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The Best Sensory Toys

Last updated on March 15, 2024
Best Sensory Toy

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Our Picks For The Top Sensory Toys

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

Sassy Rattling Textured Sensory Toy

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Rattling Textured Sensory Toy

One of the top sensory toys designed for babies, the Sassy Stretchy String Sensory Toys features more than 10 large bumps that each have a unique texture. Tiny hands are able to grab the bumps and explore the different materials. The ball is also constructed using a variety of bright colors and patterns, which provide important visual stimulation f...

Overall Take

Multiple Textured BumpsBoth the bright colors and multiple textured bumps found on the Sassy Stretchy String Sensory Toys provide important sensory input for newborns.

 Strong Contender

Impresa Products Monkey Noodle Sensory Toys For Kids, 5-Piece

Impresa Products

Monkey Noodle Sensory Toys For Kids, 5-Piece

Although these sensory toys for kids start out at a length of 10 inches, they actually stretch to reach a length of 8 feet! The set includes a total of five noodles, all of which are a different color. Kids will love twirling, twisting, tying and stretching these noodles, as well as squishing them in between their fingers.

Overall Take

Super StretchyThese sensory toys for kids are BPA, phthalate and latex-free.

 Best Doodle Board

Crayola Travel Activity Doodle Board


Travel Activity Doodle Board

Allow your child to explore his or her creativity without the mess when you purchase the Crayola Musical Doodle Board. The surface is made of an enclosed gel that kids can draw on with their fingers or any type of stylus tool. The board is also equipped with 12 different colors and six fun songs, which your child can easily change with the touch of...

Overall Take

Mess-Free ArtThe Crayola Musical Doodle Board gives toddlers a chance to be creative without the mess that comes with traditional paints.

 Best Blocks

Infantino Building Textured Sensory Toy


Building Textured Sensory Toy

Once toddlers are ready to learn how to build using blocks, you'll want to start off with a simple set like the Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks. These blocks don't require as much effort to push together or pull apart, which reduces frustration. Unlike some blocks that only allow toddlers to build upward, these blocks also allow you to buil...

Overall Take

Best Building BlocksLittle hands won't have any trouble putting the Infantino Press and Stay Sensory Blocks together or pulling them apart.

Buying Guide

The input we receive through our sensory systems helps us learn about the environment around us. This is why sensory play is so important for developing babies. To encourage your infant or toddler to explore and to help them grow, you’ll want to introduce them to a variety of sensory toys.

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Like most toys for babies, the best ones are safe to chew and easy to wash,” says parenting expert Kate Desmond. “As your child starts to develop, look for toys that provide a challenge — think little puzzles, fun games and building activities.

Consider toys that are easy for tiny hands to grasp, especially if the toy is for an infant. You’ll also want to make sure all of the surfaces are soft to the touch and that they contain no sharp edges. The Sassy Stretchy String Sensory Toys is an excellent choice, as it features over 10 large bulges that stick out of a soft ball. Each of the bulges are made of a different type of material, so that your baby can explore contrasting textures as they move from grabbing one to another.

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Look for sensory toys that appeal to your baby’s sense of sound. You may find some that act as rattles, with little balls inside that make a fun noise when your baby shakes them back and forth. You may also opt for a toy that plays a variety of songs when the baby presses a button. This type of toy is also good for teaching little ones about cause and effect.

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When purchasing for an infant, look for soft touch, bright colors and fun sounds,” says Desmond. “The idea is to indulge the senses. Give your baby different textures to explore, helping them to understand the world around them.”

Stimulating your baby’s eyesight is also important. Toys with bright colors and different patterns are a good choice. The Crayola Musical Doodle Board has 12 light colors that appeal to toddlers. The enclosed gel surface allows babies to practice drawing using their fingers, while preventing the type of mess that comes with fingerpaints.

Search for sensory toys that are lightweight and easy to transport. This way you’ll have a few toys that your child can carry in his car seat or play with in his stroller while you take a walk around the park. The SMALL FISH Fidget Toys Set comes with 22 different compact toys that are travel-friendly.

