Fun And Affordable Baby Toys For 6-12 Months

10 December 2020

Following on from my post on ‘Tried And Tested Newborn Baby Toys For 0-6 Months’, here’s the next stage for 6-12 months. We went from newbie parents not knowing what toys to buy our baby Jin, to buying OH so many!
We wanted the traditional wooden ones, the cute soft animals and the fun electronic toys!
Of all these, there were very clear favourites.

In this post I’ll introduce Jin’s top rated baby toys for 6-12 months.


6 Months Is A Turning Point

For me, 6 months was when it really got interesting because that ‘lying there not doing much’ phase was over. Jin’s vision was clearer, he could sit up, hold and explore toys and generally react and engage more with me!

He was an early teether and they came in quick one after the other, so he was chewing anything and everything in sight.

All these things opened up a whole new world for toys!

What Can Baby Do At This Stage

Here’s a very high level snapshot of baby’s development and the types of activities and toys that come recommended for the age group in stores.
This is a guideline only, as babies can develop at different levels and speeds.

smartphone_photo_woman_yokoTurn your phone to landscape for a better view of this table

MonthWhat They Can DoSuitable Activity/Toy
6Faster eye movement, better coordination
Starts to sit up | Shuffling on floor | Laughs a lot | May start teething
Activity Ball | Sensory objects/materials | Teething toys
7See all colours and recognise people and things across the room
Hearing developed | May start crawling | Explores by dropping things on the floor
Board Books, Music
8Begins to search/locate objects near them
Sits up unaided | Distinguishes shapes
Shape sorting | Home-made rattles
9Almost adult vision
Pincer grasp| Object permanence | Points at things
Role play with soft toys | Stacking blocks/rings
10Recognise you and objects from a distance
Explore by shaking & banging | Pulls up to stand
Counting things | Musical toys | Drum
11Can pick out object the size of a crumb
Crawls up stairs | Recognise difference in objects | Hold on to things and shuffle walks
Handing things to you like laundry/objects | Ask baby to identify objects
12Vision is clear & sharp like an adult, understands near & far
Shakes head, waves | Exclamations | May take first steps | Looks and listens at the same time
Puzzles, Books, Sorting toys

Some Useful Guides on Baby’s Development

There are lots of visuals and guides out there that take you through baby’s development month by month but I found these 2 particularly useful:

Vision Direct illustrates how baby’s vision develops month by month with a handy slider that show you how baby sees blurry to clear.

Of The Hearth has put together a nice table, which may give you ideas on activities for babies in categories of Visual, Auditory, Tactile and Kinetic.

Vision Direct

Of The Hearth

And Now For The Toys

Many of the toys and books that Jin enjoyed during 6-12 months were items he already had before turning 6 months – when he was younger he would simply look and hold them but as he grew, he figured out how to use them.

The Puppet Company – Rabbit Hand Puppet

£8-15 @Amazon
Product Range Link

Age Purchased: Newborn but proper use was after 6 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Sensory, Imagination

The puppet company rabbit hand puppet
The puppet company rabbit hand puppet from above

This rabbit has entertained Jin since he was tiny. We would make the rabbit jump around and scuttle up his leg or arm and he would giggle hysterically!

We particularly like this because we love animals and are teaching Jin strength control and to be gentle. Hopefully this’ll have some effect because we plan to get a rabbit and dog one day!

We’ll be using this one for a long time because as he grows up, we can do more role playing with it and he can eventually use it himself.

Age From: 12 Months+ (for child to acually use)

Features:

Full body hand puppet woth a soft fluffy outer of Acrylic & Polyester and lined inside

You can move the puppet’s head and front paws

Many other animals available

Dimensions: L18cm

Vtech Swing & Sing Monkey

£15 @Argos
Product Link

Age Purchased: 3 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Language, Sensory, Tactile

Vtech Swing and Sing Monkey
Vtech Swing and Sing Monkey Back

I first introduced this in my ‘Tried And Tested Newborn Baby Toys For 0-6 Months’ post but here it is again because Jin still adores it. This is the toy that made him smile no matter what his mood – that’s enough to make this toy my #1!

