10 Best Sensory Toys for Babies & Toddlers (2018 Guide)

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Hands-on activities are one of the biggest contributors to  toddlers’ sensory development. It is also called sensory play and simply comes down to exploring the world that they live in. Sensory toys are the product of extensive research and aim to improve language development, cognitive growth, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, problem-solving skills, and social interaction.

Bright colors, different textures, sounds, and aromas or flavors are all used by these products to teach children how to get information by using their senses. Sensory toys for toddlers may specialize in their own area of development or in the overall development of specific age groups.

If you want to optimize your toddler’s sensory development but struggle to find the right toys for their specific needs, you can start by taking a look at this list of 10 best sensory development toys for toddlers. All these picks are safe and you will be able to buy most of them online.

Reviews of the Best Sensory Toys for Toddlers

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
TOP PICK
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker Amazon Exclusive, Blue
First 100 Words Book and Building Block Set for Toddlers- 40 PC Wooden Alphabet Block Set and First...
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker Amazon Exclusive, Blue
First 100 Words Book and Building Block Set for Toddlers- 40 PC Wooden Alphabet Block Set and First...
from $37.75
$34.99
$34.95
-
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
from $37.75
-
TOP PICK
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker Amazon Exclusive, Blue
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker Amazon Exclusive, Blue
$34.99
First 100 Words Book and Building Block Set for Toddlers- 40 PC Wooden Alphabet Block Set and First...
First 100 Words Book and Building Block Set for Toddlers- 40 PC Wooden Alphabet Block Set and First...
$34.95

1. Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

This is one of the best sensory toys for 1-year olds, especially if they are still learning to walk. The Sit-to-Stand walker from VTech is an interactive play panel that offers walking support to toddlers. The panel stimulates the development of fine motor skills with its 5 piano keys that play music, 2 colorful spinning rollers, 3 shape sorters, and 3 buttons that light up when pressed.

Pros

–    Wheels work on carpeted as well as hardwood floors.

–    Available in orange for boys and lavender for girls.

–    More than 70 songs and sound effects for auditory development.

2. Fischer-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair

This highly interactive chair from Fischer-Price can be set to suit your toddler’s stage in his sensory development. It consists of a bright and friendly yellow chair with a high-quality plastic booklet on the left armrest and keypad with a speaker on the right. The booklet has colorful pages that teach your toddler different words, shapes, numbers and colors. Key in your child’s developmental stage from 1 to 4 and the smart stages will change sounds and music accordingly.

Pros

–    Tuned to your toddler’s specific developmental stage.

–    The chair makes full use of colors and sounds to stimulate your toddler.

–    Variety of sounds boosts your toddler’s auditory sensory memory.

3. First 100 Words Board Book

First 100 Words by Roger Priddy is an excellent tool to help your toddler build vocabulary. It pairs 100 words with their corresponding pictures that your toddler can learn. As your toddler see these objects in real life, he or she will find it easier to remember the corresponding words. The book is made from quality, non-toxic materials.

Pros

–    Made from a high-quality board that will last for years.

–    Padded cover that has a different texture from the pages.

–    Promotes the development of language skills and vocabulary building.

4. VTech Musical Rhymes Book

Interactive rhymes book that stimulates fine motor skills and cerebral development. The pages have bright colors, are easy to turn and features more than 40 songs, melodies, and phrases. It also comes with 6 classic nursery rhymes. There are 5 colorful piano buttons that make sounds in two modes of play: musical and learning mode. This book provides ample interaction, visual stimulation, and learning.

Pros

–    Easy for toddlers to use on their own

–    The book contains many different activities that kids can do

–    Made from high-quality and non-toxic materials

–    Stimulate language development and musical interest

5. Melissa & Doug Monster Plush 6-pin Bowling Game

A colorful and creative product that aims to enhance your toddler’s balance and hand-eye coordination. All the pins and the bowling ball are designed to look like friendly little monsters to feed your toddler’s imagination. They are made from durable and safe synthetic material that has a soft texture. All the pins have heavy bottoms to keep them standing up.

Pros

–    Easy to for toddlers to handle and carry around.

–    Throwing the ball at the pins promotes ball sense and hand-eye coordination.

–    You get a carrying bag to make storage and traveling easier.

–    Detailed and multi-textured design for sensory stimulation.

6. Fischer-Price Laugh and Learn Singin Soccer Ball

A unique and friendly football that teaches your toddler different phrases, words, numbers, opposites, and colors. Choose from 3 different types of interactive play: music, learning, or imagination. To activate the songs and phrases, simply press, shake, or roll the ball. You can also adjust the volume control so that your toddler can play quietly. Play with the ball yourself to show your toddler how. At first, your little one will imitate you and later play and learn independently.

Pros

–    Active play that is highly interactive and educational

–    The ball is machine washable

–    The volume is adjustable

7.  VTech Turn and Learn Driver

The Turn and Learn driver consists of a steering wheel that your toddler can use to move a friendly dog to the left or right. This product has many educational and stimulating interactive features and can be especially fun for toddlers that are old enough to imitate driving a car. The dashboard also features a gear shift knob, signal lever, side mirror, and sounds that include phrases, melodies, and names of vehicles and animals.

Pros

–    Provides ample interaction and stimulation

–    Encourages creativity and imagination

–    Has three interesting and engaging learning modes

–    Lots of different textures and mechanical movements develops fine motor skills

8. VTech Sort and Discover Activity Cube

The Sort and Discover Activity Cube are filled to the brim with interactive and stimulating activities for your toddler. 5 sides of the cube contain a total of 7 activities and more than 70 songs and melodies as well as sounds from different vehicles, animals, and nature. This cube is ideal for autistic toddlers as is aims to enhance cognitive abilities and creativity.

