When you shop through links on our site, we may receive compensation. This educational content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

17 Best Sensory Toys for Babies & Toddlers of 2024

Updated
Stimulate your little one's senses with these fun sensory toys.

Nowadays, nearly every toy carries a “sensory” label, but not every toy deserves the title.

The best sensory toys will help your little one explore the world around them using their five senses — or as many of them as possible.

We’ve compiled this list of the best sensory toys to help little ones experience the world in an educational and tactile way. These toys meet our criteria for stimulating the senses while still being super fun, durable, and exciting for babies and toddlers.

Babies will love the sounds, tastes, textures, colors, and patterns of these truly unique toys, and you’ll love that they’re affordable and easy to care for.

Our Top Picks

We independently research, assess and evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on the links we provide, we may receive compensation.
Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Baby Einstein Musical
Best On the Go
Baby Einstein Musical
  • Loved by moms
  • Switch between 10 total melodies
  • Volume control
Product Image of the Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain
Best Spinning Toy
Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain
  • BPA-free
  • 2016 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award
  • Set of 6 vibrant, graduated discs
Product Image of the Sassy Developmental Ball
Best Multicolored & Multi-textured
Sassy Developmental Ball
  • Multiple textures & materials
  • Gentle rattle sounds
  • Bright colors & bold patterns
Product Image of the Manhattan Toy Atom
Best for Babies
Manhattan Toy Atom
  • Suitable for newborns
  • Perfectly sized for baby hands
  • Free of BPA and PVC
Product Image of the Dino-Sore-No-More
Best for Chewing
Dino-Sore-No-More
  • Made of food-grade silicone
  • Stimulate baby's overall senses
  • Brightly colored
Product Image of the Musical Bus
Best Musical Baby Toy
Musical Bus
  • Multifunctional
  • 8 nursery rhymes
  • Flashing lights
Product Image of the Skip Hop Baby
Best Stuffed Toy
Skip Hop Baby
  • PVC-free and phthalate-free
  • Perfect for multi-sensory play
  • Textured surface bandana teething toy
Product Image of the Taggies Crinkle Me Toy
Best Crinkly Toy
Taggies Crinkle Me Toy
  • Nice size for holding
  • Machine washable
  • Colorful pattern
Product Image of the Infantino Discover Blocks
Best for Stacking
Infantino Discover Blocks
  • Squeezable, stackable fun
  • Textured, brightly colored fabrics
  • Action-packed discovery cubes
Product Image of the Tiny Love Black & White Gymini Infant Activity Play Mat With-Book, Magical...
Best Floor Fun
Tiny Love Gymini
  • Soft fabric and engaging textures
  • 18 developmental activities
  • Easy to store

Review Methodology: At Mom Loves Best, we understand the importance of sensory toys for children’s development. Our team of experts conducts thorough research, analysis, and hands-on testing to evaluate and compare the top sensory toys available today. We assess each product based on criteria such as quality, safety, educational value, and user experience. Our findings are based on facts, data, and real-life experiences, allowing us to identify key decision-making factors and rank products accordingly. We also consider the design choices of each toy and their effect on users, providing first-hand evidence to support our recommendations. In this article, we will discuss the ten most important factors to consider when choosing the best sensory toys, including texture, size, shape, color, material, durability, ease of use, versatility, age-appropriateness, and price. Trust us to guide you in selecting the best sensory toys for your child’s needs and preferences.



The Best Best Sensory Toys of 2024

Here are our favorite sensory toys for babies and toddlers.

Baby Einstein Musical Toy

Best On-the-Go Sensory Toy

This toy will be music to the ears of your babies and toddlers — and to moms too. The classical songs it plays are enjoyable to listen to, and the device has volume control (ahhhh!).

The cute caterpillar handle has brightly-colored spinning beads and is fun and easy for babies aged 3 months and older to hold. The large center button is easy to press. And lights move with the rhythm to attract your baby’s eyes.

I especially like that the tunes this toy plays include Mozart, Chopin, and Vivaldi. It makes a pleasant change from nursery rhymes and introduces the classics to your child. Our little ones always loved playing with this in the vehicle on drives, and we preferred it to all the other loud musical toys we owned.

