The 15 best baby toys for 6 to 12 month olds as tested by parents

24 February 2020

baby walker, ring stacker and hide and squeak eggs

From stacking cups and pushchairs, to wooden blocks and squeaky eggs, these are the best toys for babies aged six to 12 months - tried and tested by parents.

At six months old, it’s likely that your baby will start looking out for more things to play with and you might find you need a little inspiration for ways you can keep them occupied in between the endless cycle of sleep, eat, change, repeat.

It can be hard to keep thinking of new activities and games to play with your baby, so a few simple toys can really come in handy.

But there's no need to spend hundreds of pounds on high-tech toys (the thing your baby will most want to play with is you), but it can be helpful to have a few things to aid you as your baby begins to explore more of the world around them.

We’ve scoured the forums and analysed thousands of conversations to bring you this list of the best baby toys as tested by parents.

1. Stacking cups

1. Stacking cups

It’s a simple toy, there's no doubt about it. But when it comes to entertaining six- to 12-month-old babies, it’s a classic. At six months, your baby won't notice the difference between the £2.75 set from IKEA or a pricier one from John Lewis, so it’s really down to you to decide which one you’d like to be stacking and re-stacking.

Look out for bright colours and lightweight designs so that little hands can pick them up easily. These toys tend to be plastic, so you might want to double-check that they’re BPA-free too.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Stacking cups are fantastic from six months!”

“Stacking cups again – we have a set of bright and cheap ones from IKEA”

View the Fisher-Price Stack and Roll Cups on Amazon

2. Board books

2. Board books

Simple board or cloth books are a great choice at this development stage. Look out for ones with stark colour contrasts, a variety of textures and, most importantly, ones that are wipeable!

What Mumsnet users say:

“Mine loves those cloth books with things to feel on every page. The good thing is they're very cheap and easy to clean!”

“Our absolute favourites were Faces: Baby Touch First Focus and Baby Touch: Peekaboo.”

“Lift-the-flap books have been popular here at that age (e.g Dear Zoo, Where's Spot? and Oh Dear).”

View Baby Touch First Focus: Faces on Amazon

3. Tomy Toomies Hide and Squeak Eggs

3. Tomy Toomies Hide and Squeak Eggs

Don’t be fooled by their slightly mundane appearance. These clever little creations from Tomy will provide hours of amusement for babies and toddlers.

What Mumsnet users say:

Hide and squeak eggs are by far the best toy we have ever owned. They have been played with from the first moment my daughter could grip something, and my four-year-old still sometimes plays with them now. They have been everywhere with us. They pack up neatly so a great travel toy too. This is the toy I buy for every friend who has a first baby.”

“Yes! Hide and squeak eggs! How could I not mention these? My first daughter had them as a present way back and initially I thought 'Hmm not sure about these', but now my third is playing with those original eggs and are usually the first thing she pulls out of the toy box.”

“I'd definitely recommend squeaky eggs. I didn't realise my daughter loved them until she was 18 months old and stupidly thought she would outgrow them too quickly. She's three now and still makes a beeline for them at playgroup.”

View Tomy Toomies Hide and Squeak Eggs on Amazon

4. Galt Pop-Up People

4. Galt Pop-Up People

These little wooden creations provide hours of laughter for small babies and toddlers, and, well, they’re actually quite fun for adults too.

What Mumsnet users say:

“The people are just little poles with faces on, but the toy is very compelling for no immediately obvious reason. Even older children and adults are drawn in by it.”

“Pop-up People are little wooden blocks with four different coloured men that fit into them. There's is a kind of spring at the bottom which makes them ping out – so simple but so fun.”

View Galt Pop-Up People Amazon

5. Baby walkers and brick trolleys

5. Baby walkers and brick trolleys

Baby walkers or brick trolleys are great for babies who haven’t quite mastered the art of walking and lots of fun for toddlers as well. Look out for one that’s sturdy and easy to clean. If it plays sounds or noises, check that it has an 'off' switch, just in case….

What Mumsnet users say:

“My son is 12 months and has loved his VTech walker since he was four months. It does make noise but you can switch it off and he doesn't seem to mind! He loves pushing it around – it means he can walk earlier, i.e before he learns to do it unaided. We even take it to the park so he can run around pushing it and it knackers him out nicely.”

“A push-along wooden brick trolley is a must – we bought one for our son's first birthday and he still plays with it four years later.”

“We had a simple wooden trolley-type walker. Never had a problem with tipping and they used it for ages after they were walking confidently. Even at five and six it was used as a doll's pram and a shopping trolley.”

View the VTech Walker on Amazon

6. Jumperoo

6. Jumperoo

Jumperoos or walking activity centres can be very handy when you have more than one child or you just need five minutes to have a cup of tea.

Some can be a little pricey, so it’s worth trying one out at a friend's house or buying one secondhand if you’re not sure whether or not your child will enjoy it.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Our daughter LOVED her Jumperoo from about three-and-a-half months when she could hold her head up. It gave me time to sit and drink a cuppa and seemed to help strengthen her legs and back. It was some of the best baby money we spent!”

“A door bouncer was a lifesaver at six months when my arms were getting sore.”

“We got a lot of use out of a door bouncer and a sit-in activity station.”

View the Fisher-Price Roaring Rainforest Jumperoo on Amazon

7. A cardboard box

 7. A cardboard box

If you're getting a little overwhelmed with the sheer number of options available to your child, then let this be a little reminder that you really don’t need to splash out on high-end toys if you'd rather not.

Even if you do spend hundreds on a top of the range baby bouncer, you might still find that your child is more interested in the box than the toys. Embrace it while it lasts as before long they’ll be begging you for a PlayStation and the latest iPhone.

