The Best Baby Toys That Teach Cause-And-Effect

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Babies learn every single day. They learn through exploration, trying new things, and interactions with others.

One of the most important things they learn is cause-and-effect. This is the relationship between two things, where one thing leads to another.

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For example, when they push a button, a toy makes a noise. When they pull a string, a toy moves. Etc.

There are all sorts of toys that can help teach this concept. Some of the best cause and effect toys for babies and toddlers (and the ones we’ll be talking about in this guide) are

Some considerations when you are toy shopping

When you’re choosing what kind of toys to buy for your baby, you may want to consider how the toy will help your child learn new skills as well as entertain them during playtime.

We love wooden toys for babies as they are non-toxic and usually don’t have a lot of lights and sounds, which can be overwhelming for a baby.

Keep in mind that jumpers and activity centers are toys as well, and they are really great at helping children develop strength in their legs. They may also help with cognitive development as well as gross and fine motor skills.

Another advantage of activity centers is the freedom that parents can get when the baby happily jumps in their saucer.

When choosing toys for your baby, you should consider cause-and-effect toys as a primary type of toy for their playroom.

Not only will these toys keep your little one entertained, but they will also help your baby learn while they play.

What are cause-and-effect toys?

As mentioned, cause-and-effect toys are toys that help babies understand the relationship between two things.

This type of toy usually has a simple design so that babies can easily understand how it works. Some classic example are rattles, crinkly toys, pull-along toys, pounding toys, etc.

But, there are also plenty of other ways you can teach cause-and-effect using several household items you probably already have at home.

For example, you can use spoons to make sounds on different surfaces. Zippers, Tupperware, and light switches are all basic ways to teach cause and effect as well.

We prefer a combination of both learning toys and household items.

The benefits of playing with cause-and-effect toys

As children play with these toys, they learn how their actions can affect their surroundings. They also develop problem-solving skills as they figure out how to make the toy work.

These toys can help to improve hand-eye coordination and eye-tracking skills as well.

As children learn to control the toy’s movements, they also develop fine motor skills. So, not only are cause-and-effect toys a lot of fun, but they are beneficial for your child’s overall development too.

What is the best age range for cause-and-effect toys?

There is no one answer to this question. It depends on the development of your child and what type of cause-and-effect toys they are interested in.

For example, some action equals sound toys (such as crinkle toys) may be suitable for babies as young as 3 months old, while more complex toys may be better suited for older babies or toddlers.

The best way to know if your child is ready for a particular toy is to observe their interests and try out a few different options to see what they respond best to.

We’ve included the manufacturer’s recommended age for each toy listed below. Hopefully, this will help make it easier for you to find the perfect cause-and-effect toy for your little one.

How do I know if a toy is a cause-and-effect toy?

The simplest way to tell if a toy is a cause-and-effect toy is to look for toys that make noise, light up, or move in some way when your child interacts with them.

Other signs that a toy may be a cause-and-effect toy include:

  • The presence of buttons, switches, or levers
  • Different textures or materials to touch and explore
  • The ability to stack, sort, or match objects

Ball popper cause and effect toys

Ball popper toys for babies and toddlers are excellent teachers of cause-and-effect.

The way this type of toy works is simple. When the trigger on the toy is activated by pressing a button, pulling a lever, or some other action, a ball is launched either into the air or inside the toy.

There’s also usually a quick “popping” sound when this happens, so expect plenty of sweet baby giggles!

Playskool Busy Ball Popper Toy

This unique toy features 5 colorful balls that pop up in the air and roll down ramps, through clear tubes, and back up again.

Babies will love watching the balls as they travel around the track, and you’ll love seeing the look of wonder in their eyes.

For ages 9 months and up.

Playskool Elefun

This adorable elephant-shaped toy pops 4 colorful balls into the air, keeping babies engaged as they try to catch them.

The best part? You can turn the elephant’s trunk to change which direction the balls will go. This allows babies and toddlers to play whether they are sitting, crawling, or walking.

For ages 9 months and up.

Playskool Chase ‘n Go

This ball popper elephant pops up 4 balls for kids to chase and also plays 6 fun tunes.

The compact design makes it easy to store when playtime is done.

For ages 9 months and up.

Kidpal Train

If you are looking for a great cause-and-effect toy for babies who are just starting to crawl or walk, this train is a perfect choice.

It’s colorful, lights up, moves all around, plays music, and spins balls.

For ages 18 months and up.

Fisher-Price Go Baby Go Dino

Babies will love this dino! They can fill its belly with balls, which will then pop around and out, encouraging them to crawl after them.

The six colorful balls can also roll out of the dino’s mouth or pop into its tail. 

For ages 6 months and up.

Playskool Giraffalaff

This sweet little giraffe is sure to bring a smile to your child’s face as they watch the colorful balls pop and swirl.

With this popping toy, babies can practice their fine motor skills as they press the giraffe’s head over and over again.

For ages 12 months and up.

Toomies Cannon Ball Pic & Pop

This ball popper toy will keep toddlers active and on the move. It features a cannon that pops balls out when the button on the handlebars is squeezed.

The balls are then scooped up as the child drives over them.

For ages 18 months and up.

Push and pull toys

Push toys are perfect for babies that are just starting to crawl and need a little extra encouragement and pull-along toys can be a lot of fun for older babies and toddlers who are starting to walk.

