My Favorite Baby Toys

The following content may contain affiliate links. When you click and shop the links, we receive a commission.

Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut

Baby Toys! There are thousands upon thousands of options to choose from! How do we pick the best? One of the most asked questions I’ve been getting since Major was born is what my favorite baby toys are for babies under a year old.  I have to say that a lot of toys have come through our doors, but between our move across the country last year, and the reorganizing and giving away that happens when a new child joins the family, only a select group have made the cut and stuck around.  This Winter, our family got the stomach bug– twice! As I was on my hands and knees sorting through mountains of toys to wash and disinfect I decided that it was time for a serious toy purge.  After going through all the toys and giving away about half (and we STILL have loads!) I realized that now is probably the best time to share my love for the toys that I’ve kept around through it all.  I’m sure you’ve already noticed most of these selections in my blog posts and on social media (after all, kids do play with toys all day!) but here is my official roundup of favorite toys for babies!

Eva Amurri Martino does a roundup of her favorite baby toys on HappilyEvaAfter.com

1. Margot The Turtle

This is one of the toys in the “Sophie The Giraffe” collection.  It’s a non-toxic, squeaky teething toy.  I love the turtle more than the Sophie because it’s round and easier for the baby to hold (I’ve found), and they love gnawing on it when those little teeth start popping up.  When cleaning this toy, I recommend spraying with nontoxic cleaning spray and wiping off instead of submerging in water– since if water gets trapped inside it can develop mold!

2.  Green Toys Airplane

I really love the Green Toys company because the toys are made from recycled materials, are totally nontoxic, extremely simple, and SO durable.  I have had this toy through three moves, a toddler, and a baby, and it has held up perfectly.  Marlowe still loves playing with it, and Major loves spinning the propeller and pushing it around.  It’s so easy to clean, too! Their pink convertible car toy is adorable as well.

3.  Eric Carle Developmental Ladybug

This is my favorite stroller/car seat toy.  It’s fun to play with, and has tons of textures, colors, and little activities attached.  It’s not as big and bulky as other stroller toys I’ve used, though, which I really appreciate.  I attach this to Major’s stroller straps to occupy him, and even bring it on the plane.

4.  Vtech Busy Learners Activity Cube

This toy is the bomb.  It was recommended to me by the instructor of a baby class in LA when Marlowe was just a few months old, and it’s been one of my favorite toys ever! Marlowe absolutely hated Tummy Time as a baby and this helped tremendously.  The little animals on the side light up and sing songs– Kyle and I know them by heart now.  Ha! Now Major is just as obsessed with this toy.  It’s so cute to me that this toy has seen both my kids through babyhood!

5.  Little Tykes Tap-A-Tune Piano

I’ve used this toy with both kids, and it has held up beautifully.  Major in particular absolutely loves this little piano.  He bangs out songs all day! It’s been a great way to occupy him both when he was on his tummy, as well as now that he is sitting up.

6.  Fisher Price Chatter Phone

Holy Throwback! I had this toy when I was a baby and I bet you did too! Talk about a classic.  I flipped when I saw that they still made this, and bought it when I was pregnant with Marlowe.  Both my kids love it, and we have fun pretending to call different family members and talk to them.  I was surprised my kids even recognized that it was a phone, since phones are normally flat and rectangular these days– LOL.

7.  Cage Bell

This musical toy is so simple and great.  It’s beyond easy to clean, and my kids both loved ringing the bell.  I usually toss this in the diaper bag for Major when we are traveling, since it will occupy him for a good chunk of time.

8.  Skip Hop Explore And More Owl

This is another toy I’ve owned for over three years.  It’s a cute version of a rattle, and it’s shape makes it easy for babies to grab on to.  Both my kids have loved this from when they were itty bitty babies!

9.  Peek-A-Baby Book

Soft books with flaps, squeaks, and rattles are always a total home run with babies under a year old.  This one is so cute, and occupies Major time and time again.  To wash it is super simple– just toss in the washing machine!

10.  Jelly Cat Stuffed Giraffe

I’m obsessed with Jelly Cat Stuffed Animals.  They’re so well made, and the most soft and snuggly.  There are so many different animals, sizes, styles– you name it.  Major is obsessed with giraffes, and this stuffed giraffe happens to be his fave.  It’s such a nice size and weight, and a pretty neutral color.  To be honest, I’ve pretty much tossed the non-Jelly Cat stuffed animals that we’ve accumulated over the years– the Jelly Cat ones are just much more nicely made.  I find that when you have kids, stuffed animals are like the opposite version of lost socks in the laundry conundrum:  I’m always looking around and being like “Where did these stuffed animals even COME FROM?!” LOL.

