Buying Toys For Kids


I was clearing the children's toy cupboard yesterday evening. It was like going down the memory lane. Most of the toys had been bought since the time my elder child was born (she is now about to turn eight!). And yes, these are coming in handy for my younger one as well (though further additions have definitely been made!).

That's when I realized toys have had a big role to play in enhancing developments in my children. I had learnt as a student of Psycholog that play is one of the finest approach with regards to assured development in children. But sometimes, parents do end up either giving too little toys or going overboard. 

So, here are my general guidelines, that I keep in mind, while buying age specific toys for my kids. I have included the general abilities you can notice in that particular age as well as their appropriate toys. Of course, it goes without saying that you need not buy all specified toys. You can choose according to your budget and most important, your child's likes and dislikes.

BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS


Abilities
1. Visual focus develops and infant follows objects with eyes.
2. Learns to turn to see where sounds come from.
3. Tries to grasp objects.
4. Discovers feet by bringing feet to mouth.
5. Begins to sit with support.
6. Rolls, rocks and loves to be bounced.
7. Begins to recognize familiar people and objects.
8. Imitates simple movements.
9. Begins to smile at faces.
10. Listens to voices and may imitate sounds.

Appropriate Toys

1. Hanging toys or mobiles
2. Soft Blocks
3. Simple Rattles
4. Light Cloth toys that can be squeezed.
5. Plastic disks, keys on ring
6. Gym Mat
7. Interlocking Plastic rings
8. Clutch balls
9. Texture balls
10. Squeeze balls
11. Soft dolls, rag dolls
12. Soft stuffed toys animals
13. Grab-on soft toys
14. Musical box 
15. Soft hand held puppets
16. Adult operated music and songs
17. Story-telling or reading out story books by adults.

7 MONTHS TO 12 MONTHS


Abilities
1. Begins to sit alone.
2. Begins to creep and crawl.
3. Begins to pull, walk holding furniture and walk alone.
4. Interested in moving about.
5. Develops thumb-finger grasp and begins to hold things with one hand.
6. Wants to bang, insert, poke, twist, squeeze, drop, shake, bite, throw, open/ shut, push/ pull, empty/ fill and drag along objects.
7. Enjoys bath play- kicking and splashing.
8. Interested in appearing and disappearing people.
9. Begins interest in picture books.
10. May fear strangers.
11. Babbles and plays with sounds.

Appropriate Toys

1. Push and Pull toys
2. Soft blocks
3. Rubber Blocks
4. Rounded wooden blocks
5. Brightly coloured 2-3 pieces puzzle
6. Light sturdy cloth toys
7. Squeeze squeak toys
8. Activity boxes and cubes
9. Pop up boxes
10. Containers with objects to fill and empty
11. Transparent balls
12. Chime balls
13. Action balls
14. Stacking rings
15. Nesting cups
16. Floating toys 
17. Activity boxes for bath
18. Soft baby dolls
19. Rag dolls
20. Small stuffed animals
21. Big soft toys for hugging
22. Grabbing soft toys
23. Soft hand puppets
24. Push cars
25. Rubber or wooden blocks that rattle or tinkle
26. Music boxes
27. Adult operated music and songs
28. Cloth and plastic books
29. Gym mat
30. Cardboard or board books

1 YEAR OLD TODDLER


Abilities

1. Likes to dump, push, pull, pile, knock down, empty and fill.
2. Likes to climb.
3. Tries to kick and catch a large ball.
4. Tries to string large beads, turn knobs, use screw motion.
5. Makes simple block structures, does simple puzzles.
6. Tries to group/ match similar objects.
7. Identifies pictures in book.
8. Enjoys water play, sand play.
9. Makes marks on paper.
10. Imitates adult tasks.
11. Likes being read to, looking at picture books, nursery rhymes.

Appropriate Toys

1. Push toys with large handles
2. Simple sturdy toys to push on floor
3. Special noise and effect
4. Doll’s carriage or wagons
5. Small rocking horse
6. Ride on toys with no pedals, make noise and have storage bins
7. Small light weight stacking blocks
8. Large hollow building blocks
9. Simple puzzles
10. Peg boards
11. Activity boxes
12. Pop-up toys
13. Nesting cups
14. Stacking toys
15. Shape sorters
16. Tunnels for crawling
17. Swings
18. Large balls
19. Small balls with visual effects and noises
20. Fit-together toys
21. Activity boxes with more complex mechanism
22. Pounding/ Hammering toys
23. Nesting toys
24. Stacking toys
25. Matching toys
26. Simple number/ counting boards with large pegs
27. Jack-in-the-box toys
28. Toys with screwing action
29. Large coloured beads (lesser than 10)
30. Large cubes or board
31. Simple floating toys
32. Sponges, plastic shovel and pail
33. Small sandbox tools
34. Soft bodied or rubber dolls
35. Simple dolls with movable parts
36. Simple accessories for caretaking like bottle, blanket, doll’s clothes
37. Soft stuffed toys
38. Soft hand puppets
39. Toy telephone
40. Simple housekeeping toys
41. Simple Doll equipments
42. Enclosed bells rattles
43. Cymbals, drums, xylophones
44. Large jumbo crayons
45. Large thick paper
46. Simple dress up hats, scarves, shoes, jewelry
47. Child size tables, chairs
48. Push/ pull carts and trains
49. Adult operated music and songs
50. Sturdy cloth, plastic, board books with few pages
51. Picture books, nursery rhyme stories
52. Touch and feel books

