Best toys for kids: an age-appropriate toy guide
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The best toys for children are appropriate for their age and stage of development. Each age group needs a variety of toys that promote their development.
- For young children, toys that promote motor and cognitive skills are important.
- For preschoolers, toys that promote creativity, problem solving and spatial awareness are suitable.
- For primary school students, toys that promote creativity, problem solving, and spatial awareness, such as blocks, board games, and art supplies, are appropriate.
It's important to choose age and developmentally appropriate toys as they stimulate the child's imagination, increase concentration and attention span and improve developmental skills. It's also important to consider the safety and durability of the toys and the different materials.
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What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
- 1 What are the best early childhood development toys?
- 2 What Makes Preschool Toys Appropriate?
- 3 What type of toys do you choose for elementary school students?
- 4 What is the importance of age-appropriate toys?
What are the best early childhood development toys?
The best early childhood development toys promote motor skills, play and cognitive skills.
This may mean having the child grab and activate a toy, using a toy that encourages the child to stand, walk, or play ball, or a toy that helps improve balance, coordination, and motor planning.
“Toys that encourage children to move their bodies are better than games on a screen,” said Magdalena Oledzka, a pediatric physical therapist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
For children between 0 and 2 years old, toys play an essential role in the early development of the child. Below you'll find a list of the most suitable toys for this phase of life.
- Musical instruments: aid in cognitive development and are sturdy enough to withstand baby's exploration. They also help develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and auditory processing.
- Montessori Toys: Montessori toys are designed to promote child development by encouraging exploration, creativity and problem solving. Examples of Montessori toys include sensory bins, felt toys, and coding charms.
- Blocks and building toys: Blocks and building toys are classic toys that promote creativity, problem solving and spatial awareness. Examples of blocks and building toys are wooden blocks, Legos and magnetic tiles.
- Alternative toys: Alternative toys are toys that are often beneficial for early intervention. Examples of alternative toys include sensory bottles, play dough, and homemade toys.
What are recommended toys for a newborn baby?
Babies up to 1 year should play with toys that they can grasp, shake, squeeze and make sounds, such as rattles, large rings, squeeze toys, teethers, soft dolls, textured balls and vinyl booklets.
Toys with different textures invite little hands and mouths to explore. Blocks and stacking cups are good open-ended toy choices.
According to a study by Todd, Barry and Thommessen (2017), gender preferences do not start until 9 months old. So there is no need to worry about the gender of the toy when choosing baby toys.
It's important to invest in toys that promote the child's sensory exploration and motor development, and to remember that some items may remain special to the child as they grow.
What are recommended toys for a 1 year old?
One-year-olds should play with toys that support their developmental stage, such as musical instruments, and toys that promote cognitive development, such as sturdy Montessori toys.
Building toys such as blocks and magnetic tiles promote creativity and spatial awareness.
sensory toys for 1 year olds such as clay and texture balls help develop fine motor skills and sensory processing and walkers aid learning to walk.
The same study by Todd, Barry and Thommessen (2017) shows that gender preferences already start in the second year of life. Good to know, so you can take that into account as well.
What Makes Preschool Toys Appropriate?
Toys suitable for preschool children should be safe, durable, and designed to promote the developmental needs and skills of children aged 2 to 4 years. Examples of suitable toys include blocks, puzzles, craft supplies, musical instruments, dress-up clothes, outdoor toys and tricycles.
A study by Verdine et al. (2019) suggests that toys with non-canonical shapes, such as blocks with unusual shapes, can improve parent-child interaction and promote children's early geometric knowledge.
For children from 2 years old, toys that stimulate the senses and toys that help develop fine motor skills are suitable. For 3 and 4 year olds, toys that promote creativity, problem solving and social skills are ideal.
Outdoor toys such as bicycles, tricycles and scooters are also great for this age group as they encourage gross motor skills and physical activity.
What are the best toys for 2 year olds?
The best toys for 2-year-olds should stimulate imagination, promote creativity, support motor skills development, and be age-appropriate. Examples include musical instruments, Montessori toys, STEM toys, construction toys, sensory toys, and outdoor toys.