11.  Wooden Pull Toy

These toys are so classic! I know there are some people who are fully committed to wooden toys ONLY, and I can definitely appreciate that– even though it’s not the personal choice I made.  There is something so lovely and charming about wooden toys, and this one is as interactive as it is beautiful.  We gave Major this elephant for his First Christmas, and he loves it! We used a similar one to encourage Marlowe to crawl for the first time when she was just a little babe.

12. Fisher Price Brilliant Basics Xylophone

What can I say, my kids LOVE musical toys.  I also may or may not have taught myself a few complete nursery rhymes on this thing back when I was a bored first time Mom with a sleepy newborn and a husband who traveled all the time.  Oh WHAT I WOULD GIVE to feel bored again some time! LOL.  Maybe one day I’ll perform a concert of all my baby xylophone songs.  Madison Square Garden, prepare yourself!

13. Mega Bloks First Builders

I own like four sets of these, they’re amazing.  Marlowe and I love building fortresses, barns, garages, and mermaid lairs with these blocks.  Major loves it when I build tall towers and let him knock them down! What a boy, huh? The best part is I just throw the lot of them in the dishwasher whenever they need a good cleaning and it’s done in a jiffy!


Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut

Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut

Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut

Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut

Eight month old Major Martino sits among his colorful toys at home in Connecticut


Do you have any baby toys for babies under a year that you absolutely swear by? Please share with the community in the Comments below!


Photographs by Courtney Ann Photography





Share this post:

Leave a Comment:


  1. Brenda Pearson says:

    Major is one of the CUTEST little fellas ever!! You guys have beautiful children! You need to have a house full!!

    07.10.17 Reply
    • AWw thanks! We are definitely done at two, though. Ha!

      07.13.17 Reply
  2. Izzy says:

    HA! “The dog in the star, barks and runs far! Woof woof woof woof…”
    Gotta love that cube!

    07.10.17 Reply
  3. Colleen says:

    Thank you Eva!! I’m just putting together my registry for our first baby due in Nov. and think some of these will be making appearances!

    07.10.17 Reply
  4. Brittany says:

    Where is your toy chest from?

    07.10.17 Reply
  5. Great list! Yes, Jelly Cat stuffed animals are so good. We don’t have many stuffed animals but the ones we do are Jelly Cat. My son chews on the ears of the bunny he has and after I wash it each time in the washing machine it comes out looking brand new!

    07.10.17 Reply
  6. Milena says:

    Hey Eva! Great roundup! Where are your storage bins from?

    07.10.17 Reply
  7. Rachel Trimble says:

    Love these recommendations! I want to be intentional about the toys I bring home, and it seems each of these serves a unique purpose. Now…where did you get those toy boxes from?!

    07.13.17 Reply
    • Great to hear!
      The bins were custom– see above! The Land of Nod ones are very similar! xx

      07.13.17 Reply
  8. Savannah says:

    I’m currently 17 weeks pregnant with my 1st…this will help with the baby registry. I love that Fisher Price came back with some classic faves like that phone…I want to say maybe the record player as well?

    07.17.17 Reply
  9. Kelyn says:

    Thank you for all the great toy ideas! My little one is almost 8mo old and I am trying to step-up my toy game. Another baby ‘toy’ we CANNOT live without is the Angle Dear Blankie. ‘Bunny’ goes everywhere with us and my babe is totally attached to it. I should probably invest stock in this company because I will likely be buying way more of these to have as back-up! When he was an infant, the jelly cat ring rattles were also a favorite!



    07.17.17 Reply
  10. Andrea says:

    We love love (a little obsessed with) love Green Toys! They’re indestructible. I give the pink dump truck as gifts to my friend’s with daughters. Other toys that were winners: Baby Einstein Take along Tunes- looks like an old school iPod, lights up, with a handle. Touch & feel board books. Bert & Ernie dolls- found some 6ish inch soft stuffed dolls on Amazon. Duplos were and are a hit. Hot Wheels were and are number one in our house. Most of them are about a dollar and there are tons of varieties!

    10.28.17 Reply
  11. Naomi Phillips says:

    Have to say you have the most ADORABLE children. Thanks for the suggestions, will help with Christmas coming up.

    I recently brought VTech Baby Crawl Along Bear – it’s amazing!!

    11.02.17 Reply
  12. Trixie says:

    I LOVE this throwback post! Baby Majy cutey!

    07.16.19 Reply