User Experience

From personal experience, this Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes Musical Toy is a fantastic addition to any parent's arsenal for their young child. The bright colors and catchy tunes instantly captivate my baby, keeping them entertained and content for extended periods. Its portable design, complete with an easy-to-grasp handle, makes it perfect for on-the-go situations like car rides or trips to the store. Not only does this musical toy provide entertainment, but it also brings laughter to both parent and child as we watch our little one dance and attempt to sing along with the melodies.

Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain

Best Spinning Sensory Toy

Remember the stacking toys you played with as a kid? This one is a spin on those — literally. We might be a bit envious.

Colorful daisy-shaped or star-shaped discs are placed on a pole that has a spiral along the outside. Kids love watching them twist their way down the pole, then removing the base to see them tumble off.

It helps 1-year-olds and above with hand-eye coordination. The tactile discs and movement encourage sensory play.

Personal Perspective

After purchasing this toy for my 3-year-old non-verbal autistic son, I've noticed a significant improvement in our bonding experience. This spinning stacking toy is not only more entertaining than a standard stacking toy, but it also keeps my 1-year-old engaged and has even helped him learn his first word. The quality and sturdiness of the toy are impressive, with the matte finish wheels cleaning up nicely using baby wipes. However, one downside is the blue bottom not staying attached to the white stick, making it difficult for the toy to stand upright. Despite this minor issue, when held together, both my children thoroughly enjoy playing with it.

Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball

Best Multicolored and Multi-textured Toy

This ball is suitable for babies 6 months and older and has many textures, patterns, and colors. The chunky bumps make it easy to grasp and hold. Shake it or move it from hand to hand to hear the gentle rattle noise it makes.

The tiny beads in the clear capsules and the bright colors and textures of the chewy nubs incorporate sight, hearing, and touch for a well-rounded sensory experience.

Community Feedback

Bought this toy for my one-year-old, and it quickly became a favorite in our household! The bright colors and various textures make it a fantastic sensory experience for little ones. At first, it was a bit challenging for my baby to grasp, but once they got the hang of it, they couldn't get enough! The rattle sound is just loud enough to keep them entertained, and thankfully, it's super easy to clean. Although we experienced some fabric ripping after a few months of use, I'm hoping a replacement will hold up better.

Manhattan Toy Atom Rattle

Best Sensory Toy for Babies

This unusually-shaped rattle has many small nodules at the end of the teething stems, encouraging your little one to grasp it.

Rings are incorporated on the soft stems, which can be moved back and forth, developing fine motor skills. The bright colors will attract your child’s attention.

Suitable from birth, the rattle is free of PVC and BPA, so it’s safe for babies to explore with their little mouths and hands.

First-Hand Impression

If you're searching for a toy that not only entertains but also aids in your baby's development, this toy might just be the perfect fit. I found that it not only helped my little one improve her grasping skills, but also provided a safe and satisfying outlet for her teething needs. The gentle rattling sound keeps her engaged without being obnoxious, and the toy's overall design is easy for her to hold. However, I do wish it were easier to clean, as it's not recommended to submerge in water and has many protruding parts that can be difficult to wipe down.

Dino-Sore-No-More Teething Toy

Best Sensory Toy for Chewing

This adorable dinosaur teether and toy will delight babies from 3 months onwards. You can choose from three bright colors: green, cyan, or orange. Apart from helping when teething, the different textures and shapes will be easy to hold and fun to explore.

The toy also comes with a 32-page book that tells the story of Dibley the Dino. This is great for some reading and relaxing mom-and-baby time.

User Experience

Bought this dinosaur teether for my 9-month-old son, and it has been an absolute hit! The various textures and shapes provide relief for all stages of teething, even reaching those difficult molars. It's easy for my little one to hold and gnaw on, and even my toddler enjoys playing with it. The only downside is that the silicone bristles on the tail can come off and pose a choking hazard, so we had to find a replacement for that part.

iPlay, iLearn Electronic Musical Bus

Best Musical Baby Toy

This musical bus for babies aged 18 months and over will provide hours of fun. It features many sensory activities on a single vehicle. Your child will surely enjoy eight melodies while learning to recognize the different colors, numbers, and even the sound of each animal.

