Toys are expensive, but they’re also a lot of fun. We’ve compiled a list of the best toys for your first five years to help you find what’s perfect for your child.
The 100 toys is a guide to toys for the first five years. It offers a complete list of 100 different toys that parents should consider buying their children during this time period.
Do you ever feel that your house is overflowing with toys you didn’t ask for and don’t want?
The children in the 100 Toys home are 6 years old, 5 years old, 4 years old, and 2 years old. That’s a total of 17 Christmases and birthdays. Parents’, grandparents’, uncles’, and aunts’ gifts, as well as stocking stuffers It’s not uncommon for a kid to get at least ten gifts for Christmas. 340 = (17 + 17) x 10…
Include presents throughout the year, such as something from the museum store, a toy to keep them busy on a trip, something for Easter, and something for Halloween. That’s all before kids enter school and have parties for the whole class, when you can expect to get 30 gifts for one child in a single day…
Fewer toys are required for children
My original plan for The 100 when I first started the website was to compile a list of 100 necessary toys for any child under the age of five, but seeing it written down seemed too forceful, too consumerist. How about a hundred toys? From birth until the age of five?
Making the 100 around activities and experiences was more in line with our approach. On the list, there are less than 10 toys.
But now I’m reconsidering the notion since it’s no longer so absurd.
Even 100 is a very large number
You don’t have to go far on the site to realize that I believe children can flourish with much fewer toys than one hundred. It is, in fact, beneficial to them. Blocks, figurines, cloth, a few common household items, some art supplies, and access to outside space are among the items required. That is all there is to it.
So, why am I compiling this list?
People are going to purchase gifts for your kids regardless. Generous relatives will gladly disregard your pleas for tickets to a play or a castle. Friends don’t want to show up to the celebration empty-handed. A lot of people want to put something beneath the Christmas tree.
If your family is like mine, I’ve found that gently giving them a list of toys that you’re okay with and, more importantly, that are developmentally suitable for your kid helps.
Whether you like it or not, toys will find their way into your home. Before you toss it in the bag for that hurried trip to the charity store, be sure what your kid gets will challenge and absorb them, not simply entertain them for half an hour.
Not every kid enjoys every toy
A toy kitchen or doll’s home may provide years of entertainment. Even infants who are unable to stand alone will pull themselves up and engage in a basic form of this kind of play.
In the 100 Toys home, however, usage of the doll’s house is divided along gender lines. The females enjoy sitting for hours, arranging the table and putting the figures into bed, while the guys use it as target practice.
The boys like small world play, but they prefer to construct castles or reenact conflicts from the Hundred Years War. That’s OK.
The essential element in this instance is that the doll’s home allows them all to engage in creative play. It makes no difference what the situation is. This is why The 100 list exists: to demonstrate the kind of activities you might and should provide.
A toy journey from infancy to five years old:
So there you have it: the first five years’ list of one hundred toys.
If you acquire all of them, you’ll have covered a lot of ground in terms of progress. All of the time you spend outside, visiting museums, reading tales, and singing nursery rhymes fills in the gaps.
Take the following list with a grain of salt. None of it is really required. I’m not suggesting you purchase anything on this list; rather, if you’re going to buy something, here is an excellent place to start. The toys are mostly open-ended, and they’re all age-appropriate.
Toys for babies and toddlers
There is a lot for new infants to learn. When one item ends and another begins, where does one object finish and the other begin? What are those protruding appendages on my body, and what do they do? How can I make that jingling sound again? It was a blast!
- Baby gym and play mat The use of a baby gym encourages infants to move about and grab things. They also aid in the development of midline play, in which the hands meet in the center. Hang high-contrast images and toys from the bar, and put toys like musical balls or graspers to the side, so your baby may learn to roll over onto her stomach.
- Mirror. Babies like studying faces, and when there is no one else to talk to, they enjoy staring at themselves. They don’t know who the person in the mirror is for the first few months, but it doesn’t appear to stop them from having a good time.
- toy for children’s activities
- A mobile hung above a crib or pram offers important visual stimulation, assisting in the development of concentration and control in your baby’s eyes. Choose high-contrast, black-and-white graphics and a mobile phone that enables you to change the pictures often so it never becomes boring.
