How to choose toys for babies

by | Feb 18, 2021 | Child development, Developmental Play, Infant, Parenting, toddler

We’ve got a closet full of toys upstairs in the kids room. When the grandkids are here, they spend LOTS of time playing up there! In fact, sometimes when we’re FaceTiming now, I’ll walk up there and we’ll “visit” the toys and they get so excited! 😂  If you were here, I could show you which toys kids play with and which ones they ignore. So how do you know, when you’re scrolling through Amazon or other sites, which toys you should buy? After 30+ years of playing with infants and toddlers, I can tell you what works with most kids.

Choosing the right toys for your baby

How do you know what they’ll like? How long will they play with it? What can you DO with that toy? Is it safe? How will it support learning and development? Is it going to drive you nuts after a while? A more telling question, does it have batteries?

In this video I show you the difference between an open-ended toy – one that will go the distance and interest your child through lots of developmental stages, and a close-ended toy – one that just has one use. Which isn’t all bad – it’s just that after a little while, they’ll lose interest in it. Which is totally fixable, simply put it away for a few weeks and get it out again – it will be brand new !

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Characteristics of great toys for babies and toddlers

  • They’re safe – meaning there are no small parts that could be a choking hazard, easy to sanitize or launder, no sharp edges, points or parts that could pinch or trap little fingers.
  • They inspire active play and engagement.
  • They have more than one use. For example, a ball can be used for tracking, rolling, tossing, chasing, hiding, kicking, batting at or catching.
  • They provoke curiosity with a challenge that’s easily solved.
  • They’re not frustrating. Toddlers especially need to experience success, which helps define their sense of autonomy. A shape sorter with 4 simple shapes (square, circle, triangle and star) works because there are three opportunities for success plus one challenge. A shape sorter with 12 different geometric shapes is likely too complicated and would be frustrating for younger children (but great for older ones).


In conclusion, I’ve got a quick reminder. Spend time on the floor with your little one. You presence communicates security and safety for them. Play, play, play, and as you do, observe your baby. You’ll learn so much from simply watching. It’s relaxing for you too!

Raising children today has some unique challenges, and I’m here to help you expand your parenting checklist to include connection, belonging, and purpose. Give your child the gift of being known by the very people they’re wired to connect with and love.

Stay connected with Nurtured Noggins. We’re here to help. 😍

Infant play

Learn more 🤓

Is your toddler biting people instead of food??? Take a look at Why Do Toddlers Bite?

You can help your toddler develop a sense of self or autonomy simply by the way you word your questions. Decrease the resistance by simply changing the way you speak to your toddler (it will make getting dressed a little more peaceful!). Read Giving Toddlers Choices

Meet Ann

I'm a child development specialist, parent coach and teacher trainer. I've cared for countless babies in child development programs, plus 3 kids, 3 grand babies and 5 foster babies! I LOVE babies and would come hold yours if I could. ❤️

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