Toys can encourage children to use their imagination, understand how things work, solve problems, develop physical skills and communicate and cooperate with others.

Toys are good for play

Toys can provide excitement, joy and inspiration. A selection of carefully chosen toys can challenge and stimulate children. Toys can help children stay focused, keeping them engaged in play for longer. Look for toys that will enrich your child’s play experience. Toys that allow open-ended play can be used over and over, in many different ways. For example blocks can be stacked, knocked over, banged together, or used to build a house for other toys. With a little imagination a block could become a fire engine, or a mobile phone.

Take note of your child’s interests when choosing toys.

Does your child love outdoor play? Do they love playing in the bath? Are they interested in craft? Do they enjoy building and making things? Or do they delight in imaginary play? Choose toys that will allow your child to play in the ways they enjoy most.

Toys for each age and stage

Just as play can mean different things to different people, the types of toys that will inspire play is limitless.

Below are just a few toy ideas for children of different ages.

6 months to 2 years: Building blocks. Stacking and nesting toys. Books. Mirrors. Musical toys and rattles.

2 to 6 years: Dolls and figurines. Play dough. Art supplies including old cardboard boxes and glue. Natural materials including leaves, sticks and flowers. Puzzles. Balls. Bikes and scooters. Bucket and spade for the sandpit.

6 to 12 years: Bikes and scooters. Skipping ropes. Playing cards and board games. Sports equipment.

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Safety is important when choosing toys for children. Choose age appropriate toys and follow any recommended age guides or other advice from manufacturers. Children aged 3 and under can easily choke on small objects. Keep small toys and toys with small parts away from babies and young children.

Keep toys and other items with batteries and magnets out of reach of babies and young children. Ensure any batteries are within secure compartments and cannot be removed by children. Check toys aren’t broken, and look out for sharp pieces or small pieces that could snap or be broken off. Throw away any toys that are broken or damaged.

Supervise children whilst playing, especially younger children. Keep toys for older siblings away from younger children. Teach children to be responsible for their toys and pack them away after use. Provide a safe place for toys to be stored so children can easily access and pack away their toys.

See ATA Toy Safety page

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