- Match toys to your child’s development stage for a more enriching play experience.
- Often, safe and suitable play materials can be found at home and adapted for various ages.
- Age-appropriate toys for infants include rattles, teething toys, and cardboard books.
- Toddlers benefit from toys like wooden puzzles, blocks, and dress-up clothes.
Kids develop in different stages, so it’s good to have age-appropriate toys that will enhance their experiences in each of those periods. So, in addition to finding safe toys for your child, it’s recommended to find ones that match their level of development and building skills.
Most of the time you’ll find that a lot of safe and suitable play materials can be found right at home and can be used in more than one way for children of different ages –you just have to get creative! Below you’ll find a list of appropriate toys for different ages, based on the recommendations by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
Age-appropriate toys for babies and children
0 – 6 months
Young babies like to look at faces and bright colors and follow them with their eyes. They can reach for objects and explore them with their hands, feet, and mouth. When they hear a peculiar sound, babies will turn and look towards it. Good toys for this age include:
- Large rings
- Teething toys
- Squeeze toys
- Cardboard books with nursery rhymes
- Unbreakable mirrors
7 – 12 months
These months are normally more active ones. Babies are on the go and, therefore, interact with their environment in new and exciting ways. They go from rolling over and sitting, to scooting, crawling, pulling themselves up, and standing up. Good toys for older infants include:
- Things to play pretend with, like dolls, puppets, and toy cars
- Large blocks and cubes to build with
- Large balls
- Push and pull toys
- Things to drop and take out, like a shape sorting cube
1 year old
One-year-olds are in constant contact with their environment, exploring their surroundings because they are on the go! Their language is continuously expanding and they enjoy storybooks. Age-appropriate toys for them include:
- Cardboard books with illustrations
- Songs, rhymes, and simple stories
- Crayons, washable markers, and paint
- Toy phones, dolls, and costumes to play pretend with
- Plastic and wood blocks to build with
- Puzzles with large pieces
2 years old
Toddlers are quickly developing their fine motor skills –which allow them to use their hands and fingers with control and play with small objects. They also do a lot of physical “experiments” in their environment: jumping down, climbing, and rolling around. Toys that are appropriate for two-year-olds include:
- Wood puzzles (4-12 pieces)
- Objects to sort by size, color, or shape
- Dress-up clothes, dolls, and puppets to play pretend with
- Finger paint, crayons, markers, etc.
- Picture books
- Large and small balls for kicking and throwing
- Tunnels to crawl through
Remember to always put safety first. Safe toys for young children are shatter-proof, painted with non-toxic lead-free paint, and easily cleaned. Make sure that there are no small parts that could break off and become lodged in a child’s throat. Parents must check toys frequently to make sure they are still safe because wear and tear can make a once-safe toy hazardous.