Toys and Children's merchandise

All You Need To Know About Educational Toys

1 to 3 years

Created by Payal
Updated on Apr 30, 2019

All You Need To Know About Educational Toys

Remember, when you were children, the world was your oyster! Your toys were the sticks and pebbles from the garden, you reveled in the mud, made mud pies and mud tea… and even though you had a couple of Barbie dolls, my sister and I collected rags from all over the neighborhood and “designed” clothes for them. And they were not half bad, if I may say so myself.

However, times have changed, and our children don’t like to play with mud and rags anymore. Or maybe we don’t want our children to. These days, educational toys are what we aim at, to have our kids learning while having fun. These educational toys help the child reach his or her development milestones in physiological, psychological, social and/or intellectual spheres. Therefore as much as you may dislike your child moving away from traditional toys, like the wooden truck, to a battery operated car, you would not have the nagging doubt whether your child is falling behind her peers if she is not getting the latest technology available in the market.

There are types of toys that differ in the different ages of the child, as s/he crosses each developmental stage in his or her growth.

Age Group 0-2

This is an age where a child is just learning to discover the different shapes, sizes and color around in their natural environment. At three months a baby starts to differentiate and recognize the primary colors. Basic toys like stacking cups or the building towers can keep them amply engrossed because of the vivid color and also help them understand the basics of logic and size variation. As the baby progresses from 6- 12 months toys like the tool benches with colorful buttons and dials make them interested in the basics of learning with musical rhymes and sounds. These toys help the child in the development of fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Companies like Fischer Price, Chicco, Funskool, Disney or Little Tikes develop such toys. Lego is well known worldwide for their building blocks that range from very simple to complex enough for older children. Between the ages of one and two children learn to think and can recognize objects, differentiating between familiar and new ones. At this time the child is making sense of the world around her. Some other toys and how they help in different stages of development at this age:


Motor Skills

Sensory and thinking skills

Language and social skills



0 - 6 months

Following moving objects with eyes

Grasping objects

Holding objects

Recognition of colours, light, voice and different sounds

Imitate familiar actions

Recognition of faces

Communication through sounds

Showing emotion

Building blocks,  stacking cups, nesting toys,  colourful baby books, torches, rattles, baby gyms with sounds of animals and music, balls which can be held in their hand

Alphabet blocks, stringing toys, water toys, digging toys,  dolls, basic puzzles

Recognize colours, hold and feel things, hear sounds, access to music, understand which switch will prduce what sound in baby gyms by age of 1 year.

intellectual stimulation, helps in building the blocks for learning later in life and improves their problem solving abilities, and improves concepts and planning skills

6 - 12 months

Grasping objects

Feeding oneself

Poking or pointing

Putting blocks together

Learn to crawl, sit, stand and take steps

Walk with help

Copy sounds and actions

Respond to music

Accomplish simple goals like crawling to something

Searches for lost object, like a ball rolled under table

Recognize names

Trying to talk

Show affection to known people

Understand simple command

12- 24 months

Can stack up to 4 blocks

Turns pages

Climb steps with assistance


Imitates actions, sounds

Can play pretend with doll or stuffed toy

Can play on his own


Starts speaking and gains vocabulary

Can follow simple directions




Age Group 3-5

The next stage for a child is; learning sounds, alphabets, and basic numbers. Hence the auditory capabilities of the child need to be developed helping them recognize shapes and formations of alphabets and numbers. To achieve this, the child can be introduced to the next level of the electronic toys. Toys with volume, songs, and rhymes, (such as a kids laptop) will help them form their first words and show them meanings of unknown words.

Most kids are sent off to preschools at the age of 2.5 years. In the preschool, the introduction to finger tracing of alphabets and recognizing the alphabets formally begins. This is also the stage when the child starts to ape adults hence gets interested in writing and scribbling like grown-ups. To facilitate this development write and wipe boards, doodle pads, whiteboards or wipe-able books are a good option. Leapfrog has good musical toys, so does Fischer Price and Funskool. Vtech is well known for its children’s laptop toys. All toy makers make doodle pads now. Little Tikes has easels and boards that are made for play dates or for a group of kids. Play-Doh, clay or finger paint is also fun at this age and fires up the creativity in kids (also the child is grown up enough to realize that it should not be eaten).


