When it comes to play time for baby, the goal is fun, educational, and safe activities. Keep in mind that infants 3-6 months old will just be learning to hold their head up, roll over, and perhaps by six months, sit up. So play time gear needs to be fairly simple at this age... no building castles or playing house quite yet! Below you'll find a number of products that we know will work great for this age.

    Toy: Baby Paper - Crinkly Baby Toy

    While it may seem a little odd to parents who invest in all sorts of fancy toys, infants tend to have the strongest affinity for really simple objects, and particularly like crinkly plastic. To satisfy their desire while keeping them safe, we recommend this "Baby Paper", which produces a satisfying crunch when wrinkled, and will amazingly keep infants occupied for hours!

    The Guru's Tip:

    Once babies start teething, they'll also enjoy chewing on this baby paper, which luckily, unlike real paper, won't dissolve in their mouths!

    Toy: Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle

    No baby should be without a Winkel Toy at this age. As infants learn to touch and grasp, the Winkel Toy will become an everyday companion. It's especially good for teaching baby how to pass objects from one hand to the other.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While this product is marketed as a teether, we think it's actually better viewed as a sensory toy. The hard plastic loops don't have the "chew" that babies really like when teething, and it's also hard for babies to get their gums around the loops given how close together they are.

    Toy: Lamaze Clip & Go Jacque the Peacock

    Just about every infant will go ga-ga for Jacque, with his huge variety of textures, colors, and patterns. As babies develop their senses, they'll discover new and interesting aspects to Jacque nearly every day!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The attached clip allows parents to hang Jacque in the activity gym, which will allow children to get a better view and practice reaching out with hands and feet to interact with Jacque!

    Infant Book: Jellycat Pet Tails Book

    Believe it or not, one of the things infants are most attracted to is labels. Introduce them to a new blanket or playmat, and they'll probably seek out a tag to suck on! The folks at Jellycat have figured that out, and have created this "Tails Book" for infants. Yes, there are words in this book, but for infants 3-6 months old, they will really be secondary to the tactile experience the various pet tails provide!

    The Guru's Tip:

    The irony is that even with all the great "tails" to suck and chew on in this book, infants may still prefer the little "Jellycat" label on the back!

    Teether Toy: Sophie La Girafe Gift Set

    Sophie is another toy that every baby should have by their side. Made of 100% natural rubber and hand painted with food paint, this is a work of art as well as a toy. Yes, it's a bit expensive, but it's also extremely high quality and actually made in France!

    The Guru's Tip:

    We recommend this gift set because it includes a plastic teether, which is actually better for teething than the main Sophie doll, which is just a bit too hard for young infants to get their gums around.

    Play Gym: Baby Einstein Play Gym

    Until babies leearn to sit up, they are going to spend a whole lot of play time on their backs, and later on their stomachs. There's no better place for them to be than the Baby Einstein Play Gym. Over the months, you'll watch as they learn to interact with the various toys and games in the gym, from the animals and rings to the musical star on top.

    The Guru's Tip:

    This is one of the best investments you can make for baby, as it will remain useful throughout infancy.

    Play Yard: Summer Infant Pop N' Play Portable Playard

    Once your child starts rolling around, they'll quickly learn to roll right out of sight! This wonderful 48"-wide playard gives them plenty of space to test their newfound abilities, without letting them get too far. It's great indoors or out, and in fact makes for a great deck or lawn play space, due to its nylon bottom, which will resist water and stains.

    The Guru's Tip:

    While both this and the Graco Pack 'n Play profiled below are marketed as playards, they really serve different purposes. The Pop N' Play is about twice as large and surprisingly far more portable, but it can't be used as a napper/crib, and may be too large for small rooms.

    Playpen: Graco Pack 'n Play Playard with Reversible Napper and Changer

    The Pack 'n Play can serve so many purposes it's practically impossible to list them all. It can be used as a changing station for newborns, eliminating the need to constantly run back to the bedroom changing table. It can be used for napping, starting with newborns and going all the way past infancy, an in fact features three different levels for napping: a newborn insert, a raised platform for younger infants, and a lower platform for children who've learned to sit up. And of course it can be used for play, and due to its compact size is especially good in kitchens of TV rooms, where space is at a premium. Many parents even uses Pack 'n Plays as cribs throughout infancy.

    The Guru's Tip:

    One thing we feel obliged to mention is that the Pack 'n Play is a whole lot better at the "Play" side than the "Pack" side. We don't think it's ideal for moving regularly from room to room; it's just too bulky, and will not fit through standard doorways unless folded up.

    Play Mat: Baby Care Pingko & Friends

    If you'll often be playing with baby in a room with hard floors, this mat is an absolute must-have item. In addition to protecting your baby as he or she rolls and crawls around, it will protect wood floors from impacts when toys go flying! This mat also has educational value, with the many animal illustrations and names to keep your little one entertained for hours.

    The Guru's Tip:

    Because this mat is so well cushioned, your little one may even be able to comfortably nap from time to time in between play sessions!