Toys that promote open-ended play and stimulate the imagination are also important for 2-year-olds. Playing with peers helps develop language skills, problem solving, and social and emotional skills.
It's important to toys for 2-year-olds that is age appropriate and does not contain small parts that could be a choking hazard.
What are the best toys for 3 year olds?
Best spatial awareness toys for 3 year olds
The best toys for 3-year-olds should suit their developmental skills and challenge them to advanced play. Board games encourage group interaction and social skills, while outdoor toys such as bicycles, tricycles and scooters are suitable for gross motor development.
Art supplies, puzzles, construction toys, and STEM toys are great for developing fine motor skills and problem-solving skills. pretend play toys for 3 year olds such as dress-up clothes, dolls and play scarves stimulate the imagination and fantasy.
A study by Heljakka and Ihamäki (2019) shows that coding toys such as Dash can encourage young toddlers to engage in physical activity while teaching logic and skills related to coding.
What type of toys do you choose for elementary school students?
Elementary school students can play with toys that promote creativity, problem solving and spatial awareness. Examples include blocks, construction toys, STEM toys, board games, art supplies, puzzles, outdoor toys, dress-up items, and musical instruments.
Kindergarten (4 and 5 years), junior (6, 7 and 8 years), and middle schoolers (9-11 years) have different needs and skills.
Rainbow acrylic blocks, guide blocks, tunnels, LEGO Classic and Magna Tiles are great for preschoolers. For juniors, STEM kits, experiments, board games, puzzles, and art supplies are interesting. For middle schoolers, STEM toys, sports equipment, musical instruments, books, and experiments are suitable.
What are the best toys for kindergartners?
The best toys for kindergartners include the following.
- Rainbow Acrylic Blocks: These blocks are colorful and help develop fine motor skills and creativity.
- Lego Classic: Kids can let their imaginations run wild with this building set while developing their problem-solving skills.
- Magna Tiles: These magnetic tiles are great for building 3D structures and promote the development of spatial awareness.
- Board games: Games such as Goose Board help children develop social skills and group interaction.
- Outdoor Toys: Bicycles, tricycles and scooters are great for promoting gross motor skills and physical activity.
There are some differences between toys for 4-year-olds and 5-year-olds. 4-year-olds are often still developing their basic skills, while 5-year-olds are ready for more advanced toys that match their developmental level.
Board games and outdoor toys are great for both age groups, but 5-year-olds can also enjoy more advanced building sets and science experiments.
What are the best toys for 4 year olds?
The best toys for 4-year-olds are those that stimulate their imagination and creativity and help them develop motor skills. Examples include building blocks, puzzles, musical instruments, sports equipment, and role-playing toys.
With building blocks, children can make their own creations and improve their problem-solving skills. Puzzles help develop cognitive skills and hand-eye coordination. Musical instruments stimulate the senses and help develop rhythm and musicality.
Sports equipment helps develop physical skills and coordination. Toys for 4 year olds for role play, such as a kitchenette or a doctor's kit, helps develop social skills and imagination.
What are the best toys for 5 year olds?
The best toys for 5-year-olds are educational toys that pique their interest and promote their learning goals. Examples include STEM toys, puzzles, board games, art supplies, musical instruments, sports equipment, and role-playing toys. Outdoor toys such as bicycles and scooters are also great for this age group as they encourage gross motor skills and physical activity.
Through these toys, children can develop their cognitive, social and physical skills. For example, STEM toys promote their science and technology skills, while board games encourage group interaction and social skills.
Art supplies and musical instruments encourage creativity and expression, while sports equipment and outdoor toys promote gross motor skills and physical activity. Role play toys for 5 year olds helps children develop their imagination and understand social situations.
What are age-appropriate toys for juniors?
The most suitable toys for juniors include the following types.
- Board games: These are ideal for children ages 7 to 9 as they encourage group interaction and promote social skills development.
- Art Supplies: Kids this age are ready for more sophisticated toys to match their developing skills. Art supplies help develop fine motor skills and creativity.
