Toddlers are explorers, and meticulous ones at that. Give your little one a toy and watch how they interact with it for the first time. They’ll look at it very carefully, grasp it, probably turn it around a few times, bring it to the mouth and generally feel every part of the toy. What they’re really doing is learning, and they’re doing so with all the 5 senses (vision, touch, hearing, taste, and smell). Everything that they’ve discovered about the toy will be stored in the memory. Amazing!
When your baby uses multiple senses simultaneously, he/she develops basic as well as complex cognitive skills. We use these skills to solve problems, improve comprehension, link ideas and create new ideas from the ones that we already have. There’s a whole lot of literature on that (and more) here, but what I’m saying is that sensory stimulation is critically important at the toddler age.
The thing with children is that they have a selective interest. They won’t always get excited about something unless you trigger that excitement somehow. And what better way to do that than with the best light sensory toys for babies. They see a light come on, and they want to touch/feel it. Turn on a glow toy and they’ll try to put it in the mouth. And just like that, you will have enabled multisensory learning.
Now to the big question: what are the best light sensory toys for babies? Glad you asked because I have three of the best lined up for you.
Table of Contents
Best Light Sensory Toys for Toddlers
1. Baby Einstein Ocean Glow Sensory Shaker
This little octopus has lots of amusing lights and sounds. With a small weight of 3.2 ounces, your toddler can easily play with it even if he/she is slightly younger than a year.
The multiple colors make for a good sight as well.
- Shaped like a little octopus, complete with tentacles
- Lights up and plays tunes when baby shakes or taps on it
- Has 4 songs: 1) Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Spring, RV 269, 1st Movement 2) Vivaldi – The Four Seasons, Autumn, RV 293, 1st Movement 3) Telemann – Water Music, Bourrée and 4) Beethoven – Sonatina in F
- On/Off switch for turning lights and music On/Off
- Has multiple colors, from black and white handle to red, green yellow and blue tentacles
Reasons to Buy the Baby Einstein Ocean Glow Sensory Shaker
Sensory stimulant: for starters, different parts of the octopus have varying textures, which is good for the baby’s sense of touch. It also lights up (sight) and plays melodic tunes (hearing). That’s the kind of toy you need to stimulate your baby’s multiple senses at once.
Interactive play: when your baby shakes the octopus, it responds with soft glow and music. Such interactive toys enhance a toddler’s hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, dexterity and communication skills.
Encourages curiosity: you can bet that your child will respond with a smile when the octopus starts to glow and sing. Before you know it he/she will start to reach out for it and explore some more. That’s the curious mind that you want to nurture.
Perfectly-sized for toddlers: 3.2 ounces is perfect for you and your toddler. He/she can handle the toy without any problems, and you can throw it in the side pocket of your diaper bag when stepping out with the baby.
- The lights and sounds last for just a few seconds. You have to shake or tap it again after that.
- Uses 3 LR44 batteries. They’re not the easiest to find.
2. Bright Starts Disney Baby Finding Nemo Ray Ocean Lights & Music Gym
If you’ve been looking for a play mat or baby gym where your little one can “chillax” then you’ve just found the right one. In addition to glowing (moving lights), it plays kid’s tunes. And, it’s one of the best light sensory toys for babies because you can use it from the moment your child is born.
- Moving lights fitted on the canopy where the baby can see when lying on his/her back
- Plays music and relaxing ocean sounds
- Cover has kids’ favorite cartoon images, including Nemo and friends
- Measures 36 x 32 x 18, which is an ideal size for all babies
Reasons to Buy the Bright Starts Disney Baby
Stimulates multiple senses: it has moving lights on the canopy (sight), musical sounds (hearing) and a Dory Finger puppet (touch) to stimulate multiple senses at once. Even when your baby can’t do much on the mat, he/she will try to reach out and touch Dory Finger and other toys.
Attention-grabbing: whether it’s the awesome sounds, eye-catchy lights, or amusing toys, your child will be entranced by the Bright Starts Disney Baby. It can hold a baby’s attention for hours on end as you get a few chores and tasks done.
Hand-eye coordination: the 20+ minutes of music are great when you want the baby to sleep. When he/she wakes up he/she will be welcomed by a sight of toys all around the canopy. Babies, with their curiosity, will always try to reach out and catch the toys. That is what improves their hand-eye coordination.
Safe for toddlers: there are two stable arches that hold the canopy in place so that it doesn’t collapse on the baby. Additionally, all the materials used are free of BPA, PVC, lead and any substance that’s harmful to babies.
- You can’t buy replacement parts separately
- Batteries are not included
3. Baby Einstein Sensory Play Space
Not sold on the Bright Starts Disney Baby? Try the Baby Einstein Sensory Play Space instead. This playmat has more props, more songs, and more lighting modes. You can switch between ‘Child Mode’ where lights flash softly to attract the baby’s attention and ‘Parent Mode’ where the lights are continuous.
- 4 play corners, with each corner dedicated to a particular activity. There’s a listen corner, reach corner, grasp and hook corner and hide, seek & find corner.
- Has glow lights on one arch. The other arch acts as a handle.
- Total of 18 toys and several colorful images drawn on the mat.
- Comes with a prop pillow for your little one.
- Plays songs.
