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Best Non-Electronic Gifts for Newborns through 6 Months


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Did you know that “studies have shown that during the time kids are watching a screen or playing on an electronic toy, they are not interacting and learning as much as they could with other types of toys” (Cleveland Clinic)?

Now I’m not saying all electronic toys are bad. We have a handful of thoughtfully chosen ones. But generally, we opt for battery-less toys that encourage imagination and active play rather than the passive play involved with many electronic toys. For example, I’d rather help develop baby’s curiosity by allowing them to explore a soft rattle with varying textures than to give them a light-up toy that they just watch and become transfixed with.

So, below are some of my favorite non-electronic, no-batteries-necessary toys for newborns to 6 months old.

Important Note: I’ve tried to categorize the toys into age groups as best as possible, but as we all know, babies grow and develop at different rates, so I would suggest looking at the age group before and after your child’s actual age to see if you think there are any other toys that might be appropriate for where he or she is at, developmentally.

*Join my email list to be notified when the other age groups are posted.

1) Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle

This fan favorite is on the top of my list for any infant toy recommendations, and I’ve gifted it to several new mommies. This rattle was by far the easiest toy for my daughter to grasp in those early grasping stages. Plus, she enjoyed looking at all the colors, chewing on it and shaking it.

In general, I love the Manhattan Toy brand. They have really strict safety standards and their toys all seem to be excellent for developing baby’s motor skills, senses, and imagination. These Soft Sensory Shape Toys are another great one for this age range.

My little one playing with it around 4 months old

2) HABA Shakin Eggs

These were another favorite of ours for many months (in fact my 2 year old still plays with them sometimes). Each egg makes a different sound (rattling, squeaking, etc.) when baby shakes it allowing baby to learn to distinguish sounds as well as experiment with rhythm. As baby gets older these can also be used for learning colors or counting. 

3) Cuddle + Kind Dolls

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A stuffed animal with a cause! Each doll is handcrafted with natural, high-quality cotton and trust me when I say they are so super soft and cuddly. Plus, they are made by female artisans in Peru, and each doll provides 10 meals to children in need. They have girly dolls, boyish dolls and gender neutral dolls. Ava LOVES her little Sadie fox she was given when she was first born.

4) My First Years First Rattle

This soft rattle seems basic, but it is so well-designed for tiny hands just learning to grasp. The ring makes it easy to grip and the little nubs and antennas are excellent chew toys. It rattles but is soft so newborns who aren’t quite in control of their movements yet don’t whack themselves in the face with a hard rattle. 

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Okay, I just had to share this. It cracks me up! I promise she loved it.

5) Baby Einstein Octopus Activity Toy

This soft and engaging toy was my daughter’s favorite (besides her foot and a coconut water bottle) for quite a while. She would play with it in her bouncer seat, and we frequently used it during tummy time and to encourage her to roll or scoot by putting it just out of reach. It also came with us on nearly every car trip as it can easily clip to the car seat handle.

And as an added bonus… if your newborn can read… it teaches them the word “fish” in both Spanish and French! Ha! Not sure why they decided to include that little feature on the purple activity tag, but my daughter sure loved chewing on the “pescado!”

A similar and also popular toy is the Lamaze Freddie Firefly (though it is much bigger than Mr. Octopus, as we called him).

6) Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball Toy

As my daughter was starting to gain more control over the movements of her arms and legs, we would put this in her bouncer seat with her and she really enjoyed batting at it, “kicking” it, and trying to use her feet to pass it up to her hands. It was excellent for challenging her and giving her something interesting to work for. Once she got a hold of it, she very much enjoyed staring wide-eyed at it and chewing on it (surprise, surprise!).

Once she got a little older we would prop her up on our Boppy nursing pillow and put this in front of her to help her develop her neck strength and head control.

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Tummy time with the Boppy pillow and Sassy ball at 2.5 months

7) Sassy Tummy Time Floor Mirror

Babies seem to be captivated by seeing themselves in a mirror. This baby-safe mirror is great for the little ones during tummy time. I will say it is best for babies who can lift their heads up. Because of the slight angle it needs to be at to stand freely, baby can’t see themselves unless they can lift their heads to look. Though mommy or daddy can still hold it at a better angle for the teeny tiny ones.

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Ava at 5.5 months with her Sassy Floor Mirror and sweet hairdo.

8) Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat

This one is for the older ones in this age group. We started using it around 4.5 months and she was just barely ready for it. She LOVED sitting up on her own like a big girl though (she could not yet sit unassisted). It definitely helped her develop her core strength and head control as well as give her a new perspective of the world! We would attach some of her favorite toys including Mr. Octopus or Baby’s First Book for added interest.

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My daughter at 4.5 months in her Sit-Me-Up

9) Taggies Crinkle Toy

Have you ever noticed that your baby’s favorite part of every toy is the TAG?! Well, this toy is perfect for them… it’s a basic toy FULL of tags! Plus, it crinkles! I’m not sure it could get any better than this for the tag-lovin’ babies out there.

10) BOOKS!

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Black & White Foldout BookTHE BEST tummy time helper ever. It folds out accordion style for easy placement in front of your baby.

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Baby Faces Babies love looking at faces. Fun to look at for newborns, and helpful in teaching emotions for the older ones.

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Baby’s First BookThis soft crinkle book is more of a fun toy for the little ones. We kept ours clipped to the carseat and it was a favorite in the car.

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Melissa & Doug Opposites Soft Activity Book– Interactive book that is fun for little ones to play with, and helps teach opposites to the older ones.

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Touch & Feel BooksBooks with single words and pictures that have different textures for baby to feel.

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Bright Baby Animals– A simple, brightly-colored book with a different animal and its name on each page.

BONUS GIFT IDEAS:

11) Fisher-Price Kick ‘n Play Piano Gym

Alright, this one IS electronic… but like I said, we have a handful of battery-operated toys and this one is well worth the batteries and noise. It is not a passive toy, as it encourages baby to play, interact, kick and make “music!” It was by far one of my daughter’s all-time favorite toys, and gets rave reviews on Amazon, too.

12) DIY Fabric Scraps & Tissue Box

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Just a few of the fabric scraps we used. We also had a furry one, shiny one, a tie-dye one, and more.

While there are tons of excellent toys out there to buy, there are also plenty of basic items that can entertain baby just as much. For example, an empty coconut water bottle as well as these fabric scraps stuffed into a tissue box were huge hits with my daughter at this age.

For the fabric scraps, I just went to JoAnns and bought at least 10 different pieces of fabric with varying colors and textures from the sale rack. I cut them into about 8″x8″ squares and shoved them in an empty tissue box, and voila! New favorite toy that allowed my baby to explore different textures and colors. She would take them out and put them back in over and over again.

The fabric I got made probably around 10 sets of scraps that I gave to other mommy friends, who said their babies also loved this super basic toy!

Gifts for Other Ages

This week I will be posting gift lists for other age groups including newborn/infants as well as toddlers. Be sure to Like my Facebook page or join my email list (in the right column) to be notified when they are posted.


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