2 YEARS OLD


Abilities
1. Skilled at most simple large muscle skills.
2. Like jumping from heights, hanging, rolling, galloping, somersaults, rough-and-tumble play.
3. Throws and retrieves all kinds of objects.
4. Pushes self on wheeled objects.
5. Good hand-finger coordination.
6. Interested in attributes of objects.
7. Can match a group of similar objects.
8. Starts counting skills.
9. Develops creative skills.
10. Begins problem solving.
11. Imaginative play begins.
12. Uses language to express.
13. Enjoys stories and books.
14. Likes to be independent.

Appropriate Toys

1. Push pull toys with strings
2. Small wagon, doll’s carriage, wheel barrow
3. Realistic looking ride-on
4. Small tricycle
5. Tunnels
6. Climbing structures
7. Solid, wooden blocks
8. Large hollow plastic blocks
9. Plastic interlocking rings
10. Plastic nuts and bolts
11. Fit in puzzles
12. Puzzles with knobs
13. Peg boards with pegs
14. Colour cubes
15. Magnetic boards with shapes, animals, people
16. Colour forms
17. Nesting toys
18. Balls of all sizes
19. Number/ counting boards
20. Shape sorters
21. Pounding/ Hammering toys
22. Smelling jars
23. Feel bag or boxes
24. Colour/ picture dominoes
25. Simple lotto matching games
26. Large coloured beads
27. Lacing set
28. Dressing dolls
29. Frames and cubes for lacing, buttoning, snapping, hooking
30. Bath tub activity toys
31. Nesting tub toys
32. Small boats
33. Sprinklers
34. Small and large sandbox tools
35. Soft-bodied and rubber baby dolls
36. Dolls to fit in child’s hands
37. Talking dolls
38. Dolls with movable body parts
39. Caretaking accessories
40. Soft stuffed toys
41. Mother and baby combination
42. Toys with music box
43. Small hand puppets
44. Hand held puppets
45. Bells, rattles, cymbals, drums, triangle, xylophones
46. Large crayons
47. Non-toxic finger paints
48. Brushes with blunt ends
49. Clay
50. Sturdy markers
51. Blunt end scissors
52. Chalkboard, large chalks
53. Coloured construction paper
54. Lotto matching games
55. Dominoes
56. Board games
57. Costumes for dress up
58. Child-size equipments, table chairs
59. Kitchen sets, garden sets 
60. Vehicles with moving parts
61. Large trucks
62. Small cars
63. Train sets
64. Adult operated songs
65. Board books
66. Pop-up books
67. Hidden picture books
68. Dressing books

3, 4 AND 5 YEARS OLD


Abilities
1. Jumps, climbs and balances.
2. Loves acrobatics.
3. Increasing finger control.
4. Loves construction activities.
5. Familiar with common shapes, primary colours.
6. Interested in simple number activities, alphabet play, copying letters, matching/ sorting.
7. Prefers realism.
8. Interested in nature, science, animals, time, how things work.
9. Recreates adult occupation, uses costumes and props.
10. Begins to share and take turns.
11. Enjoys simple board games, looking at books and hearing stories.