Age From: 3 Months+

Features:

Soft monkey toy with crinkle texture ears

Big light up heart button on tummy which makes the monkey talk and play music

3 sing along songs and 15 melodies

C-ring to attach to pushchairs etc

Banana teether, mirror for self awareness

x3 LR44 batteries required (included)

British English accent

Dimensions: H21 W17cm

Vtech Musical Rhymes Book

£16.99 @Smyths Toys
Product Link

Age Purchased: 3 months but proper use was after 6 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Discovery, Language, Motor, Sensory

Vtech Musical Rhymes Book
Vtech Musical Rhymes Book Open
Vtech Musical Rhymes Book Close Up

We got this when Jin was 3 months old but he only really started to use it properly after 6 months – turning the pages, reacting to the sing along songs and pressing the piano keys.

When he’s a little older and talking, we can sing along together and do more with the piano keys and instrument sounds.

Age From: 3 Months+

Features:

Interactive book with 6 thick plastic pages, each with an image & words of the song of popular nursery rhymes (Hey Diddle Diddle, Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory, Little Miss Muffet, The Mulberry Bush, Old MacDonald)

3 modes: Melody when turning the page, Actual song when turning the page, Off

Piano keys on the side teaches 5 instrument names/sounds and colours

Wipe clean pages

x2 AAA batteries required (included)

British English accent

Dimensions: H19 W22.2 D4.4cm

Vtech Turn & Learn Cube

£24.99 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: 4 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Imaginative, Language, Motor

Vtech Turn and Learn Cube with mulitple toys

This isn’t just another electronic toy, it has plenty of elements that can be pushed and spun and explored. When Jin was younger he would sit up holding onto it and gently touch everything but not quite able to push the buttons down fully or spin the shapes. But as soon as he was strong enough, he was making full use of every activity on this cube and is still going strong at 16 months!

When small toys goes missing, its usually stuffed inside the cube so he uses as storage!

Age From: 6 Months+

Features:

5 sides of activities :
Chunky light up buttons with 4 animal pictures and sounds
Spinning squares with cute images
Press and slide musical instrument buttons to hear their name and sound
Spinning ladybird travels up and down
Spinning shapes

2 volume settings, 5 sing along songs and 20 melodies

Dimensions: 17cm cube

Vtech Baby’s First Laptop

£19.99 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: 5 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Auditory, Imaginative, Motor, Tactile

Vtech Baby’s First Laptop Open with multiple toys
Vtech Baby’s First Laptop Close Up with multiple toys
Vtech Baby’s First Laptop Closed

I remember at first, Jin was too gentle with the buttons and couldn’t activate the sounds but as he grew, he understood to press them down firmly and then something happens! – lights, music, he loved it.

After that, this was his favourite toy for a long time.
It was perfect to take out (noise and size permitting) and I love how it has 3 modes that teaches animal names, shapes and music.

Age From: 6-36 Months

Features:

9 chunky buttons that introduces animal names and their sounds/shapes and colours

Says ‘open’ and ‘close’ when opening and closing

ABC button introduces A-F, mouse moves in all directions

3 modes: Music, Shapes, Animals

3 sing along songs and 20 melodies

Chunky handle to carry with you

x2 AA batteries (included)

British English accent

Dimensions: L18 W23cm (including handle)

Japanese Baby Toys – Baby Labo AnpanMan

Approx £13-17 @Amazon Japan
Product Link – Toy
Product Link – Tissue Box

AnpanMan is an animation that was really popular when I was a kid and still is now.
He’s a superhero who patrols his town protecting citizens. He’s like this bread man – his head is made of a sweet bread filled with red bean paste and the other characters are also types of bread or other foods. Kids go crazy for these character toys and I’m so lucky my Japanese friend gave me hers’.

Japanese Toys - Anpanman toy and tissue box
Japanese Toys - Anpanman tissue box

Great for Pincer Practice

When Jin was younger, he was fascinated by the toy when he pushed it over and it just bounced right back up. Its also a bell/rattle and has various fabrics attached so great for the sensory stage.

The tissue box was brilliant because pulling tissues out is what babies DO! So although this isn’t quite a full box of real tissues, he had a lot of fun. It looks simple but baby needs to achieve the pincer grasp to pull out the tabs that are sticking out.

