Rattle toys might seem old school, but there’s a reason why they’re so tried and true. And yes, toys have come a long way since the days our parents and grandparents were raising babies — toys are now more high-tech, they have more lights, sounds, having scrolling capacities, are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connected, you name it. But there’s one type of newborn toy that has truly passed the test of time and that’s the rattle toy. It’s barely changed, yet it still wows infants ages 1 week to one year and beyond.
Some of the many benefits of baby rattles are their ability to help build foundational language, motor, and play skills. Jocelyn M. Wood is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in infants and toddlers. The proclaimed baby whisperer and parent coach frequently recommends baby rattles to parents to encourage language development.
“Rattles are a great way to build receptive language (what babies understand) from a very early age, ” says Wood. “Depending on the rattle, it can also be great to build cause and effect in early play, as children shake it and it makes a sound. Brightly colored rattles are wonderful for eye development, and some even make great teethers.”
What is the purpose of a baby rattle?
Rattle toys are relatively simple—they make a sound when your baby shakes or bangs it, and for whatever reason, this sound totally fascinates them. Baby rattles are a great way to improve hand and eye coordination, stimulate their senses, and provide easy and fun entertainment for your little one. There are wooden baby rattle toys, there are plastic baby rattle toys and there are even some more fancy rattle toys, and all of them do two key things that make babies go crazy with joy: shake and make a rattling sound.
At what age do babies like rattles?
Babies love toys that make noise! As soon as 10 weeks, babies can enjoy the sounds of a rattle. Whether it’s dangling on their play gym or you’re waving it around for them, they’ll be fascinated and entertained. Around 6 months old, babies begin developing motor skills and are able to grab and shake the rattles themselves.
“Early on (0-3 months) babies start to distinguish between different pitches and tones, so rattles are a great way to provide these contrasts. A bit later, at 3-6 months, babies learn to localize to sound by turning their head towards what they are hearing,” Wood adds. “Caregivers can use them as early as 1 week old, when it feels like their baby can’t really play, to watch the baby’s startle reflex engage when hearing a loud sound.”
Of course, there is no shortage of baby rattle toys on the market—and you can buy them from just about any baby store—but there are some that are a clear cut above the rest and turn out to be true new-parent lifesavers. Here are the best baby rattle toys on the market to keep your baby calm, cool, and collected.
Best Baby Rattle Toys
This trio of fun animal figures might not look like a standard baby rattle, but that’s what makes them such a hit. Even the bigger kids enjoy playing with them. They, of course, make a rattle noise when shaken, all come in bright colors and are the perfect size for tiny hands to hold.
This is the ultimate baby rattle set. It comes with 10 environmentally-friendly, heat-resistant toys that are non-toxic, BPA-free and totally odorless (no funny smell). They each make a rattle noise when shaken and are super easy for parents to clean. They’re great for taking with you on the go for car seat and/or stroller play.
This is one of the best developmental toys for small babies. The company, Manhattan Toy, has been cranking out educational and entertaining baby toys like this one that keeps their attention for so long and is teething-friendly. This one makes a very faint rattle sound, but that is ideal for many parents who can’t deal with the noise for too long.
The best part about this rattle is that it doubles as a teething ring—something that comes in handy for months and even years on end. Also, for its small size, this baby rattle does a lot of different things. It has tiny beads that move along the ring inside when your baby shakes it, colorful smaller rings that clink together upon movement and plenty of contrast colors.
Designed by early childhood experts, this patented educational rattle lights up in red, blue and green to promote visual stimulation. It’s the perfect size for hand holding for babies 0 months and up and makes a soft rattle sound that babies love. It’s free of BPA, PVC, phthalates and lead.
This set of 8 toys serve as a great first rattle for your baby that will last her well into her second year of life. It’s fun, entertaining and educational. It’s also environmentally friendly, heat-resistant and non-toxic. It makes a great shower gift or a gift for a new baby.
This easy-to-grasp baby rattle has all sorts of cool features. It lights up, plays 20+ songs, melodies and phrases and has fun buttons for your baby to press. It’s a huge hit with young babies and toddlers alike, so you know this is a toy that you’ll get your money’s worth out of.
Maracas are a time-honored toy that babies love to play with. They rattle, of course, and make fun music that your whole family can enjoy. They’re perfectly sized for tiny hands and help boost your baby’s gross motor skills.
This developmental toy is also a Manhattan Toy classic, but it’s unique in the sense that it’s heirloom quality, made from wood that’s been sanded down and is totally safe for your baby to put his mouth on. It’s covered with water-based acrylics that are teething safe.
Love the look and feel of a classic wooden baby rattle? It’s easy to understand why once you’ve felt and looked at one. This one is made from wood that is sanded to perfection and then sealed with a mixture of organic coconut oil and beeswax, so you know it’s 100 percent non-toxic (no paints, dyes or sealers) and is safe for your little one.
If you’re looking for a baby rattle that’s Instagram-friendly and will pass the test of time, consider this durable one that’ll make it through all of your kids. It’s made from maple wood that’s been finished with organic beeswax and flaxseed oil, so it’s organic and natural.
These wooden teethers also double as baby rattles. They’re made from imported beech wood that’s smooth and non-toxic. They’re free of BPA, PVC, lead, phthalate and all of the other stuff you shouldn’t have to worry about lurking in your baby’s toys anyway.
Baby Wrist Rattles
Wrap-on wrist rattles are a clever invention because they’re always right there when your baby needs them for distraction and play and they won’t get lost like so many other small toys. This set comes with two—a monkey and a panda, both of which can attach to the wrists or ankles.
These baby wrist rattles also come with fun socks that your baby can wear on their feet. They’re colorful, make fun sounds and help strengthen your baby’s hand-eye coordination, vision and hearing cognition and voice development.
This wrist and ankle rattle set features fun, fabric plush toys—a toucan and a watermelon. Your baby can wear them on her wrist and ankles thanks to a skin-sensitive micro-fabric hook and loop closure. They encourage gross motor skills and cause-and-effect learning.