Best for Attention Span: Sophie the Giraffe in Gift Box, $39.90, Sophie the Giraffe at Sophie & Friends
This 100 percent natural-rubber toy is great for chewing on. But want to know why your baby really can’t bear to part with Sophie? It’s the spots! Children have good colour vision by the time they are five months old, and the contrasting spots will hold your tot’s interest.
Best for Emotional Development: Flaps Baby Penguin, $79.90, Steiff at The Better Toy Store
Children are known to confide
their deepest secrets and express themselves to their favourite cuddly toys. This plush baby penguin is sure to become your little one’s BFF and boost their emotional intelligence.
Best for Cause and Effect: Rattle Cube Sensory Toy, $20.90, Chubby Chubby
The ribbons scattered all
over this rattle encourage
tots to grab onto it themselves. As soon as they shake it, they will
instantly come to grips with
the idea of action and reaction.
Best for Grooming: Oral Care Rabbit Teething Glove, $13.90, Mam
Made of extra soft microfibre cloth, this adorable bunny is designed to gently remove plaque and bacteria from baby’s mouth, and distract them while you’re at it.
Best for Teething: Water-filled Baby Teether, $3.90, Tollyjoy
This colourful water-filled teether can be popped into the fridge to cool and when chewed, offers bub instant relief when those pesky teeth are coming through. It’s lightweight and easy for them to hold too.
Best for Gross Motor Skills: Connectablez Flexible Fun Gym, $149, Playgro
Expect non-stop action as soon as you pop your bub on this play mat. As you can constantly change the order of the activity pods, tots will be encouraged to crawl around and test the various objects. It generates curiosity and ensures hours of fun.
Best for Balance: Teddy’s Toybox Sit Me Up Cosy, $100, Mothercare
We love a multi-tasking buy, which is why our judges fell for Teddy’s Toybox Sit Me Up Cosy. It creates a soft play nest for younger babies and, as they get older, the two halves of the ring can be stacked on top of each other to form a mini support and encourage your tot to sit upright.
Best for Experimenting: Tugboat, $21.90, Green Toys at Motherswork
Floating, pouring, scooping… Your tot is going to receive a mini physics lesson as soon as they take this tugboat into the tub. This mini boat received extra points from our judges for being made from recycled plastic milk containers.
Best for Handy Sensory Stimulation: Training Teether, from $6.90, Pigeon
From the age of three months, babies will start to recognise sounds and will move their head to locate the sound. The colourful plastic rings on this toy make a rattling sound—one that is soft enough to provoke interest rather than panic—as soon as it is moved.
Best for Fine Motor Skills: Bite & Relax Teether - Phase 1, $12.90, Mam
Use Mam’s Bite & Relax Teether to fine-tune your child’s fine motor skills and ease their teething problems at the same time. The extra lightweight material and 3D shape make it easy for babies to pick up the teether and hold onto it.
Best for Independence: Dusty the Cow Toddler Backpack and Reins, $49, Bobo Buddies at Mini Outfitters
This cuddly backpack has a pocket for kids to store their precious belongings, and it also features reins so that their new-found independence doesn’t take them too far astray. Now, bub can start exploring the world without holding mummy or daddy’s hand.
Best for Sensory Stimulation: Explore & More Amazing Arch Activity Gym, $199, Skip Hop at Bloom & Grow
Your kid will find more than 20 developmental activities to pique their interest—from a sound-activated dancing fox to a pull-string peekaboo owl that hoots. It even has a slot for a smartphone so that mum can take baby photos or baby can “chat” with grandma.
Best for Musical Ability: Explore & More Musical Instrument Set, $39.90, Skip Hop at Bloom & Grow
Just the right size for little hands,
this instrument set has a Bee shaker drum, Fox tambourine
and Bee clacker. It will provide non-stop entertainment and let your kids express themselves
in a whole new way.
Best for Swimming: BabyDobber, $179, Deer Industries
If you want to get your baby accustomed to water, introduce them to the BabyDobber. This floating seat gives them the chance to enjoy relaxed playtime in the pool—and will give you peace of mind too. It’s stable, cannot be punctured and won’t sink.
Best for Walking: Bird Walker, $129.90, Plan Toys at The Better Toy Store
Tots will want to strut their stuff once they get their hands on the Bird Walker from Plan Toys. Wee ones can grasp the sturdy wooden handle and will be inspired to keep walking when they see the birds moving up and down and hear them caw.