Age From: Toy From Birth+ | Tissue Box 6 Months+

Features:

Toy
Plush character toy where the base is a weighted ball with a bell inside
Knock the toy over and he’ll pop right back to his original position
Various textures attached

Tissue Box
Small cardboard tissue box in a fabric case
Pulling out the tabs reveal 4 fabric ’tissues’ with the AnpanMan characters on
Baby can practice pincer grasp, as well as pulling and stuffing back into the box

Dimensions: Toy: H17 W14 D9.5cm | Tissue Box: L15 W9cm

Early Learning Centre – My First Gadgets

£27 @Early Learning Centre
Product Link

Age Purchased: 7 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Hand eye coordination, Language, Imaginative

ELC-My-First-Gadgets remote phone and car keys toys set

Like many parents, we bought this set because Jin just wouldn’t leave our TV remote and mobiles alone! So instead of the colourful fun remote/phone we went for these more realistic versions.
He loved it and happily walked around the flat with them, pressing the buttons. He was fascinated by the key that flips out when you press the button on the car keys.

These are also great for on-the-go BUT the only downside is that there are no on/off buttons for any of the devices so they can go off in your bag or where ever you’re carrying them.

Age From: 12 Months+

Features:

Pretend TV remote, smart phone and car keys which are made to look realistic

Total of over 30 sounds and features

Smart phone has 15 features and sound effects

Remote says the numbers in English, French and Spanish

Car keys has 2 plastic keys and an ‘electronic key’ with buttons that have 2 sound effects – there’s also a button that flips open a 3rd grey key

x4 AAA batteries required (included)

British English accent (except the additional French & Spanish features on the remote)

Dimensions: Smart Phone H12 W7cm | Remote H16 W6cm | Car Keys H9 W5.5cm

John Lewis Stacking Rings

£9.50 @John Lewis
Product Link

Age Purchased: Gifted when newborn and started using at around 11 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Fine Motor, Hand Eye Coordination, Colours

John Lewis wooden stacking rings
John Lewis wooden stacking rings laid out

At first, Jin only had eyes for the red ball on the top! He took it everywhere with him. Then he took interest in the rings and enjoyed chucking them across the floor. Eventually he learnt to slot them on to the wood and anything they’ll fit over really, like my fingers!

I think this is a really good traditional toy for all babies. It teaches coordination and also a useful prop when teaching colours.

Age From: 12 Months+

Features:

Chunky colour wooden rings can be used as individual toys before baby works out how to stack them

Dimensions: H20 W9cm

Playgro Inflatable Roller

£15.12 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: 7 months
Used Until: 12 months
Focus Activity: Motor, Sensory

Playgro inflatable roller
Playgro inflatable roller end view
Playgro inflatable roller window view

This could be used as a tummy time roller but its quite large so Jin mostly like to roll it around the room and hear the bells inside. I would hold it up and look through one end of the tube and he the other – apparently super entertaining!

As it’s an inflatable toy, it’s great for travel and storing away.

Age From: 6 Months+

Features:

Robust and durable phthalate-free PVC

Inflatable so good for travel and storage

3 colourful balls inside with bells

Can see inside the roller from either end and the little viewing window on the side

Supports baby as they learn to push themselves up

Dimensions: L40 D21cm

Hoodle Activity Toy

£26.99 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: Gifted at 8 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Auditory, Imaginative, Motor

Hoodle Activity Toy with many toys

This toy is magic because there’s SO much going on, its endless entertainment!
Although the manufacturer advises the age from 18 months, there’s definitely enough here for younger babies to enjoy and grow into eg. at first Jin couldn’t quite figure out how to use the hammer on the pinball game or the big button on the top but at 16 months he hammers away!

Its the perfect item to take out with you (noise and size permitting) like someone’s house because its an all-in-one.

Age From: 18 Months+

Features:

6 activity stations:
Pinball game with hammer
Button that plays sounds and music and a mini phone
Car steering wheel
Turning cogs with musical buttons
Microphone and sliders
Beads and large light up button

x3 AA batteries (not included)

Dimensions: H27 W31cm

My First Words, Lets Get Talking Board Book

£5.94 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: 11 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Language, Cognitive

My First Words Lets Get Talking Board Book
My First Words Lets Get Talking Board Book open

We searched long and hard for THE ‘First Words’ book. I mean, they’re all very similar so we didn’t need more than one at this stage.
There are so many to choose from that differed slightly on things like:

Illustration or photo
Retro 80s images or more up to date
Images grouped into categories or random
Many pages or a simple selection

In the end, this was the best out of them all. The images are good quality photos and pretty much up to date. I really like how the pages are tabbed into categories and the variety of images is just right.

Age From: Birth+

Features:

26 pages of very well chosen colour photos of animals, people, objects, shapes and numbers

Every 2 pages shows a theme like Around the House, Pets, At the park, Colours and Shapes

Pages have chunky tabs at the top and side so easy for little ones to grab

Whatever the image on the tab, it asks you to find that object on the page so a fun game to play!

