The Best Crib Toys For Your Baby – 2020 Edition
Crib toys are not just some of a baby’s first toys, they’re also some of the most important. While we typically don’t remember the details of our first crib toys when we’re adults, the developmental benefits of crib toys can last a lifetime. The best crib toys not only entertain but also help with sleep, provide relief from teething, improve cognitive abilities and more.
Looking for the best crib toys for 2020? Here’s our list of the best crib toys of the year, as well as a helpful guide to selecting the best one for your child.
- Bright Starts Grab and Spin Rattle
- VTech Baby Peaceful Tunes Hippo
- Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys
- Tiny Love Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile
- Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
- Kids Preferred Developmental Caterpillar
- Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Projector Soother
- Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Crib Toy
- Tiny Love Take Along Mobile, Animal Friends
- Baby Mobile for Crib, Crib Toys with Music and Lights
- HAHA Baby Toys for 0 3 6 9 to 12 Months
- Baby Einstein Star Bright Symphony Toy
- Infantino Discover and Play Activity Mirror
- Playgro 0186367 Music and Lights Piano & Kick Pad
- What to Consider When Buying Crib Toys
- Best Crib Toys FAQ
- What are the Different Types of Crib Toys?
- How Do I Know if a Crib Toy is Safe?
- How Do I Know if the Crib Toy is Age Appropriate?
- How Effective are Crib Toys for a Teething Baby?
- Can Crib Toys Help a Baby Fall Asleep?
- Can Crib Toys Be Used Outside of the Crib?
- Final Thoughts
Bright Starts Grab and Spin Rattle
- Durable teething rattle
- Includes beads for visual and auditory stimulation
- Soft handle for tiny hands
- Must be cleaned by hand (not machine washable)
The Bright Starts Grab and Spin rattle is a fun tactile toy for infants. Featuring three different textured links which slide and rattle, your baby will find plenty of different ways to play. An oval-shaped grip handle is easy to for little hands to hold onto.
Plus, the inside of the handle has a plastic oval filled with tiny colorful balls. Shaking the rattle makes the balls fly around wildly inside the oval. Regular play helps develop hearing, vision and both gross and fine motor control. Also, the handle has numerous textures designed for teething.
VTech Baby Peaceful Tunes Hippo
- Happy hippo babies will love to cuddle
- Music can be activated automatically by a baby’s cry
- Includes over 100 different musical tunes
- Projects six different light displays
- Requires batteries
- Lowest volume can still be on the loud side
This little blue hippo is a great crib buddy who helps babies stay calm and comfortable. The VTech Peaceful Times Hippo plays over 100 songs, sounds and phrases. Plus, the toy is voice activated. When your baby starts to cry, the hippo can play a soothing mixture of sounds and lights for 10, 20 or 30 minutes.
Includes a volume control and six different settings for the light display. The head and arms of the hippo are soft plush while the body is a durable plastic. The Peaceful Times Hippo projects colorful lights on the ceiling or wall. Suitable for newborns.
Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys
- Soft, safe toy key ring kids love
- Features multiple different teething textures
- Purice technology helps toy retain cold temps
- Can’t be boiled or placed in freezer
Infants often love to play with key rings, but real keys aren’t always very safe. The Nuby Ice Gel Teether Keys are designed for babies to hold and chew on. Each key has a soft texture on one side with an offset material on the other.
The keys are made with Purice technology, which means the toy retains coolness for a long time. Store the ring in the refrigerator until needed. The cold toy helps provide a numbing effect for sore gums. All materials are non-toxic and BPA-free.
Tiny Love Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile
- Mobile and music box combo
- 18 different songs
- Soothing mobile motion helps calm fussy babies
- Includes three plush stuffed animals
- Songs can’t safely be changed by baby when in crib (only in music box form)
More than just a mobile for the crib, the Soothe ‘n Groove grows with your child by turning into a stand-alone music box. Babies can enjoy the mobile from the crib while toddlers can carry the music box wherever they go.
This toy features 18 different songs in six music categories. Plays up to 40 minutes of non-repeating music. Big, colorful buttons let toddlers change the music (babies shouldn’t reach out of their crib). The toy has two dynamic speakers with full volume control.
Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball
- Soft, colorful ball
- Plenty of fun textures to touch
- Rattles when squeezed
- Designed for kids over six months old
Young children love toys which engage with multiple sense at once. The Sassy Development Ball features plenty to touch, look at and hear. The soft ball is made from a variety of different materials as well as seven soft “bumps” which are used as handholds.
Plus, the ball features bold colors and many different patterns. A gentle rattle sound is made when the ball is squeezed. Designed for kids over the age of six months, the Sassy Developmental Ball helps develop a baby’s sense of touch, sight and hearing.
Kids Preferred Developmental Caterpillar
- Based on beloved children’s book
- Includes beads, fabrics and multiple different textures
- Easily and securely attached to cribs, strollers and more
- Designed for ages three months through one year
- Many more tactile features than audio and visual ones
Does this green guy look familiar? He’s the same character from the beloved children’s book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The toy version of the Caterpillar has a variety of different fabrics and patterns. The toy crinkles, squeaks, rattles and more. Tons of tactile stimulation for young hands.
Take this Hungry Caterpillar along wherever you and your baby go. An included Very Hungry Caterpillar clip can attach the toy to a crib, carrier or stroller.
Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Projector Soother
- Plays music and projects gentle lights
- Great for calming fussy babies
- Includes three customizable modes
- Some durability concerns
This Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Projector Soother combines gentle light patterns with soft music to create a sense of calm which fills the entire nursery. The soother has three customizable modes which let you adjust the lights and music. Also projects a starry sky onto the ceiling. Plays up to 30 minutes of non-repeating music.
This soother is compact and easy for an adult to transport. Works well during trips or in situations where the baby is sleeping in an unfamiliar location. You can even use it in the car! Has the option for music, projection or both together.
Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother Crib Toy
- Remotely controllable
- More than 25 minutes of sounds
- Beautiful light effects
- Requires batteries
The light and sounds of this Baby Einstein crib toy blurs the line between pleasant distraction and fully-fledged experience for babies.
The premise behind this crib toy is simple: babies love to be entertained by lights and sound. When you set the Baby Einstein toy into the crib, your baby will enjoy being regaled with fun by friendly undersea characters.
When you’re ready to put the baby to sleep, you can tap the remote control to activate or deactivate the crib toy from afar, which makes it perfect for when you’re too tired to get up.
Tiny Love Take Along Mobile, Animal Friends
- Cute frog, bee, and bird companions
- Easy to set up
- No choking hazards
- Melodies are low quality
This classic take on the baby mobile will be entertaining for the very youngest of children thanks to its cute and pleasant animal companions.
Each of the three animal companions attached to this mobile will help your child drift off to sleep with a minimum of fuss. You also won’t have any difficulty attaching the mobile to the top of the crib thanks to the easy-snap attachment system, which is also very firm.
The only issue with this mobile is that the melodies which it plays to soothe your child to sleep are very low-quality. While your child probably won’t care very much about the low sound quality, you may overhear it and be less than impressed.
Baby Mobile for Crib, Crib Toys with Music and Lights
- Nearly a dozen different orbiting toys
- Toys orbit at different altitudes
- Fun, colorful design
- Easy to damage if packed
This baby mobile has a plethora of different orbiting baubles to entertain your child whether it’s bedtime or simply naptime.
As far as mobiles for the cribs go, this mobile has more animals, more toys, and more things for your child to interact with. So, this mobile is more complex than most of the other ones on the market.
This complexity means that it is capable of entertaining most newborns with high effectiveness. But, you may find that it is significantly worse for the wear than other mobiles when you pack it away into a box because of its fragile strings.
HAHA Baby Toys for 0 3 6 9 to 12 Months
- Brightly Colored
- Provide great auditory and tactile stimulation
- Wind Chime sound is more pleasant than typical rattles
- Plastic teethers are good for soothing painful gums
- The toy is too long to use on a car seat
These adorable plush animal rattles are brightly colored and produce a variety of noises for babies to explore. The top part contains a wind chime to soothe babies when it’s shaken while a squeaky belly and crinkly ears encourage baby to explore the animals through touch and grasping. Each toy includes a plastic teether at the bottom of it to soothe painful gums.