Physical Skills

Cognitive Skills

Language and social Skills



3-4 years


Climbing stairs

More gross motor skills, standing on one leg, throwing a ball, play catch

Ride tricycle

Improved fine motor skills like holding colour pencils

Can stack 8 blocks

Plays close attention to stories, memory development

Identifying shapes

Sorting by colour, size and shape

Understand size concepts and basic colours


Rhyme words and say nursery rhymes

Writing alphabet and counting till 20

Better conversation skills and answering questions

Can speak up to 1000 words

Can play alongside other children or join in

Sing songs

Balls of various sizes


Skipping rope

Building blocks

Play laptops

Playdoh, clay, sand pits

Doodle pads, white boards with chalks

Musical toys

Easels and group play toys

Weight toys for holding, throwing etc

Builds gross and fine motor skills

Increase creativity

Use their concept of shapes size and colours

Improve handwriting

4-5 years

Can walk backwards

Tumble, skip, hop and catch ball

Fine motor skills, can hold and use scissor, copy shapes and colour within boundaries

Can manipulate nuts and bolts and smaller toys

Counting 1-20

Basic addition

Concept of time and calendar

Start writing and knows alphabet

Arrange upto 3 pictures in sequence

Can retell a story

Can explain purpose of an object, eg: a rope is to skip

Can use the telephone

Knows name, birthday and parents names

Plays in groups

Uses props and costumes in play

Follows instructions and enjoys entertaining



Age Group 6-8

The later stage is one where children start using their fine motor skills, leading to complex coordinated actions. The complex coordinated actions can be anything from assembling a train set to making complex jigsaw Puzzles. This is the time when toys like make your own airplanes; trains, trucks or cars are very helpful and appropriate for their development and concentration building. Air Hog and Meccano make good model planes and cars. Even simpler toys like LEGGO and building complex structures like railway stations, or city scapers are appropriate

Music: According to most of the studies that have been done to establish the appropriate age to start any kind of musical instrument, a child at 6 years is ready for such a start. Music helps a child in concentration development and is great for their self-esteem. It gives them a feeling of achievement and satisfaction. The best way to introduce a child to a musical instrument will be to get the junior version of a guitar/piano or synthesizer, drums of any kind/ tabla, flute, and violin. All the major toy brands have musical instruments like toy drums or keyboards or guitars for children. Once the child shows interest and inclination towards a particular instrument; one must invest in a real junior version of the instrument and get the child into a formal class so that the creativity and genius of a child are encouraged and developed.

Drawing and painting: During this stage freehand drawing is also something that a child may start, to encourage the creativity and skill we must ensure that the child has different medium of colors to experiment with like watercolors/ poster paints, pastels, pencil colors and is also equipped with different kinds of paper to draw on. This will expand the freedom of expression in a child.

Introduction to structured sports: By the time a child reaches age 8, s/he is ready for introduction to structured sports activity like bowling, golf, basketball, skating, badminton, football and martial arts. To start with; the parents can introduce the child on their own and as soon as the child starts to show interest in any of the games a proper training institute can be used to enhance the skill. Introduction to any kind of structured sports will mean that the team spirit in a child will develop as well as physical exercise will confirm the healthy physical development. Healthy Physical development, in turn, would mean a strong immune system and overall growth.


Physical Skills

Cognitive Skills

Language and social Skills



6-8 years

Can skip, pushup, situp

Can use tools like scissors

Can play simple card games and recognize sequence patterns

Can copy complex shapes and draw a person, can build comples structures with building blocks

Can draw line within angles and curves

Ride two-wheelers


Able to count backwards

Able to tell right from left and learn days of the week

Understanding time, able to tell time

Understanding opposites and similarities

Communicate in classroom

Understanding grammer

Participate in games which follow rules in groups

Resolve conflicts

Musical toys, drawing and painting toys, building complicated structures or objects

Toys which are meant for structured rule based team sports

Fine and gross motor skills

Creativity and talent development


Team based activity and following rules

Problem-solving and conflict resolution




Age Group: 9-12

When the child reaches the age of about 9 or 10, this is the time when they are learning about science in school. Various science experiments will then fire up their urge to do things on their own and also to do their own experiments in the relative safety of home. From botany, to physics and chemistry, experiment toys are available for all subjects. A lot of children also become interested in robotics at this age. Robotics toys are available from Meccano or 4m Kidz Labs.

