Picture it: Your baby is about to take hold of their first rattle. Will their reaction be one of surprise? Of initial fright? Will they be delighted and give you the best baby smile that you’ve ever seen in your life? These are all questions that we don’t often wonder when giving a baby something like a rattle for the first time but perhaps they should because they’re so much more than a small noisemaker. Rattles can do a myriad of things for your child including help their cognitive skills, give them a way to pass time, and improve their sensory focus and skills. All of these are results that we wouldn’t normally consider when choosing a rattle because to adults, it’s just one more toy that babies shake around and are amused by. In reality, what’s going on underneath the surface is so impressive and captivating that we decided to devote a guide to the best rattles out there that can support all of these things in your child and so much more.
Of course, they are also a super fun toy and are something that will keep your child preoccupied and probably give them a few laughs as well. When it comes to baby toys, anything that makes noise and is vibrantly colored is often a winner when it comes to holding their attention. This is a great thing because it means your baby will be alert and focused while learning about their skillset and expanding their sensory exploration. Playing, in general, helps to expand their capacity for learning while encouraging them to engage with their environment and the toys they happen to find within it. Additionally, since babies learn via all five of their senses, rattles provide a great learning opportunity as they explore their way through sight, sound, taste, and touch. This is imperative to their hand-eye coordination as well as their mental development in terms of learning how to use each sense. Therefore, we’ve looked high and low to find all of the rattles worthy of being shaken in your baby’s hands.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Baby Rattles Reviewed
- 1. Bendy Ball Rattle Toy by Baby Einstein
- 2. Bright Starts Lots of Links
- 3. Fisher-Price Rattle 'n Rock Maracas
- 4. Bright Starts Grab and Spin Rattle
- 5. O Ball 1-Piece Rattle & Roll Car
- 6. Oball Shaker by Oball
- 7. Lamaze Mortimer The Moose
- 8. Skip Hop Explore and More Roll Around Rattle Hedgehog Toy
- 9. VTech Baby Rattle & Sing Puppy
- 10. The First Years My First Rattle
- Criteria Used in the Evaluation of the Best Baby Rattles
10 Best Baby Rattles Reviewed
Encourages active play Can be rolled around or played within a stationary position Easy to clean Improves dexterity Durable The ball does not roll very well
1. Bendy Ball Rattle Toy by Baby Einstein
Due to the larger size of this ball, babies will find it easy to grip onto it and are encouraged to use both hands. It has the ability to roll around which also encourages motion and active play amongst crawling and walking babies.
What We Like About It
Baby Einstein is a leading brand when it comes to smart toys and this shaker ball is no exception. It's perfectly colored to hold the visual attention of your baby and although they'll be mystified as to what's making all of that noise, it will encourage them to play with this ball time and time again.
Encourages active play
Can be rolled around or played within a stationary position
Easy to clean
The ball does not roll very well
Very easy to clean Can be played with in a variety of ways Encourages logic and problem-solving Doesn't create an overwhelming amount of noise Good for kids up to three years of age The gaps can be easily stretched out which reduces the effectiveness of the link
These links are flexible which means versatility. They can be bent and shaped to fit a variety of shapes all of which your child will get a blast out of stringing together. Links are popular due to their ability their encouragement of motor skills as well as logic improvement.
What We Like About It
There really isn't much to dislike about this toy! It's easily cleaned with the use of a baby wipe or soap and water and is also highly portable. Simply store some links in a diaper bag or bring the entire set along for playdates or long-distance travels.
Very easy to clean
Can be played with in a variety of ways
Encourages logic and problem-solving
Doesn't create an overwhelming amount of noise
Good for kids up to three years of age
The gaps can be easily stretched out which reduces the effectiveness of the link
Comes with two rattles Helps promote inference skills Addresses three out of five senses Encourages music-making Exposes your baby to textural differences Caution should be exercised during playtime since one side of this rattle is very hard plastic
3. Fisher-Price Rattle 'n Rock Maracas
These music makers are a unique toy even though they are so traditional because they help to foster a love for sound. Babies can make sounds at will and control how loud or soft they are and through this process of learning, they'll be improving three out of their five senses.