Pros

–    This cube’s different moving parts and activities will keep your toddler occupied for hours.

–    The cube is easy for toddlers to move around and carry from one place to another.

–    Made from high-quality and safe materials

9. VTech 3-in-1 Learning Zebra Scooter

The 3-in-1 Learning Zebra Scooter can be converted from a walker to a ride-on toy, depending on his developmental stage. Apart from increased mobility, this scooter contains an entire play center to keep your toddler playing and learning. It teaches your toddler names of animals and colors and features more than 90 songs, phrases, and sound effects. The scooter also introduces your baby to objects like a compass, walkie-talkie, horn, and flashlight.

Pros

–    The scooter can be used for years as you can change it according to your toddler’s development.

–    Enhances visual and auditory perception and cerebral development.

–    Increase your toddler’s mobility and walking ability.

10. LeapFrog My LapPup Scout

If you are shopping for the best sensory toys for 2-year olds, take a look at My Pal Scout from LeapFrog. Connect Scout to the LeapFrog Learning Path to access all its learning features. The dog has an animated mouth that sings and plays with your toddler and it can even play a game of peek-a-boo. Ideal toy to teach your toddler the names of different shapes and colors, as well as counting and opposites.

Pros

–    Features more than 40 different sounds and tunes.

–    Easy to clean and take along on trips.

–    Improves auditory, visual, and tactile perception.

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Sensory Toys for Toddler

Safety

Safety is the most important consideration when designing and developing a product for toddlers. Small pieces that can accidentally be swallowed, ribbons, sharp edges or points, and toxic or hazardous materials should be avoided at all costs. Every product and toy in this list is completely safe for your toddler to use.

Functionality

Evaluate the Best Sensory Toys for Toddler
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The products should provide toddlers with the opportunity to gain information from their senses. Creative application of sounds, colors, textures and even flavors in these products can promote development and self-awareness of your toddler’s senses.

Learning is another function of sensory products. Animal names, opposites, different colors, and numbers are basic things that toddlers can easily learn while they are playing. Playing is the primary way of learning and obtaining new information, and it is important to make sure that a product encourages active play.

[Relevance: Best Toy Storage Box]

Quality

Sensory toys are made to be touched and handled, sometimes aggressively. Durability is a key consideration when looking to buy a sensory toy. All the toys in this list are made from high-quality materials and can last long enough to pass down to younger siblings.

Toddler’s preferences

All of the products in this list are proven to be used and enjoyed by toddlers. Sometimes you may buy an expensive product, only to find it discarded in a corner somewhere. The more toddlers enjoy playing with a product, the more engaged they are, and the more they learn. When you are looking at products that are not on this list, be sure to check out online reviews and find out if other children like playing with the sensory toy.

Do I Need Sensory Toys for Preschoolers?

Sensory toys that are specifically developed for preschoolers can help them to develop confidence, basic knowledge, and independence. Pre-schoolers are no longer toddlers, but they still like to play and interact with different types of toys, especially ones that encourage creativity, imagination, and independence.

Since they are older, they may be able to play with toys that require fine motor skills like little building blocks, puzzles, interactive board games, or fine motor toolsets.

Things to Consider When Selecting a Sensory Toy for Your Toddler

Developmental stage

Selecting a Sensory Toy for baby
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When selecting a toy for your toddler, make sure that on what stage they are in the development so that you can get a toy that challenges and stimulates them enough to make them interested, but not too challenging. If a toy is below their level of development, it may also fail to interest your toddler.

Determining where your child may have a shortfall can also help you choose an appropriate sensory toy. If they have difficulty with visual perception, for example, select a toy that specializes in improving a toddler’s visual development. To find this out, you may have to visit a child psychologist or other professional that have insights into child development.

Price

Price is not necessarily an indicator of the developmental value that a toy has. DIY sensory toys for toddlers may cost next to nothing but may still result in vast improvements in a child’s sensory development. Cheap products may, however, be an indication of poor quality and it is worth your while to shop around for a high-quality equivalent, even if it is more expensive.

Reviews

Knowing what other parents’ experience with a toy was can give you a clear indication of the toy’s quality and sensory developmental success. Make sure that you only look at verified purchase reviews as these are usually honest and objective. Many people that actually take the time to leave a review have something to say about a product, and if you are thinking about buying, take the time to read through the reviews.

Know what is important to you when reading reviews and pay attention to reviews that relate to quality and durability, safety, as well as sensory development. If the seller received bad reviews because of lacking customer service, see if you can find the same product somewhere else.

Awards

Child development organizations will often award developers of products that are extensively researched to boost toddlers’ sensory development and cerebral stimulation. It is definitely worth checking out these companies and their products if you are choosing a sensory development toy. There are a lot of reputable companies, including the ones on this list, that design and sell sensory toys, and they are easy to find. Visit their websites and online stores to see what else they have.

Our Favorite Sensory Toys

Your toddler goes through many different stages of development and in many different ways. Intellectual, physical, and emotional development can be significantly boosted by the right sensory toys. Many of these toys provide all-in-one sensory stimulation for toddlers in certain stages and you can hardly go wrong when choosing any of the products on this list.

Acquaint yourself with the different areas and stages of sensory development and take active steps to ensure that you know where your toddler is in the developmental spectrum and also where he or she is supposed to be.  The right sensory toy can get your toddler back on track or ahead of the age group by encouraging active play, creativity, and engaging all the senses.

Your toddler is at an exciting stage of his or her development. The right sensory toy can provide both you and your toddler with good times and fun learning activities that you may remember for the rest of your life.

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