Age Appropriate Toys for Babies & Toddlers

What most people don’t tell you when you have a baby, is that along with the baby, comes a mountain of toys.

New parents frequently wonder why their baby doesn’t show much interest in the shiny new toy that Grandma brought when in all reality, its not that they’re not interested in it, it may be that your baby’s developmental age and the intended age for the toy do not match.

Toys for Different Developmental Stages

Birth to 3 Months

  • Visually stimulating items with highly contrasting colors and patterns
  • Child safe mirrors
  • Wrist/ankle rattles or bells

3 to 6 Months

  • Rattles and mouthing Toys which are easily graspable
  • Play mats with hanging toys to reach for
  • Cloth books and mats with different textures and sounds

6 to 9 Months

  • Simple cause-and-effect toys with lights and music
  • Board and cloth books
  • Balls

9 to 12 Months

  • Containers to place items in and out
  • Standing and pushing toys, activity tables
  • Finger gyms
  • Pop beads
  • Water/bath toys

12 months to 2 years

  • Simple inset puzzles with large knobs
  • Wooden blocks
  • Shape sorters
  • Stacking/nesting cups
  • Pull toys
  • Cars and trucks
  • Soft baby dolls

2 to 4 years

  • Toys that encourage pretend play such as baby dolls, kitchen and pretend food, tool bench, animal figures, play cleaning items, etc.
  • Puppets
  • Lacing beads and cards
  • Small knob inset puzzles and free form puzzles
  • Building materials
  • Art materials crayons, markers, paints, play dough, stamps, stickers, etc.
  • Simple board games
  • Matching and sorting activities

This brief guideline demonstrates toy types your child may be interested in at different stages of development. Go into any Mega Store and you’ll find several aisles devoted just to toys. It can be quite overwhelming for parents to choose what’s going to be a hit and what will sit in a corner rarely to be played with.

Frequently, kids are more interested in the packaging that the toy comes in than in the actual toy itself! This fact is telling in that many of the toys available today are designed with the intent of luring the parent more so than the child. Simple wooden toys without batteries are frequently the most preferred and longest lasting.