Personal Perspective

Love the versatility and educational aspects of this toy! With various activities that stimulate learning and fine motor skills, it keeps my kids entertained for hours, even as they grow older. The bus moves around on its own and plays music, though it struggles a bit on carpeted surfaces. However, it's important to supervise playtime, as some small parts could pose a choking hazard, but overall, this toy is a fantastic addition to our collection.

Skip Hop Baby Activity Toy

Best Multi-Sensory Stuffed Toy

Your little one will love cuddling, squishing, and playing with this soft, multi-textured stuffy toy.

The colorful elephant offers lots of sensory fun. It has a mirror, crinkly ears, different textures and patterns, a rattle, and a teething ring. Little ones over 3 months old will enjoy having this elephant as their playtime buddy. And if your little one isn’t into elephants, you can choose a fox, giraffe, llama, puppy, or unicorn instead.

We love that you can attach this sweet toy to a stroller or car seat for on-the-go fun.

Community Feedback

Best toy for keeping babies entertained, as my little one adores this cute elephant, especially during long car rides. The sensory aspects of this toy are fantastic, helping my daughter calm down when she's fussy, and it's simple to clean since it's safe to get wet. From personal experience, I can say that this toy has been a hit with my baby and other young family members, making it a great gift option.

Taggies Crinkle Me Toy

Best Crinkly Toy

This fabric square has crinkly paper inside, a squeaker, and eight different tags that a baby can explore. We think it’s suitable from around 3 months old, although an age range isn’t specified.

You can choose from 12 animals on squares, such as a cute owl or fox. Each one has a teething ring, and the tags all have a different feel to them.

My little ones loved playing with tags and labels, so this is an excellent toy if yours do too. And our favorite feature is that it’s fully machine washable; just pop it in a mesh bag.

First-Hand Impression

I'm really impressed with this tag toy as it has become a favorite for both my baby and even my dog. The bright colors, crinkle sound, and squeaky push toy inside definitely keep them engaged and entertained. My baby loves chewing on the tags and playing with the toy, while my dog enjoys it because he has no teeth. One small downside is that it's a bit difficult to wash due to the squeaker inside trapping moisture.

Infantino Discover and Play Soft Blocks

Best Stacking Sensory Toy

These soft, multi-textured fabric blocks have a variety of sensory textures for babies to explore. They have tags, soft fabric sides, crinkle textures, knots, rings, bright colors and prints, and more.

The squishy blocks are easy to grab and hold onto, even for young babies. And when your little one gets a little older, they’ll enjoy stacking and knocking the blocks down. They’re suitable for newborns and up, but our little ones especially loved these when they were in the 6-month to 9-month range.

User Experience

These soft blocks are perfect for young children, as my niece was fascinated with them from just 5 months old. They offer a great variety of motor skills activities, vivid colors, and are easy for little hands to hold and grab. As my niece grew older, we began stacking the blocks and even used them for memory games, counting, and identifying colors. Although they're surface washable, I believe they should be machine washable for added convenience. The only downside is that only two of the blocks have noise stimulation, while the others lack any additional features.

Tiny Love Gymini Play Mat

Best On-the-Floor Fun

An activity mat is a great tool to have in your arsenal of sensory toys. This one incorporates 18 activities, including a mirror, lights, sounds, and textured fabric. It’s great for tummy time or lying and exploring toys that hang from the adjustable arches.

The mat pad is machine washable, and the mat packs away easily for storage. You have four themes to choose from and three different sizes. This mat is suitable from birth.


Splashin'kids Inflatable Water Mat

Best Sensory Water Toy

What little kid doesn’t love water play? But what mom wants to clean up the mess? This BPA-free mat gives you the best of both worlds.

Fill the outside with air and the center with water, and let your baby have tummy time playing with the delightful fish floating in the middle. The colorful seascape in the background and sea creatures on the side provide more to explore.

