Toys are essential for your baby’s development. However, there are a few safety rules you should follow and choose the ones that best suit your child’s stage of development. If a good toy is to be a source of discovery and entertainment for your child, it is not easy to find yourself in the toy jungle — our advice to help you choose your playmates better.
Games and toys
When a child plays, play is not just a distraction for him. When adults play a game of cards or tennis, they are looking for relaxation: playing is the opposite of working. For the child to perform is to exercise his mind and exercise his strength. Play is his usual activity; it is an essential element for his development.
By playing, the child develops his imagination, his creativity: he experiences an activity that belongs to him by expressing his reactions, his emotions. When Lisa scolds her doll for wetting her panties, she probably imitates the severity of her parents. Axel was very afraid because a car skidded in front of theirs: for several days, he “replayed” this accident with his small vehicles. Sarah had a lot of fun at the school fair; with her stuffed animals, she redoes the activities and games that she particularly liked. The child must have time for these free, spontaneous games; he doesn’t need to be always busy with activities that may seem more useful or with adult toys.
Preferences at different ages
Parents do not always know which toys to offer, depending on the age of their child. When they enter a store, it is more often to ask for “a toy for a 2-year-old girl, or a 3-year-old boy”, than a doll or a car. Each age has its preferences. This is why we hope to be useful to you by indicating below a commented list of toys that will please your child from 1 month to 4 years old. Of course, if he does not like construction games or puzzles at the age when other children are interested in them, do not conclude his development. He has different interests, and you will surely find them.
1 to 4 months
He discovers sounds and colors. This is the age of rattles: big with a large handle because a baby has trouble grasping; with colored balls or bells; chew to relieve the gums; with a chain that hangs on the cradle or pram, etc. You can also hang animals in bed; choose rubber, or fabric, so washable because soon, your baby will bring them to his mouth. You can also attach a mobile; the baby likes what moves. You will notice that already at this age, the child makes the difference between hard and soft, between a rag doll and a plastic rattle.
4 to 8 months
Your baby learns to use his hands in several different ways: he feels, scratches, pulls, presses, releases. Install it on an awakening mat: it will have the opportunity to make the gestures that tempt it at this age. Alternate the positions on the stomach and the back until he can turn around alone. Give him rubber animals, which make noise when pressed, more clever rattles that will give him new satisfactions like the musical rattle. He likes to look at small mirrors and sometimes discover, without knowing it, his face. He enjoys looking at picture books. This is the age when the child tries to get up to sit; a little porch hanging on his bed or in his playpen will amuse him a lot. In the evening, a music box will help him fall asleep.
8 to 12 months
You can put your child in his playpen with his toys around him. Throwing objects as far and as often as possible, not to get bored, but to see where they fall, is what amuses him the most. So give them toys that don’t break: rubber animals, plastic cubes, cloth dolls, stuffed animals. He also likes the game of pearls and spirals: you have to move large beads along several axes. He exercises his skill with rings to be placed on a central axis to build a pyramid. Shaking up a game that makes a noise (a rain stick or a “moo box”) makes him laugh a lot. He likes – and will still like at the next stage – boxes of all kinds: shoe, plastic … He tirelessly places and removes his cubes or other treasures there and also practices closing the lids. At this age, he begins to crawl and enjoys small objects that he can hold in one hand while moving. For the bath, give it floating animals: fish, ducks, frogs …
12 to 18 months
Pushing a rolling toy in front of him, which he feels like he is leaning on, gives confidence to the child who takes his first steps: wooden animal, musical scroll, etc. He’s also going to like pulling toys out of a string. When seated, with his more skillful hands, he stacks and nests circles and goblets. He also appreciates the books on which you have to press to make the sounds corresponding to the images (animal cries, wind, rain, musical instruments …), small plastic cars, large Lego®. As this is also the age when he begins to want to eat on his own, he plays and exercises with a spoon and a plastic bowl. For the bath, give him containers that allow emptying, filling, pouring. This is also the age of the first blocks of sand. Offer him mussels, a bucket, a watering can, and the water or sand mill. Think of foam balls and balloons.
18 months to 2 years
He touches everything, runs everywhere, makes noise, moves, transports. So, to satisfy these new interests, give him a horse on wheels, a wooden train that he will drag from one end of his room to the other: for him, hanging out is progress, it is more complicated than push. He also knows how to get on a truck and move it forward; he fills his trailer with wooden bricks. He likes to knock over plastic skittles and tries to pick them up. For moments of calm, give him something to exercise his address: wooden puzzles, eggs, and nesting barrels, “shape sorter” (toy in the shape of a box, the lid of which is pierced with holes of different ways: corresponding pieces these forms are joined to it, the child must bring each of them into the similar opening. At this age, he also enjoys hitting on a wooden workbench with a mallet, or a xylophone. Finally, from 18 months, a child likes to be told a short story.
Until this age, boys and girls are generally offered the same toys. But from 2 years and 2 1/2 years, habits, the environment, we give dolls to girls and cars to boys. But if one wishes games generally attributed to the other sex, why refuse them? Some girls like to play in toy cars like some boys like to take care of a bear or a doll. Jules’ parents observed that when he went to his cousins, he had fun with their little stroller. They offered him one for his two years, and Jules is delighted to walk his stuffed rabbit. This is the age when children start imitating parents and the adults around them: driving a car, phoning, traveling, cleaning, or going to the market. Melody, two and a half years old, can play dinette for a very long time: feeding her dolls, the adults around her, herself, cooking. Ernest very much enjoys participating with his parents in the preparation of the family meal.
At this age, boys and girls love the wooden village, the farm animals, and, for the garden, a wheelbarrow. Remember to offer your children stickers, felt-tip pens, colored pencils, modeling clay (even if you find that “dirty”!), And later cutouts with scissors (round and always in the presence of an adult). These activities are simple, inexpensive, and yet many children arrive at school without ever having these items on hand. For exercise, kids love the tricycle, the rocking horse, and when they’re tired, enjoy looking at a picture book, or exercising their skill with nesting boxes.
It’s the age of imagination. A long dress and a crown transform the little girl into a princess; with a scarf and a cape, the little boy becomes a pirate. Some kids love to dress up; others hate it. Wearing a mask can impress them. Boys and girls treat their bear or doll with a doctor’s kit. Books interest them more and more: by looking at the images, they invent stories themselves. They like construction games, Math Games, big puzzles, first coloring, and in the garden, the swing, and the slide. They invent