These types of toys also teach cause and effect.

Fisher-Price Poppity Pop Tiger

This little tiger is a fun and engaging toy for babies and young toddlers.

As the toy is pushed along, colorful balls will start to pop up, which encourages baby to keep pushing the toy along to make the action happen again.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Hape Walk-A-Long Snail

This little snail is the perfect pull-along friend for your child. The design is simple – When they pull on the string, the snail moves along.

The snail’s shell is also a shape-sorting toy. Your little one can practice matching a triangle, circle, and square.

Best for ages 12 months and up.

Pounding cause and effect toys

Toys that are made for pounding engage the curiosity in the child by showing them that their actions can change their environment.

These toys are perfect for developing hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and cause-and-effect understanding.

Playkidz Pound A Ball Toy

This toy is a very cute and fun way to promote fine motor skills in babies and toddlers.

The balls drop down after being pounded, and the child can watch them roll down the ramp and out onto the bottom tray.

Best for ages 12 months and up

UNIH Hammer and Ball Drop Toy

This is another very cute pounding toy that will teach your child cause and effect.

Baby will hit one of the three brightly-colored balls at the top with the toy hammer, which will then send it rolling down the track. Rinse and repeat for plenty of fun and giggles!

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench

This wooden pounding toy is a classic. Baby will use the toy mallet to bop the begs down.

Best of all, the pegs are attached so they won’t get lost.

Best for ages 2 and up.

Rolling and spinning toys

Rolling and spinning toys are excellent cause and effect toys because they teach babies that if they drop a toy (or a ball), it falls and may even roll away.

Fun Little Toys Ball Drop Tower

This toy doesn’t feature any pounding, but there’s plenty of rolling!

Standing about 33.5″ tall, this ball drop tower is the perfect toy to teach toddlers cause-and-effect. When they drop the ball at the top of the tower, it will circle around the tower until it reaches the bottom.

Best for ages 18 months and up.

SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy

This toy set includes 6 vibrant discs that spin down a corkscrew pole. The discs alternate between flower and star-burst shapes and feature 2 colors each.

Pull the pole from the base to watch all the discs tumble to the ground.

Best for ages 12 months and up.

Spinning Drum Montessori Toy

This wooden Montessori drum teaches babies that if they push at the drum, it spins. The faster they push, the faster it spins!

The drum has a total of 6 sides – 5 of which are a different color and texture. The 6th side features a mirror.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Action equals sound toys

Action equals sound toys teach children that their actions can activate music or crinkle sounds.

For example, when they squeeze a soft toy, it might make a crinkle sound. These toys are perfect for developing fine motor skills and cause-and-effect understanding.

The Farmer Says See ‘N Say

This classic toy not only teaches your child about farm animals and the sounds they make, but it teaches cause-and-effect too.

When your child pulls the cord, they will see and hear how their action causes the toy to work.

Best for ages 18 months and up.

Manhattan Toy Click Clack Ball

This nifty toy ball is made with bright colors and black and white ring patterns, so it’s sure to capture baby’s attention.

And there are a couple of ways you can activate sounds with this toy. The handles make a distinct clicking sound with every twist. Plus, it’s filled with tiny beads inside, so it also rattles when shaken.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Fisher Price Dance and Groove Rockit

This toy offers plenty of opportunities for hands-on play.

There’s a toggle switch that goes through the alphabet, a sliding door that activates learning about different shapes, and more.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Little Baby Bum Star Toy

This easy-to-grip toy plays 8 different nursery rhymes that are activated with the click of a large button.

It also lights up for extra entertainment.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Wooden Drum

This is the perfect toy for your little musician. Tap each of Baby Einstein’s friends to play a different tune.

Best of all, there are no buttons – Baby can simply pat the characters to activate the sound.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Baby Crinkle Square

Crinkle squares may seem overly simple, but they are one of the best ways to teach young babies that their actions can affect their environment.

These sensory squares make a crinkly noise when touched or squeezed. They are also machine washable.

Best for ages 3 months and up.

Pop-up toys

Pop-up toys show babies’ cause-and-effect by showing them actions that occur if a button or lever is pressed or pulled.

And they are sometimes (but not always) accompanied by lights, sounds, and other fun stimulations.

Yeebay Pop-Up Animals Toy

This brightly colored pop-up toy features 4 different animals that can be activated by turning, pushing, sliding, or flipping a button.

Each animal names a unique sound or music (depending on the play mode) when activated.

Best for ages 12 months and up.

Fisher-Price Hide & Peek Pop-up

This super cute pop-up toy features 4 different activities to press, turn, toggle, and slide.

Each activity results in a different fun sound and pop-up friend. This toy is great for developing dexterity and cause-and-effect awareness.

Best for ages 9 months and up.

VTech Roll & Surprise Animal Train

This unique toy can be used as both a pop-up toy and a pull-along toy.

The 3 mechanical knobs push, slide, and turn to pop-up animal characters, and the train plays a total of 55 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases.

Best for ages 6 months and up.

Cause-and-effect toys are always going to be wonderful choices for your little one.

And, as you can see, there are endless options to choose from that are colorful, fun, and engaging.

Do you have a favorite cause-and-effect toy that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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