What We Like About It
Your baby will get two Maracas rather than just one which really extends the playtime of this toy. As your baby gets older and learns about music, they'll be anxious to create their own using their very first "instrument" in the form of a rattle.
Comes with two rattles
Helps promote inference skills
Addresses three out of five senses
Exposes your baby to textural differences
Caution should be exercised during playtime since one side of this rattle is very hard plastic
Three-in-one toy Good for teething purposes Great for traveling Easily cleaned Targets various areas of learning and sensory function There are no soft parts of this toy and no textural differences
4. Bright Starts Grab and Spin Rattle
When it comes to finding a toy that's safe for teething but also engages your child in playtime and learning, this is a front-runner. Each side serves a specific purpose and will encourage a new aspect of learning in your baby.
What We Like About It
This rattle takes a simple concept to create something over the top and brilliant. It's a toy that has a long shelf-life as far as playtime goes and one that your baby will probably play with as they enter their toddler stages as well. This toy is also great for travel in the car, on planes, etc., to keep boredom at bay.
Good for teething purposes
Great for traveling
Targets various areas of learning and sensory function
There are no soft parts of this toy and no textural differences
Grippable for tiny hands Teething-proof Encourages movement Easy to clean with a baby wipe The rattle noise is not overwhelming There's no guarantee you'll receive cars in the color of your choosing
5. O Ball 1-Piece Rattle & Roll Car
Babies are active by nature but sometimes it takes a little encouraging in order to push them to start crawling. This toy car might just be the trick in getting them to succeed because as this toy moves and makes noise, your baby might just be curious enough to follow it.
What We Like About It
This car is appropriate for teething and will provide a semi-hard surface for your baby's teething needs. It's non-toxic, making it safe and helpful for encouraging teeth to break the surface.
Grippable for tiny hands
Easy to clean with a baby wipe
The rattle noise is not overwhelming
There's no guarantee you'll receive cars in the color of your choosing
Suitable as a teething toy Clear exterior engages visual learning Both ends are able to be gripped The sound is even and clear Much more traditional rattle-style The sound is not very loud
6. Oball Shaker by Oball
A unique addition to the design of this toy is the clear exterior. By not having these beads encased in a solid-colored chamber, babies are able to peek inside and see exactly what is making that noise. This encourages visual learning as well as auditory learning allowing babies to draw connections between the two.
What We Like About It
This toy also doubles as a teething toy. It's BPA-free which makes it non-toxic and safe for those days when your baby seems to be putting everything in their mouth.
Suitable as a teething toy
Clear exterior engages visual learning
Both ends are able to be gripped
The sound is even and clear
Much more traditional rattle-style
The sound is not very loud
Works for almost all the five senses Produces a variety of sounds Will peak a child's curiosity and interest Plenty of textural differences Great for travel It can be challenging to wash with so many textures
7. Lamaze Mortimer The Moose
There are so many sensory aspects to this toy that's it's almost overwhelming which is great news for your baby. They'll never run out of things to explore with Mortimer and he'll soon become one of their favorite on the go toys.
What We Like About It
The simple additions of things like the teethable antlers and squeezable stomach make this toy one of a kind. Lamaze has gone above and beyond to create a toy that appeals to nearly all the senses.
Works for almost all the five senses
Produces a variety of sounds
Will peak a child's curiosity and interest
Plenty of textural differences
Great for travel
It can be challenging to wash with so many textures
Interesting design Safe for teething purposes Large enough to hold onto Encourages movement during playtime The beads can be slid back and forth It's very top-heavy and won't sit upright
8. Skip Hop Explore and More Roll Around Rattle Hedgehog Toy
With so many holes throughout this toy, it's very easy for babies to grab and hold onto. This makes playtime fun and engaging as they figure out different ways to hold and roll around their new ball.
What We Like About It
The addition of beads on the outside of this toy was so interesting to us because normally, anything that "rattles" is on the inside. That adds a level of intrigue for babies as they notice that they can slide the beads back and forth on the outside and also realize those beads are responsible for producing the sound they hear.
Safe for teething purposes
Large enough to hold onto
Encourages movement during playtime
The beads can be slid back and forth
It's very top-heavy and won't sit upright
Babies will not get bored easily with this toy It sings, talks, and lights up Each ring varies in texture and shape The ears provide a contrasting sound It's suitable for kids up to two years of age The songs and phrases can be a bit loud or overwhelming for a young baby
9. VTech Baby Rattle & Sing Puppy
This is one toy that's great for older babies but would really suit any child over three months of age. It's compact and has a plethora of different options, all of which are great assets to a child's learning.
What We Like About It
VTech rarely disappoints when it comes to toys that encourage learning and growth. This singing puppy is perfect when it comes to kids who are easily distracted (as many babies often are!) because just when you think you've found everything, there's another aspect to be discovered.
Babies will not get bored easily with this toy
It sings, talks, and lights up
Each ring varies in texture and shape
The ears provide a contrasting sound
It's suitable for kids up to two years of age
The songs and phrases can be a bit loud or overwhelming for a young baby
Visually appealing Sounds are not harsh Its round design encourages hand-eye coordination Can be washed easily in a machine or with soap and water It's okay for teething Some parents think it's a bit pricey for such a simple toy
10. The First Years My First Rattle
The soft exterior of this toy adds a level of cuddly nature that the other toys simply don't have. It's an understated yet popular toy for newborns since it will engage their focus without becoming overwhelming.
What We Like About It
We love that this toy is so visually stunning. It's a great addition to a play mat or while your baby is sitting in their rocker and can even be taken in the car. Overall, it's a great first toy or gift to expecting parents.
Sounds are not harsh
Its round design encourages hand-eye coordination
Can be washed easily in a machine or with soap and water
It's okay for teething
Some parents think it's a bit pricey for such a simple toy
Criteria Used in the Evaluation of the Best Baby Rattles
Rattles are a somewhat misleading newborn toy — In the best way possible, that is. While they began as something to simply grab the attention of a child and provide them a toy that was as stimulating as it was interesting to look at, they’ve grown into much more than that. Studies have shown that toys that are heavy in the sound, visual, and texture categories are great for improving sensory skills and encouraging babies to do more exploring. With one shake of a rattle, your baby has multiple things going on inside their brain. For starters, their attention is being directed to the direction of the noise they’ve made. Following that, their focus will be completely on the rattle in question, narrowing their attention span down to what’s right in front of them. Once they’ve focused, their inquisitive nature takes over and they begin the process of sensory learning where they’ll continue shaking the rattle, observe it, or make the decision that it’s uninteresting. All of these things help to further the development of your baby and toys are often the first thing that will jumpstart their curiosity and encourage active play time. In order to find the best ways to do this, we first had to seek out the best rattles with a reputation.
How We Did It: Step One, No Boring Toys
No one wants a boring toy! At least, this is what pushed us to begin the journey through the expansive world that is baby rattles. We immediately discarded those that were boring, colorless, and didn’t have a crisp and clear sound when shaken. This was probably the easier part of the process because we used our knowledge of commonly known toy brands in order to weed out what was worth it and what wasn’t, which led us to a solid group to choose from.
How We Did It: Step Two, Safety First
Of course, any toy for a baby must be safe when you know it’ll probably end up in their mouths at some point. Therefore, all of the rattles that made it to our list needed to be 100%-certified safe and non-toxic. This proved to be an easy process as well because if there was no guarantee, it was knocked off the list. Through the process of elimination, this helped us to determine what to get rid of rather than what to add and proved helpful in shaping our list in-depth.
How We Did It: Step Three, The Engagement
We’re not talking a wedding engagement, though — We’re talking about what happens when a baby fully engages with a toy. This was something that proved to be the most challenging of the steps because nothing is for sure. Every baby has a different sense of what’s interesting or entertaining to them so, in order to comply with this, we had to take the good of the many. Simply put, we kept the rattles that had an overwhelming good reputation with parents and caregivers as having a successful first run. This allowed us to incorporate all types of toys and not just traditional Macarena-style shake toys (although those are on our list!). We found that including a diverse range of options would prove to be best since parents, such as you reading this right now, would be able to go through and choose what is best suited for your baby.
Think About It: Physical Development
We’ve already established that babies learn cognition and improve mental stimulation by playing with a rattle, but what about the physical benefits? There are a few more processes going on deep within your baby’s brain and many of them are coordinating with their physical abilities. By grabbing onto a rattle, your baby is learning to grasp something — This is strengthening their hand and finger muscles, allowing for dexterity to take over and encourage muscle growth. They’ll very quickly become aware of their ability to reach out and hold things in addition to the ability to shake and move them. Rattles encourage this through the sense of sound which is what engages babies to begin with. Their visual senses are also being engaged when they shake a toy and need to focus on it in order to track motion, which improves their depth perception as well. When all of these processes come together they can be highly beneficial in setting your baby on a great path toward skill development.
Think About It: Coordination and Mental Connections
The connection that happens when a baby realizes an object is making noise and when they realize they’re responsible for it is a key factor in making an inference. This is a form of problem-solving and encourages them to process what’s happening in such a way that they’re forced to draw the connection. By repeated shaking of the toy at hand, they’ll hear a noise. After hearing this noise, their natural curiosity will prompt them to shake their toy again and if they hear the same noise, the inference will be confirmed that they’re responsible for making it. This is an excellent way to encourage basic learning skills and push your baby to act on instinct because this is how they learn. In the process of solving the mystery noise, they’ll also be improving their hand-eye coordination which is something babies are never too young to work on.
Think About It: Visual Learning
Vibrant colors can be a huge part of learning for babies who are several months old. By this point, bright colors are more intriguing than they are overwhelming and they’re past the stage where monotones help them to focus. Vibrant, flashy colors can help to draw their attention and hold it while they discover all the things their new toy can do. Additionally, shapes are a great way to help your baby with their sensory skills. Geometric differences are interesting and prompt their curiosity and these go hand in hand with textile differences as well. Your baby is still very much engaged by their sense of touch at this point and will use that to its full extent. Differences in silicone, rubber, or plastic will send messages back to their brain about what type of toy this is, how it feels, what it does, and will encourage their memory skills as well. All of these things aid in knowledge absorption which is huge in the way of learning.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can these be washed?
A: That’s easy! Rattles can be washed with any baby-safe wipes. This is the best way to keep them sanitary because any moisture will dry up quickly, it’s fast, safe, and effective.
Q: What if my baby is scared after shaking this rattle?
A: It is a possibility that your baby might not like the sound each rattle makes. This is why finding toys can be a bit of a trial and error process, but don’t fret — There are plenty out there to try. If this happens, simply put the rattle aside and try when your baby is a bit older, or seek out a rattle that’s not too loud or overwhelming.
Q: Is there a high chance of this rattle breaking or becoming a choking hazard?
A: We can understand why that would be a serious concern but rest assured that these rattles have been tested thoroughly. All of the brands listed here are trusted and put forth products that easily stand up to everyday play.
Q: What age range are these good for?
A: Rattles can be great for newborn babies all the way up to two years. After that, some children might begin to lose interest and need more advanced toys to suit their age group.
Q: Are any of these useful for teething?
Q: Is there a certain type of noise I should be looking for with a baby of only three months?
A: Any noise will likely garner attention from your baby. At that age, anything loud and sudden will distract them, so the type of noise a rattle makes is somewhat irrelevant as long as it’s making noise, period.
With so many options for rattles that will grab your baby’s attention and encourage such elaborate skills, it would be crazy not to provide them with this helpful little toy. Your baby will gain something from playing with it and it’s no longer just a way to distract them or put a stop to fussy fits. Nowadays, these toys are advanced and encourage positive learning skills and are much safer than they once were, making them the ideal first sensory toy.