The top 12 toys for every age and stage
With so many adorable toys to choose from, it may seem a little overwhelming to shop for them. Our age-appropriate guides help you pick the right toy for your growing child. Here are a few of our favorites. Time to go play!
Toys for birth to 3 months: Rattles
Giving your baby a classic rattle, a soft wrist rattle, or a silly pair of rattle socks is a great way to help her become aware of her body. Imagine her surprise when she kicks and waves to hear the toy's sound. You won't be able to resist laughing with her as she plays!
Toys for 3 to 6 months: Activity centers
At this age, your baby is still horizontal most of the time. An activity center puts fun within reach and exercises little arms and legs. This helps him get ready to roll over and push up.
Toys for 6 to 9 months: Books
It's never too early to read to your baby and introduce her to books. Books made of soft cloth or thick board are perfect for eager little hands to hold and flip through. Expect your baby to show her appreciation of good literature by trying to eat it!
Toys for 6 to 9 months: Balls
At this age, your baby is gaining control of his hands and can pick up large objects, so a light, soft ball is perfect for rolling gently across the floor. Get ready: Once he learns to kick, you can count on being his goalie for a while!
Toys for 9 to 12 months: Blocks
Babies get better at picking up objects as their motor skills develop, and a set of classic building blocks is guaranteed to be a big hit at this age. Help your baby stack the blocks and she'll have even more fun knocking them down!
Toys for 9 to 12 months: Push toys
Look out – baby on the move! These days your little one can probably pull himself up and cruise, getting ready to take those first steps on his own. At this wobbly stage, a push toy helps him practice walking. Choose one that's sturdy so he can lean on it for support. Before you know it, he'll be off and running.
Toys for 12 to 18 months: Sorting and nesting toys
Encourage curiosity with toys your toddler can sort and stack. Lots of different sizes, shapes, and colors challenge his abilities. Meanwhile, you can enjoy the peace and quiet as he puzzles over how to fit shapes through openings and stack rings onto stands.
Toys for 18 to 24 months: Train sets
Toddlers are train fanatics. Give your little conductor some tracks and a set of train cars and watch him go full steam ahead. It looks like such fun you just may want to ride the rails with him too!
Toys for 24 to 30 months: Art supplies
Your 2-year-old is ready to express herself, loud and clear. Set up an area where anything goes and encourage her to create with crayons, pencils, washable markers, and tempera paints. Before you know it, her masterpieces will fill every inch of your home.
Toys for 24 to 30 months: Dress-up clothes
You may find that your Little Miss or Mr. Independent has a definite opinion about what to wear these days. Give your child a trunk full of fabulous hats, masks, gloves, capes, and assorted hand-me-downs, and let her dazzle you with characters and creative play.
Toys for 30 to 36 months: Child-size sports gear
Is your child ready to slam dunk like the next Michael Jordan or ace shots like a young Rafa Nadal? Or maybe he enjoys kicking a ball around just for the fun of it. Give your child a mini basketball hoop, golf set, or other sports gear, and watch him run outside to play with it. Score!