One of the most important things to remember when purchasing toys is that they are age appropriate. This will change throughout your child’s lifetime and will not necessarily be at the same rate as his best friend or other children in his class.
Different skills and interests are shown at different times in their life and toys have to be appropriate to both of these factors.
Toys by age group
Newborn through to 6 months
At this age, the question that many people ask themselves is When do babies start playing with toys? The simple answer is from the minute they open their eyes!You are looking for toys that will stimulate the main senses of sight, sound, and touch. Some of the best educational toys for babies do all of these things.
For this young age, toys need to be colorful, textured, make a noise of some sort and importantly easy to hold for little hands. Toys like rattles, bouncers, playmats, soft toys and teethers are some of the best age-appropriate toys for this age group.
Ages 6 months to 12 months
Between 6 and 12 months, babies are engaging more through laughing, babbling, sitting unaided, rolling, crawling and even pulling themselves to stand by furniture. They may even be extremely close to taking their first steps!
Some of the best educational toys for babies of this age include cause and effect, which are very often battery operated that play music, light up or complete actions with the push of a button. Flashing light toys for babies are also a must-have baby toy for this age group.A new stage of development and play at this age is when they start to dump and fill play, this simply means when they start putting large toys in and out of containers.
If you would like some further information you could read our article on the Best baby crawling mat.
Toddlers age 1 to 3 years old
At this stage of their lives, toddlers are full of energy, have an insatiable appetite for exploration and the world around them. They love all different kinds of physical activities like pulling, knocking down, pushing, climbing, emptying and filling. Toddlers are curious and enjoy a very hands-on approach to life and investigating everything they see. It’s a fantastic age for learning, exploring and discovery.
Age-appropriate toys for this age group are problem-solving toys for toddlers and construction toys for toddlers such as building blocks and puzzles. These all encourage them to release their energy and improve their skills such as fine motor and thinking skills.
Preschoolers age 3 to 5 years old
Preschoolers love toys that present them with opportunities for open play and creativity. This is where building blocks for kids in various shapes and forms provide both these challenges. Technology in toys has ensured that this age group become savvy from a young age, this is not a bad thing in our current society. Some of the best educational apps for 3 to 5-year-olds provide opportunities to develop math and language skills, while still providing learning through fun.
Age-appropriate toys for preschoolers include such a vast range of choices such as bikes, scooters, arts and crafts activities, simple board games and pretend playsets .
Some of the best pretend playsets for preschoolers have a few key things in common, they all are inviting for this age group, they are bright and colorful and tend to have lots of buttons and knobs to turn, move, switch on and off.
Some of the best craft activities for 3 to 5-year-olds are based on simple and easy to do themes.
Children age 5 to 8 years old
Children in their early elementary school age are curious, they want to explore, invent, create, destroy and start all over again. This is why building toys for 5-year-olds are fantastic, by starting them at this young age you give them the time to grow and develop with the toy. Construction toys provide them with all these elements, while still keeping the cost relatively low.
Age-appropriate toys for children age 5 to 8 years old must allow them to use their imagination, but we must be aware that many of this age group still enjoy dolls, superhero action figures, electronic devices, and board games.
The best dolls for 5 to 8-year-olds give them access to open play that encourages and develops their imagination while they act out what they see in everyday life.
Pre-teens age 9 to 12 years old
Children in this age group are at a stage in their life where they do not fit in with the younger children and are not quite old enough to be in the teenage group. This can be a difficult time for them.
Children love playing games that are fast-paced, musical instruments are a big hit with this age group and they also start to show their personality in the music they like to listen to. They are still young enough to enjoy playing silly party games though.
At this age STEM toys are fantastic along with concrete operational toys, allowing children to show their independence as they build robots using their problem-solving skills. Construction toys are an old favorite but children never really grow out of these, their imaginations just grow!