First of all, this toy buying guide was created by us based on our own experience and extensive research. We put a lot of time and effort on this guide because we needed them.
As a new parent one of the most difficult things to figure out is what kind of toys to buy for your child. We all wished at one point that our kids came to us with a manual, after all, that would make parenting so much easier. We soon find out that there is no one size fits all way of doing things when it comes to raising kids.
So when it comes to knowing what type of toy is best for your child, it is good to have a guide. These toy buying guides are usually filled with suggestions that you can use and also help bring up questions that you can use to evaluate the toys that your child could be asked for.
Age Appropriate Toys Buying Guidelines for Selecting
We have decided to use an age appropriate format and we have broken it down into two distinct parts; Part 1 is a Buying Guide and Part 2 is Safety. We hope that our readers find enough useful information so that they are able to make an informed decision when shopping for their child’s toys.
Part 1 – Toy Buying Guide
When it comes selecting the right toys for a child there are several basic points that you should consider regardless of the age of the child for which you are buying for. The things mentioned below will work with each of the age groups we will be discussing later in the article.
- Does the toy promote healthy play and fun
- Does it promote creativity in your child
- Are the instructions easy enough to understand and follow
- Is it durable enough to outlast your child
- Is it appropriate for your child at the age stated on the packaging
Toys for Your Child from Birth to 6 Months
Your child’s very first toys are usually the most important you will buy for them. It is very important that you purchase age appropriate toys. Below we will list some of the top choices as far as what is recommended for a child age birth to 6 months.
The very first toys for your newborn should be ones that can be secured to the crib and include a mirror. Mobiles with interesting shapes and colors are good for the crib as long as they stay completely out of the reach of your infant. For those toys to be used outside of the crib they should be plush without any small parts that can be removed. Music boxes can also make fine first toys as long as they are the ones that are operated by an adult.
Up to 2 Months
Your child should be starting to reach for and grasping for objects, so teethers. Rattles and squeeze toys are really good choices. By this time you add a crib toy that allows your baby the ability to grab hold and move the objects.
4 Months to 6 Months
By this age you want to start introducing shapes, textures and noises such as:
- Large plastic keys on a key ring
- Soft gripping blocks or balls
- Toys that make noises
- Toys with faces on them
Toys for Your Child from 6 Months to 12 Months
At this age your child is starting to develop their motor skills. This includes sitting up, crawling and finally learning to walk. This when you want to introduce a wide range of activity toys such as:
- Well secured colored beads on rings
- Busy boxes
- Interlocking Rings
- Sturdy vehicles that can be ridden on (always supervise their play)
- Large blocks (cloth, wood or plastic)
- Simple interlocking puzzles (age appropriate)
- Stack-able rings
Toys for Your Child As a Toddler
At this age your child is becoming inquisitive and exploring their surroundings. This is the time to begin adding toys that will allow them to spread their wings and expand their abilities. These toys include pull toys, riding toys and others like:
- Bucket with a shovel and rake
- Role playing toys (kitchen items and the like)
- Toy telephone pull toy
- Stacking blocks
- Activity dolls
- Interlocking puzzles with several pieces
- Sturdy, nursery rhyme books
- Bang on musical instruments
- Rocking horse
- Crawl through tunnels
Toys for Your Child As a 24 Month Old
Chances are you have noticed that your 24 month old is starting to be social and even could be interested in being the center of attention when you have guests. This is good sign that they are developing normally. You should start to introduce more toys that encourage creativity and language skills. These toys should include some of the following:
- Musical instruments
- Role playing toys like kitchen play sets and toddler workbench with tools
- Craft activities, large pieces of paper with non-toxic markers and or paints
- Nesting type toys
- Puzzles with a little more complexity
- Parental sing-along, reading to your child
- Sandbox if it is possible
Toys for Your Child As a 36 Month Old
At 36 months of age you will start to notice your child is developing more social skills and finding the desire to play more with others. This could be neighborhood kids or those at daycare. This is a great time to encourage even more creative play, this includes even more role playing.
- Introduce them to multiple sized blocks such as wooden or large plastic blocks
- Teach them how to cut paper with blunt tipped scissors
- Painting with large, easy to handle paint brushes
- Clay and playdough with close supervision
- Dress up, with adult size clothes and hats… etc.
- Games that involves matching colors, numbers and pictures
- Ride on toys
Toys for Your Child As a 4 Year Old
By four years old your child is likely to be a little less dependent on you (much to your chagrin) and they are probably developing problem solving skills. This is the time to add more new experiences for them and encourage a bit of self-reliance.