What Mumsnet users say:

“The toy my daughter plays with the most right now is a large cardboard box. I've cut in a door shape on two sides and several small holes in the other sides. It's got a cushion on the inside and an open top. For the last four months she has spent at least an hour a day in there. It’s great for peekaboo or posting games. The best thing is, we have about 15 more boxes in the cellar so, when it gets damaged, another one gets brought out.”

“Don't forget boxes, wrapping paper and ribbons. Best presents ever for a six-month-old baby.”

8. Plastic bottle with dry beans and random household objects

8. Plastic bottle with dry beans and random household objects

If you don't have space for a cardboard box, a box of tissues, baby wipes or a plastic bottle filled with dry beans have also been known to provide hours of entertainment.

What Mumsnet users say:

“She's now 10 months old. Her favourite toys are an empty water bottle with dried lentils, a pack of baby wipes, my ID badge for work and an empty bottle of contact lens solution!”

“One of my daughter's favourite toys is a small Fanta bottle with dried pasta and rice in it. She loves watching the rice fall from one side to the other and the pasta makes a great noise. If you wanted to get more creative you can dye the rice with food colouring to make it multicoloured.”

“My eight-month-old daughter's favourite thing is a remote control with the batteries taken out. Today she's mostly played with a Primark shopping bag.”

9. Musical instruments

9. Musical instruments

Onto more traditional toys. If you can bear the racket, a simple, percussive musical instrument can be a fun toy for little ones at this developmental stage.

What Mumsnet users say:

“The only electronic toy my daughter actually likes is the ELC xylophone, which plays pre-programmed tunes she likes to dance to as well.”

“My 10-month-old is happiest with very basic toys at the moment – now she's up and about, toys aren't of much interest. But a couple of musical instruments like tambourines and maracas would probably be really enjoyed.”

View the Skip Hop Explore Xylophone on Amazon

10. Stack and pour buckets

10. Stack and pour buckets

Stack and pour buckets are great fun in all sorts of scenarios – from bathtime in the evening to outdoor play in the summer.

What Mumsnet users say:

“My daughter's favourite toy from that age, which she still plays with, is the Fisher-Price buckets. They're an ideal size for first walkers to toddle around with. She spent hours walking up and down the garden with them and now she uses them in the bath.”

View the Skip Hop Zoo Stack and Pour Buckets on Amazon

11. Building blocks

11. Building blocks

The undisputed classic of childhood playtime. There's nothing quite like the simple pleasure of building towers and knocking them down immediately after you've finished.

What Mumsnet users say

“One Two Squeeze Blocks are great for little ones. They make great teethers and, as they get older, they can enjoy stacking them up and knocking them down or watching a parent do it.”

“Building blocks – my son is six and still plays with them. We have a few different types, including wooden alphabet ones and some larger Janod cardboard cubes.”

“We've got these wooden blocks from John Lewis and they've been fab. We bought them for our daughter when she was nine months and she still uses them now she's four years old.”

View the One Two Squeeze Blocks on Amazon

12. Shape sorters

12. Shape sorters

Shape sorters are a great way to develop motor skills and hand-eye coordination. There are plenty of options available to buy, from the traditional wooden box design to fun brightly-coloured animal shapes.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Shape sorters are perfect for after six months.”

“This IKEA Shape Sorter was my daughter's favourite as a baby.”

View the Fisher-Price Rock and Sort Snail Pail on Amazon

13. Doll and pushchair

13. Doll and pushchair

A baby doll and buggy are brilliant toys for small children and a lovely way to encourage imaginative play from a young age. The buggy can be used to carry all sorts of things besides dolls, but look out for one with sturdy wheels and a fold-up function so that you can store it away easily.

What Mumsnet users say:

“Mine have always loved Baby Annabell. It's still one of their favourite toys at six and eight. They have Silver Cross prams with accessories that are mostly Baby Annabell.”

“Another vote for Baby Annabell – she is the best doll out there.”

“I agree with the doll's buggy. Make sure you get the really cheap sort that fold up small, not the all-singing, all-dancing three-wheeler ones.”

View doll's buggy on Amazon

14. Stacking rings

14. Stacking rings

Stacking rings are another simple toy which help to develop hand-eye coordination and introduce babies to the concept of relative size, as they learn to sort and stack from biggest to smallest.

It's such a popular concept that there is a multitude of styles and designs out there. The consensus on the Mumsnet forums is to avoid the ones with sound – old-school rings are best in this instance.

View Fisher-Price Rock-a-Stack Rings on Amazon

15. Farmyard animals

15. Farmyard animals

Farmyard animals are a great way to start introducing your baby to simple animal sounds and imaginative play. There are a host of options to choose from, from the simple wooden sets to more lifelike plastic models.

The wooden ones look lovely, but the plastic animals have the added benefit of being bathtime-friendly which can be handy if your child develops a particular attachment to them.

What Mumsnet users say:

“My son has two farms – both plastic. One is from John Lewis that acts as a carry case as well. It opens up and has animals and a tractor, etc. The other one is from Fisher-Price. He loves both of them and plays with them all the time.”

“I second the wooden animals idea – the wooden Holztiger animals are lovely. Both my children still enjoy playing with them at nearly three and seven!”

“We have a mad hotchpotch of realistic-looking zoo and farm animals, including Duplo animals and the odd Playmobil creature. We make massive zoos out of LEGO and shoe boxes. Both my boys (even the big old 10-year-old) will still play quite happily like this.”

View Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animal Farm on Amazon

Why you should trust us

Mumsnet has been helping parents make their lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed thousands of products.

We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust and we spend hours scouring the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents rate.

Transparency is really important to us and that's why we're always upfront about where we find our recommendations. We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family.

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Prices correct at time of publication.