Even if you are around babies a lot, choosing a fun and education toy can be tough. As they grow from newborns to adolescents, children go through different learning stages. While the stages are occurring, changes in their brain also happen. Learning the different stages of child development is key to getting your baby age appropriate toys.
This guide will help you choose baby toys by age. This should make it much easier for you to continuously stimulate your baby’s mind and sense to help him/her grow.
Choosing Age Appropriate Toys – Guidelines for Every Age
0 to 12 Months
For the initial 3 months, babies are incapable of doing much more than observing their surroundings. Because their vision is still blurry, they see bright and boldly patterned items best. While the toys do not have to be black and white, the colors should contrast each other.
As the baby grows past 3 months, he/she will enjoy toys that engage other senses too. This is why a large number of toys are designed to promote interaction in various ways – they can make crinkling or squeaking noises, have a nubby texture, and be cuddly and soft.
Most infants – that is, kids under 1 year – tend to mouth toys. Getting your kid textured mouth toys can help with relieving the teething pain.
Some of the top toys that keep babies under 12 months engaged include:
- Brightly colored and multipatterned crib mobiles
- Activity boards
- Unbreakable mirrors
- Soft, colorful, and washable dolls or stuffed animals featuring a smiling face
- Floor gyms
- Small stuffed fabric balls
1 to 2 Years
At this age, your baby will be fascinated by the cause and effect – the best toys will be the ones that respond to his/her actions and makes use of the newly acquired motor skills. For example, your baby will love toys that make it possible for him/her to hit a ball using a hammer as well as toys featuring buttons that make characters popup or play music.
Some high-tech age appropriate toys could include ones that name a letter, a number, or a shape when your baby presses the button. While the baby is too young to learn the ABCs, he will enjoy interacting with the toys and being exposed to a new language.
When getting baby toys by age, the following toys should be ideal for your 1- to 2-year old:
- Stacking rings
- Push or pull toys – These should make noises or feature pieces that move or pop up
- Nesting boxes or cups
- Hammering sets that let the baby hammer balls or pegs through holes
- Simple but sturdy musical instruments – for example, maracas, drums, or tambourines
- Large play vehicles – For example, a fire engine or school engine plus plastic people riding in them
- Puzzles with 4 or 5 pieces
- Toy boats or Rubber ducks for when the baby is in the bathtub
At My Babies Planet, we have made things much easier for parents of 1-year-olds by compiling a list of top-rated toys for every budget. You can check out the detailed list on mybabiesplanet.com
2 to 3 Years
Your baby’s play now is more purposeful. He will already have the motor skills needed to complete a puzzle or build with some blocks by himself. He will start enjoying pretend play, imitating the actions of the people around him. He will like toys that make real-life sounds – for example dolls that talk and telephones that ring.
At this age, most babies tend to play in a gender-stereotypical way – at least some of the time. A girl might pretend to feed her doll before putting it down for a nap. Your son may use the dump truck to scoop up sand.
Both boys and girls, however, are very active at this age and they may still enjoy the pull- and push-toys. You can also consider introducing a ride-on toy – start with a toy that your baby can propel with both feet before moving on to a tricycle.
Toys that need physical strength are ideal for kids at this age. Because they now have more control over their hands, 2-year-olds will have the ability to play with heavier toys that make it possible for them to improve their physical strength. You mustn’t ignore their language skills at this age too – consider investing in tools that develop these skills.
Some of the top toys for 2 to 3-year-olds include:
- Stuffed animals and dolls
- Props for make-believe play – For example, tea-party set, doll stroller, toy kitchen, a toy telephone
- Tricycles and ride-on toys
- Large transportation toys featuring buttons for a siren whistle or horn honk
- Construction toys that can snap together
- Musical instruments featuring flashing lights on the keys that your kid should press to play a tune
4 to 5 Years
Your baby’s learning ability explodes tremendously at this age. It is an ideal time to introduce various interactive educational toys that can teach verbal skills and math – examples of such toys include minicomputers and phonics boards.
You should choose age appropriate toys that say positive things – for example, “Good Job. Let’s try that again”. You should avoid toys that make negative beeping sounds when your baby gets the answer wrong.
Keep in mind that at this age, your baby may have the ability to imagine that he/she is someone else and may even fantasize about being a police officer, teacher, doctor, or an airplane pilot. Studying your child’s personality should make it much easier for you to get the child a toy that brings his or her imagination to life.
Some of the best toys for kids in this age group include:
- Blocks of different shapes
- Craft kits and art supplies
- Electronic phonics toys
- Puzzles featuring greater complexity
- Construction sets with bigger pieces – For example, Lincoln Logs and Legos
- Action figures
- Transportation toys – For example, train stations, airports, parking garages
- Dress-up clothes
- Board games that won’t require reading
- Bicycles featuring training wheels
- Basketballs and soccer balls
6 to 7 Years
While learning from teachers and peers, your child will also be developing his interests. Some kids will want to do science experiments – with your help – while others will want to play with dolls or make beaded jewelry.
