How to Choose Developmentally Appropriate Toys for Your Baby and Toddler

Oct 9, 2019 | Resources for Infants, Toddlers & Kids Featured | 0 comments

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In today’s society, classic toy stores are almost obsolete! Typically, parents will turn to Walmart, Target, or Amazon to purchase toys for their child. It can be very difficult to choose the most appropriate toy for your child’s age. At Collaborative Corner for Exceptional Children, our Panelists are here to encourage the use of age appropriate toys to facilitate fine and gross motor skills as well as language development.

Special thanks to Collaborative Corner and their help in providing this resource.

Birth to Six Months

Babies like to look at faces, track bright colors, and play with their hands and feet. They are learning how to lift their heads, respond to sounds, and exploring by placing objects in their mouths.

When choosing toys for your baby you will want to look for the following:

  • Toys they can reach for, hold, and shake such as rattles, ring stackers, teething toys, textured balls, and squeeze toys
  • Things to listen to such as books with repetitive phrases and nursery rhymes
  • Objects to look at such as bright and colorful pictures that your baby can see as well as unbreakable mirrored toys so your baby can see his or herself as well as you in the mirror. This promotes bonding, sound play, and imitation of facial expressions.

Seven to Twelve Months

At this age, babies are generally on the move! Typically, they go from rolling over and sitting to scooting, bouncing, creeping, pulling themselves up, and standing. They begin to understand their own names and other common words, find hidden objects, and put things in / take things out of containers.

Toys to encourage these developmental skills include:

  • Cause and effect toys such as a jack in the box, pop up toys, plastic or wooden vehicles, and water toys
  • Toys to drop stack and take out such as nesting cups, balls, plastic bowls, and large beads
  • Objects to build with such as large, soft blocks; wooden cubes, cardboard boxes and duplo blocks

12 to 24 months

Typically around this age, your baby is on the go! Generally, they are beginning to walk and attempt to climb stairs, first words are emerging, they can Identify body parts, and begin to demonstrate parallel play with other children.

Toys to encourage these milestones include:

  • Board books to further elicit expressive language skills to label, comment, and describe pictures and objects
  • Bubbles
  • Non-Toxic washable markers, paint, and crayons
  • Toys to promote pretend play such as toy phones, dolls/accessories, stuffed animals, plastic animals, pretend play food/tea party sets
  • Toys to promote strength and coordination such as puzzles, balls, ride on toys, balls
  • Begin to introduce sensory play activities such as play doh, water play, kinetic sand/sand box

**Remember, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for infants and toddlers under the age of 18 months. For children 18 months through age five, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 1 hour a day of handheld screen time.**

If you have additional questions regarding age appropriate toys for your toddler or child, please reach out to one of our speech-language pathologists at


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