- Sing lullabies to your child. The simple melodies of a classic lullaby such as Hush, Little Baby not only offer comfort and reassurance, but they also assist your baby’s hearing develop and build the groundwork for eventual musicality in daily speech.
6 month olds’ toys
- a treasure chest
- The first set of blocks
- The swaying tower
- Circular peg puzzles are the simplest, followed by four-way rotational symmetry, three-way, and one-way (hardest, suitable from 10-12 months)
- Animal shape sorter
- Bowls (basic, stacked, or for sorting) (or look in the kitchen)
- spheres (wooden, for rolling; fabric, for catching)
- Rattle. A rattle shook by you helps your infant learn to follow noises, even if they can’t yet grasp it. As their vision improves, a rattle or grasper with visible moving components, such as beads, connects sights and sounds, demonstrating cause and effect and providing a feeling of achievement when they eventually manage to shake it.
The first year of your baby’s life is spent discovering her senses and the world around her. What does it smell like? Is it a rough or a smooth surface? Is it loud or quiet? Your duty is to assist her in recognizing, comprehending, and labeling these distinctions.
This does not need the use of toys. Any six-month-old will be happy with a treasure basket filled of random items found around the home.
The first year of a baby’s life is all about exploration. Toys have a place in the world. They can, however, wait.
Concentrate on: riddles
In many respects, puzzles go against our philosophy of open-ended play. Most puzzles can only be solved in one manner, and as your child’s ability level increases, they will soon outgrow them. Despite this, riddles are still very important. Why? Because they promote and develop a wide range of important talents. Children require fine-motor accuracy, concentration, and drive to succeed with their puzzling tasks, whether it’s a basic wooden single-piece puzzle with tiny handles or more complicated jigsaws, sorting, and matching games. To succeed, they must think rationally and devise tactics. A one-year-old learns that pieces must be rotated to fit, while an older kid learns that it’s better to sort by color and start with the corner and edge pieces. These are fundamental abilities that may be used to more creative endeavors if learned.
Concentrate on: a treasure chest
A treasure basket is a cheap and easy method to encourage your child’s natural curiosity and feeling of wonder. As they attempt to comprehend the world around them, your kid is experiencing new textures, scents, noises, and feelings at this age. A treasure basket is just a collection of items for your baby to explore and play with. They may pursue their curiosity, grabbing, pounding, and mouthing everything that piques their attention while rejecting the rest. It’s particularly entertaining for infants who can sit up with the help of a cushion or a ring, but aren’t yet mobile. Everyday items such as wooden spoons, an old bracelet, or a silicon ice cube dish may be used. The key is to provide a diverse menu that appeals to all five senses. Also, make certain that the items are secure. There are no choking risks or hazardous paints here. But don’t worry if your treasure isn’t completely handmade; you may combine it with other toys you already own, like as balls, rattles, or dolls. The most essential thing is to have a good time.
Toys for a one-year-old
Figures if you only purchase one item
Children recognize themselves, their families, friends, and pets in play figures. From driving a vehicle to cooking in the kitchen, playing with them helps children solidify their knowledge of the world. If your kid is already comfortable with bricks, adding a few figures into their play will inspire them to include speech and tales. When animals join the group, youngsters may learn about their personalities and behaviors, such as the cunning fox, the cheeky monkey, and the ferocious lion.
When it comes to play figures, there’s a case to be made for selecting ones with less face characteristics and clothing that don’t blatantly genderize or otherwise pre-determine the game. However, my 25-month-old daughter will gladly think that the two potatoes on her plate are old friends, and my four-year-old will suspend her disbelief long enough to believe that her Maileg mouse is Elsa from Frozen. Children like having the perfect figure for their tiny world play, but it isn’t required. They’ll fill in the blanks with their imaginations.
Toys for children under the age of two
Concentrate on: cloth
Fabric scraps, especially multicolored play silks, may be a surprise helpful and popular addition to the toy box. Fabric is one of the most open-ended toys you can buy, which is why it’s so flexible. Fabric may be used to construct scenery in creative and small-world play by your kid (a blue silk is a river or the sky, a green one a mountain etc.)
They may create a tent for their dolls or a den for themselves by draping cloth over a table or a laundry line. A nomad’s scarf is made from fabric wrapped around the head, while a bride’s train is made from fabric knotted around the waist. Wrap it around your legs and it’s bandages in the hospital. Tie it to your wrists and it’s a fairy’s wings.