Video Games and virtual games: They are also entering the age when they would love to get hold of video games. Apart from iPad apps, this is also the age for X-box or Play Station consoles. These also have sensors that enable playing indoor versions of outdoor games like cricket, tennis or even dancing. While it is not recommended for always, it is great for a rainy day.

Board games: Board games like Pictionary and Monopoly will help them develop their mental skills and also build vocabulary and teach them about money. Chess is another great game and it helps with a child’s mental and strategy building skills.

Tablets and touchscreen phones: Tablets are easy enough to be operated by toddlers as young as one as well as preteenager. In fact, as soon as a child can touch, feel and see objects, they are capable of operating a touchscreen tablet or phone. There are apps available for all ages of children which to start off with can teach them shapes, sounds, and colors and as the child grows they can graduate to numbers and alphabets. The Apple iPad of course started it all, but now there are tabs available from every maker in the market at every price point providing seamless touch and play experience for children of all ages. You can also upload apps, (the basic ones are all free but if you want a complete app you will have to pay a nominal sum), according to the age of your child, from the App store where navigation is easy and self-explanatory.


Physical Skills

Cognitive Skills

Language and social Skills



9-12 years

Skilled with sports and enjoy team sports

Can swim

Can use adult tools like hammers or screw drivers

Writing is speedy and smooth


Defined by school curriculum and parents intervention

Complex language skill

Can resolve conflicts and fights

Can understand perspective and points of view


Team sports toys like basketball set or bats and nets

Video games, tablets or board games

Complex board games like Monopoly, chess, Pictionary or scrabble.

Construction toys for a developed age, building tools, and science experiments


Builds team spirit, follow rules, resolve conflict




Build intellectual capacity and vocabulary


Build and do experiments to increase knowledge and skills in the classroom



Outdoor toys and activities are highly recommended for any and every age group of children in this time and age of lifestyle diseases like obesity and Juvenile Diabetes. We have an array of options to provide our children so that they can learn while they play, and also do it in a structured and safe environment. Also Read

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| Sep 19, 2018


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| Jan 10, 2018

hj k

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| Jan 08, 2018

Thanku so much ... u have given d infos in such structured way dat it wud b my guiding tool for parenting

  • Report

| Nov 03, 2017

Thanks for this blog it's very important for guidance me

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| Nov 03, 2017

Thanks for this blog it's very important for guidance me

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| Jun 21, 2017

Thanks this what i was waiting for . Its really nice to read this blog.

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| Oct 29, 2016

nice very nice

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| Jan 29, 2014

Informative article!

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| Oct 01, 2013

Info worth preserving. Thanks.

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| Sep 18, 2013

Very nice article !

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| Sep 17, 2013

Thanks for sharing useful information

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| Sep 17, 2013

Thanks for sharing useful information

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| Dec 03, 2012

Hi, although my child is now past these ages, I am always looking for worthwhile gifts for my nephews and nieces, great ideas, thanks!

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| Nov 16, 2012

Information on educational toys and the developmental stages of a child, have been presented very well.

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| Nov 06, 2012

Very Useful Info, Thanks

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| Nov 06, 2012

Very Useful Info, Thanks

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| Nov 06, 2012

Great write up, very clear and informative.

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| Nov 03, 2012

Hi Payal,Excellent blog and a complete guide to refer before buying educational toys for my child.. Also i can refer which age appropriate toys can be bought for gifting too. Thanks!

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| Nov 03, 2012

Great compilation ..very useful information indeed.

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| Nov 03, 2012

As you said, i agree with you that physical activities are really beneficial for today's life. But i am facing some problems when My child plays football. i know it is a teamwork game,but he became agrresive day by day. last week, his teacher complained that he is fighting with his team players. I dont know know what to do. Otherwise he is vry shy natured. Pls help

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