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An Age-By-Age Guide To Popular Toys For Kids

Published on September 8, 2022 12:53:45 PM PDT September 8, 2022 12:53:45 PM PDTth, September 8, 2022 12:53:45 PM PDT

An Age-By-Age Guide To Popular Toys For Kids

Toys for kids aren’t just for entertainment and fun – they’re a crucial part of your little one’s development and growth too! Children of all ages gain different benefits from playing with developmentally-appropriate toys, whether they’re in the infant, toddler, preschooler, or primary schooler stage of their life.

In infancy (0-12 months old), your baby is still developing its foundational sensory, motor, and cognitive skills. Toys thus provide new and novel exposures to different sensations, stimulations, or even emotions. Sensory play is the most common play approach used during this stage of a child’s life. It can help develop your little one’s hand-eye coordination, fine and gross motor skills, and basic sensorimotor skills to help fine-tune their sensory processing. Musical toys and soft toys are common themes amongst popular toys for this stage as they can be enjoyed even before your baby’s motor skills are fully developed.

As they move into the toddler stage (1-3 years old), children can play with a wider variety of toys. This is the stage where your child will learn and develop new cognitive skills such as pattern, shape, colour, and sound recognition. For many children, this is also the time when they’ll start to crawl, cruise, toddle, walk, and run – so it’s important to provide active toys that encourage this newfound mobility!

Many of these skills picked up during the toddler years will come in handy when your little one becomes a preschooler (3-6 years old). The preschool stage is usually a key preparation stage for becoming a primary schooler, so many toys suitable for preschool-age children will have an emphasis on language, numeracy, and literacy. Specific educational toys are also popular at this stage, although children will also learn immensely through outdoor play, pretend play, unstructured activities, or just focusing on whatever’s caught their deep interest at any point in time.

All of this culminates in the primary schooler stage (7+ years old) when your child enters primary school and mainstream education. By this point, your child has usually developed their own interests, passions, and hobbies, which you can cater for their play needs. Educational toys also continue to be popular as a way to supplement what’s learnt in class – and having fun while playing can even nurture a lifelong love of learning!

If all of this information seems overwhelming – don’t worry. That’s why Mothercare Singapore is here to help! Our age-by-age guide to toys for kids covers the ideal toys for each age stage and what your child will glean from playing with them.

1. Toys for infants (0-12 months old)

During the newborn stage, any form of sensory stimulation – no matter how simple it might seem – is a vital learning point for your little one. Simple toys also give your child more space for creativity and spontaneity, which are key values and skills to have at any age.

Bold and high-contrast baby and toddler toys like the Playgro Click And Twist Rattle will suit your newborn best as their vision is still blurry and developing. The bright and vibrant colours easily catch your little one’s attention, and the various movable parts of the rattle are great for sensory play. Your baby can twist, bend, or shake it to hear and produce new sounds as well as experience new tactile sensations. As your baby begins to cut its first teeth, the rattle’s nubby texture makes it a suitable teething toy that provides much-needed soothing for aching gums.

Plush toys like the ever-popular Jellycat Blossom Dusky Blue Bunny Medium are also popular for a baby's first companion. Huggable, cuddly, cute stuffed animals and other soft toys are a great way for a baby to experience some sensory stimulation in a safe manner. Jellycat is one of the most popular soft toy brands worldwide and offers a variety of soft toys and stuffed animals in different shapes, sizes, colours, and designs so that you can pick the perfect one for your baby.

No newborn nursery or playroom would be complete without an activity gym or play mat for your baby to play on, like the Playgro Clip Clop Activity Gym With Music or Mothercare You, Me & The Sea Playgym. Playgyms provide babies with a soft and comfortable padded mat to lie on with several dangling toys or activities to keep them entertained. These are typically suitable from birth and allow babies to interact with their surroundings even if they aren’t mobile yet. Look out for play gyms with high-contrast colours and designs, as well as a variety of dangling attachments to broaden the sensory experience for your baby.

2. Toys for toddlers (1-3 years old)

By the time your baby passes the 1 year old mark, they would have typically developed their motor skills, mobility skills, and sensory skills, as well as begun to improve their cognitive abilities. Between the ages of 1 to 3 is when you can start honing their fine motor skills, strengthening their mobility, and exposing them to a variety of everyday situations and environments.

Sorting toys like the Woodlets Shape Sorter are a great option for this stage. With holes of different shapes and colours, the Woodlets Shape Sorter helps to actively develop your toddler’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and colour recognition while they play.

Other baby and toddler activity toys can also bring educational benefits and fun hours. The Playgro Dial-A-Friend Phone comes with 9 different melodies to stimulate your toddler’s auditory development and musical recognition, a numbered display to introduce early numeracy skills, and plenty of other flashing lights and features to stimulate their visual perception.

