Children love to receive toys as a gift, making giving them even more satisfying. But it can be difficult to know which toys are best to buy which age, especially if the little one isn’t your own. Children go through different developmental stages as they grow up, meaning different toys will stimulate their brains and be fun for them. If you’re struggling to find that perfect toy look no further than our definitive age-by-age guide to toys.
The Best Toys for 0-3 Months
For the first three months babies are able to do little more than look at their surroundings. They spend most of their time sleeping, so it is a great age to purchase a soft play mat that they can snooze on at this stage and play on as they develop. Other suggestions are a soft toy they’ll love forever and a cosy comforter.
The Best Toys for 3-12 Months
This is the stage where little ones start to interact with texture and colour. Bright, bold primary shades are great for this stage in your baby’s development. Toys that cater for their senses (sound, colour and texture) are great for their engagement. Things like stackers, play gyms and soft toys are perfect for stimulating their imagination, they’ll also love listening to bedtime stories at this age too, and it’ll help develop their speech as they get older.
The Best Toys for 1-2 Years
This age is where things start to get super fun (and busy) not only will they start to walk at this stage but they will be intrigued by cause and effect, due to their new fine motor skills. Tots will love to see how their actions cause a reaction so they’ll adore walkers, puzzles and matching shapes to holes – although they’ll still need help with this. These toys are not only fun but important to help their development. As they’re starting to speak we recommend saying the shapes, colours and numbers aloud. You’ll be surprised how much your baby will learn at this stage.
The Best Toys for 2-3 Years
This is where playtime gets real! Your child will be able to play more independently completing puzzles and stacker toys by themselves. They’ll love playing make-believe replicating things they’ve seen themselves from tea parties and building to cooking and parenting. At this age their little personalities are actually pretty big! Most excitingly this is the best age to start introducing ride on toys as children will have developed a steady balance.
The Best Toys for 3-4 Years
It’s time to get creative, children can really start to absorb information at this age, they’ll likely be starting to count, sing and sound out letters. Your little one will start to enjoy arts and crafts, make believe play as well as simple board games now, which will be enjoyable for both parent and child. At this pre-school age it is essential to be reading stories to children to stimulate their active imagination and start to learn phonics. It is at this age children will be getting interested in electronic toys, we find the Tonies box a great electronic toy that doesn’t increase screen time.
The Best Toys for 4+Years
From 4+ children are at school and they’re heavily influenced by the current trends and what their friends are into. Their personalities are really individual and you’re best being guided by what they’re asking for, remember that books, board games and crafts will always be great gifts for children.