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.
- Loved by moms
- Switch between 10 total melodies
- Volume control
- 2016 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award
- Set of 6 vibrant, graduated discs
- Multiple textures & materials
- Gentle rattle sounds
- Bright colors & bold patterns
- Suitable for newborns
- Perfectly sized for baby hands
- Free of BPA and PVC
- Made of food-grade silicone
- Stimulate baby's overall senses
- Brightly colored
- 8 nursery rhymes
- Flashing lights
- PVC-free and phthalate-free
- Perfect for multi-sensory play
- Textured surface bandana teething toy
- Nice size for holding
- Machine washable
- Colorful pattern
- Squeezable, stackable fun
- Textured, brightly colored fabrics
- Action-packed discovery cubes
- Soft fabric and engaging textures
- 18 developmental activities
- Easy to store
The Best Best Sensory Toys of 2023
Here are our favorite sensory toys for babies and toddlers.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. 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.
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.
17. 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.
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.