Top Ten Toys

If I could start my kids’ toy chest all over again from the beginning, knowing what I know now, these are the things I would get. Since we have four kids under the age of five, we have a lot of experience in this area and lots of no-go’s. These are definitely the top ten things (for each age group) that got the most yardage—both developmentally and interest-wise.

Little Babies (0-6 months)

  1. rattles
  2. teether or pacifier
  3. interlocking (linking) rings
  4. baby mirror
  5. kick chair (bouncy seat w/toys)
  6. ducky (for bath)
  7. puppet (hand or finger)
  8. baby’s first book–waterproof (“Hello Bee, Hello Me”)
  9. Musical or rattling thing for the carseat handle
  10. Crib toy they can reach

Older Babies (6-12 months)

  1. stacking rings
  2. balls, different types
  3. toy or talking phone (one of your old cell phones works fine too)
  4. chunky or board books (Goodnight Moon, Very Hungry Caterpillar)
  5. mechanical or wind up toy
  6. play piano (w/push buttons)
  7. attachable (in/out) toys
  8. something that spins by pushing with finger (suction toy)
  9. bead racer or abacus
  10. walker/ride on toy

Young Toddlers (9-18 months)

  1. Stacking cups
  2. Busy box
  3. push and popper
  4. Spin N Say
  5. Something that shows and sings the alphabet
  6. something you pull like a train behind you
  7. wooden puzzles
  8. shape sorter
  9. potato head
  10. toolbox set (banging, aiming, twisting—even girls can use this)

Older Toddlers/early preschoolers (18-36 months)

  1. Basic wooden blocks
  2. medium legos (Duplo)
  3. dress up clothes
  4. Toy racecar set, train set, or something that has a vehicle and a closed circuit the child can repeat
  5. doll or stuffed animal; action figure set (for imagination/manipulation)
  6. crawling station, tube, fort
  7. something you string or sew
  8. play doh
  9. crayons, colored chalk
  10. pretend food/kitchen set (even boys, just don’t get pink and teapots)

And for the older ages (36 months+), here is a good website to start with  It’s mostly construction toys, but it has some good places to start—mostly foreign companies that make educational toys.  For another good catalog with educational toys, try  You have to download the catalog there to browse the products, but they’re really good for both genders.

And the last thing I’d definitely purchase for any age would be a Silly Songs CD and musical instrument set. It’s never too early for kids to be exposed to music, instruments, and clever words. The blowing, banging, shaking, singing can drive you crazy but it is one of the most fun and educational things they can do. And then you can have car sing-alongs or comfort times with all the nursery rhymes they know.


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