbles Textured Silicone Teether
Teeth are just beginning to emerge around six months, and babies will need one, two, or 10 teething toys. Infantino's highly reviewed silicone teether comes in a variety of "edible" shapes, including a carrot, apple, corn, pea pod, and fruit kabob. It's easy to clean and freezable for extra soothing. Ages 0+
Fisher-Price's version of this classic toy improves on the original by adding a wobbly base, so baby will practice grasping the rings and holding the tower steady. Over 45,000 Amazon reviewers have given it five stars, meaning your baby will likely be entertained... for as long as their attention span can manage. Ages 6 months- 4 years
Baby Aria Doll
This editor is not a doll person, so an endorsement of Tikiri dolls goes a long way. These handmade figures come in a variety of characters and outfits, but all of them are made of soft, organic cotton — so when baby drops her, she won't make a sound. Ages 0+
Montessori is all about discovery at a young age, and this three-item kit will help baby do just that. There's a spinning wheel that reveals new colors, a ball with fun-to-feel fabrics, and a mirror, so they can see their favorite person: themselves (aka the mysterious other baby in the room). Ages 6 months+
Kids' David Soles, Boots & Slip-Ons Convertible Shoe Set
What baby doesn't need more shoes? This versatile set includes two pairs of shoes and two pairs of removable soles, making it easier than ever to change baby's footwear. Sizes range from 5 (5-11 months) to 10 (46-56 months).
"These are such well made shoes and so cute too! Being able to easily transition from outdoor to indoor without having to completely take off the shoes is priceless with a toddler," writes one 5-star reviewer.
Interactive Plush Dog
The Interactive Plush Dog, that comes in both "Sis" (pictured) and "Puppy" styles, encourages baby's first words by voicing over 100 of them! This five-star rated toy is ideal for kids just learning to speak, and it just so happens to be quite huggable too. Ages 6 months- 3 years
Little Boat Bath Toy Set
There are some very innovative bath toys out there nowadays, but sometimes, it's better to go simple. These little boats hold just enough water to keep afloat, and you can use them to rinse baby's hair. Ages 4 months- 5 years
Sheep Dog Stuffed Animal
To say we're a big Jellycat household would be an understatement. My kids love their soft stuffies so much that when my daughter chose a brown dog as her one and only "lovey," I stocked up on two to switch out when the first is in the wash. My advice is to buy a character in a laying position because it will eventually become a well-used pillow. Ages 0+
Baby Stacking Cups
Never underestimate the love babies and toddlers have of stacking cups. They're literally just plastic cups, yet they're so satisfying and fun to play with. This set is suited for the playroom or bathtub, as it has holes on the bottom for draining water. Ages 6 months- 4 years
Lovey With Removable Teething Ring
For most babies, the six-month mark means drool central. As teeth emerge, they'll need something to gnaw on like this detachable, all-natural, beechwood teething ring. It's made of naturally antibacterial, bamboo from Kyte Baby. They'll be napping with this halfway out of their mouth before you know it. No age listed
Baby’s First Blocks
These blocks, perfectly sized for baby's small hands, will have a semi-permanent space on your shelf. The set comes with 10 pieces, all of which tuck away into the colorful box. It may seem like an impossible task for baby to get the right shapes into the right slots at first, but they'll learn. Ages 6 months- 5 years
Scout's Learning Lights Remote
Babies. Grab. Everything. And top of the list for things they love to grab are remotes! This one from Leapfrog comes equipped with tons of buttons that light up and make noise. It's delightful for them (and you) because you might actually be able to use your TV remote again. Ages 6 months- 3 years
The best rattle for an older baby isn't what you envision when you think of a "rattle" — it's a pair of socks. These socks, and accompanying wristbands, come with noise-makers attached to the top of the foot, so baby can get used to reaching for their feet — and building their core. One size fits most.
What types of toys will help babies practice fine motor skills?
Lohiser has a number of recommendations: "Try books with thicker pages to turn, toys that require babies to use their index finger to get a reaction (like a smaller button to push), doors to open and close, things to spin or twist, thin items to slot, or lovies that have soft, good tags on them…It’s even more enticing when their actions make something happen, like a noise or movement. Once they figure it out, they like to repeat it over and over again."
Babies at this age tend to enjoy toys that allow them to pretend to do the things adults do. Why?
"Around six to nine months, babies become very social and observant," says Lohiser. "They watch everything and begin to imitate things they see, like blowing a kiss, waving, or clapping. When they engage in imitative play, they may get a lot of praise and attention from their caregivers, which they love, and it encourages them to do more."
What to look for when buying gifts and toys for a 6-month-old
✔️ Accessibility: Because babies are just starting to master sitting, toys should be either close to the ground or mountable to a table f0r easy reach.
✔️ Sturdy quality: It can be hard to resist cheap toys, especially when a baby's attention span only lasts a few minutes, but try to opt for high-quality toys made by trusted brands. That doesn't mean everything has to be natural and organic, but make sure you've checked the reviews so the toy doesn't fall apart immediately.
✔️ Engaging features: Lohiser recommends toys with different textures, toys with lights and music, and toys with colors and mirrors. "Babies, at this age, love pictures of objects or people in book format or colorful patterns. They love repetition in songs and actions like drop-through play, rollers, doors, and spinners. Their fine motor skills are more developed, and they are ready to use those fingers."
✔️ Longevity: If you're investing in a pricier toy, make sure it's something that will entertain the baby for several months, if not years. "Toys should have activities from simple to more complex, so [they] can grow with baby as they develop," Lohiser says.
Shop more toys and gifts for kids
Looking for more of the best gifts for kids?
Check out our guides for every age:
Gifts for big kids: Gifts for 6-Year-Olds | Gifts for 7-Year-Olds | Gifts for 8-Year-Olds | Gifts for 9-Year-Olds | Gifts for 10-Year-Olds | Gifts for 11-Year-Olds | Best Gifts for Girls | Best Gifts for Boys
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