Constructed from heavy-duty PVC, the manufacturer guarantees this won’t leak, or you get a refund. The mat is designed for babies 3 months and over.

Since this product is filled with water, it is always best to let the water out and allow the inside to dry after playtime in order to avoid mold from growing. Parents should also supervise their children while they are playing with this toy to avoid their little ones using it as a teether and popping the water-filled space.

Community Feedback

When I first introduced this tummy time mat to my 3-month-old, it quickly became a favorite. The mat is high-quality and provides ample space for my baby to explore and play. The toys inside may look a bit cheap, but my little one adores them, so it's not a significant concern. However, be cautious about keeping it filled for too long, as mold and slime can develop in the water over time.

Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set

Best Tactile Balls

These six brightly colored balls each have a different texture. There are bumps, ridges, nodules, and dents for your baby to explore. These balls are just the right size to encourage tactile play for babies 6 months and over.

The balls are also BPA-free, making them a safe choice for any teething child.

First-Hand Impression

Got these sensory balls for my little one and they've been a hit! They come in various sizes and textures, making them perfect for teething and keeping my child engaged. Just remember to clean them well to prevent mold growth, as they have small holes in them.

Edushape Sensory See-Me Ball

Best Sensory Toy for Young Toddlers

This 7-inch sensory ball has a knobbly texture, making it easy for little ones older than 6 months to pick it up. They’ll love the soft squishy rubber texture that contracts and expands as they squeeze and pull the ball.

There are four color options, including one that glows in the dark. This phthlate-free bouncy ball is durable and will last your little one a long time.

User Experience

This lightweight ball has been a hit with my young child, who enjoys playing with it due to its easy-to-grip texture and bounciness. Although the color I received was not the one I initially wanted, the ball's material surprisingly doesn't attract pet hair, which is a definite plus. One downside is that over time, it has been slowly deflating, but it remains usable nevertheless. It's a great toy for little ones to practice grasping and kicking, and my family has taken it on multiple trips to the park.

PlanToys Roller

Best Wooden Sensory Toy

Brightly colored wooden slats enclose a ball inside this rattle-and-roll toy. It will stimulate your baby’s vision. And they’ll love the noise it makes as they roll the cylinder along the floor.

This toy is suitable for children 6 months and over, and the paints and wood are safe and sustainable. The PlanToys company has an excellent reputation for producing non-toxic, recyclable toys.

Personal Perspective

This rolling rattle has been a fantastic addition to our baby's tummy time sessions. The vibrant colors and perfect size for small hands keep our little one engaged and interested, allowing for longer periods of tummy time. The wooden rattle inside adds a pleasant sound without being too loud or annoying. As our baby grows, we continue to find new ways to incorporate this durable and well-made toy into playtime, making it a versatile and valuable purchase for any little one.

Chewbeads Silicone Baby Links

Best Sensory Links

Suitable for babies, toddlers, and moms, these interlocking BPA-free plastic links serve more than one purpose. Kids can squish them, bend them, and delight in their ribbed texture. Moms can use them to secure their baby’s toys to a stroller, high chair, or shopping cart to prevent them from getting lost.

The good news is there are five links on each set, perfect for moms and kids up to 3 years old.

Community Feedback

Definitely a hit with my little one, these teething rings have become her favorite chew toy. Not only are they easy to attach to a pacifier clip or play gym, but they also serve as colorful bracelets for my toddler working on her last set of molars. The silicone material provides a safe and soothing texture for teething, and they are super easy to clean. Just be careful not to wear them on your own wrist, unless you're prepared for baby teeth marks!

Play-Doh

Best Sensory Toy for Older Toddlers

This non-toxic modeling material has been a favorite for over 50 years. Be careful with Play-Doh if your child has a known wheat or gluten intolerance. It’s tactile and brightly colored and inspires little artists to mold and create.

Tots older than 2 years will have hours of sensory fun with this pliable and squishy Play-Doh set, which includes 10 small tubs in assorted colors.