- Puzzles: Puzzles are great for kids ages 7 to 9 because they help develop cognitive skills and problem-solving skills.
- STEM Toys: STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) toys are ideal for children this age as they can stimulate their interest in these topics and improve their cognitive skills.
- Building toys: Building toys are great for kids aged 7 to 9 years old because they stimulate their creativity and problem-solving skills and improve their fine motor skills.
- Musical Instruments: Musical instruments are great for children this age as they help develop cognitive skills and creativity.
- Outdoor Toys: Bicycles, tricycles, and scooters are great for kids ages 7 to 9 because they encourage the development of gross motor skills and physical activity.
The difference between kindergarten and junior toys is that juniors are ready for more sophisticated toys that match their developing abilities.
Toys for 7, 8 and 9 year olds differ because children of this age have different developmental needs and abilities. For example, 7-year-olds are ready for more advanced games, while 9-year-olds are ready for even more educational toys that match their developing skills.
What are the best toys for 6 year olds?
The best toys for 6-year-olds stimulate their imagination and creativity and develop their motor skills. Toys such as building blocks, board games, puzzles, musical instruments, sports equipment, and dress-up clothes are ideal for this age group.
6 year olds enjoy gifts and toys for activities that require both large and fine motor skills, such as riding a bike, drawing, crafts and jigsaw puzzles. They also have a growing interest in science, nature and friendship.
Toys that encourage them to play together, play fair and collect, such as cards, dolls and secret codes, are also popular.
What are the best toys for 7 year olds?
The best toys for 7-year-olds support their learning and interest goals. This includes board games, puzzles, STEM toys, construction toys, musical instruments, sports equipment, role-playing toys and LEGO.
Board games encourage group interaction and promote social skills development. Outdoor toys such as bicycles, tricycles and scooters are great for developing gross motor skills and physical activity. Children develop their physical skills and social identity through sports and art.
Dr. Amanda Gummer, founder of a British company that tests toys and advises parents, says so gifts and toys for 7 year olds already more complicated games, high school novels, graphic novels and writing and drawing in notebooks.
What are the best toys for 8 year olds?
The best toys for 8-year-olds are educational toy robots, thinking games like ThinkFun Gravity Maze, and board games. These toys help develop fine and gross motor skills, language skills, cognitive skills, and social and emotional skills.
A study by Yee and Quek (2013) shows that physical objects stimulate children's imagination better than other types of objects. For example, physical objects such as a frying pan, pickaxe and lantern have a positive effect on the imagination of 8-year-olds.
The giving toys to 8 year olds that stimulates children's imagination can help develop their creativity and problem-solving skills.
What are the best toys for middle schoolers?
The best toys for middle schoolers include the following types.
- Programmable Robots: A fun and educational toy robot that helps children develop their problem-solving skills and stimulate their interest in STEM subjects. Children at this age are ready for more challenging building and programming tasks such as with Scratch or Raspberry pi.
- Challenging games that help children develop their spatial awareness and problem-solving skills.
- Toys that help develop their fine motor skills and stimulate their interest in science and biology.
However, there are differences between toys for 9, 10 and 11 year olds. For example, for 9-year-olds, the Klutz LEGO Gear Bots and science STEM activity kits are still suitable, while 10-year-olds can enjoy more challenging Snap Circuits Jr. and unique STEM toys. For 11-year-olds, the challenging games such as Gravity Maze and Brainbolt are still fun, as well as creative toys such as simpl dimpl and Odd Ballz.
What are the best toys for 9 year olds?
The best toys for 9-year-olds stimulate their creativity, problem-solving and social skills. Think STEM toys, board games, and art supplies.
Board games such as Gravity Maze and Coggy Puzzlegears help develop spatial awareness and problem solving skills. Art supplies and musical instruments encourage creativity and fine motor skills. Outdoor toys such as bicycles and scooters encourage physical activity.
Gifts and toys for 9 year olds you choose based on their development, but especially their personal interests.
What are the best toys for 10 year olds?
