Home Toys Essential Toys for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

Essential Toys for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

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Toys are a great way for kids to learn, explore and have fun. It’s important that you choose toys that are age appropriate and encourage healthy development.

The best baby toys 6-12 months are essential items for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. They can be used as a teether, a toy to play with or as a learning tool.

Is it really necessary for your kid to have so many toys?

You’ll know there’s a lot to pick from if you’ve read our toy recommendations for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. But how many are really required?

How many toys did Socrates have, after all? Or maybe our palaeolithic forefathers?

Toys aid in the breakdown of complex ideas into digestible pieces and enable us to envision potentially hazardous scenarios without having to experience them ourselves. However, you won’t need that many.

A question I often ponder is if it is feasible to design a toy box that will last a kid from birth to five years old, is rich in experiences, and costs less than £100. I sometimes fantasize about what a £0 toy box might look like. This article on toy box basics is a first effort to address these concerns.

What are the best toys to include?

Parenthood, like any new profession, is simpler if you have the proper tools. At One Hundred Toys, we think that excellent toys can help children acquire essential abilities while also providing a helping hand to tired parents by promoting independence and self-directed play.

But how do you know which toys and when to offer them? Why do they set things down one week and then disregard them the next? Certain toys aid in the development of which skills? What are the finest and safest materials? What’s more, how can you accomplish it on a shoestring budget?

A toy guide for children under the age of five

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To assist you, we’ve compiled a list of toy box necessities. You’ll find everything you need for five years of effective gaming in here, just like a capsule wardrobe or a first aid kit. We’ve made sure they offer a diverse range of experiences and aid in the development of key abilities including how to handle a pencil, gross-motor development, creativity, concentration, and persistence – all of which they’ll need once they start school. You’ll also notice that they’re all open-ended, which means they may be utilized in a variety of ways and adapt over time to a child’s physical and imaginative development. And, best of all, many of them are completely free! Those that aren’t will last you a lifetime. There aren’t any high-priced one-hit wonders here.


Blocks are our most important toy since they can be anything. Begin with vivid colors and shapes and use them as gripping toys or to stimulate vision. Children may later utilize blocks for building and pattern-making, as well as small-world play and tessellation.

They’re also convenient to carry in baskets or strollers. Blocks become handy props as creative play progresses; they may be vehicles one day and asteroids the next, and when coupled with cloth or trash modeling, they make a great complement to tiny world play.

Grimm’s natural blocks are ideal for small world play because of their simplicity.

A single stacking toy may be used in a variety of ways when used imaginatively.

Grimm’s enormous building bricks are ideal for creating large buildings quickly.

See our tutorial on how to select the appropriate collection of blocks for additional details.


In play figures, children recognize themselves, their families, friends, and pets. From driving a vehicle to cooking in the kitchen, playing with children helps them build their knowledge of the universe. Preschoolers are frequently fascinated by the line between good and evil, which is why’superhero’ play is so popular at this age. If you have boys and are worried that they spend their days choo-chooing or roaring because they only play with trains or dinosaurs, consider adding a few figurines to their play. The presence of a train conductor or passengers in a railway set promotes character conversation and encourages youngsters to narrate the activity, both of which are great methods to enhance language development.

A lioness and a zebra live in Ostheimer. The key to putting together a box of necessities is to choose toys with a function. What will be their relationship? Which toy combo will provide the most play value? Take a look at our article on tiny world play with just a few figurines for additional information on this topic.

Of course, wooden figurines aren’t required. These mice are fantastic for storytelling and role-playing in miniature worlds. They may be used in conjunction with Maileg’s doll homes, ballet schools, and circuses, or you can use them to create your own unique environment.


If you keep some large pieces of cloth in your toy box, you’ll be amazed how frequently they come out to play. Fabric is very adaptable. It may be used to create a river or a desert in creative play, a den over a table or a laundry line, and a wedding gown or a wizard’s robe when wrapped around the center. You may make a streamer by tying a piece to the end of a stick – flying ribbons in the air is an early form of writing.

Play silks are great for dressing up, but they also have a lot of imaginative applications in tiny world play.


Balls fascinate young toddlers inexhaustibly. Babies like soft toys that they can grip or toys that have bells inside that they can press and listen to. Throwing and catching, rolling and kicking help toddlers develop hand-eye coordination and grip strength. Make a collection of various sizes and bounciness by rolling them down slopes to see which ones move the quickest, or imagine they’re peas on a giant’s dinner plate. They’re also excellent for playing with pals since even little children can play catch or a kind of hockey by swiping the ball across the floor. They’re simply a lot of fun.

Threading and beading

A bowl of colorful beads is a great item to have on the kitchen table for when busy hands need to be entertained. Stringing beads (or, for a cheaper alternative, pasta shapes, bottle caps, conkers – you get the idea) together is meditative and takes a lot of concentration. Beads of various colors are also a fun method to learn colors, count, and create patterns.

Make some play dough

Dough play is a fascinating sensory activity that most kids love. Moving and shaping the soft putty in their hands helps them develop fine motor skills and strengthen young fingers, which will come in handy when it comes to handling a pencil at school. Hand-eye coordination and accuracy, as well as concentration, are developed by working with dough in imaginative ways, such as rolling it into shapes, pinching and squeezing it, stabbing and slicing it. It’s just as much fun to make dough as it is to play with it. Children learn to follow instructions and get a feeling of accomplishment by creating their own (follow our basic recipe here). Use a variety of colors and scents, as well as textures like rice, sand, or oil.