First-Hand Impression

I'm pleased with this Play-Doh set, as it offers a nice variety of vibrant colors in small, individual pots. My grandson enjoys playing with the dough, and the size of the containers is perfect for him to use a few at a time. The price is very reasonable for the quality and quantity provided. While I appreciate the color selection, I do wish that the two blues were more distinct from each other.

Infantino Squeeze and Stack Blocks

Best Sensory Toy for All Ages

Kids love to build, and these textured, multicolored blocks make it easy and fun. They slot together on their nubbed ends or sides without even having to be lined up correctly.

Babies and toddlers older than 6 months will be creating their own towers in no time. I like that these bricks allow kids to be creative while providing tactile and visual stimuli.

User Experience

These colorful blocks are a delightful addition to any baby's playtime, providing a good size for little hands to grasp. The silicone material is soft and easy to clean, making them perfect for teething little ones, though some may find them slightly harder than expected. The blocks feature pictures, numbers, and engaging textures, which encourage development and exploration. However, a more diverse color variety and a smaller size for younger babies would be appreciated by some parents.

What Is Sensory Play?

Sensory play helps to develop your child’s five senses: touch, hearing, sight, taste, and smell. Babies and toddlers love to explore their new world and are constantly learning new things. Sensory play aids this while also being fun (1).

Some of the benefits our little ones get from sensory play include:

  • Building nerve connections in the brain.
  • Encouraging the development of fine motor skills.
  • Supporting language development.
  • Encouraging problem-solving and scientific thinking.

Not only do kids benefit from sensory play, but it’s also an opportunity for you to spend some quality time with them. I find it fascinating and amazing how quickly they pick up new skills. I love to watch their little expressions when they find new things to explore.

How to Choose Sensory Toys

There’s a misconception that sensory toys are all about touch and feel, but this isn’t the case. Toys that stimulate and engage any of your child’s senses are “sensory.”

Think about all five senses, and choose toys that captivate each one.

Sight

Look for toys that are brightly colored or have contrasting colors and designs. These will be visually interesting for your child. Also, think about things like beads that move within a toy to catch their attention.

Touch

Different textures will encourage them to explore, whether with their hands or mouths. Find things that crinkle or have raised or soft textures tiny hands can feel. Different materials will be fun for a baby or toddler to touch and discover.

Sound

This could be the noise of a rattle, different sounds, or music. Toys that have beads in them that make noise when shaken are ideal. Those that make a noise or play music when squeezed or when buttons are pressed will also encourage sensory play and engage your child.

Taste

Babies use their mouths to explore tastes and textures. Consider teething toys with different textures and shapes. Just ensure they’re free of all toxins and are kept clean to protect your baby.

Smell

Toys infused with smells tend to be aimed at older children. However, even for a baby or toddler, different fabrics and materials will smell different. Include a variety of materials, such as plastics, fabric, and wood.


Sensory Toys FAQs

Why is Sensory Play Important For 1-Year-Olds?

Sensory play is important for 1-year-olds as it helps them explore their world and develop cognitive, linguistic, social, emotional, physical, and creative skills. It supports brain development by providing opportunities for discovery and experimentation.

Is Too Much Sensory Play Bad For a Baby?

While sensory play is beneficial, too much stimulation can overwhelm a baby. It’s important to watch for signs of overstimulation, like fussiness or disinterest, and give the baby time to rest and process the experiences.

What are Good Sensory Toys For 1-Year-Olds?

Good sensory toys for 1-year-olds include textured balls, soft blocks, squeeze toys, musical instruments, water play mats, and simple puzzles. Look for toys that stimulate the senses with different textures, colors, sounds, and movements.

Feedback: Was This Article Helpful?
Thank You For Your Feedback!
Thank You For Your Feedback!
What Did You Like?
What Went Wrong?
Headshot of Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Reviewed by

Jennifer Schlette, MSN, RN

Jennifer Schlette MSN, RN, is a pediatric intensive care nurse at Children's Hospital of New York for the past 14 years. Jennifer also has extensive experience teaching Maternity and Obstetric Nursing, as well as Pediatrics Nursing.