- A bottle of bubbles
- Paint and brush set
- Doctor or nurse toy set
- Workbench with tools
- Doll house
- Action figures
- Backyard climbing equipment or swing set
- Jumping rope
- Memory games
Toys for Your Child As a 5 Year Old
By five years old your child is becoming more and more curious about how things work and they ask “why” a whole lot more than ever before. The toys you want to be looking for should energize their inquisitive behavior and encourage more creativity.
- Art supplies
- A clock
- Building blocks
- Simple board game
- A child friendly tablet computer
- Ride on toys
- Roller skates depending on their coordination
- Plastic bat and ball
Toys for Your Child As a 6 to 9 Year Old
As your child reaches school age their brain development really begins to expand. This where you need to add more learning activities and toys. This includes cards, memory games and other thinking activities.
- Activity Dolls
- Art supplies
- Crafting materials
- Coloring materials (books, paints and markers)
- Music (for singing and even dancing)
- Math, measuring and even science related materials
Part 2 – Toy Safety Guide
Regardless of what your child or grandchild may be asking for when it comes to toys, you have to be always on guard. They don’t have the skills necessary to know what is safe or not. Safety should always be paramount when it comes to selecting toys for your kids or grandkids.
We have come up with some very important tips that are designed to help you make informed decisions on what types of toys are safe and what should be avoided.
10 Tips Every Parent/Grandparent Should Know About Toy Safety
There are many factors to think about when it comes to choosing safety toys for your children or grandchildren. Here are the 10 most effective ways to finding safe and perfect toys for your kids/grandkids.
#1 Always Read Labels Carefully
The manufacturer of the toys is required by law to place warnings and other important information labels on all products. These labels are to include recommended ages for the toy and specific dangers to be watched out for. So, very vigilant when you are shopping for toys for your child.
#2 Avoid Small Parts
When you are shopping for infants and toddlers, you should be cognizant of small parts that can be taken or broken off and placed in the mouth. Anything small enough to be placed in the mouth could become a choking hazard for small children.
#3 Avoid Projectiles
Toys that have projectiles can be dangerous for small children and should be avoided. For older kids you would want to provide adequate supervision to prevent accidental injury.
#4 Avoid Loud Noises
Infants and small children startle easily and their eardrums are very fragile. So avoiding toys that make loud or sharp noises would be highly recommended. As your child grows older you can introduce toys that make noise slowly as not to cause hearing loss.
#5 Check Plush Toys Carefully
Stuffed plush toys are favorites of kids of all ages. However, not all stuffed toys are made the same. Always inspect the quality of the stuff toy, playing close attention to eyes, nose, ribbons or bows. Stuffed toys that are to be put in the crib should not have any pieces that could possibly be detached. This could easily result in an accidental choking.
#6 Buy Only Sturdy Plastic Toys
When looking at ride on toys, cars or trucks made of plastic, be sure that they are sturdy. Flimsy toys can break easily and cause serious injuries. Ride on toys made from lightweight plastic do not offer enough protection from injuries.
#7 Beware of Toxic Materials
Toxic materials like lead paints still seem to find their way into all kinds of toys. However, there are a myriad of other toxic materials that may not be as apparent. So, pay close attention to manufacturer’s warnings.
#8 Age Appropriate Toys
Age appropriateness is often overlooked these days and it has caused numerous child injuries and even deaths. It is very important to heed the recommended ages for toys that are printed on the outside of the packaging.
#9 Check for UL Approved on All Electric Toys
All electrical products should have a seal or tag affixed to it with the UL Approved logo. This means it has passed a set of very rigid guidelines meant to prevent electrocution. If you don’t see it on the toy you are considering, put it back and find another toy.
#10 Check Crib Toys Carefully
All crib toys should have a method of securely attaching it to the side of the crib railing. Crib toys should never have small pieces that can be detached and end up in your child’s mouth.
Age Appropriate Toys
One of the best ways to ensure your child is safe when playing with their toys is to always choose those toys that are designed especially for their age group. As we listed in Part I of this article, there are toys that should and should not be given to children. Many accidents that end up causing injuries to children every day can be avoided if the some or all of the tips we mentioned above were adhered to.
The government takes product safety extremely serious and there are many rules and regulations designed to protect everyone. This is especially true when it comes of toys for children. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is the government entity that has been charged with ensuring all products made and sold in the United States are safe. Toys that don’t meet the rigorous guidelines are subject to recall at the manufacturer’s expense.
We hope that all of the information we have included in this article was easy to read and was informative. We further hope that it will help you make more informed decisions when it comes to buying toys for your kids in the future.