NEWBORN toys may look cute and colourful, soft and stylish, but the best newborn toys are much more than an appealing exterior – they can stimulate baby and help with newborn development.
We’ve rounded up the best newborn toys using our own expertise and the best-ranked newborn toys available online and in stores.
Newborn toys help babies develop their touch, their listening skills, their vision – babies can only see in black, white and grey for the first few months, which is why you’ll find a selection of monochrome newborn toys available.
The best newborn toys can also help to soothe baby, like a teether they can chew on or a music or light-up toy that might help ease them to sleep.
We’d also recommend getting your newborn a baby play mat or baby gym: with a variety of dangling toys to help grasping, as well as lights, mirrors and sound (depending on the model you choose), baby gyms are great for giving newborn babies a space to wriggle around on, or to practice neck-strengthening tummy time.
If you’re looking for a newborn toy to give a friend or relative’s new baby, you don’t need to spend a huge amount to get a great gift. Many of the best newborn toys are under £20.
Remember, newborn babies are changing every day, and as they get more alert and curious, new interests will develop. So if they don’t respond to a newborn toy at first, try, try again.
1. Best newborn books
- Just Like... the Animals cloth book, £12.97 at Amazon - buy here
- Guess How Much I Love You board book, £5.99 at Amazon - buy here
- On the Move board book, £5.39 at Amazon - buy here
It's never too soon to start reading to your newborn, and high-contrast, black and white books that are easier for babies to focus on are ideal for newborns.
Board books are more durable for babies who tend to chew, throw and tear their books - even by 18 months, babies haven't quite mastered the art of looking after literature yet.
Cloth books are another lovely choice for newborns. They love the various textures and tactile feel, and they can even snuggle up with these in bed.
We'd also recommend investing in a few classics for this stage: babies enjoy repetition and routine, and reading to them before bedtime is a ritual both parents and babies will come to love.
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram, is one of those books you can read again and again and again.
2. Best newborn bath toys
- Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles bath toy, £12.40 for 4 at Amazon - buy here
- TOMY Toomies Do Re Mi Dolphins Baby Bath Toy, £19.99 at Amazon - buy here
OleOletOy Baby Bath Toy Stacking Cups, £14.55 at Amazon - buy here
Bath time will quickly become one of baby's favourite times of the day, and is useful for helping them to establish a consistent bedtime routine.
Toys can help if your baby isn't super keen on the water, and these also provide educational value as your child grows.
Munchkin's Float and Play bath bubbles are a popular choice with parents; visually stimulating, they also work as shaker rattles in the bath and don't get mouldy the way lots of squirting toys do.
TOMY Toomies' colourful dolphins are a fun grow-with-your-baby toy which play music to delight even the youngest children.
Stacking cups are are a fun first bath toy for babies, and OleOleToy's stacking cups include a watering can and floral water wheel that spins as water cascades down it.
3. Best newborn sleep toys
- Musical Mobile - Cloud, £35 at Mamas & Papas - buy here
- Ewan the Dream Sheep, £29.99 at Argos - buy here
Snüz SnüzCloud Sleep Aid, £29.99 at John Lewis - buy here
Newborn babies will get plenty of cuddly toys from family and friends; some are harder-working than others.
Ewan the Dream Sheep is a bedtime favourite; he emits a soft glow so acts as a nightlight of sorts, and also plays womb sounds (as well as rain, hoover, harp and heartbeat noises) to help settle cranky babes.
It attaches to the cot, car seat or buggy so can be used on the go.
A musical mobile is another option for a toy that calms and entertains baby at once - Mamas & Papas' Cloud version has lovely felt shapes and plays lullabies to soothe your newborn to sleep.
The brand behind the popular Snüzpod bedside crib have created the SnüzCloud, a soft toy sleep aid that emits four different sounds including a heartbeat to mimic mum's womb and pink noise (think of it as white noise, intensified).
It also glows pink or white, and can easily attach onto the cot, crib, pram or car seat.
