Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Halloween, not to think about all the birthdays… Holidays come and go all year round, so it’s never a bad time to think about gifts for the kids - and what’s better than a toy? But remember: every child is different, which is why you should choose toys depending not only on the age range and price but also on children’s stages of development, emerging abilities, and interests. This article was made specifically to help you make the right decision - and get what’s best for your kid.
How to Choose the Best Toy
It’s easy: base on what you know about the kid, find the possible toys, and do your homework. Don’t just drive to the supermarket and buy whatever you see first. Kids age ranges for toys are determined only by safety levels, so even if the toy you want to buy has an appropriate age range label, it can not be the best one for your kid depending on their intelligence or maturity level.
If you’re choosing a toy depending on your kid’s interests, make sure to check its features and choose the most appropriate one, depending on price and quality. For this, google toy buying guides, like “best beyblade,” and let professionals help you make a decision.
And if you have no idea what you’re doing or are completely lost within all the possible toys, you can always check this year’s top lists and let the others take this burden off your shoulders.
What Kind of Toys Get Your Kid Depending on the Age Range
Of course, age is the most important thing that determines the type of appropriate toy. Just remember to combine it with other factors mentioned above, and you’ll easily find the best toy for your kid.
Babies - 0 to 12 months
Newly born babies explore the world using their five senses: they put things in their mouths, lift them, drop them, turn their heads, move their arms and legs, and check: is the object soft or hard, sticky or rough, colorful, loud or breakable. Of course, you need to make sure the toy is safe in the first place - but after that, you can give them literally anything they can explore.
- For younger infants, up to 6 months, get something to reach for, grasp, shake, suck on - like rattles, squeeze toys, soft dolls, textured balls, and especially ring stacks - first, the baby will enjoy holding and sucking the ring, and, as it gets older, it will practice motor skills by fitting the rings onto a cone.
- You can also get younger babies something to listen to and look at -- books with nursery rhymes, recordings of simple songs and lullabies, or unbreakable mirrors will be the best choices.
- For older infants, 7 to 12 months, get something that will involve their motor skills. At this age, children can scoot, pull up, stand, but also understand their names and common words, find hidden objects, and put things in the containers. The best choice would be nesting toys, large soft blocks, plastic and wooden cars, and bath toys.
Toddlers - 1 to 2 years old
Toddlers learn rapidly: they begin to walk steadily, differentiate colors and shapes, and understand items’ purpose. For this reason, consider buying some of these toys:
- Board books with simple illustrations, recording with various songs, building blocks, and hammering or pounding toys will help them explore the world and their own movements.
- Easy wood puzzles, shape-sorting toys, blocks snapping together as well as objects to create with, like non-toxic crayons, large paint brushes, and rhythm instruments, will engage your kid’s brain and help them master new skills.
- This is also the age when pretend play starts, so think about buying some role-play toys like a doctor’s kit, kitchen or construction sets, dolls with accessories, or water play toys.
Preschoolers - 3 to 5 years old
Preschoolers imagine many possibilities for every item they see, perceiving the world as a magical place without limits. They start to experiment with things, ask a lot of questions, and like to play with friends.
- Preschoolers’ toys are more elaborate than the toddlers’ ones, so look for more complex puzzles, blocks and construction sets, arts and crafts toys like modeling clay or playdough, detailed picture books and ride-on equipment.
- If your child has access to the computer, make sure they watch interactive programs appropriate for their age.
Big Kids - 6+ years
Older kids are mastering new skills: physical, like playing with a ball or riding a bicycle, and social, like communicating with peers.
- Jump rope and cardboard games are ideal toys that will involve your kid’s social and intellectual skills.
- Musical instruments will encourage your child’s listening and motor skills, while science kits will promote discovery and problem-solving abilities, improving math science skills.
- This is also the time for talents and interests, and a child might spend hours drawing comics, weaving bracelets, reading, or playing football, so have a closer look into what they like doing.
The Ultimate Formula for Buying a Toy
Even though there isn’t an ultimate toy that every child would like, there is a formula that will help you make the best choice. It is a mix of your kid’s age, abilities, skills, and interests, and thanks to it, you will never be lost in the toy store again. And if you don’t know what your child likes - just ask! There surely is a toy they dream about.