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Sears.ca>Resource Centre>Buying Guides>Baby> Baby Toys Buying Guide

Baby Toys Buying Guide

Baby toys, infant toys or toddler toys? Learn about age appropriate toys for your child, including educational toys & developmental toys.

 
 

It may look like fun and games, but playing can be serious business! You may be surprised to learn that playtime is an important element in child development, even from infancy, so having infant & toddler toys on hand for your little one is essential. Toys can help with language development, encourage the use of motor skills, improve eye-hand coordination, strengthen social skills like sharing and interacting with others, and improve physical fitness by way of strength and flexibility. Child’s play? Definitely not!

Shop infant & toddler toys

0 - 6 months

At this stage of the game, babies are in the age of discovery. They are just learning how to use their hands and feet, their senses are becoming more refined, and they are starting to be more aware of their surroundings. That’s why so many baby toys at this stage are colourful, textured and offer soft sounds. Check out this list of appropriate toys for babies this age:

  • soft rattles
  • teething rings
  • play gyms and mats
  • cloth toys
  • squeeze toys and balls
  • plastic keys on rings
  • unbreakable mirrors
  • hand puppets (with adult interactions)
 

6 - 12 months

Babies at this age really start to come into their own. In terms of mobility, they start learning to grasp objects (including furniture!), crawling skills are developing, and the urge to explore cause and effect is strong. Don’t forget that entertainment value is a key element for babies this age – they need toys that will capture their attention. Here’s a list of great toys for babies in this age range:

  • push toys
  • baby swings
  • cloth or soft toys
  • musical toys
  • noisemaking rattles
  • nesting or stacking cups
  • stacking rings
  • unbreakable mirrors
  • play gyms
  • bath toys
 

1 - 3 years

Now’s the time to really think about what your child’s toys can offer in the way of education, stimulation and movement. Right around 12 months is the perfect time to introduce letters and numbers to your child, and incorporate toys that make use of them. Other discovery-type toys that allow for exploration (like toys with buttons to push, shapes to sort or simple memory tasks) that both entertain and educate are ideal for this baby stage. Toys that are excellent for this age range include:

  • push and pull toys that make sounds
  • ride-on toys without pedals
  • lightweight balls
  • cloth toys
  • stacking toys and blocks
  • simple puzzles with large pieces
  • large blocks with letters and numbers
  • musical toys (in particular ones that can be shaken / beaten)
  • sturdy, colourful picture books (cloth and plastic ones are best)
  • stuffed animals
  • sorting toys (where shapes fit into holes)
 

Safety issues

Many toys today come with a recommended age range listed on the package or label. This is generally a safety issue, not an issue of the toy’s play value. Toys for young babies and toddlers should not contain small parts or attachments which could pose a choking hazard. Similarly, an adult should always check toys for any tears, loose parts or other malfunctions before allowing a child to play with them. Finally, babies and small children should never be left unattended while playing with toys.