Lot of images per page but it’s not overwhelming and are spaced out nicely

Dimensions: H21 W21cm

Night Monkey Day Monkey Board Book by Julia Donaldson

£5.94 @Amazon
Product Link

Age Purchased: 11 months
Used Until: Still using at 16 months
Focus Activity: Cognitive, Imaginative

Night Monkey Day Monkey Board Book
Night Monkey Day Monkey Board Book open

Since Jin’s books are mostly Japanese, it was time to buy some English ones so I browsed and bought a few at random! I grew up with mainly Japanese books so I have a bit of a blank on the popular ones for this age group like ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘Spot The Dog’.

I picked this one because the colours were fun and the illustration was so unusual. It’s Jin’s absolute favourite and I’ve read it SO many times, I know if off by heart.

Once he starts talking, we can read it together (^_^)

Age From: Birth+ (Reading Level 1-6 Years)

Features:

26 pages of colourful cuteness

Night monkey and Day monkey give each other a tour of their different life styles

Dimensions: H19 W15cm

Large Teethers

£3 – 10.99 @Amazon
Links below the product images

Age purchased at: 5 months
Used Until: 12 Months
Focus Activity: To soothe sore gums!

Teethers are a personal thing so you never really know which ones your baby will take to but we like these because they’re teethers but more often, they’re toys.

Jin would throw these chunky teethers around like a ball or hook them onto things and when going to restaurants, we would use the plastic links to connect them to his highchair.

Mulitcoloured Teethers x3
Playgro Bendy Ball £3 | Manhatten Toy Atom £10.99 | Nuby Loop £4.50

Age From: Playgro 6m+ | Manhatten Birth+ | Nuby 3m+

Features:

All are colourful, chunky and offer multiple ways to play with, as well as of course being teethers

Dimensions: Playgro 12cm | Manhatten 20cm | Nuby 12cm

Small Teethers

£4.50-8.99 @Amazon
Links below the product images

Age purchased at: 6-7 months
Used Until: 12 months
Focus Activity: Soothe sore gums!

These are the true teethers.
As I mentioned with the larger teethers above, you never know which ones are best for your baby so you just have to try them out.

Jin’s teeth came in quite early and one after the other so we tried A LOT of teethers at once to help him with the pain. Of them all, these were definitely the super stars.

At one point or another, they really helped Jin soothe his sore gums but the ones he used the most were:

Razberry – I could tell the little bumps massaged his gums nicely by the way he always moved the teether around his mouth. He would look for it whenever he seemed in pain.

Nuby Chewbies These have different sides to them and Jin clearly showed his preference, depending on what part of his gums were sore that day.

Age From:

Banana – not mentioned but looks fine from Birth+
Razberry – from Birth+
Ice Bite – from Birth+
Chewbies – from Birth+

Features:

All are BPA free silicone, dishwasher safe and can be connected to the pushchair/car seat/cot/babycarrier with plastic links

Dimensions:

Banana 10.5cm long
Razberry 7cm wide
Ice Bite 8cm long
Chewbies 6.5cm long

My Top 5 Of All These Baby Toys

Jin had VERY clear favourites that he used then and still uses now at 16 months.
Its been brilliant watching him figure out how to use each item and continue to discover.

They also helped him focus and play on his own, whereas before he wanted me next to him, so getting some time for myself has been great!

Vtech Turn and Learn Cube
Vtech Cube
John Lewis wooden stacking rings
John Lewis Stacking Rings
Vtech Baby’s First Laptop Open
Vtech Laptop
Vtech Swing and Sing Monkey
Vtech Monkey
Night Monkey Day Monkey Board Book
Night Monkey Day Monkey

Also Recommended by Parents

I went out and asked my mummy friends what toys their babies enjoyed when they were 6-12 months and here’s the top line up:

Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes @Amazon 3m+

Vtech Moosical Beads @Argos, 3m+

Skip Hop Follow Bee Crawl Toy @Argos, 5m+

LeapFrog My Pal Scout @Argos, 6m+

Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy @Argos, 6m+

Vtech Playtime Bus with Phonics @Argos – 2y+ but my friend’s baby is enjoying now at 16 months

Final Thoughts

So that was my list of Jin’s favourite toys during his 6-12 months. It was so hard to pick out only this selection because he has so many! But these are the everyday super stars and if he adores them this much, maybe your little ones might too (^_^)


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