Back to Basics: The 10 Best Non-Electronic Toys for Babies & Toddlers

Traditional baby and toddler toys boost brain-building, hands-on exploration and are durable so younger siblings can play with them, too. Our favorite non-electronic baby and toddler toys come without batteries and ear-splitting beeps. Little ones learn through play, so a few carefully chosen toys in the toy bin will give your baby a chance to have fun as a tiny scientist, artist, and motor-skill champ. Here are a few of our favorite non-electronic toys for babies and toddlers.

Ronald Hechanova via Unsplash

1. Rattles
A good rattle is sized just right for babies working on tricky hand-eye coordination and learning how to pick things up. This classic toy doesn't look like much, but as babies grasp, shake and even slobber on it, they're learning about the world. Rattles reward curious little ones learning about cause and effect with a satisfying sound as it shakes. Choose a rattle you can easily clean, and make sure it's designed for babies to safely put it in their mouthsbecause it's sure to end up there!

2. Stacking Cups
Stack them in a tower, tip them over, put them inside one another, and then turn them into a home for a plastic cow. Stacking cups offer lots of interactive opportunities for fun and play. Most sets of stacking cups come in bright colors, giving little ones a chance to learn about colors. Balancing cups in a tower shape builds problem-solving skills, self-control and persistence. Another colorful stacking option is Grimms Rainbow, an all-wooden toy that's so beautiful you won't mind having it out on a shelf.

3. Sensory Bins
Toddlers learn about the world through hands-on activities and observation. Sensory bins or tables are a great way to give little ones a chance to explore. You can easily replicate this key preschool tool by filling a plastic bin with dry oats or water and adding measuring cups and scoops. If you're worried about the mess that scooping up water or dry oats can make, put a towel underneath your kiddo and the bin. If the weather is nice, put the bin outside to minimize clean-up, or purchase a water table or sandbox for more sensory fun. If you'd like to take your sensory-bin game to the next level, hide plastic animals or cars for kids to find, or dye rice or dry pasta for rainbow-colored play. Bonus: Sensory bins give curious kids a chance to learn about volume (how much water fits in a scoop?) and boosts imaginative play and language development.


4. Push-Pull Toys
From Fisher Price's classic, affordable plastic corn popper to a wooden animal on a string, push-and-pull toys are beloved by budding walkers everywhere. These toys encourage balance and gross motor skill development, and they make perfect buddies for toddlers as they stumble and zoom through your home. We love this Little Dutch Walker & Block Trolley from Scandiborn ($59.95, pictured above), as it combines two beloved non-electronic toys in one.

5. Classic Blocks
Your kiddo will play with a set of durable wooden blocks for years and years. With blocks, little ones get a chance to work on problem solving as they figure out how to stack blocks on top of one another or organize them in a row. Eventually, blocks become a blank canvas for imaginative play, as kids turn their creations into castles, houses and zoos. Talking about block creations builds language and conversation skills, and, with a big set of blocks at the ready, older toddlers can work together and learn about cooperation.

6. Dolls & Stuffed Animals
Whether you're looking for a lovey for comfort or a toy your child can practice caring for and rocking to sleep, soft dolls and stuffed animals are a great addition to any baby's toy collection. Playing with dolls helps little ones learn about empathy and feelings. Pro tip: Choose those without plastic eyes that can be a choking hazard!

Jelleke Vanooteghem via Unsplash

7. Music Makers
One of the benefits of non-electronic toys for parents: fewer ear-splitting sounds. But sometimes a baby has just got to make music. Whether you break out your pots and pans and a wooden spoon or give your child a toy drum and a few egg shakers, toys that let kids make their own music are always a hit. Sturdy music-making options without batteries are more likely to last from kid to kid, and they give children the chance to be more creative. We like wooden xylophones like this one from Melissa & Doug because of their bright colors and the variety of sounds they make.

8. Balls
Roll it, throw it, catch it! Balls are awesome for boosting motor skills and hand-eye coordination. But they're also a great way to introduce little ones to the back-and-forth interaction and taking turns, which is one of the building blocks of conversation. Rolling a ball gives grown-ups the chance to connect and make eye contact with babies and toddlers, and it boosts language development. From soft balls with jingly bells inside to bumpy plastic balls just the right size for chubby little hands, toy stores are full of options perfect for babies and toddlers.

9. Bubbles
Bubbles mesmerize babies and toddlers (and many parents) as they float through the sky. Whether you make bubbles at home (we like this DIY option) and blow them outside to delight your kiddo, or pick up a bubble-making lawn mower, bubbles are a surefire hit with little ones. We like to keep a few jars of bubbles at the ready to distract cranky little ones.

10. Ride-On Toys
A good ride-on toy gives toddlers hours of indoor gross-motor fun. These toys develop balance and give little legs a workout. One of the best first-birthday gifts, our fave ride-on toys come with a basket or bin that little ones can use to give their favorite toy or stuffed animal a ride around the house, promoting imaginative play, too! We love the sturdy Little Red Rider Wooden Kid's Ride-on Bike from Hape. 

—Oz Spies


The Smart Moms’ Guide to Montessori Toys for Babies & Toddlers

New Indoor Playtime Toys & Activities for Toddlers

Let’s Play! Sensory Activities for All Five Senses

Tired new parent?

Find sweet relief with The First Year, a weekly newsletter for new parents that will entertain, help, and inspire.

*By signing up to Tinybeans newsletters you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy


Parenting news, advice, and inspo… right in your inbox.

By signing up to Tinybeans newsletters you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy