Children love toys whether they’re babies, toddlers, or older. Cause and effect toys are designed to teach your kids that when a certain action is taken, something happens. My best cause-and-effect toys use a variety of action-taking motions to make a sound or movement. This type of toy not only creates curiosity but also teaches your child intentional play.
Read on and discover my top pick of cause and effect toys for babies and toddlers from 6 months to 3 years old.
Best Cause and Effect Toys (Prioritized)
1. Best cause and effect toys for infants (around 6 months, up to 12 months) – Best Overall – Sassy Fishy Fascination Station 2-in-1 Suction Cup High Chair Toy
2. Best cause and effect toys for infants (around 6-month-olds) – Runner-up – Little Tikes Tap-a-Tune Piano Baby Toy
3. Best cause and effect toys for 1-year-old toddler – Best Overall – Hape Pound and Tap Bench With Slide Out Xylophone
4. Best cause and effect toys for 1-year-old toddler – Runner-up – VTech Roll & Surprise Animal Train
5. Best cause and effect toys for 2-year-old toddler – Best Overall – VTech Busy Learners’ Activity Cube
6. Best cause and effect toys for 2-year-old toddler – Runner-up – Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone, Classic Infant Pull Toy
7. Best cause and effect toys for 3-year-old toddler – Best Overall – Lewo Toddlers Toy Wooden Ramp Racer
8. Best cause and effect toys for 3-year-old toddler – Runner-up – YEEBAY Interactive Whack a Frog Game
9. Best Montessori cause and effect toys for toddler – BONUS – Top Bright Montessori Toddlers Toy Magnetic Game Hungry Woodpecker Toy
- Best Cause and Effect Toys (Prioritized)
- Best Cause and Effect Toys for Infants (Up to 12 Months)
- Best Cause and Effect Toys for 1-Year-Old Toddler
- Best Cause and Effect Toys for 2-Year-Old-Toddler
- Best Cause and Effect Toys for 3-Year-Old Toddler
- Best Montessori Cause and Effect Toys for Toddler
- Types of Cause and Effect Toys for Infants and Toddlers
- How do Babies Learn Cause and Effect?
Best Cause and Effect Toys for Infants (Up to 12 Months)
1. Best Overall – Sassy Fishy Fascination Station 2-in-1 Suction Cup High Chair Toy
This colorful ferris wheel toy can be attached to any flat surface including the high chair tray with its suction cup. The spinning toy encourages your baby to pull, hit, or tug it to get it moving. Individual colorful toys on the ferris wheel spin as soon as your baby activates them. This also helps develop your baby’s fine motor skills.
Your baby’s hand and eye coordination are also developed as they need to reach, tug, and bat the spinning toys while being visually captivated by the colors. Colorful beads inside each spinning toy make a sound, helping your baby to connect the noise with sight and movement.
This 2-in-1 toy is ideal for babies 6 to 24 months old. It’s constructed with durable plastic and the ferris wheel can be removed from the suction cup for playing elsewhere.
- Babies love the rotation movement
- Keeps baby entertained in the high chair
- Bright colors encourage engagement
- Suction cup isn’t very strong
2. Runner-Up – Little Tikes Tap-a-Tune Piano Baby Toy
This musical toy has been designed for little fingers to make music (or noise!) It comes with four easy-to-touch keys which chime when pressed. The piano keys are bright, colorful, and large. The chimes delight your baby, teaching them to connect sound with every pressing action they make.
The toy is made with high-quality plastic and weighs only one pound, making it a safe toy for your little one. It doesn’t need any batteries, relying on your baby’s manual input to make the sounds. Your baby will be learning cause and effect while also developing a sense of rhythm and timing.
The toy piano measures 8.5 x 8 x 4.25 inches so it’s not huge. It’s suitable for babies from 6 months up to 3 years old.
- Can be used during tummy time
- Durable and long lasting
- Easy to clean and sanitize
- Some parents may find the sound too “tinny”
Best Cause and Effect Toys for 1-Year-Old Toddler
3. Best Overall – Hape Pound and Tap Bench With Slide Out Xylophone
This wooden cause-and-effect toy will teach your 1-year-old a number of tricks. He or she will discover that every time they hit one of the colorful balls with the hammer, it doesn’t only tinkle go through a hole but it makes the xylophone below tinkle. Your baby will need to fetch the ball and place it back on top of the hole if they want to make more sounds and continue hammering!
When they get tired of hammering balls, your baby can pull out the xylophone from below and play a tune by hitting the various keys painted in bright primary colors. Along with cause and effect, your baby will also develop fine motor skills. And, they’ll begin to recognize different musical notes as they play with the xylophone.
The corners on this toy are rounded with no sharp edges and the Pound and Tap Bench measures 9.4 x 5.3 x 5.9 inches.
- Made with non-toxic materials
- Sturdy, safe, and well-made
- Babies love the bright colors and sounds
- Xylophone may sound out of tune
- Small parts on xylophone can become hazardous if loose
4. Runner-Up – VTech Roll & Surprise Animal Train
This train toy engages your toddler as he uses one of the three mechanical buttons to play peek-a-boo with the animals on the bus. The colorful buttons are activated through sliding, pushing, or turning actions, teaching your child different ways to take action with their hands. They also need to push the animals back down for the next round of peek-a-boo!
This bright red animal bus also plays 55 songs, melodies, or phrases with the chimney flashing lights whenever a song plays. The toy does need batteries for the sounds to be activated and it can be turned off when you don’t want the music.
The train can be pulled with a piece of string and it’s recommended for infants from 6 to 36 months old.
- Durable and safe with no choking hazards
- Good entertainment for little children
- Bright primary colors
- String for pulling train a bit short
Best Cause and Effect Toys for 2-Year-Old-Toddler
5. Best Overall – VTech Busy Learners’ Activity Cube
Made with BPA-free, high-quality plastic, this cause and effect toy will keep your 2-year-old enthralled for hours. The cube comes with five sides of play and four buttons that light up introducing different animal sounds, names, and shapes. When your toddler moves the toy, a motion sensor activates fun sounds.
With 14 interactive features, your toddler will learn cause and effect as well as develop fine motor skills. It plays 25 different songs and melodies too. The volume is adjustable and an auto shut-off function makes sure the batteries don’t run flat when left on for too long.
This cause and effect toy helps with language development and encourages your toddler to use their imagination. The toy is durable, good for babies from 6 to 36 months old, and measures 6.2 x 6.2 x 6.5 inches.
- Includes a spinning toy that rattles
- Infants love the sounds and lights
- Encourages reluctant sitters
- Sounds are annoying (for the parents!)
6. Runner-Up – Fisher-Price Chatter Telephone, Classic Infant Pull Toy
Pull toys are another design great for teaching your little one cause and effect. Whenever your toddler pulls this toy, the eyes start to wobble and the phone makes fun sounds. Your toddler will also discover that the dialing motion also produces sounds!
By pulling this classic infant telephone behind them, your toddler will also develop strong motor skills, balance, and hand-eye coordination. This is a good toy for early role play as your toddler “makes” phone calls and learns how to have a conversation on the phone. You can also help them to start recognizing numbers from 0 to 9 by pointing them out to your child.
This toy is recommended for infants from 12 months to 5 years old, weighs only 1.03 pounds and measures 6.3 x 7.68 x 4.21 inches. Batteries are required (2 AA).
- Vibrant colors
- Sturdy and safe
- Toddlers love the cute face
- Cord on receiver a bit too short
Best Cause and Effect Toys for 3-Year-Old Toddler
7. Best Overall – YEEBAY Interactive Whack a Frog Game
This interactive cause and effect toy can be played with both parents and 3-year-old toddlers (and older kids too!) It comes with two hammers and features an on/off mode for changing speed levels. A LCD display shows the score. Whenever a frog’s light shows up, your child needs to whack it to turn it off and get a score.
Your toddler can press one button to play light musical sounds and will also learn how to turn the toy off and on with another button. This bright green frog-shaped toy is made from plastic and includes10 cute little frogs which need to be whacked.
This toy is great for kids from 3 to 10 years old. It’s made with high-quality plastic and has rounded edges. It’s ideal for developing fine motor skills as well as teaching your toddler how to play as a competitor.
- Good for developing interactive skills
- Improves child’s hand-eye coordination
- Suitable for older children
- Hammer heads break with heavy usage
8. Runner-Up – Lewo Toddlers Toy Wooden Ramp Racer
This colorful wooden ramp racer comes with eight mini cars in different colors. It’s designed with seven ramps and one parking lot. Your 3-year-old toddler will quickly learn cause and effect as they start racing with other cars on the ramp. Each car flips as it reaches the end of the ramp to go onto the next level.
