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Children from a very early age enjoy play, even without toys. There are a few basic things to think about before buying children’s toys. Is your child actually going to play with the toy, how are they going to play with it and can it help to develop their skills? Below are a few ideas of toys that different ages may enjoy:

Toys that babies enjoy

Toys that are coloured with black and orange are really good for babies to be able to see. Toys that can be held and make sounds such as a rattle. Toys that light up or have different textures can be used for a sensory prospective.Thinking about the size and shape is useful as to how they can hold the toy and if it can be passed hand to hand such as a bell or teething ring. Lastly does it have a cause-and-effect aspect to it, so when pressed, something happens such as a frog in a box or a squeaky toy.Children begin to walk from 9 months upwards, so push along walkers are often enjoyed, giving additional stability to a very unstable child.Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore:
  • Rattles
  • Bells
  • Teething rings
  • Soft ball
  • Push along walkers

Toys that toddlers enjoy

Toys that can be transported from setting to setting are good for this age. Children are beginning to use their hands with more complexity, so toys that require more precision can be bought such as bricks or a post box.Children begin to enjoy make believe, so baby dolls or teddies that need to be tucked in to bed, start being enjoyed. Children enjoy chasing balls.Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore:
  • Insert puzzles
  • Crayons and paper
  • Pre reading books
  • Balls
  • Musical bells
  • Play house
  • Ball pit
  • Stacking cups and building blocks
  • Messy play
  • Shape sorter
  • Basic puzzles

Toys for children 3 years and upwards

Toys that involve using the imagination such as dressing up clothes. Toys that involve using two hands together such as Duplo or blowing bubbles. Toys that involve using a three-finger grasp, such as tweezers, are great.Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore:
  • Threading
  • Posting box
  • Placing pegs into a peg board
  • Basic games such as snap, pairs and dominos
  • Painting
  • Drawing
  • Dressing up
  • Den making
  • Magnetic building blocks
  • Lorries/cars
  • Toy animals

Toys for school age children 

Games that encourage turn taking, home craft activities that involve cutting and making things and games that involve improving hand writing such as complex colouring, can all be really useful. Complex building sets such as K’nex, Lego and magnetic bricks are good toys for inspiring a child's imagination.Here is a list of toys that you may want to explore:
  • Scissor skills
  • Colouring books
  • Dominoes
  • Animal bingo
  • Netball and basketball in the garden
  • Skipping rope
  • Ball games
  • Card games
  • Garden Jenga or skittles
For other ideas on how to keep your child entertained while developing their motor skills and imagination, see our other content in our parenting section.
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