Whether you're buying a present for your own child or someone else's, you may find yourself standing in the aisle of the toy section thinking, "I have no idea what to buy for this child." The problem may be that you simply aren't acquainted with age appropriateness when it comes to playthings. To help a child develop and continue doing so, it's important that age-appropriate toys be introduced and utilized throughout their childhood.
Beginning as newborns and through adolescence, children go through learning stages at different levels. As their brains develop and motor skills become more refined, the toys with which they play should continually challenge them for learning and development to continue.
To keep children engaged, how do you choose the right plaything? What constitutes an age-appropriate toy?
What stage a child is in and their age help determine what toys they play with – which are age-appropriate. As long as toys are cheerful and colorful, don't worry too much about gender specificity. Girls can play with trucks and boys can play with kitchen sets.
When you give a child the gift of a toy, you are assisting them in becoming a more developed individual. Sharing and social skills are learned through the use of toys. Dress-up items, play kitchens, wooden blocks, and dollhouses – for years – have been staples in the area of toy/gift choices. That's because they allow for imaginative and creative play.
AGE-APPROPRIATE TOY BREAKDOWN BY YEARS
Here’s some very general advice relating to the age appropriateness of toys at certain age levels:
- Nine years old and up – Problem-solving toys and play items that stimulate a child's vocabulary, communication skills, imagination, etc. are good here. (Comic books, mechanical toys, sports equipment, 3D puzzles, etc.)
- 7 to 8 years old – Educational board games, science toys, and play items that involve concentration. (Activity books, outdoor toys, board games, puppets, etc.)
- 3 to 6 years old – Toys that encourage muscle/hand movements and involve brain activity are important here because a child's movements and reflexes are becoming more controlled. (Spelling toys, jigsaw puzzles, bicycles and tricycles, percussion instruments, trucks and toy cars, etc.)
- Two-Year-Old toys – Toys that assist with social skills and language learning, as well as toys that help encourage physical strength, are good for two-year-olds. Pretending is a major part of playing and learning at this stage. (Play scooters, dollhouses, toy food, construction toys, dress-up items, etc.)
- One-Year-Old toys – Ideal toys here will be blocks, and toys that have moving parts such as wheels, levers, etc. Music becomes important at this age as well and helps to encourage memorization through skills involving repetition. Brains are stimulated by music, which also encourages imagination and sensory skills. (Push toys, mini pianos, large pegboards, wood blocks, non-toxic crayons and markers, etc.)
- Six months to one year – At this stage, a baby should play with toys that help with constructive skills, visual stimulation, and creativity. (Plush toys, play phones, activity tables, stacking toys, etc.)
- Newborns to five months – You can stimulate your baby’s senses by introducing them to contrasts, textures, and soft toys. (Mobiles, wind chimes, plush animals, squeeze toys, etc.)
KIDPOWERED KNOWS THAT LEARNING TOYS ARE ESSENTIAL
It cannot be stressed enough, the importance of educational toys in a child's life. What is appropriate for one child that is three years old may not be appropriate for all other three-year-olds. A lot depends on how the child has developed. Development, of course, depends on what the child plays with, how they play, who they play with, and more. Whenever possible, you want to encourage development at an increasing rate where your child is concerned.
KidPowered has a wide selection of theme-based toys covering categories from agriculture and construction to forestry and roadwork – and many themes in between. These toys are detailed but sturdy and encourage the imagination and learning in the child playing with them. Check out our "Leisure Time" themed play set by clicking here.