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How to Choose Age-Appropriate Toys for Your Child?

Nandini Muralidharan
3 to 7 years

Created by Nandini Muralidharan
Updated on Jan 13, 2020

How to Choose Age Appropriate Toys for Your Child
Reviewed by Expert panel

We all love buying toys for our children and watching them smile with joy and anticipation when they receive a new toy. However, we must remember that buying our child a new toy is not as simple as it may seem! Play – the most wonderful part of childhood, is so important for your child’s physical and mental development. And toys being the tools for play, have to be chosen with care. Often, the toys that babies find interesting are the simplest, yet the ones that encourage maximum creative thinking. Choosing a toy for your baby can seem confusing, with the million options that are available. Read on to find out how you can choose the best, age-appropriate toys for your child.[Read - How to Choose Safe Toys, Identify Unsafe Toys & Health Risks for Children?]

Inappropriate toys can also be a serious health hazard for your little one. The sheer variety of toys available today is truly mindboggling. Here in this blog, our Proparent blogger Reetika Arora shares some useful tips on choosing the right toys for your child, such as – 

How Do Toys Help Child Development?

For the first years of their lives, children learn everything through play. And what is play without toys?

  1. Toys essentially help in developing cognitive abilities, engage their senses, and build motor skills, and promote hand-eye coordination
  2. Fine motor skills can develop much faster when a child is given the right toy at the right time
  3. Building things, pulling and throwing, kicking and matching, everything has an impact on a child’s development
  4. Additionally, children start getting the idea of relationships and role-play from toys, which helps them foster their imaginative streak too. Pretend play is one such example. Essentially, toys are critical for a child’s overall development and learning

Tips to Keep in Mind While Choosing A Toy

We must take care to give them a toy that is fun, educational and age-appropriate. If not chosen with care, our child’s new toy could actually do them more harm than good! Here are some tips to keep in mind before you choose toys for your little one.

  1. Simpler the Better: Don’t go overboard with toys that are too specific, and “take charge” during play – for e.g. a dog that recites the alphabet when a button is pressed. Instead of hand your child some building blocks, and watch the magic happen.
  2. Limit the Use of Electronic Toys: While you might be strict with boundaries on screen time, electronic toys, too (for e.g., ones that have colorful lights, or screens) must be used within limits. These toys don’t require your baby to do anything, promoting the passive play.
  3. Limit Number of Toys: It’s easy to get carried away and flooding your baby’s room with toys. However, rotate the toys that you keep out at one time, as too many will make it difficult for your baby to focus on any of them.
  4. Toys Should Be Age Appropriate: Choose toys according to your baby’s age to avoid overwhelming her, or making her too bored, easily. It is also important from a safety perspective. [Expert Advice: Which toys are helpful to my 8th-month-old baby boy to improve brain development?]
  5. Choose Toys Based on Child's Fun & Educational Value - The basic factors to consider when choosing the right toy – opt for toys based on their fun and educational value, which are also safe, durable and affordable.

  6. What Interests & Attracts Children at Different Stages - It's important for you to learn what interests and attracts children at different ages as they grow up – infants and toddlers are still discovering the world around them – so what works best? Pre-schoolers are high energy and like to learn new skills – what would work for them? Older children want to get to know their world better, and like sports – so what would be the best toys for them?

How to Choose Age-Appropriate Toys For A Child?

Do you know that choosing an age-appropriate toy for your child will help him or her in achieving his or her developmental milestones easily? Given below are some brief guidelines for choosing age-appropriate toys for your child. [Also Read - How Safe is Child's Food in Plastic Lunch Box? Reusing Health Risks & Concerns]

#1. Toys For Your 0-6 Months Old Baby

Your baby loves to follow you with his eyes and to reach out at anything that’s within his reach. Sounds and visuals keep them enthralled. Here are some toys that your baby will enjoy.