These toys clip onto cribs, playpens, and strollers easily while still being long enough for the baby to reach. The only downside is they’re a bit too long for car seats and can hit a small baby in the face. Otherwise, these are great toys for babies during the first year.
Baby Einstein Star Bright Symphony Toy
- Offers both light and sound stimulation
- Two modes that allow music to play continuously or be touch activated
- Excellent sound quality and volume
- Batteries included
- Not machine washable
- Paint may fade or scratch over time
This sweet-faced little star is a great toy to attach to your baby’s crib or throw in a diaper bag. Its bright colors and light display attract your baby’s eyes while playing six different classical melodies. The volume is not too high, but the sound is of decent quality. If you know classical music, you will be able to identify the tunes easily.
The star has two modes. The parent mode allows the music and lights to play continuously for about 15 minutes without having to shake or squeeze it, an important feature if you’re driving or need a few minutes to get something done. Baby mode allows the star to react to touch and is sensitive enough for the baby to activate it themselves even just by batting it with their hand or foot.
The star can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap but don’t immerse it in water. It requires 2 AA batteries, which the company includes. There have been some reports of the paint fading or scratching off over time. While the paint is safe for children, this can be a little annoying, but otherwise, this toy is a good purchase.
Infantino Discover and Play Activity Mirror
- Phthalates and PVC free
- Can be used in cribs, cars, or on the floor during tummy time
- Mirror offers a clear reflection
- Can only be spot cleaned
- Most babies will be bored with it by eight months old
This multi-use mirror features an adorable turtle design and comes with detachable fish and duck toys. It comes with straps to attach the turtle to a crib or use in the car. It also features a flip-up floor stand for play during tummy time.
The mirror is shatterproof reflective plastic and does not distort the baby’s reflection. It is also free of phthalates and PVC, making it safe to play with and put in their mouth. It can take a lot of wear and tear and is great for babies up to eight months old.
This toy can only be spot cleaned and can get very dirty if your child chews and sucks on it or drags it around with them as they play. If that’s a problem for you, think twice before purchasing this toy.
Playgro 0186367 Music and Lights Piano & Kick Pad
- Great stimulation for babies who like to kick
- Can be used both in a crib or on the floor
- Has three different sound modes for auditory stimulation
- Babies under three months won’t have the strength in their hands or feet to activate the pad
- Straps are too short to attach to some cribs
If your baby is a kicker, this may be an excellent choice for them. This toy is great for developing gross motor skills and even the beginning of cause and effect relationships. As your baby kicks the pad, it makes music and lights up.
This toy can also be used on the floor during tummy time and will react when children press the pad with their hands as well as when they kick it with their feet. The kick pad has three different modes, including a piano mode, a musical beat mode, and an animal sound mode.
This toy works best for babies three months or older. Younger infants won’t have the strength to kick or push the pad firmly enough to activate it. The kick pad will fit most cribs and strollers. However, for some cribs, the straps are a little too short to attach at a level that your baby can reach, and you may need to find a different way to attach it safely.
What to Consider When Buying Crib Toys
Crib toys help with sensory development and help strengthen a baby’s eyesight by giving them something to focus on and visually follow. They also help babies develop motor skills by encouraging them to reach and grab things. Sounds and different tactile components help babies explore their world and allow them to build new connections in their rapidly developing brains.
Look for toys that are brightly colored and integrate a variety of textures. Other good features to look for are sounds and lights. Toys that play songs or speak phrases are good. Toys that rattle, crinkle, squeak, and make other sounds also are beneficial to learning.
Make sure crib toys are safe for babies. A mobile must attach firmly to the crib so it can’t possibly fall on the baby. Babies shouldn’t be able to reach the strings of the mobile because it could be a strangulation hazard. If the toy includes sound components, make sure the volume isn’t too loud as this could damage the baby’s hearing. Make sure toys are easy to clean or sanitize also.