This toy can be played with more than one child, teaching your toddler to share and communicate with others too. The ramp racer is made with high-quality BPA-free wood and is compact while being sturdy for safe playing.
All the edges are sanded smooth and both the ramps and the cars are painted with non-toxic water-based paints. It measures 15.7 x 2.8 x 11.8 inches and weighs about 3 pounds. It’s recommended for children from 3 years old.
- Lightweight and easy for toddler to carry
- Cars’ movement down ramp makes fun sounds
- Can be used with Hot Wheels cars
- Tips over easily during play
Best Montessori Cause and Effect Toys for Toddler
Children are taught to use light pressure if they want to get the best results when using this toy. Their movements must also be controlled in order to “catch” the fun and brightly colored worms and feed the baby chick. This magnetic toy is best suited for toddlers from 2 years old and is perfect for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Your toddler has to find the worms hidden in the tree trunk by using the magnetic beak on the woodpecker’s beak. When they’ve caught the worm, they take it to the baby chick at the top of the tree trunk to feed it.
Through cause and effect, your toddler will also learn patience when playing this game as they practice slow hand and wrist movement. The “mommy” woodpecker is designed for small hands to hold comfortably while the eight caterpillars are painted in different primary colors.
- Sturdy and easy to clean
- Can be used without the magnetic woodpecker
- Teaches color and sizes with different-shaped worms
- Worms can be a choking hazard if not supervised
- Worms can get stuck in tree trunk
Types of Cause and Effect Toys for Infants and Toddlers
Infants and toddlers develop different skills as they grow. When looking for a cause-and-effect toy, always refer to the manufacturer’s age recommendation to ensure you get the best toy for your infant or toddler’s developmental stages.
Your child will discover the concept of cause and effect in the first year of their life. They know that when they cry, mom or dad will come and comfort them. Very quickly, your infant will learn that when they take action, things happen. The same happens when they play with cause-and-effect toys.
The design of the toy needs to be easy for your smaller baby to hold. Colors, attractive patterns, and sounds are also good for infants so look out for cause and effect toys with these features.
From 6 months old, you also want to use cause and effect toys that encourage your baby to move either during tummy time or when they start to crawl. These toys can also encourage your infant to start learning to sit up as they strive to reach certain parts of the toy.
The best types of cause and effect toys for infants should include the following features:
- Easy grip: This is essential when small hands are holding a toy such as a rattle to shake it. Balls should be small enough for an infant’s hand to grasp them as well as any other loose parts used in the toy.
- Push buttons: Infants can learn to press buttons to get the desired effect such as sounds, peek-a-boo characters, or words.
- Motion: Any toy that spins or bounces as soon as your infant hits it will teach cause and effect while they delight in the different movements their toy can make.
- Bright colors: Babies are attracted to anything with bright colors so make sure the toy is colorful and uses a variety of the primary colors.
- Inserting through holes: Any toy that includes holes and balls teaches your infant that placing a ball into a hole will result in it rolling out, normally onto a tray below.
- Sounds: Infants will respond to sounds so make sure the toy includes music, melodies, phrases, nature noises, and more.
- Safety features: Infants will always try to pop items into their mouths including toys! Make sure any loose parts such as balls are big enough to prevent choking hazards.
When buying cause and effect toys for babies up to 12 months old, think along the lines of rattles, brightly-colored floor gyms, musical toys, and activity boards or tables. Take a look at some of the best activity tables I reviewed for both babies and toddlers to use.
By the time your baby reaches toddlerhood, their range of developmental skills has grown. They’re able to move beyond simple push buttons and are learning to grasp and twist with their fingers, hands, and wrists.
Toddlers are also drawn to toys with bright colors and attractive patterns and designs. And, they love any kind of sound! From one year old, your baby will be fascinated by anything that responds to their actions. Being able to hit a ball with a hammer or pushing, sliding or twisting a knob to make sounds are all the types of actions a toddler can take to get a response.
From two years old, your child will enjoy toys that make “real-life” sounds when they activate the toy. An older toddler will also learn that pushing on a pedal when riding a tricycle or on a ride-on toy makes it move.
The types of cause and effect toys toddlers enjoy include some of the following features:
- Push and pull: Toddlers get a lot of thrill out of toys that can be pushed or pulled which produces sounds or makes parts of the toy wobble, jiggle, or pop up.
