Our "Five Little Stars" First Toys for Baby

Aside from the usual teddies and comforters-with-heads, of which I can find 8 in my house alone (I’m not convinced that this is a complete “head count” either), here are some ideas for a baby's first toy. There are SO many on the market. Don't waste your money! Babies don't need much. These toys below have all been road-tested in our house and were the definite favourites, in no particular order...

1. An Activity mat/gym.

We had the Fisher Price Rainforest Gym. This was actually a gift from friends when our boy was born. Such a wise gift it was. The positives: it totally engages the baby with the colours, lights, sounds and hanging animals, AND has a washable mat. Whilst my friend may have thought she was just giving me a baby gym, in fact she gave me the gift of numerous warm cups of tea, showers, trips to the toilet, and the ability to do some cooking in those early months. In fact, I believe she knew all this and that is probably a small part of the reason as to why she is now my girl’s “guidemother” (like a godmother).

The negative, the music continues to play in your head long after it has been switched off. This is a small price to pay my friends, trust me.

2. Activity toy.

Lamaze do a brilliant range of these. Colourful, tactile, engaging, entertaining.

We had a Freddie Firefly. He went everywhere with us. He hangs from a linky ring type clip so he can be attached and dangled from the car seat, pushchair, play gym…! He was another inspired gift.

3. Linky rings.

Probably the simplest concept there is. Plastic rings with textured edges that hook together. In the beginning just one is perfect to encourage grip, then 3 create a rattle for little hands, and the whole lot of them create a chain… or a snake. Just a few ideas! Also, when you are trying to attach that muslin cloth as a sunshade and have no hairclip to do so….use a linky ring! (that is of course if you didn’t buy a snooze shade (see other blog post!)

I heartily recommend, the “Manhattan Toy Links To Go” below.

4. Squishy Book

We had and loved this Lamaze one below. Great quality, caught my babies attention and withstood lots of sucking! 

But in looking for the link online for you, I see that there are many others in the same Lamaze range. I would trust the quality of this brand such that the others along the same theme would be equally well made, colourful and engaging, so take your pick!

5. Sophie the Giraffe

Or “Sophie la Giraffe”  as she is called here in France - which is indeed from where she originated,  is an institution! Sophie is a teething chew toy in the form of a rubber giraffe. She seems to be almost universally loved. I remember reading reviews, when heavily pregnant, comparing Sophie and alternative cheaper, but similar, teething toys. People who went to the dark side did not seem as satisfied. Follow the light, there is a reason everyone seems to have one, she is worth the price tag. I promise. 

Ps. There are many many toys in the “Sophie” range, but if you only invest in, or are gifted one, this should be it. 

6. Stacking cups

Again, another simple concept which has provided hours of fun, even still for my nearly 3 year old. I have 2 sets of these, both slightly different for different uses.  The first set we have contains 10 cups, they have the numbers on them and build a big tower. The second set we use as a bath set and has only 5 cups; 3 as simple cups and 2 with lots of holes in the bottom. I can’t remember the exact make of ones we have, but a quick search on Amazon will throw up many options. Here is one suggestion below. You can't really go wrong, so just pick ones that appeal.

7. Skwish

This is a wooden “ball” that you can squash, roll, is tactile, rattles. Beautifully made and colourful. In my view this is one of those wooden toys that should become a classic, if it isn’t already. 

8. Oball

Just perfect for little hands and as a first ball.  It is light and in a solid ball shape, yet squashy - you’ll understand what I mean once you have bought it! It is colourful and portable. I used to attach my “Boogin’ Head” dummy lanyard clip to this and attach it to the car seat strap or my baby. Ah yes, and just pop it in the dishwasher when it needs a clean.

I have noticed in the shops that there are many variations on a theme in their range, but I would say that the simplicity of this classic model seen below is, well, just right. 

9. Caterpillar Cogs by Melissa and Doug.

We utterly LOVE this and have bought it as a gift several times with positive responses. Again, simple, durable and my nearly 3 year old still plays with it.

There had to be a Melissa and Doug toy on my list. They are, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite toy manufacturers, for quality and imagination and downright fivelittlestar-ness.

10. Galt Play Nest

The perfect follow on from the baby gym. Great for tummy time, sitting up, great colours and entertaining features. Big enough for baby and some toys. Oh and super fun as you get bigger and your even bigger brother can drag you around in it like a sledge, and same big brother still likes to sit in it to read a book/watch TV, and also turn it upsidedown and bounce on it. Strong, washable, and because it is inflatable it can pack away small. Mine is currently out on loan to my very newest (quite utterly adorable) niece, but I’ve asked for it back, this one is a useful keeper for when friends with babies come to visit.

Kate x


The Amazon links above are FLS affiliate ones, for your shopping convenience.