Reasons to Buy the Baby Einstein Sensory Play Space
THE 4 play corners: this is the most brilliant feature of this baby gym. In one corner, there’s a smiley figure surrounded by different colors and textures to encourage the senses of sight and touch. The second corner has fabrics (tags) of different textures. Each one is bound to elicit a different reaction when your toddler touches it. In the third corner, you will find two ribbons and 5 hooks (in different colors and shapes). Let your child grasp and hook them (hook to ribbon) as you teach him/her about colors and shapes. Here you’re stimulating sight, touch, hearing, smell and even taste senses. The final corner has a red bird hiding behind a pocket. Now this one is for playing peekaboo. In case you didn’t know, peekaboo is essential for toddler development because it stimulates senses, encourages visual tracking (hand-eye coordination), builds motor skills and makes babies smile and laugh.
Two lighting modes: one of the toy bars (arches) has a set of gentle and colorful lights that are accompanied by music. These lights are great for visual tracking. You can switch to ‘Parent Mode’ and enjoy a continuous light. This is a great option if you want to turn off the main bulbs but still have some light in the room.
Lots of toys: there are 18 playthings in this baby gym. When your child is not trying to reach for one he/she will probably be gazing at another. Don’t be surprised when you see him/her bringing a piece into the mouth. Whatever the case, there are more than enough toys to keep the little one occupied.
Cleans easily: the fabric is machine-washable. The toys require wiping using a clean piece of cloth and some mild soap.
- Has a tendency to drain batteries. You may want to stock a decent number of 3 AAA batteries.
Some Light Sensory Ideas for Your Room
As long as we’re talking about sensory lights, how about buying one or two calming lights for yourself as well.
Usually, when we get a baby, we tend to make it our biggest priority, and rightfully so. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give yourself a nice treat every once in a while. For example, when shopping for the best light sensory toys for babies, you can pick up one or two light sensory items for you (and other adults in the house).
Below are two products that are perfect. They are not toys but will do a great job in stimulating your visual senses as well as those of your little ones. That’s the best thing about them – they are ideal for adults and toddlers alike. And they can fit in any room, be it the bedroom, living room or even bathroom.
4. SOAIY Aurora Night Light
Want to experience the Aurora Borealis without making the trip to Alaska? The good folks at SOAIY have exactly what you need. This night light projector produces tons of soft and beautiful lights to create a relaxed ambiance in any room.
- Projects Aurora pattern on wall or ceiling
- Has a cover that when placed converts the light into a soft LED
- 8 different lighting modes that include red, blue and green.
- Tilts through 45 degrees
- Built-in timer for turning off the lamp after 1 hour, 2 hours or 4 hours
- Built-in speaker for playing your favorite tunes or your toddler’s treasured lullabies.
- Comes with remote control
Reasons to Buy SOAIY Aurora Night Light
Sensory stimulation: the Aurora lights displayed by this lamp are bound to stimulate your senses and calm you. Turn on its rotation and before you know it your eyes will be following the “northern lights” on the wall. If that doesn’t work, you can use the built-in speaker to play some relaxing music.
Compatible with music players: speaking of music, you can plug a smartphone, iPad, iPod or MP3 player to the lamp and use its built-in speaker to play music. It’s a lot softer than ordinary speakers, which is precisely what you need to stay calm and relaxed.
A great substitute for the main lamp: the aurora pattern comes on when the lamp is covered. Remove the cover and you’ll get a soft LED light. You can change the color from red to blue, green or any of the 8 color modes. Either way, it makes a great substitute for the bulb in your room, especially when you want a soft light. And you can adjust the LED’s intensity from 30% through 60% and 100%.
Convenient: in addition to remote control, the lamp has a built-in timer. You don’t have to wake up to turn it off. Simply set the timer to 1, 2 or 4 hours and it will do the job for you.
- You cannot set the timer without the remote
- Doesn’t come with a USB cable for plugging to computer
5. Playlearn Fiber Optic Lamp
Fiber optic lamps are excellent at creating an ambient mood in a room. The best models, like the Playlearn Fiber Optic Lamp, double up as light sensory tools. In addition to changing colors every few seconds, this fiber optic lamp has a crystal effect base that also glows in different colors.
- Can be powered by USB or batteries
- Base and optic fibers change color after every few seconds
- Measures 13 inches in height
- Doesn’t require any operation apart from ON and OFF
Reasons to Buy the Playlearn Fiber Optic Lamp
Light sensory: for starters, the Playlearn Fiber Optic Lamp glows in various colors. It changes color automatically, which is good for visual stimulation. This type of sensory stimulation enhances the development of hand-eye coordination, cause-and-effect, communication skills, and many other skills. Toddlers and kids who are learning disabled can benefit a great deal for this type of stimulation.
Aesthetically pleasing: at the very least, this fiber optic lamp will add some ambiance to the room. It produces soft glows of light that can be very calming and relaxing.
Battery and USB powered: you can either power the lamp using 3AAA batteries or via USB. It makes more sense to use batteries when you’re outdoors (like camping) and USB cable when you’re indoors.
Affordable: you can pick up this lamp for $10 or even less. Lighting items don’t come any cheaper than that.
Easy to use: it’s one of the most straightforward lamps that you can possibly get. Simply plug the USB cable, switch the lamp on and you’re good to go. When you’re done using it, turn the switch to OFF and that’s it. There are no complicated operations.
- Fiber optics are a bit too delicate and can break if mishandled. It’s advisable to put the lamp where toddlers can’t’ reach.
The takeaway point here is that toddlers and adults need some form of sensory lighting.
While light sensory toys are perfect for little ones, adults need something different – like a night lamp or fiber optic lamp. Luckily we have covered 3 of the best light sensory toys for babies and 2 lamps for adults to help you narrow down the choices.
Feel free to pick any two (one for you and one for your little one), or three or even four! You can never have enough lighting items in a room.