Materials for creating marks (pencils, paints, chalk)

Babies don’t really require mark-making toys since they can just run their fingers through the sand or create a ripple in the water with their fingertips. Later, try thick chalks on the patio or blackboard paint on an interior door. Crayons, charcoal, watercolors, pens, and pencils will all be welcome distractions as children’s grip strength develops and they learn to express emotions and ideas with lines and images. Any kind of mark-making is an effective tool for thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving.

Trolleys and baskets

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To a kid, a basket full of items is a treasure chest. It’s even better if it has a handle. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or resemble a grocery basket, but these are usually entertaining. It just has to be big enough to contain essential items and light enough for them to carry them from point A to point B, particularly if they’re playing postman or going shopping with you. Fill the basket with fascinating things like pine cones and textiles for young infants who are interested in textures and noises, and let them explore what’s within.

A spade and a bucket

A bucket, like a basket, is useful for carrying essential items, but it also comes with the additional benefit of being waterproof and capable of building sandcastles. With the addition of a spade, you may spend hours digging, scooping, patting, and burying. If you can’t go to the beach, the garden will suffice.

Beakers and jugs

Hours of scientific experimentation and discovery may be had with a set of solid jugs and plastic beakers. Even little children like seeing what occurs when liquids, sand, or beads are poured from one container into another. What is the rate of descent? How much water does it splatter? As they get older, they begin to investigate capacity and learn about the characteristics of various liquids. Food coloring, sequins, old shampoos, and whatever else they may think of can give their projects new perspectives. Jugs and beakers are all that’s required in the bath for hours of soaking and splashing with siblings.

Get rid of the bath books

It may be enjoyable to share a book in the bath. It’s a method of soothing a newborn who is frightened of water. It may assist them in unwinding.

For older children, though, being in the water means being surrounded by possibilities. There’s so much to learn! Floating, sinking, displacement, pouring, splashing, and bubble-making are some of the techniques used.

A book may be read at any moment. Before going to bed, spend a few minutes in the bath doing something new.

Why squander a chance like this?

Scissors with a glue stick

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There’s no need for complicated craft kits; all kids actually need is a nice pair of children’s scissors and some excellent glue. Using scissors is a complex skill that requires grip strength and accuracy, so invest in a pair that is intended for tiny hands and has safe, rounded edges – but make sure they are sharp enough to function. Choose a non-toxic adhesive that can hold heavy collage elements in place. Glue sticks are a cost-effective yet ineffective solution. However, PVA, an old elementary school favorite, is difficult to surpass. For optimum results, use a brush or a spreader to apply it. It may also be used to seal collages and ceramics, and it gives models a beautiful shine when combined with paint. Keep an abundance of old magazines, leaves, fabric, and tissue paper on hand to keep your kids occupied for hours.


Despite being such a basic toy, the play options are almost endless. Toddlers like gripping and rolling them to learn about position and trajectory. Preschoolers use them to create towns and racing tracks in small-world play. Choose a vehicle that can transport goods or people for more play value.

Soft toys

A soft toy with a pleasant grin and a soft, tactile texture is a dependable and caring companion for your kid. Soft toys are comforting in unfamiliar settings and situations, and they make great tea party guests. The less predetermined their character is (a traditional bear or animal, rather than a character from a movie, for example), the more youngsters may create a personality for them.

Soft toys may not appeal to all youngsters, but for those who do, they may provide years of entertainment and comfort.

Parts that are loose

Cotton reels, buttons, bottle caps, and Rainbow Friends are all examples of loose components that may be collected in tiny groupings. The game of loose part play is never-ending. Parts may be stacked and counted one day, then built and constructed the next. They may use them as props in pretend play or as components in their miniature worlds.

Materials derived from nature

Nature offers lots of toys for youngsters; take any pre-schooler on a stroll and you’ll likely discover pockets full of pebbles or stones, acorns, and sticks. If you embrace your child’s natural need to gather and select items from nature’s play shop, you’ll never be without anything they’ll want to study and want. Shells, seaweed, pebbles, and conkers are all examples of natural materials. Pine cones make wonderful Christmas trees, and moss makes a terrific football field for play figures, or a pop-microphone star’s when attached to a stick. They’ll never grow tired of playing with natural materials if you keep rotating and changing them.

What makes wooden toys so appealing?

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We are huge fans of wooden toys. They aren’t, however, miraculous in any way.

They have a timeless quality about them. They’re also overwhelmingly harmless, unless they’ve been treated with noxious chemicals (rubberwood toys may contain pesticide).

So, what exactly is the issue?

It’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

What’s the point of buying a second set of wooden blocks if you already have one? Instead, why not try something new? Figures, balls, and stackers made of wood. All of them have a special spot in the toy box.

But what happens after that? New experiences teach children new things. If you just play with wood, there’s only so much you can learn.

You must provide a diverse range of resources.

Plastic may be reviled these days, but it possesses characteristics that make it perfect for some types of play. Consider a set of Legos or a set of bath toys.

Each substance has its own set of difficulties. Overcoming these obstacles promotes creativity and problem-solving.

Water, sand, or acorns; stone, metal, or cloth

What fresh experience do you think you could provide today?

If you only purchase two items, make sure they are:

You just need a set of high quality wooden blocks and a few sturdy generic play figurines (people and animals if feasible) to start playing. You may beg, borrow, and steal the remainder (from nature).

A toy box should be a straightforward item that serves as a resource rather than a source of pleasure. The more you stuff it, the less space there is for creativity.

If you have any ideas for the future £0 and £100 toy box stories, please leave a comment below. I’m curious as to what you’d include.

Toys are an important part of a child’s development. They teach children how to use their imagination, develop motor skills and learn about the world around them.