Looking for the perfect gift for your favorite child? Here are some of the toys our kids have loved best at every age & stage!
We’ve listed the manufacturers’ age recommendations, but we also suggest using your own judgment to determine what’s appropriate for your child.
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INFANTS (birth to 12 months)
(ages 0-6 months) New parents are always told that tummy time is so important to their baby’s physical development…but babies often have their own feelings on the matter. These cards, featuring high-contrast images specifically designed for young infants, can help make tummy time more engaging for baby.
(ages 0-2) These books are great! Let your baby “read” without concern of the damage that will be done by their hands and mouth.
(ages 6 months-3 years) Often, the simplest toys turn out to be the most engaging. It doesn’t get much simpler than stacking and nesting cups, but they hold babies’ and toddlers’ attention for a long time, both in and out of the bath.
(ages 6 months-3 years) These brightly colored, interestingly textured toys will hold a baby’s attention and allow for lots of different types of exploration and learning, especially as they stick together and pull apart.
TODDLERS (12 months to 3 years)
(ages 1 and up) A favorite of many toddlers, the Spinagain creates an engaging sensory experience while also aiding in the development of hand-eye coordination and teaching cause-and-effect.
(ages 18 months-3 years) A simpler gear toy just for toddlers, this colorful caterpillar encourages fine motor development and color recognition.
(ages 18 months-3 years) Balance bikes are designed especially to help young children learn balance and gliding skills, and are often used to teach kids to ride a 2-wheeler without ever involving training wheels. Many of our kids have loved them! While there are plenty of great options in the balance bike world, we’ve found Strider to be a solid choice, especially this model that’s just the right size for young toddlers. And don’t forget the helmet!
(ages 2-4 years) The shape sorter is a classic toy for this age group, one that’s been engaging kids for generations. Melissa and Doug’s version is sturdy enough to withstand (most) toddlers and is just challenging enough to be entertaining into the preschool years.
PRESCHOOLERS (3 to 5 years)
(ages 3 and up) Magna-Tiles. Oh, Magna-Tiles. We all love them. Pretty much all of our kids have loved them, and most still do, from early toddlerhood well into the grade school years. They allow for so much imagination to come through, and we love seeing what our kids end up building. (We don’t particularly mind the less expensive magnetic tile brands, either.)
(ages 3 and up) Many of our kids have loved crafting floral bouquets with this earth-friendly toy that encourages creativity and the development of fine motor skills.
(ages 4 and up) This toy allows kids to have a blast and get creative (and use a hammer!), while also exploring geometry and developing fine motor skills.
(ages 3-6) Get ready to blast off! Dressing up and playing pretend is one of the most magical parts of childhood (pro tip: bulk up your child’s dress-up wardrobe every year with after-Halloween clearance sales). For kids who love outer space and rocket ships, this astronaut costume will be a hit!
BIG KIDS (5 years and up)
(ages 3 and up) For those grown-ups who don’t mind a bit of a mess, Mad Mattr is a fantastic sensory experience. Similar to (but not quite as messy as) kinetic sand, Mad Mattr is fun for preschoolers, too, but our big kids have a blast building with it!
(ages 4 and up) Several of our kids love these! Children can design jewelry over and over again with those colorful, easy to snap, reusable beads. (In case you haven’t guessed yet, we LOVE toys that encourage creativity!)
(ages 4-7) LEGO Juniors sets are great for kids who are outgrowing larger blocks like Duplo and starting to play with “real” Legos. Get ready to watch your step! This set is especially great for kids who love construction vehicles.
(ages 6 and up) For all kids who love dinosaurs, this kit provides some education while allowing them to get hands-on and use a chisel to “excavate” the dinosaurs from their eggs.