Once your baby begins to toddle or cruise, walkers like the Skip Hop Explore & More Grow Along 4 in 1 Activity Walker are one of the best options for improving their mobility and motor skills. With over 40+ play features, including songs, sounds, and a detachable toy panel, this Skip Hop Walker encourages balance and fine motor skills in a multitude of ways. It is also convertible in 4 ways – sitting, cruising, shopping cart, or stroller – to encourage pretend play and offer endless versatile play options for years to come!

Outdoor play is also a great way to get your toddler active and moving, and it’s made even easier with toys such as the Early Learning Centre Sand And Water Table. Coming equipped with 10 fun toys and a waterproof lid that doubles as a track for toy cars, this versatile toy helps encourage imaginative play and sensory stimulation. Other outdoor and water sports toys suitable for toddler-age kids and up include the Out & About Sand and Garden Tool Assorted (perfect for introducing your little one to gardening) and Intex Glossy Panel Ball - 51cm.

3. Toys for preschoolers (3-6 years old)

Children develop rapidly in almost all aspects of development between the ages of 3 to 6 years old. This is the stage where they might enrol into preschool or kindergarten and get exposure to even more new environments and people than ever before. Their communication skills are improving (leading to less tantrums than before as they can express their needs better), and they are also able to play with a greater variety of toys such as jigsaw puzzles for kids, soft stuff, and arts and crafts.

Pretend play toys are also very popular with children of this age ranging from costumes of their favourite characters to the child-sized kitchen and supermarket sets that let them act out everyday scenes in their own way. Playsets like the Early Learning Centre Little Cooks Kitchen provide a great outlet for children to develop their independence, creativity, and social skills by mimicking what they see mum and dad doing on a daily basis.

This is also the stage where parents may begin introducing educational toys to bolster what their child is learning in preschool or kindergarten. Educational toys can take many forms, but they usually focus on general or specific literacy and numeracy skills to prepare your child for primary school. These can range from simple toys like the Melissa & Doug Water Wow! Alphabet, more complicated displays like the Play & Win Dino Mountain Game or creative toys like the Nick Junior Crazy Characters Dough Playset. These are a fun way to introduce your child to basic concepts like the alphabet or more abstract ideas like speed and colour theory.

Around the ages of 4 to 6 years old, you might notice boys and girls beginning to adopt different play styles, namely, boys enjoying rough-and-tumble or competitive play and girls gravitating towards cooperative play. While part of this might be due to your child’s innate temperament, it is also affected by their peers and the environment they’re socialised in – after all, it is not a biological rule that boys will like cars and girls will like dolls.

Encouraging mixed-gender play and providing exposure to a wide range of play settings and toys is one way to ensure your child gets the most varied experiences out of their play. This can teach them valuable lessons about cooperation, diversity, and cooperation with others.

4. Toys for primary schoolers (7+ years old)

Once your child enters primary school, the landscape of toys and play tends to shift towards mobile phones and electronic devices. While each parent has their own view of the value of screen time, we recognise it is near-impossible to completely isolate your child from it in today’s increasingly digital world. Some common screen time rules include:

  • Setting time or usage limits on devices
  • Ensuring safety monitoring apps or family locks are activated
  • Switch on filters to help exclude inappropriate content
  • Join your child for screen time and transform it into a communal activity
  • Engage in active dialogue or conversation about things your child sees on the web
  • Embrace the brighter side of technology with educational apps or content related to your child’s existing passions and interests

However, this focus on screen time does not mean your primary schooler will completely shun non-digital toys!

Sports and outdoor activity toys are still great fun for kids of any age. The Globber Go Up Sporty With Stabilizer And Sticker is an award-winning scooter by Globber that is suitable for children aged 15 months to 7 years old and up. It can switch between ride-on, walking bike, and scooter modes to give your little boy or girl boundless opportunities for active play – and the adjustable 3-height metal t-bar grows along with them too!

Discover an Endless World of Toys for Kids at Mothercare Singapore

Mothercare is a leading global baby retailer and is proud to offer a wide range of toys and other mother and baby essentials for parents in Singapore. Whether your little one is 2, 5, 8, or even 10 years old, we have what they need to grow and develop into the unique individuals they are meant to be. Still have questions about what toys will suit them best? Check out our blog for more parenting advice and information, or receive complimentary parenting and product advice from our friendly Digital Nursing Advisors (DNA) via WhatsApp.

Shop some of the best mother and baby brands from around the world with us, including Early Learning Centre (ELC), Fisher Price, Nick Junior, and Playgro on our online store. Our online (and offline!) catalogue also includes essentials such as nursery furniture, baby boy clothes, baby girl clothes, strollers and pushchairs, and so much more.

Cart out online today and enjoy free next-day delivery islandwide with a minimum spend of $60. You can also visit a Mothercare outlet near you to view our selection of toys in person.