4. Best newborn musical toys
- Personalised Colourful Wooden Xylophone Toy, £22 at My 1st Years - buy here
- Stoie's- 18 Piece Musical Instrument Set, £25.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Hallit Baby's 1st Birthday band, £22 at Argos - buy here
If you buy only one toy for your newborn, we think it should be a musical instrument of some kind: maracas, a rattle, a drum.
Baby will respond to the sounds from birth, and as they get older and more independent, they will happily pick up their instruments and start shaking them on their own.
A personalised toy, like a xylophone from My 1st Years, is a popular baby gift that little ones will start getting enjoyment from the moment they learn to pick up those wooden sticks.
We'd also recommend musical instrument sets with a range of toys like tambourines, castanets and shakers.
These are ideal for babies and toddlers and are the perfect accompaniment to morning or afternoon singing sessions together.
5. Best newborn clip-on toys
- Lamaze Flapping Fiona, £14.23 at Amazon - buy here
- Lamaze Freddie The Firefly, £10.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Taf Toys Clip On Pram Book, £12.99 at Amazon - buy here
Clip-on toys are brilliant on-the-go toys for little ones, that can be easily attached to car seats, cots and prams.
Lamaze is the go-to brand for newborn toys of this variety - their clip-on toys, like this flamingo, have various surfaces for newborn to explore over months and months. This specific design is an award-winner because of its cool flapping wings (just pull the clip and watch 'em go).
Freddie the Firefly is another popular Lamaze sensory toy that's a riot of sound and colour.
A two-sided clip on book, for cots or prams, is perfect for keeping newborns entertained in bed (use the black and white side from birth). They'll especially love the mirror.
6. Best newborn baby gyms
- Baby Einstein Rhythm Reef Play Gym, £40 at Argos - buy here
- Carnival 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym, £25 at Argos - buy here
Bright Starts 5-in-1 Your Way Ball Play, Mat & Activity Gym, £74.07 at Amazon - buy here
A baby gym or play mat is a brilliant buy for newborns and helps to develop fine and gross motor skills.
It also serves as a play mat, tummy time station, and can entertain baby in lots of different ways, with toys, music, lights and more.
You can find one that ticks most of the boxes you need it to for under £30, however if you want to invest in a newborn-to-toddler design, then Bright Starts' 5-in-1 activity gym goes from play mat to play gym to tummy time area to ball pit, so kids will be able to use it for years.
7. Best newborn wearable toys
- Fox's Felts Cleo Teething Necklace, £13.99 at NOHS - buy here
- ThinkMax 4PCS Baby Rattles, £10.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Sock Ons Twiddle Ons, £10 at JoJo Maman Bébé - buy here
Because everyone knows that babies love discovering their own body parts - and fingers and toes are some of the best toys.
Wrist rattles and sensory socks stay on baby's feet and have sounds, colours and textures to entertain newborns.
Parents can also put them on hands to act as puppets.
Another wearable toy - for parents to wear and babies to enjoy - is a teething necklace. These days, you can find ones so stylish, you can't tell they're not real jewellery.
8. Best newborn wooden toys
- king do way Wooden Rainbow blocks, £13.99 at Amazon - buy here
- John Lewis & Partners Wooden Baby Walker and Bricks, £45 at John Lewis - buy here
- Manhattan Toy Skwish Classic Rattle, £14 at Amazon - buy here
- Jaques of London - 13 pcs Shape Sorter, £13.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Hape Wooden Pull-A-Long Noah's Ark Pull Toy, £23 at Amazon - buy here
Wooden toys are on the rise with parents, who like their eco-credentials and stylish appearance.
They're also popular with newborns, and are great first toys for stacking, building, pulling, chewing and shape-sorting.
From rattles to pull-along walkers, these all grow with babies too, and will help promote their motor development.
