Want to know a secret? – I am a bit of a cheapy. Babies outgrow *everything* too fast but one way we can solve this problem is by buying baby toys that will last because they can grow into them!
Why not just buy any toy you want
If you were to have asked me 5 years ago how many baby toys I was going to be okay with, I would have thought that was a silly question and told you the limit does not exist! Now, fast forward to being married to a minimalist who does excruciating amounts of research before buying *anything* (can anyone say enneagram 5 much?). That, plus the realization that toys cost money – a ridiculous amount of money – meant that my new answer to your question is “whatever’s necessary.”
Not every toy has to be long lasting
Before you start passing judgement, let me clarify – our child has AMPLE amounts of toys! The difference between our toys and a “normal” baby’s toys is that ours have been severely vetted to find that they are suitable for more than one developmental stage. This doesn’t mean that I don’t see a toy and buy it for her occasionally, or that anyone that buys her a gift has to do research. I am talking about the big-ticket items that can add up over time or take up lots of space; like a bouncer, bath toys, activity tables, etc.
My baby is 9 months old currently and most of her toys were purchased when she was somewhere between newborn and 3 months old. Playtime is not just for toddlers; babies are ready to learn and explore from the moment they are born. The best toys to buy for babies 0-3 months old are ones that will grow with them.
Baby toys that last longer than a few months
For much of the beginning stages of play, it might be a lot of visual aspects where they are watching someone else manipulate the toys. High contrast visuals are great for little ones, but don’t necessarily last a long time. For some FREE resources check out my Freebies page where you can download High Contrast Animals and High Contrast Shapes!
Many of the toys you will find in this list are visually stimulating for younger babies and they can grow into playing with them more as they develop!
My #1 Recommendation!
The Skip Hop Explore and More Follow-Me Bee is the BEST developmental and long-lasting toy I absolutely LOVE! I bought this when my little one was a few old – she was a preemie and I was trying to stimulate her enough to wake her up. This toy has 3 settings: in place play, circular motion, and explorer mode.
When my baby was a few weeks old, I would turn it on and we would watch it go in circles. Once she was old enough to hold onto things, we would grab the bee while the cloud spun. Then she developed into scooching, so we would turn on the circular motion and she would scooch to stop it and grab the bee. Now, we put it on the exploration mode and she crawls after it!
If there is only 1 toy I could recommend for developmental purposes I would recommend this toy!
Block Shape Sorters like this one!
This shape sorter is great because it is brightly colored and babies can grab the shapes before they even know what to do with them! As your baby develops they will learn new ways to manipulate the toys, then learn to put them in the correct slots, and eventually learn the names of the shapes.
Texture Balls like this one!
The Sassy Developmental Bumpy Ball may seem like a silly toy to consider as “one that grows with your baby” but now hear me out!
This was one of the first toys I got for my 1 1/2 month old because she loved looking at things and swinging her arms around. This ball has so many colors, visual components, depth, and a noise making part! There are two bumps that have plastic balls in them and mirrors so they make noise when you hit it (remember when I said she liked to swing her arms?). When we got it, I would sit in front of her and turn it so she could see all of the colors. When she would swing her arms or legs, I would put the ball in her line of fire and watch her face light up as it made noise.
Once my little one got a little bigger, she started feeling the bumps for herself and squishing the ball. Now that she is 9 months old, she picks it up and shakes it, squeezes the bumps, and feels the textures with her fingers!
A Combo Walker and Bouncer like this one!
Personally, I love the Tiny Love 4-in-1 Here I Grow Walker and Mobile Activity Center because it can be used in SO MANY WAYS! It can come in pink and green or green and teal.
My baby started out being supported by ample amounts of blankets and watching as I played with it. Then, she began playing with it by herself and it has been a blast ever since! It is a fun baby seat, a walker, a bouncer, a push walker, and a play table for when your baby has mastered their movement development! I love how many stages it covers for just one toy and I was able to buy it and use it when she was only a month or two old!
A Sit-to-Stand Walker like this one!
If the Tiny Love Walker was too much or too bulky for you, then try the VTech First Steps Walker! This one doesn’t last quite as long, but it’s great for babies that can sit up. At the beginning stages, the front piece is great for interaction. Eventually they can use it to stand up and walk!
A Foam Baby Mat like this one!
While Foam Letter Mats are super great, this foam mat by Creative Baby is interactive! They have different “themes” that allow for children to use the interactive pen to touch the animals and they make noises and say what the animal is. Before your baby is ready for learning their animals, this works great as a play area mat by itself! If you are following me on Instagram, you will see plenty of my Underwater Mat and my On Land Mat.
We like to use it with our Northern States SuperYard and make a safe and fun play area for our little one!
A Car Mirror like this one!
While any car baby mirror will do the trick, the Brica Baby In-Sight Owl Car Mirror plays up to 30 minutes of sleepy or happy music while playing a correlating light show. As the driver, you can easily switch the tunes or adjust the volume with the remote. This car mirror is visually stimulating enough for new babies without being outgrown when they become a toddler. This mirror is great for the entirety of having a rear-facing baby!
A Play Gym for Tummy Time and More!
One of my baby’s first Christmas presents was the Fisher-Price Deluxe Kick and Play Piano Gym. She started by laying on the fun colored mat for tummy time, looking at all of the brightly colored animals at only a month old (remember, she was a preemie). Then, the following month she was watching the overhead hanging toys and eventually started swatting at them. By her third month she was kicking the piano and grabbing the toys. Now that she is 9 months old, she likes to play with the piano and the mat has retired.
The best feature about this toy is that the piano can detach so you aren’t left with a large, clunky, out of date toy that old gets parts of it played with! It comes in green or pink.
A Pop-Up Tent like this one!
This toy isn’t a great newborn purchase, I would recommend buying this around the 9-12 month range. My little girl just got interested in forts and tunnels and such so this is perfect! This toy has the potential to last up to 5 years (and by then you might have another one to keep it relevant!)
Clip and Go toys like this one!
Again, this is a great visual toy for tiny babies and becomes more hands-on as they develop. The Lamaze Clip and Go Peacock has a squeaker, mirror, crinkle paper, teethers, a rattle, and more!
Stackable Rings like these!
I highly recommend the Sassy Stackable Rings because they are great for STEM learning! My little one loved these from 1 month old; they were fun to look at, then they became fun to touch, then fun to eat, and now they’re fun to stack! Each ring has a different pattern, weight, size, and texture to promote all kinds of exploration and learning!
A Baby Swing like this one!
I love my Little Tikes 2-in-1 Snug and Secure Grow with Me swing and so does my little one; comes in blue or pink. This toy is great because it gives mama and baby a break from the typical playtime and allows for other ways to play!
A Ride-on toy like this one!
The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train is another great alternative for walker for similar reasons. Before your baby is ready to stand, ride, and move, they can use the play panel on the side.
An Activity Cube like this one!
Activity cubes are great for so many reasons and help with many forms of development. This one has 6 sides that allow for baby to manipulate different pieces and learn more about their world. I would recommend this one around the 9 month mark as well, when your baby starts standing and using furniture to move around. The heavy-weight toy will be great for up to 3-5 years to come!
A Learning Table like this one!
A learning table is a little bit different from an activity cube. The Baby Einstein Learning Table lights up, playing music, and allows for various learning opportunities for your little one. A learning table is better for younger children
What do you think?
Did you see something you loved? What toys would you recommend for long lasting use? Let me know in the comments!