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Sensory toys are great for on-the-go situations too. Public places can be overwhelming for a child, so having a toy of this type can help them self soothe. Just make sure the sensory toy you choose is portable,” Desmond says.

Older children would do better with sensory toys that help them develop problem-solving skills. The Neliblu Snap and Click Fidget Toys, for example, allows kids to build a house, car or animal by simply pressing the different pieces together. In addition to connecting on the top and bottom, the pieces also fit together on the sides. That means children have the opportunity to explore a bunch of different combinations. The pieces are also easy to snap together and a cinch to pull apart, so your child won’t get frustrated during play.

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The best sensory toys combine action and brain power — keeping the mind and hands busy,” says Desmong. “These handheld toys are great for fidgeting babies and kids and can keep attention focused.”

Take into consideration any special needs that your child may have. If he or she has a tendency to fidget, for example, keep your eye out for sensory toys that will keep the child’s hands busy. Perhaps your child needs a challenge. If this is the case, then you’ll want to look for a puzzle toy instead, as this type of sensory toy enhances critical thinking skills.

Our Expert Consultant

Kate Desmond 
Parenting Pro and Safe-Sleep Expert

Kate Desmond is a writer and infant safe-sleep expert. She has spent the last eight years working as the marketing director for Charlie’s Kids Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to educate families about SIDS and safe sleep. In that role, she travels around the country learning and educating caregivers and providers on the latest and greatest safe-sleep information to prevent infant death.

As mom to two elementary-aged daughters, she spends hours researching the best and safest products for her own kids. She is quick to get in the weeds with other mamas, and uses humor to cope with parenting woes from potty-training to teaching kids to read.

What to Look For

  • When purchasing toys from overseas, you’ll want to look for an ASTM F963 International Toy Standard Certificate to ensure the toys meet important safety protocols.
  • If the sensory toys are made of plastic, it’s important that you check to see if the plastic is BPA-free and listed as non-toxic. Babies are going to put everything they pick up in their mouths, and you don’t want to chance any toxins ending up in your child’s system.
  • Sensory toys that are made of plastic can be hand washed with a little dish soap and water. Fabric toys may or may not be machine washable, so it’s important that you check the product care label. You may also be able to spot clean the toys that aren’t safe for the washing machine.
  • Check to see if the sensory toy requires batteries, and if so, look to see if the batteries included. Many companies leave it up to the parent to buy the batteries separately.
  • When your child is no longer interested in his or her fabric sensory toys, you can give them to your pup.
  • Some sensory toys are small and pose a choking hazard. Always examine the toys and make sure they are age-appropriate before giving them to your little one. You’ll also want to supervise your toddler during playtime.
  • Consider sensory toys that are backed by a satisfaction or money-back guarantee. If the toys don’t meet your expectations, you’ll be able to contact the company for a replacement or refund.
  • The cost of sensory toys varies based on how simple or complex the design of the toy is. The Neliblu Snap and Click Fidget Toys and the Sassy Stretchy String Sensory Toys are only the lower end of the price range, as they are lightweight and easy to use. You’ll find the SMALL FISH Fidget Toys Set is on the higher end of the price range because it includes 22 different toys. The Crayola Musical Doodle Board also commands a higher price due to its ability to light up and play a variety of songs.
  • MORE: The Best Sensory Tables

More to Explore

Did you know that everyone has sensory needs and that our bodies are not limited to the five senses of taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing? In fact, it is believed that humans have as many as 21 senses. It only makes sense then that babies should be introduced to different sensory activities shortly after they are born. Specially designed sensory toys are a great choice.

Here are a few additional facts that may surprise you about your senses:

  • Two of the most sensitive areas on the body are the fingertips and the soles of the feet. You’ll want to allow your baby to explore with their hands and feet as often as possible.
  • Every hour a person’s eyes are able to process 36,000 pieces of information. You may notice your baby’s eyes darting around the room, as he or she still has to learn how to focus and absorb all that input.
  • Children who are said to have Sensory Processing Disorder actually receive the senses around them just fine. It is the interpretation and responses of these senses that are off.
  • Sensory play helps develop a child’s fine motor skills, which are responsible for the proper function of the body’s smaller muscle groups.

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