Your child will go through various stages of development as they grow up and different abilities will emerge at different ages.
Toys are a wonderful and very important way to help your child develop intellectually, physically, socially and emotionally.
But it’s important to match the toys your child is playing with to what stage they’re at.
Toys that are too easy may bore your youngster and toys that are too advanced may frustrate them.
Picking toys that match your toddler’s developmental stage will not only ensure that they have fun, it will also help them learn, discover and build important skills.
Age appropriate toys also keep your child safe, help bring out their creativity and expand their imagination.
But exactly what are age appropriate toys? How do you choose them for your child? What types of toys are appropriate for different age ranges?
Those are important questions and if you read on, you’ll find the answers.
What Are Age Appropriate Toys?
Age appropriate toys are toys that match the stage of development your child is at for any given age.
Experts in child development determine age appropriate toys based on the average child’s age, physical, intellectual, social and emotional development.
Manufacturers consider these guidelines when designing toys and recommending what age any given toy is suitable for.
Keep in mind that all of this is based on averages.
Because kids develop at different rates, the suggested age range of any toy will apply to some kids in that age range, but not all kids.
At any given age, one child may be physically more developed than another. Or one child may be more socially developed than another child of the same age.
So age range recommendations are meant to be used as reasonable guidelines to help parents, grandparents aunts, uncles, etc choose toys for their kids.
Why Choose Age Appropriate Toys For Your Child?
There are a number of reasons why you as a parent or grandparent may want to choose age appropriate toys for the child or children in your life:
Age Appropriate Toys Help You Identify Toys That Are Safe
When setting age appropriate guidelines, experts try and determine whether a specific toy is likely to safe or unsafe for kids.
Manufacturers take these guidelines into consideration when setting their recommended age ranges.
For example, a toy with small parts that a child could choke on is never considered age appropriate for kids who are still at an age where they’re putting things in their mouth.
But the recommended age ranges are only suggestions so it’s crucial that you take the time to ensure that the toys you pick are safe, well made and contain only non toxic material.
The manufacturer’s description can help you determine this, as can reading reviews from people who have already bought the toys you’re looking at.
Age Appropriate Toys Help Children Reach Developmental Goals
Kids go through stages of development and reach different developmental goals at different ages.
By choosing age appropriate toys for your child you are choosing toys that match and help them develop their developmental goals.
For example, once a child begins pulling themselves up while holding onto furniture, toys that encourage them to strengthen their leg muscles are ideal.
Toys that develop their gross motor skills help them walk independently eventually.
Toys that help children identify colors and numbers, recognize shapes and distinguish big from small are suitable to the intellectual development of most preschoolers.
Age Appropriate Toys Take Into Consideration Children’s Interests
Kids develop different interests at different times. Age appropriate toys normally tap into what the average child is interested in at any given age and stage of development.
How to Choose Age Appropriate Toys For Your Child
When choosing toys that are suitable for your child, the recommended age range should certainly be used as guideline.
However, it’s not the only consideration.
As a parent, you know your child best and when choosing a toy, you need to balance the age recommendations with your own knowledge of your child.
For example, a toy that has a recommended age range of 3 – 5 years may be more appropriate for your 3 year old than for your 5 year old.
Suggested Toys By Age
For those of you who are looking for a little help in choosing appropriate toys for specific ages, we’ve put together some general guidelines.
They’re designed to give you an idea of what types of toys are appropriate for the average child in different age ranges.
Because kids of different ages often like playing with the same toy in their own way and at their own level, you’ll find some types of toys in more than one age category.
Birth to 6 Months
6 to 12 Months
1 to 3 Years
4 to 5 Years
6 to 9 Years
10 to 12 Years
Knowing what stage of development your child is at can make it much easier for you to choose age appropriate toys for them.
The toys we’ve suggested only scratch the surface in each age range.
There are many more age appropriate toys for every age group that you can choose based on your child’s development, interests and personality.