Beautiful, free streamers may be made using silks or ribbons attached to the end of a stick, which can serve as a basis for your child’s learning of up and down strokes when they begin to write.
Concentrate on: doll’s home
Children recreate situations from daily life in a doll’s home to better comprehend their place in the family and the world. You can see what your kid knows about power relations and gender by watching them play with dolls. Who is in charge of the trash cans? Who is in charge of the kitchen?
Whose home is it, exactly? It’s also an opportunity for kids to engage in role-playing activities that they wouldn’t usually have access to, such as opening the door to the postman (or a tiger! ), going to work, and preparing supper. You may also use it for other small-world settings if you choose a gender-neutral doll’s home with natural colors and little elaboration.
A doll’s home one day, and an astronauts’ space station the next, is something simple that offers a backdrop without dictating it. You may expand the play in virtually any direction by adding blocks, figurines, textiles, and other things to your doll’s home. Read our guide to discover more about the significance of doll’s home play and how to expand it.
Toys for children aged three
If you just purchase one item, it should be blocks.
A decent set of wooden blocks is simply the most useful and durable toy available. Your kid can construct, sort, carry, count, create, and invent with blocks. Blocks are the epitome of open-ended play, from the very first effort to stack one block on top of another to sophisticated creative play in which blocks symbolize something completely different. Children’s wooden blocks come in a variety of colors and textures, as well as precisely square or irregular forms. The trueness of the cut (wonky blocks make for unsteady towers) and chew-friendly non-toxic stains that enable your kid to feel the warmth and texture of real wood in their hands are the most important things to check for when selecting blocks. Building using natural-finish blocks may also be more successful. Glossy paints seem brilliant, but they may make surfaces slick and structures unstable. For ideas and to see how your child’s growing knowledge is mirrored in their constructions, see our Guide to Block Play.
Toys for a four-year-old
Concentrate on: art supplies
Your kid will most likely sit at the kitchen table scribbling, sketching, cutting out, and gluing before learning to write in school. This important foundation activity improves their fine motor abilities, hand-eye coordination, concentration, tenacity, and creativity. Providing children with high-quality materials can assist them in achieving effective and attractive outcomes, as well as encouraging them to connect time spent at the drawing board with enjoyment and achievement.
Select a high-quality paper that will not rip or degrade. Use high-quality wax crayons in colors that glide and remain on the paper, with profiles designed for even the tiniest hands to grasp. Also, make sure you have scissors that are easy for small fingers to maneuver around a line. Scissors are a great way to strengthen their pincer grasp, which may assist children with anything from holding cups to tying their shoes later on. Painting and sketching at an easel, if you have the room, is a great method to build wrist strength and the hand-eye coordination needed for handwriting when they’re ready.
You can see how you might have multiples of some of them without feeling like your home is overrun with toys. You’ll need more than one board game, as well as a variety of painting supplies (which will also need to be replenished). A beautiful pair of pencils or paints as a present makes a four- or five-year-old extremely pleased.
Scratch papers, coloring books, stickers, and other one-time activities used to irritate me since I already had all of the art supplies at home, and you never seemed to get much in the packet anyway. You usually only got one use out of it, and the end result was frequently prescriptive, leaving little room for the child’s creativity. But, after seeing my own children be motivated by such items to try a talent they were previously hesitant to try, I’ve softened my stance a little. I still believe the craft box should be your first stop, but these kits have their place, even if just as a cheap present. And, since they’re disposable, they don’t accumulate clutter after they’ve been used – a major selling feature in our home!
Last but not least
This is a list of toys that you do not need.
But, with luck – and a little assistance from your friends and family – you may be able to avoid the fate-worse-than-death that is a home full of annoying one-trick horses headed for the trash through a prolonged stay on your living room floor.
Instead of silently seething over yet another useless birthday present, have your well-meaning friends and family refer to this list when they ask what they should get you. Yes, there are more toys, but they are toys that improve the quality and effect of their play. And it is unquestionably a gift we can all appreciate.
Good luck with your game!
P.S. If you were keeping track, it wasn’t 100 toys. I just couldn’t bring myself to go that far. But I hope it was lengthy enough to provide you with some ideas.
The essential toys are a list of toys that will help your child develop from the first five years.