Friends will start becoming more important and your child may even start asking for a specific toy – if he does not have it already – because everyone else has the toy.
It is at this age that most babies start enjoying computer games. They may start having friends over to play board games, card games, and sports. Many kids usually prefer music-related toys. However, playing actual instruments might be difficult.
Some of the toys you may want to get your 6 to 7-year old include:
- Remote control cars
- Game boys
- Craft kits
- Telescopes, magnifying glasses, and magnets
- Computer video games
- Board games that involve strategies, including checkers and chess
- Construction sets
Children at this age will enjoy outdoor sports, as well as in-line skates, bicycles, and scooters. The kids acquire adult-like interests, hobbies, and abilities. They may even display a passion by becoming collectors.
Girls may still enjoy writing in diaries and doing crafts while boys may still find the video games irresistible. These years are generally about doing things that give your kid a sense of competence and mastery.
With video and computer games, kids can challenge themselves to get a better score than they did the last time they played the game. They may also enjoy challenging their friends. Questions like “I got this score on a particular game, what score did you get?” are pretty common. Most kids will also enjoy working on longer projects – some of these may take days to complete.
It is worth noting that reading plays a huge role in your kid’s life at this age. It will stimulate their imagination, vocabulary, and communication skills. Problem-solving toys are great ideas at this age – they can easily keep your kid entertained for hours.
When purchasing baby toys by age, you should consider getting the following for your son or daughter if he/she is older than 8 years:
- Model kits
- Board games
- Funny books
- Electronic dictionaries
- Intricate construction sets
- Outdoor sporting equipment
- More elaborate science kits
- Craft kits
- Mechanic toys
- Video games and computer games
Why Toys Are Important
Your baby’s learning, growth, and development start with his/her sensory and motor skills. Simply defined, sensory skills are the skills involving your baby’s senses. Things are learned and memorized best when babies engage their senses. Examples of sensory skills include, balance and spatial perception, taste, touch, vision, hearing, etc.
Motor skills are developed when your baby’s muscles, brain, and nervous system work together to complete a task. Motor skills are divided into two major types – Fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor skills include small tasks, for example, picking up a spoon, bending the fingers, and moving the lips. Gross motor skills include bigger movements like sitting, walking, rolling over, and anything that involves making use of the arms, torso, legs, and feet.
Toys make it possible for the baby to develop both sensory and motor skills. By keeping the baby engaged, age-appropriate toys facilitate the growth of these skills, while ensuring that the child does not outdo himself or herself.
Q: What Age Do Kids Play with Action Figures?
A: Kids start playing with action figures at the age of 4 to 5 years. It is at this age that the kids start imagining themselves being someone else. The kid may imagine himself/herself being a police officer, a superhero, etc. This is what makes action figures extremely appealing.
Q: How Do I Choose A Developmentally Appropriate Toy?
A: Developmentally appropriate toys are toys that promote both growth and learning in all areas of development. The best toys should encourage your kid to use his or her imagination while not being overly stimulating. Keep in mind that the toy you invest in has to be safe – ensure that the tool cannot cause accidents.
Q: At What Age Can Babies Stack Rings?
A: Babies start enjoying stacking rings at the age of 1 to 2 years – that is at around 18 months. At this age, your kid will find it fun to nest cups, stack rings, and other toys that fit inside each other and on top of each other. For example, your baby may stack two to three blocks to create a tower. Investing in a toy that allows the stacking may be the best idea at this age.
Q: What Age Do Kids Stop Liking Stuffed Animals?
A: While development stages are different for everyone, kids tend to ditch their stuffed animals at around the age of 10 to 14 years. At this age, the kids stop carrying stuffed animals everywhere. However, the stuffed animals tend to stay in the bed for a bit longer – it is not uncommon for kids to sleep with their stuffed animals to adulthood.
Q: What Makes a Good Toy?
A: A good toy is one that is fun for your kid and suitable for his/her age, personality, and developmental needs. The toy should also inspire active play. Kids need to do something – build, dissect, pull, push – with a toy. A toy that allows this should be good.
My Babies Planet Overview
For new parents, getting age appropriate toys is generally hard. Understanding how your kid plays at the various development stages is the key to getting him or her the right gift. While different kids will develop at varying speeds, they all have a lot of similarities in the various development stages.
Keep in mind that when you are getting your baby a gift or a toy, irrespective of how old he or she is, you should always focus on getting something that will improve both his sensory and motor skills. The best toys should keep your son or daughter eager to learn new things. The tips outlined in this article should make things much easier for you when shopping for baby toys by age.