Best Crib Toys FAQ
Finding the best crib toy can be confusing and even downright scary. After all, you want to make sure the toy is completely safe before putting it in the crib. Aside from safety, you also want a toy which provides development benefits. Of course, the toy also has to be fun – and figuring out what a newborn baby likes can be a challenge.
Here are the answers to common questions about finding the best crib toys:
What are the Different Types of Crib Toys?
There’s no one type of crib toy. Instead, crib boys commonly include the following types of toys:
- Mobiles or other toys which hang over the crib in some way
- Musical toys which make noises, play songs or rattle
- Stuffed animals or other toys to snuggle with
- Teething toys
- Cloth books
- Toy mirrors
Of course, crib toys can fall into many of those categories at the same time. For example, a stuffed animal might also play music.
How Do I Know if a Crib Toy is Safe?
Child safety is always the number one priority. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued guidelines to parents about crib safety. The main idea is “Bare is Best!”
Never place pillows, thick quilts or similar items in a crib, as they increase the risk of suffocation. Basically, no unnecessary items should be placed in the crib. Even the area around the crib should be free from cords, window coverings and other potential hazards.
Before placing any toy in or near a crib, double-check for any potential safety issues. Read the instructions for the toy thoroughly. Inspect the toy for any small parts which could be a potential choking hazard.
Any toys which hang over or near the crib need to be fastened securely. Make sure all parts of the toy are out of reach for your baby.
Most importantly, never leave an immobile baby in a crib unattended with any type of toy. Even a soft, safe toy can become a hazard if it tips over and covers the baby’s face.
How Do I Know if the Crib Toy is Age Appropriate?
Generally, kids will move out of a crib into a toddler bed starting around the age of 15 months, which gives them about a year and half to sleep in the crib. Crib toys are often grouped into two age groups: Babies under six months and then six months and older
According to the Association of American Family Physicians, vision in a baby develops rapidly during the first six months. So young ones are often fascinated with toys which have bright, bold colors and simple, repeating patterns.
Plus, because vision is still developing, kids under six months also respond well to music, songs and other toys which make noises. Look for toys which use some type of sound to enhance any lights or other visual elements.
After six months, your baby’s interests in crib toys may change. They’ll usually be interested in toys with a lot of interactivity. This means toys which they can bite, shake, twist, drag and otherwise perform an action on. Stuffed animals, rattles and teething toys are some popular options at this stage.
How Effective are Crib Toys for a Teething Baby?
Teething typically starts between the ages of four and seven. You’ll probably want a teething toy or two. Teething toys are typically made from plastic and, of course, are non-toxic. Chewing on the toys helps reduce the gum soreness which occurs during teething. Many plastic toys can also be refrigerated to create a numbing effect in the mouth.
Can Crib Toys Help a Baby Fall Asleep?
Many different sleep-friendly crib toys are available. Typically, these are toys which don’t light up. If they play music, they typically play soft lullabies or classical music.
Of course, all babies are different. Your child might prefer falling asleep to certain noises or light patterns. For young children, sleep-friendly toys should be used with adult supervision. Once the child is asleep, simply remove the toy from the crib.
Can Crib Toys Be Used Outside of the Crib?
Absolutely. Many toys which attach to a crib can also easily be attached to a dresser, stroller or car seat. A good example here is the Very Hungry Caterpillar toy which includes a clip for easy attachment to practically any solid surface.
Plus, quite a few crib toys can grow with the child. The Soothe ‘n Groove music toy works great as a mobile, but when the child is older the toy converts to a portable music box.
However, you should never place a toy designed for use outside of a crib into a crib. For example, don’t use action figures or Barbie dolls as a crib toys because they’re often sharp and have small parts. Also don’t place any inflatable toys into a crib, as they can pop. Crib toys should always be specifically designed by the manufacturer for crib use.
Crib toys play an important role in welcoming your child to the world. The best crib toys will not only keep your baby busy, but they’ll help improve both physical and mental development. Remember to follow all safety guidelines and only select toys which are age appropriate. Safe, educational crib toys help set your child up for a lifetime of success!