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Toys by Age

Toys are an important part of your child’s life, from the first day he or she comes home from the hospital until your child becomes a teenager (and sometimes beyond). It’s important not to dismiss toys as unnecessary because the right developmental toys can help foster an early love for learning, which is something your child can take with him or her to the very first day of pre-K. There are many different types of toys out on the market, and it might be tough to tell which ones are best for your growing baby. Here at Pottery Barn Kids, we’ve grouped some different types of toys into separate age groups so that it’s easier to pick the correct developmental toys for your baby or toddler.

Newborn Toys

A newborn just home from the hospital won’t immediately have a vested interest in toys, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce toys right away. Choose age-appropriate, safe toys that foster a love of learning but provide no safety hazards. Great ideas for the first several months include an unbreakable mirror, which you can attach right to your baby’s crib. Rattles that softly attach to the wrist or ankle are also fun ideas, as well as handheld rattles so your baby can learn to grip. An infant’s eyesight and acuity are just beginning to form, so doctors advise the best colors for newborns are red, black and white to help their growing vision.

As babies get older, so do their needs for different toys. Once your baby reaches three months, it’s a good time to find an activity gym with an included mobile. This can promote time on baby’s back as well as tummy time. It’s also okay to introduce plush animals at this time, so long as they don’t live in the crib overnight. Between six and nine months, your baby is most likely sitting up and learning to explore the world a little bit. As he or she explores, toys can become a little more mobile as well. For instance, you can start introducing toys that move such as trains, cars and trucks. At this time, you can also consider a baby bouncer or swing, with attached toys within reach that your baby can explore. Household items, such as kitchen spoons, pots and pans, are also very interesting to your baby during this time period.

Toys for 1 Year Olds

As you begin to approach a year and beyond, the needs for toys will change again. Standing and walking are soon going to become reached milestones. Developmental toys during this age period should focus on gross and fine motor skills. A shape sorter is a wonderful idea, as are peg puzzles that your baby will soon learn to complete on her own. While you most likely have been reading to your child since birth, you can now introduce books that require some input from your baby, such as sliders or lift-the-flap books. Once your baby is steady and begins to walk, choose ride-on toys, plush rockers, and begin introducing (washable) crayons and paint.

Toys for 1 + Year Olds

Once you’ve passed the first year, your baby is now a toddler. Look for toys that now evoke the idea of pretend play such as dolls, dinosaurs, trains with a track and other imaginative ideas. Building blocks and balls are also great for fostering dexterity. Between the ages of two and three, look for toys that continue to foster pretend play, such as play kitchens, construction sets and dollhouses. At this age, you can begin to move beyond the peg puzzles to real, cardboard puzzles with pieces. Wooden puzzles with large pieces also work well. Other ideas during this time include board and memory games as well as outdoor toys such as basketball and golf sets. As always, help promote a love of reading by searching for age-appropriate books your child can enjoy, too.

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