Appropriate Toys

1. Push and Pull toys like wagon, wheel barrow etc
2. Tricycles
3. 3 and 4 wheel pedal toys
4. Vehicles with steering mechanism
5. Battery operated ride-on vehicles
6. Full size rocking horse
7. Small bicycle with training wheels and foot brakes
8. Slides, ladders, swings
9. Large and small wooden blocks
10. Large hollow blocks
11. Interlocking building toys
12. Fit-in puzzles
13. Simple jigsaw puzzles
14. Puzzle clocks
15. Cardboard puzzles
16. Peg board with small pegs
17. Bead stringing
18. Magnetic boards with shapes
19. Colour cubes
20. Equipments with movable parts
21. Rope ladders and ropes
22. Gym sets with enclosures
23. Balls of all shapes and sizes
24. Double blade ice-skates or roller skates
25. Lightweight soft baseball and bat
26. Junior sized foot-ball
27. Kites
28. Wading pool
29. Jump ropes
30. Flying disks
31. Kickboards
32. Simple weaving
33. Matching toys
34. Sorting toys
35. Number boards
36. Lock boxes
37. Nesting toys with multiple pieces
38. Geometrical concept toys
39. Frames/ cards to button, hook, tie
40. Simple sewing kits
41. Large and small sandbox tools
42. Bubbles
43. Wind-up bath toys
44. Realistic dolls
45. Stuffed toys with accessories
46. Music boxes
47. Simple sock puppets
48. Simple puppet theatre
49. Housekeeping and cooking equipments
50. Toy telephone, camera, doctor kits
51. All rhythm instruments
52. Harmonica, horns, whistles
53. Piano
54. Large crayons
55. Magic markers
56. Finger and tempera paints
57. Brushes of various sizes
58. Clay and clay making tools
59. Scissors with rounded ends
60. Paste and glue
61. Simple block printing equipments
62. Beads to string
63. Colouring books
64. Water colour paints
65. Weaving loom
66. Dominoes
67. Simple card games
68. Board games
69. Simple electronic and other teaching toys
70. Toy cars of all sizes
71. Action sets
72. Ping-pong or foam balls
73. Soft darts
74. Simple video games
75. adult operated music and songs
76. Science materials like magnets, flashlight, shells, rocks, magnifying glass, stethoscope, prism, aquarium
77. Clock
78. Printing set
79. Toy typewriter or computer
80. Picture books
81. Complex pop-up books
82. Alphabet books, information books

6 TO 9 YEARS OLD


Abilities
A school-age child seeks out new information, experiences and challenges in play. Extremely social with a clear sense of fairness, a child in this age group is influenced by peers and has a strong gender identity.

Appropriate Toys

1. Board games
2. Sports equipment
3. Model and craft kits
4. Science kits
5. Jigsaw puzzles
6. Construction toys
7. Fashion and career dolls
8. Doll house
9. Action and hero figures
10. Puppets, marionettes and theaters
11. Video games
12. Bicycle and helmet
13. Stilts, pogo stick
14. Magic set
15. Roller and ice skates plus protective gear
16. Tape player/radio
17. Books 


9 TO 12 YEARS OLD


Abilities
A pre-teenager is independent, yet thrives on play with other children. A child this age knows how to cooperate and negotiate using advanced social skills. Mastery of academic skills enables him or her to pursue both intellectual and creative pastimes. (Graphic omitted)

Appropriate Toys

1. Card and board games
2. Sports equipment
3. Table tennis and billiards
4. Jigsaw puzzles
5. Model kits
6. Science kits
7. Microscope, telescope and magnifying glass
8. Craft and handwork kits
9. Art supplies
10. Advanced construction sets
11. Puppets, marionettes and theaters
12. Video games
13. Bicycle and helmet
14. Stilts, pogo stick
15. Magic set
16. Roller and ice skates plus protective gear
17. Tape player/radio
18. Books




6 TO 9 YEARS OLD

Abilities
A school-age child seeks out new information, experiences and challenges in play. Extremely social with a clear sense of fairness, a child in this age group is influenced by peers and has a strong gender identity.

Appropriate Toys

1. Board games
2. Sports equipment
3. Model and craft kits
4. Science kits
5. Jigsaw puzzles
6. Construction toys
7. Fashion and career dolls
8. Doll house
9. Action and hero figures
10. Puppets, marionettes and theaters
11. Video games
12. Bicycle and helmet
13. Stilts, pogo stick
14. Magic set
15. Roller and ice skates plus protective gear
16. Tape player/radio
17. Books 


9 TO 12 YEARS OLD

Abilities
A pre-teenager is independent, yet thrives on play with other children. A child this age knows how to cooperate and negotiate using advanced social skills. Mastery of academic skills enables him or her to pursue both intellectual and creative pastimes. (Graphic omitted)

Appropriate Toys

1. Card and board games
2. Sports equipment
3. Table tennis and billiards
4. Jigsaw puzzles
5. Model kits
6. Science kits
7. Microscope, telescope and magnifying glass
8. Craft and handwork kits
9. Art supplies
10. Advanced construction sets
11. Puppets, marionettes and theaters
12. Video games
13. Bicycle and helmet
14. Stilts, pogo stick
15. Magic set
16. Roller and ice skates plus protective gear
17. Tape player/radio
18. Books


The list above is not exhaustive. You can add more to it. And yes, if I have missed out something, please do let me know. 

P.S - Simply buying toys and handing them over to kids is not enough. While playing alone is vital for encouraging children to explore, think creatively and allow self-learning, it is only when they play with their family and friends that they learn to cooperate. More on this in my next post :-).

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