Toys are more than just playthings, they should be fun, educational and stimulating, they should encourage child’s imagination and inspire his creativity, and most importantly – they must be safe.
In addition to being safe, good toys for young children need to match their stages of development and emerging abilities. Many safe and appropriate play materials are free items typically found at home. Cardboard boxes, plastic bowls and lids, collections of plastic bottle caps, and other “possessions” can be used in more than one way by children of different ages. As you read the following lists of suggested toys for children of different ages, keep in mind that each child develops at an individual pace. Items on one list—as long as they are safe—can be good choices for children who are younger and older than the suggested age range.
Playing is vital for social, mental, physical and emotional development of your child, so don’t underestimate the importance of choosing toys carefully. Keep in mind that what is fun, stimulating and educational is not the same for different ages.
Birth to six months
You are the best ‘toy’ for your baby. Babies like to follow people with their eyes and explore your face. Your child will be delighted by the sound of your voice and will love gentle touch of your hands, and softness of a baby blanket. While growing your infant will enjoy more and more in bright colors and sounds, so it will start to take interest in musical toys and bright mobile toys.
As for choosing toys, look for things they can hold, shake and make noise with it. Teething toys are always a good choice and so are soft dolls. Your baby will love toys with contrasting colors. When opting for a toy keep in mind that newborns can’t focus on objects more than about 20-30 cm from their faces.
Seven to twelve months
In this period baby masters, the motor skills that enable it to play with toys in new and exciting ways. When babies can sit up, they enjoy playthings they can manipulate to bang, drop, stack up, put in and take out. Now the baby is learning to understand its name, common words, and to identify body parts.
Your baby will probably enjoy playing with push-along toys, soft balls, cuddly teddies, soft or wooden cubes that he can build and then knock down again. Bath toys can be especially interesting. In the bath, your child will find joy in playing with just about anything, including boats, measuring cups and empty plastic containers. Everything is fun in water because toys get new functions of splashing, pouring, tipping and floating.
Toys for one and two years’ old
After their first birthday children are explorers, curios, and everything is miraculous to them. Now they also have physical skills that make it easy to play and learn with them. In this period your child will need toys that it can spend energy on.
When choosing toys for your one or two-year-old, look for balls, push-pull toys, ride-on toys, pop up toys, blocks, play vehicles, playhouse, musical instruments and so on.
Toys for preschoolers and kindergarteners (3 – 6)
Preschoolers and kindergarteners are curious and therefore ask a lot of questions. After the age of 3, children begin to play actively with each other. They like to act and imitate adults, and also they enjoy creating things with their own hands.
They’ll have fun with problem solving games like puzzles, objects they can arrange. Toys for building are also an interesting source of fun for your kid. Most of preschoolers and kindergarteners absolutely enjoy drawing, painting and modeling clay.
As for older kids, you’ll learn on the way what are your child interests, so you should buy toys accordingly to them, but also keep in mind that the toys should affect social, emotional, and physical development. They enjoy dolls, superhero action figures, tablets, and board games.
Tween Toys for Ages 9 to 12
Children grow up so fast, don't they! Age-appropriate toys for kids 9 to 12 allow children to demonstrate their personality. Kids love playing fast-paced games, learning to play musical instruments, are efficient at using tablets, like listening to music and playing silly party games. STEM toys and games that allow children to use complicated problem-solving skills to build robots are also popular.
Toys for Teens Ages 13 and Over
Teens often prefer electronic toys like mobile phones, tablets, and video games, but there are many other hot, new toys that appeal to them, too. It is popular for teens to want to ride electric scooters, sing karaoke with their friends, fly drones, construct LEGO sets, collect movie memorabilia, code robots to follow their every command and engage in active NERF blaster games with their friends and family.
Kids this age enjoy outdoor sports as well as scooters, bicycles, and in-line skates. They acquire adult-like interests, abilities, and hobbies and may display a passion by becoming a collector. Girls still love doing crafts and writing in diaries, and boys find computer and video games irresistible.
It is important to remember that typical wear and tear can result in a once safe toy becoming hazardous. Adults should check toys frequently to make sure they are in good repair. For a list of toys that have been recalled by manufacturers, visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.