- Buttons: At this stage, your toddler will be able to slide, twist, or press buttons to get a desired response such as a peek-a-boo character popping out of a hole, a siren whistle on a police car, or even songs.
- Pedals: Toddlers are ready for ride-on toys that include tricycles and other toys that move when they press down on pedals.
- Sounds: Toys that include sounds such as a police siren, a train whistle, or songs and melodies encourage your toddler to experience cause and effect. Little girls love talking dolls that cry when they press a button. Boys get excited whenever their dump truck makes a beeping sound when they push-reverse the vehicle on the ground.
- Safety features: Make sure there are no choking hazards with loose toy parts. Also ensure the toys are always sturdy and not too heavy that they cause injury should they fall on your child.
When looking for cause and effect toys for toddlers pick hammering sets that let your child hammer balls or pegs through holes. Musical instruments such as xylophones, pianos, and drums are a winner for this age group. Large ride-on toys for a 1-year-old (and older toddlers) are excellent for understanding cause and effect as are bounce houses for kids especially if they include activities.
How do Babies Learn Cause and Effect?
Babies learn from a very young age that whenever they make a sound someone responds. This could be when they cry because they have a wet diaper that needs changing. A parent will respond by changing them into a dry and clean diaper. If a baby gurgles, their parents will respond by laughing and cuddling their little one. And, when a frustrated baby screams out of hunger, someone will respond by feeding them.
When Babies Learn Cause and Effect
From 0 to 3 months old, babies are already responding to toys that make sounds by reaching out to them or turning their heads towards the noise. From 4-7 months old, they can find partially hidden objects and they’re also learning to respond to certain emotions. However, they only begin to understand cause and effect as they get older.
Can Infants Understand Cause and Effect?
Babies only begin to truly understand cause and effect from around eight to nine months old. They know that if they push a button, something will happen such as a sound or motion. When playing peek-a-boo with their parents, a nine-month-old baby discovers they can move their parent’s hands to see their face.
It’s also around this developmental stage in your baby’s life that they understand pushing a ball through a hole means it will either disappear or roll out of the bottom. Your baby will then learn to fetch the ball so they can push it through the hole again.
How Can You Teach a Baby to Learn Cause and Effect?
There are different ways you can teach a baby to learn cause and effect. Smaller children are already exposed to cause and effect through the way parents talk to them. An example of this would be you saying to your toddler, “If you eat all your vegetables, you can have ice cream for dessert.”
Teaching cause and effect can be done through maths, science, reading and writing, playing games, using appropriate toys, and social relationships. Here are some simple but very effective ways to teach a baby and toddlers to learn cause and effect:
- Blowing bubbles: Whisking the little wand in soapy liquid and then blowing through the hole, teaches your little one cause and effect in a fun and creative way. Tots love to watch the rainbow-colored bubbles emerge “magically” from the wand everytime they blow into it.
- Dunking rubber ducks: Playing in the bath with brightly colored rubber ducks is a wonderful way to teach your baby the cause and effect of dunking their toys in the water. They get to see the water ripple and splash everytime their toy hits the water.
- Using a flashlight: Let your toddler play with a flashlight in the dark by teaching them to switch it off and on. The cause and effect is immediate as they begin to understand the use of their own action to keep the light on or off.
- Use facial expressions: Teach small babies cause and effect by using facial expressions. Make funny faces to get your baby laughing and they’ll soon learn that everytime they laugh, you’ll pull a clown face! Playing peek-a-boo is a popular cause and effect game.
Watch this video for some fun and simple ideas to teach babies from 5 to 8 months old to discover cause and effect.
How Can Pull Toys Help a Baby Learn Cause and Effect?
By using push and pull toys, you’re developing your toddler’s understanding of the cause and effect concept. A pull toy teaches your baby that they can control their own environment.
But, you’re also helping them with other essential skills such as hand-eye coordination and building confidence.
Babies learn to push before pulling. From around 15 months old, your baby is able to grasp the concept of pulling a toy behind them as they walk. At this age, your toddler will also discover that pulling the string will bring the toy closer to them if they’re stationary. This is cause and effect in action!
From as young as three months old, you can introduce toys such as a rattle for your baby to learn that for every cause there’s a related effect. By developing your infant and toddler’s understanding of cause and effect, you’re equipping your child with a valuable strategy for connecting action with a response.
Last update on 2023-12-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API