  1. Toys that she can hold, shake, and of course, get their baby gums to suck on – noisy rattles, teething rings, soft books with simple pictures
  2. Toys and books that play rhymes or soothing lullabies

#2. Toys For 6-12 Months Old Infant

Your baby is more mobile – she may be rolling over, then pulling herself up, slowly graduating to sitting, and then eventually pull herself up to stand. Here are some toys she will enjoy.

  1. Pretend to play with puppets, sock bunnies, and dolls, wooden trains or cars without small parts
  2. Toys such as nesting dolls, stacking rings or simply some different-sized plastic bowls from your kitchen, that she can drop or remove
  3. Large blocks that they can build with. (Choose soft blocks)
  4. A large colorful ball, pull-along toys

#3. Toys For 12-18 Months Old Child

Has your little one started walking? She might even be trying out a little climbing! Her constant babble will now give way to a few clear words, too. Here are some toys for your little one.

  1. Pretend to play with dolls, toy telephones, stuffed toys (make sure they’re cleaned regularly)
  2. Large-sized, non-toxic, washable crayons with large-sized paper to create some art on!
  3. Building blocks (wooden or plastic)
  4. Peg puzzles, balls
  5. Board books with photographs or simple illustrations

#4. Toys For Your 2-Year-Old

Your toddler is now really testing her physical capabilities. And she’s a little problem-solver, too! Now that she has better control of her hands, here are some toys you can give her.

  1. Wooden puzzles, sorters (shapes, colors, size)
  2. More advanced pretend to play with vehicles, doctor-sets, kitchen-sets
  3. Finger-paint, paintbrushes, non-toxic crayons
  4. Books that are more detailed and have more illustrations
  5. Lego blocks to build simple designs

#5. Toys For Your 3 Year Old

Your preschooler asks you questions and chats non-stop. She also likes to play with other children. Here are some toys that she might enjoy.

  1. Puzzles with more detail, and number of pieces (12-20)
  2. More complex building and construction sets or blocks, toys for sand and water play
  3. Musical toy instruments – xylophones, drums, keyboards
  4. Playdoh for making little models, crayons, finger paints
  5. Books with more words

Choose toys for children that will entertain them without posing a health hazard. Try to coordinate the toys with your child's interests. For example, if your child loves horses, you can give them a toy horse to play with, and later, when she's ready for her first riding lesson, you can give her a riding cap, crop, and boots. Or if your child loves music, make sure you buy them some toy instruments to play with. [Read More - Need to Know About Educational Toys]

Remember to give the toys to your children with warmth and enthusiasm. Sit down with your child so you can discover and play with their new toy together. This will teach your child that her toy and her world are interesting and fun!

Did you find these tips on choosing appropriate toys for your child useful? How do choose toys for your child? Do leave your comments. We love hearing from you!

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Aug 12, 2017

Very useful tips to buy toys... thanks for sharing..

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| Aug 12, 2017

bhgvh I vt3t22l

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| Aug 12, 2017

hi lkum

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| Aug 12, 2017

MN opium

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| Aug 12, 2017

hi Jim k pl

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| Aug 12, 2017


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| Aug 12, 2017

Thanx ,very helpful while choosing toys for my 3 year old baby .

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| Oct 17, 2017

good article. thanks for sharing tips

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| Nov 02, 2017

What about 5 year old

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| Nov 03, 2017

I completely agree with u on this, right toy given at the right age can do wonders. amazing tips and great suggestions on age appropriate toys. . .thanks!!

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| Nov 04, 2017

thanks for sharing nice article.

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| Dec 28, 2017

we have

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| Jan 06, 2018

what about above 4 years n above baby. my daughter is 4 yrs n 3 months old n she is hyperactive child. what type of toys should b given to her.

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| Apr 02, 2018

Thank you, that is helpful. Me & my hubby follow pattern when buying toys or books. We choose from different sections every time. We discovered a wonderful toy store. They have a good variety and quality is also good. They also send their monthly magazine with every order. The name is kheliyatoys. com & apparently they have a few physical stores in maharashtra for many years. Our girl has started taking interest in reading & puzzle solving now. We do not overbuy anything for her but anything fun and educational is a great choice I think.

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