We get a lot of questions from parents about knowing the right age to introduce classic and key developmental toys.
“When should I buy my baby a doll?” or “What’s the right age for a wooden truck?” are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive. With an endless number of toys to choose from, it’s easy to feel overloaded with options and information.
Here are our general guidelines, but keep in mind that every child has different needs and may be ready sooner or later than their peers. Always pay attention to age recommendations though, as some small parts might not be suitable for children under 3.
When should I give my child a shape sorter, nesting cups, or ring stacker?
Shape sorters, nesting cups, and ring stackers are classic baby toys that most parents are familiar with. They’re great for improving hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, and cause-and-effect for toddlers between ages 1 and 2 years old.
When should I give my child wooden blocks?
Blocks are a toy that will grow with your child’s skill level throughout childhood. As young as 6 months old they may grasp a wooden block and explore it with their mouth. At 1, the joy of noise-making is fully realized when they bang their blocks together or topple over your block creations. Closer to two the stacking begins and things really get fun! Here are some favorite blocks for these stages.
When should I give my child wooden trucks?
Wooden vehicles are a staple for curious toddlers. From rolling and racing to more involved imaginary play, an investment in high-quality wooden cars and trucks always pays off. For younger toddlers, a vehicle they can grasp and easily push is a great option. From 2 to 4 they’ll be excited to have larger options that challenge their gross motor skills.
When should I give my child puzzles?
Puzzles are great because they work fine motor skills and flex our brains at the same time. For young toddlers, starting close to 2, puzzles help develop basic skills such as shape recognition and concentration. Around 3 they learn the concept of a 'whole' and that each piece is a fraction of the bigger picture, laying the groundwork for early math concepts.
When should I give my child a doll?
Imagination takes flight around 2 and 3 years old, when most children start to engage in dramatic play. They begin to act as if their doll can see and interact with them and mimic real-life through their play as they feed, bathe, and dress their dolls. The social-emotional value of dolls comes into play when they begin to explore feelings and behaviors, offering them a perfect opportunity to practice handling their fear and anger, or even navigating social behaviors. A special doll can also be a comfort object for transitions like moving into a big kid bed or going to preschool.
When should I give my child a play kitchen?
A play kitchen is another opportunity for children to play real life. A little chef can practice everything from gross and fine motor skills to imaginative play. While young toddlers might enjoy opening and closing the doors or mixing play food in a bowl, older children (3+) will be able to fully engage in the play kitchen and get lost in pretend play for long periods of time.
Keep in mind, parents know their child best! Some children may be more interested in imaginary play with dolls while others are engineering towers of blocks. Following the child’s lead is best.
We want to know, which toys get the most love in your home?