toys for young children

In addition to safety (see Safety and Children's Toys below), good toys for young children must also suit their developmental level and emerging skills. Many safe and appropriate toys are items commonly found in the home. Cardboard boxes, plastic bowls and lids, collections of plastic bottle caps, and other "treasures" can be used in more than one way by children of different ages.

As you read the following lists of gift ideas for children of different ages, keep in mind that every child develops at an individual pace. Items on a list - as long as they are safe - can be good choices for children younger or older than the suggested age range.

Gifts for toddlers - from birth to 6 months

Babies like to look at people - they follow them with their eyes. As a rule, they prefer faces and bright colors. Babies can grasp, be amazed by what their hands and feet can do, lift their heads, turn their heads towards sounds, put things in their mouths and more!

Gifts for toddlers

Appropriate toys for infants

  • Things to grab, hold, suck, shake, and make noise with - rattles, large chew rings, squeeze toys, teething toys, soft dolls, textured balls, and vinyl and cardboard books
  • Things to listen to - books of nursery rhymes and poems, as well as recordings of lullabies and simple songs
  • Things to look at - pictures of faces hung for baby to see and unbreakable mirrors

Suitable toys for older infants from 7 to 12 months

Older babies are very mobile - they roll and sit, crawl, hop, crawl, pull themselves up and stand. They understand their own name and other common words, can identify body parts, find hidden objects, and put things in and out of containers.

Baby walker for children

Suitable toys for older toddlers:

  • Things for them to play with - baby dolls, dolls, plastic and wooden wheeled vehicles and water toys
  • Drop and take things - plastic bowls, large beads, balls and box toys
  • Things to build with - big soft blocks and wooden cubes
  • Things they can use their big muscles on - big balls, push and pull toys, and low, soft things to crawl on

Educational gifts for 1 year olds

One-year-olds are always on the go! They can usually walk well and even climb stairs. They enjoy hearing stories, speaking their first words and being able to play alongside other children (but not with them yet!). They are adventurous - but they need adults to protect them.

Climbing frame for children

Suitable toys for 1-year-olds:

  • Cardboard books with simple illustrations or photos of real objects
  • Records with songs, rhymes, simple stories and pictures
  • Things to craft with non-toxic, washable markers, crayons and large paper
  • Toy telephones, dolls and dollhouses, baby carriages, dress-up accessories (scarves, handbags), hand puppets, stuffed animals, plastic animals and "realistic" vehicles made of plastic and wood
  • Things for them to build with - cardboard and wooden blocks (may be smaller than those used by toddlers - 2 to 4 inches)
  • Things they can use to train their big and small muscles - puzzles, large busyboards, toys with moving parts (dials, switches, buttons, flaps) and large and small balls

Educational Gifts for 2 Year Olds (Toddlers)

Small children learn the language quickly and have a certain sense of danger. Nevertheless, they try out a lot: They jump from heights, climb, let themselves be hung up by their arms, roll over and romp around. They have good control over their hands and fingers and enjoy crafting with small objects.

Wooden jigsaw puzzles

Suitable toys for 2-year-olds:

  • Things to solve problems - wooden puzzle (with 4 to 12 parts), blocksthat snap together, sortable items (by size, shape, color, smell) and things with hooks,
  • Buttons, buckles and snaps
  • Things to play and build with - blocks, smaller (and sturdy) transport toys, construction kits, kid-sized furniture (kitchen sets, chairs, play food), clothes to dress up, dolls with accessories, puppets, and sand and water toys
  • Things to create - large non-toxic erasable crayons and markers, large brushes and finger paints, large paper for drawing and painting, colored construction paper, toddler-sized scissors with blunt tips, chalk board and large chalk, and percussion instruments
  • Picture books with more detail than books for younger children
  • Things to work the big and small muscles - big and small balls to kick and throw, rides (but probably not tricycles until the kids are 3), tunnels, low ones climbing towers with soft material underneath and toys to poke and pound

Educational Gifts for 3 to 6 Year Olds (Preschoolers and Kindergarteners)

Preschoolers and kindergarteners have longer attention spans than toddlers. They usually talk a lot and ask a lot of questions. They enjoy experimenting with things and with their still developing physical abilities. They like to play with friends - and don't like to lose! They can take turns - and with older preschool and kindergarten children, it's often possible to share a toy with two or more children.

Educational gifts for 3 to 6 year olds

Suitable toys for 3 to 6 year olds:

  • Things to solve problems - puzzles (from 12 to 20 and more pieces), interlocking blocks, collections and other smaller objects to sort by length, width, height, shape, color, smell, quantity and other characteristics - collections of plastic bottle caps, plastic bowls and lids, keys, shells, counting bears, small colored blocks
  • Things to play with and build - lots of blocks to build complex structures, transport toys, construction kits, child-sized furniture (home sets, play food), clothes to wear, dolls with accessories, marionettes and simple puppet theaters, and sand and water toys
  • Things to create - large and small crayons and markers, large and small brushes and finger paints, large and small paper for drawing and painting, colored construction paper, preschool-sized scissors, chalk board and large and small chalk, playdough and play dough, kneading tools, paste, paper - and scraps of fabric for collages and instruments - rhythm instruments and keyboards, xylophones, maracas and tambourines
  • Picture books with even more words and more detailed pictures than toddler books
  • Things to train muscles big and small - balls big and small for hitting, throwing and catching, amusement rides like tricycles, tunnels, soft-surfaced higher climbers, carts and wheelbarrows, plastic bats and balls, plastic skittles, targets and projectiles as well as one Workbench with vise, hammer, nails and saw

You can find many of the appropriate educational gifts in our Online shop.

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