The best toys for 10-year-olds support their learning goals and interests. At this age, children begin to become aware of their social identity and become more independent.
STEM activities like Klutz Lego Gear Bots and Oonies Flipslide Game are great for science projects. Board games, such as Codenames and Ghost Cube, help develop problem-solving and social skills. Art supplies and musical instruments promote creativity and fine motor skills. Outdoor toys such as bicycles and scooters encourage gross motor skills and physical activity.
10-year-olds love not only toys, gifts, but also experiences, so there are a lot of possibilities.
What are the best toys for 11 year olds?
The best toys for 11-year-olds are educational and stimulate their interests. Toys such as Squishy Human Legos, Thinkfun Gravity Maze, and SmartLab Toys help develop problem-solving skills and creativity.
11 year olds can have toys and other gifts such as bicycles, trikes, and scooters to promote gross motor development and physical activity.
What are the best toys for 12 year olds?
Best brainteaser for smart 12 year olds
Some experts say more toys for 12-year-olds aren't necessary. For example, Premiumjoy.com surveyed 1000 parents in the US and found that many parents no longer give toys to children aged 12-15.
But the right thing toys for 12 year olds can definitely help them in their development as it can stimulate learning. It can also really bother them.
For example, using building sets and electronic toys can help children learn spatial awareness and engineering.
It's all about finding something special to match this milestone in their lives.
What is the importance of age-appropriate toys?
It's very important to buy toys that are appropriate for the age of the child, as it promotes the development of the child. This has been shown in a study by Bantz and Siktberg (1993). They found that it's not necessary to buy the most expensive or most advertised toys to stimulate the child's growth and development.
It's important for parents to understand what developmental toys are and how to select them. Developmentally appropriate toys stimulate the child's imagination, increase concentration and attention span, improve developmental skills and are safe for the child.
When choosing toys, it's important to consider the age, developmental level, safety and durability of the toy.
What makes toys good instead of bad?
It's important that you understand how to evaluate and use toys to stimulate your child's development without frustrating or overstimulating them. This applies to all parents, regardless of their income, education and resources.
Evaluating a good toy before purchasing means not just looking at the price tag. It's not necessarily expensive rather than cheap, but often well thought out with a precise age indication.
How do you match children's toys with academic development?
Matching toys to children's academic development is perhaps even more important than age, as not every child is at the same stage of development at the same time in their lives.
A good rule of thumb is to buy toys that are challenging without being too difficult for their current academic development. Children also need time to relax with older, more familiar toys and easily completed activities.
A good variety of toys is important. Children get bored faster than adults because their attention span is shorter.
What are developmentally appropriate toys?
Developmentally appropriate toys are designed to suit the age and developmental level of the child. It's important for the child's development to learn and grow and helps to stimulate the child's imagination, increase concentration and attention span, improve developmental skills and ensure the child's safety.
Strongly gendered toys appear to be less supportive of optimal development than neutral or moderately gendered toys, according to research by Blakemore and Centers (2005).
What toys do pediatricians recommend?
Pediatricians recommend toys that are simple and stimulate children's imaginations. Blocks, books, dolls and puzzles are recommended. Electronic toys attract the attention of adults, but simple toys are better for children. Most importantly, it encourages interaction between parent and child.
What toy materials should you look for when buying?
Good toys are made of natural, sustainable and non-toxic materials. Choose unpainted wood, organic cotton and fabrics that are flame retardant. Avoid plastic toys with recycling codes 3, 6 or 7 and choose toys that are safe for children of the appropriate age and developmental level. Toy materials make a big difference to the fun and how long it lasts.
How do you consider boys vs girls toys?
When you buy a toy, consider the target audience you're buying it for. Research shows that boys and girls choose different kinds of toys. Boys often prefer action figures, building sets and toy cars, while girls prefer typically girly toys such as dolls, craft supplies and jewelery making kits.
These gendered toy choices reinforce gender stereotypes. Avoiding stereotypes and offering gender-neutral toys encourages children to use their creativity and imagination.
Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?
Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Speelkeuze.nl is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.