Choosing Age-Appropriate Kids Toys

In many cases, adults forget what kids toys are really for. Play is viewed as the ‘work’ of a child’s early life; while they play, kids learn new skills, define their individuality, and learn their place in the world. While play can be fun, it can also be educational. The toys parents choose tell a story about parent and child, and it’s up to you to make sure the story is a good one. Here, you’ll learn which are the best toys for kids.

  • Building blocks: Plain wooden and plastic blocks in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors can encourage hours of imaginative play, both alone and with other kids. Additionally, building toys can encourage the refinement of creativity and fine motor skills.
  • Dolls and clothing: No need to get fancy here. Most parents aren’t too excited about baby dolls that eat, crawl and talk, because they typically break quickly and require less creativity to use. However, it may help to buy dolls of varying skin tones. As children love their ‘babies’, they can learn to love others who may look different on the outside.
  • Play toolboxes and kitchen stuff: These can make great educational toys for toddlers, and here, gender is irrelevant. Kids like to imitate the things their parents and other adults do, and playtime helps them become comfortable with taking on different roles.

  • Dress-up toys: Animal masks, hats, scarves and other items can make great toys. Look in the back of the closet or the nearest thrift store to put together a box that can encourage many hours of imaginative play.
  • A collection of plastic and rubber kids bath toys: Farm and zoo animals are always popular, as are dinosaurs. Throw in a few vehicles for out-of-the-tub play, and kids can keep themselves occupied for hours.
  • Art supplies: Play-Doh, cookie cutters, crayons and paper are ideal for little kids. Older kids are fond of safety scissors, construction paper, glue and glitter. Finger paints can allow them to get messy in a safe environment, and cleanup can be a snap when you lay down a plastic sheet before they start.

  • Things that encourage physical activity: The best ride on toys, sports equipment, balls and skates can get kids up and active while increasing physical competence and confidence. While tablets and video game consoles have their place, the best ride on toys for toddlers and older kids can bring out their best physical attributes.

To encourage learning and fun, parents should remember that play is the child’s ‘job’. The latest toy reviews can help parents choose toys that encourage kids to learn new skills and build relationships with the world and with others. Above all, get down on the floor and have fun with your kids! It really is one of the best parts of being a parent.

curious baby boy studying nursery room
  • Don’t get hung up on gender-specific toys. Little girls and little boys both need to learn to be comfortable with babies and with tools in the world they are going to inhabit as adults.
  • Get in there and play with your kids. It’s part of the fun of being a parent.