9. Best newborn sensory toys
- Cheeky Chompers Comfortchew, £13.99 at John Lewis - buy here
VTech Lights and Stripes - Zebra, £16 at Argos - buy here
- Urmelody Inflatable Water Mat, £7.79 at Amazon - buy here
- Bright Starts Sit and See Safari Floor Mirror, £9.99 at Amazon - buy here
Sensory toys with different textures, colours, sounds and lights are brilliant for young babies.
From portable blankets with texture tags for babies to pull and chew to mirror toys for them to stare at, these toys help babies develop strength (the mirror is great for tummy time) as well as promote interactive and auditory development.
An inflatable water mat lets babies press down on sea creatures floating inside, and works well as a space for them to lie down or practice tummy time.
10. Best newborn teething toys
- Matchstick Monkey Teething Toy, £9.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Sophie La Girafe - Giraffe Teether Set, £20 at ELC - buy here
- Comotomo teether toy, £14.99 at Amazon - buy here
A teething toy can help ease baby's discomfort when those first teeth start to come in - and then some.
Comotomo's teether is the most innovative teething toy on the market (we think).
Made of silicone, it offers plenty for baby to explore (with fingers or mouth), thanks to its finger-shaped prongs and easy-grip design.
Sophie La Girafe has been beloved by babies for over 50 years. The toy is useful for teething but also squeaks for babies to enjoy and want to play with all the time.
The award-winning Matchstick Monkey comes in a rainbow of colours and is a favourite toy/toothbrush/teething gel applicator described by reviewers as 'the best teething toy hands down'.
11. Best newborn mobiles
- Tiny Love Classic Mobile, £28.95 at Amazon - buy here
- Kids' Concept Edvin music box, £30 at Alex and Alexa - buy here
Fisher-Price Butterfly Dreams 3-in-1 Projection Mobile, £26.95 at Amazon - buy here
Mobiles straddle the line between newborn toy and nursery room decor piece.
They also help promote baby's development, entertain them and soothe them to sleep.
Choose from stylish felted designs, musical mobiles and designs with light projectors.
12. Best newborn soft toys
- Jellycat Bashful Bunny Soft Toy, Really Big, £85 at John Lewis - buy here
- LeapFrog My Puppy Pal Violet, £19.99 at Amazon - buy here
Personalised Grey Elephant Soft Toy, £26 at My 1st Years - buy here
Little Cub Hugs Teddy, from £11.90 at Build-A-Bear - buy here
Not all cuddly toys are created equal, but they do make brilliant newborn gifts.
Scout (along with purple version Violet) can be programmed and personalised for your baby, saying their name, favourite foods, favourite activities and more.
Scout also sings and offers learning activities; connect to LeapFrog Learning Path to download more songs and activities as baby grows older.
For other personalised soft toys baby will love and cherish throughout childhood, you can always get them a one-of-a-kind Build-A-Bear or personalised teddy from My 1st Years. The Build-A-Bear teddies can be made bespoke with your own voice recordings, sounds, scents, clothing and accessories.
A giant Jellycat toy is great for making a statement in any room.
13. Best newborn on-the-go toys
- Bright Starts Take Along Toy Bar, £9.99 at Amazon - buy here
- Oball Flex-n-Go Activity Arch Take-Along Toy, £14.99 at Amazon - buy here
Pixnor Baby Spiral Activity Hanging Toys, £13.99 at Amazon - buy here
Vtech Toot-Toot Drivers Pushchair Driver Toy, £17.99 at Amazon - buy here
As anyone who's every tried to leave the house with a newborn in tow will tell you, it helps to have a toy or two that you can attach to the car seat or buggy.
Bright Starts' musical and light-activated toy bar has a mirror, rattle, four melodies and textured rings, and can be attached to the car seat to keep little one entertained in the car - it also hooks onto the pram for travel entertainment wherever you're headed.
An activity arch is a versatile toy that can be used as a buggy bar or hang above baby's car seat, while a cuddly spiral toy wraps around cots, buggy bars and car seats.
Any toy that puts baby in the driver's seat while they're out and about in the buggy will also be a hit, and V Tech's Toot Toot Drivers' toy is a popular choice.
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