4 Guidelines for Selecting Toys


Play is the natural activity for children, and games are the “work” of childhood. Play provides many opportunities for kids to learn and grow physically, mentally and socially.

Toys are the child’s tools, and appropriate toys can help children do their work well.

Toys play an important role in the process of children to explore and understand the world.

What factors should we consider when we choose toys for our children?

4 Guidelines for Selecting Toys

Choosing toys for kids seems to be easy.

But when we walk into the toy store, we a dazzling array of toys. We think this toy is good, that toy is also a good one. It’s hard to make a decision. Usually, we may buy a lot of toys that are useless to kids.

Sometimes children see what toys their peers have, they also want it. In fact, most of this situation is a comparison of psychology. When you buy the same toys that their peers have, they don’t like to play.

Sometimes we buy toys that we think are fun to play, but the children’s interest is not so high.

Every time a toy advertising comes on TV, your child is probably pointing to everything they see, asking you to buy it. But are these toys really appropriate for your child?

There are a lot of children’s toys in the market now.

As parents of children, we spend a lot of time choosing toys, and Willing to share our experience. How to choose the right toy for your child requires a scientific and rational attitude.

Parents or friend choose a toy for a child must consider several things.

A good toy should fit the below 4 Guidelines for Selecting Toys.

  • Toys safety.
  • Appealing and interesting to the child.
  • Age-appropriate toys.
  • Toy Characteristics appropriate for child development.
4 Guidelines for Selecting Toys

www.ahappykids.com provides some guidelines to help in selecting toys that meet these criteria.

1.Toy safety

Children do not have enough self-protection ability. As parents, we have the responsibility to buy safe toys for our children.

In order to ensure the safety of children’s toys, each country has made certification related to children’s toys.

The certification of children’s toys has different standards and certification requirements in different countries and regions. Many regions model their safety standards on the EU’s EN 71 standard.

The United States has the ASTM F963 standard; China has a new national standard (GB 6675-2014).

All toys intended for use by children 12 years of age and under must be third-party tested and be certified in Children’s Product Certificate as compliant to the federal toy safety standard enacted by Congress, and to other applicable requirements as well.

Despite this, there are still many incidents of toy injuries every year

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), more than 250,000toy-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms in 2015. Of those, about one-third involved kids under 5.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Web site (www.cpsc.gov/) contains information regarding toy safety and can be a resource for pediatric providers and parents.

To prevent your child injured, What a Parent Can Do?

2.Appealing and interesting to the child

Interest is the best teacher for your baby. No matter how good the toy design is, no matter how expensive the toy is. If the kids don’t like the toy, then the best toy is a display, so interest is very important.

Children of the same age will have some commonalities, we consider these commonalities when we recommend toys.

However, children have their own personalities and preference.

As parents, we also should respect our child’s interests when choose toys.

3.Age-appropriate toys

Children of different ages have different skills and interests, which means that when you buy a toy, you must choose age-appropriate toys.

For a 3-year-old child, if you give him a one-year-old kid’s toy, it is too simple for him, no challenge, he will soon be uninterested.

If you give him a 5-year-old kid’s toy, it may be too difficult for him. He will feel frustrated and can’t play well.

Rather than labeling toys by their recommended age-minimum,

We recommend toys based on the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional levels and abilities of children as they progress.

We divided the children to the below age groups.

How to choose toys & gifts for the infant (0 to 6 months)?

How to choose toys & gifts for the infant (7 to12 months)?

How to choose toys & gifts for the young toddler (1-year-olds)?

How to choose toys & gifts for the older toddler (2-year-olds)?

How to choose toys & gifts for the preschooler (3,4 and 5 years)?

How to choose toys & gifts for grade school age (6, 7 and 8 years)?

How to choose toys & gifts for grade school age (9, 10, 11 and 12 years)?

These age groups are partly based on Which Toy for Which Child: A Consumer’s Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys, written by CSPC.

After brief outlines of children’s ability and interest, we give the toy lists in each toy subcategories.

You can also directly view the top toys list for age groups.

Top toys & gift for the infants (0 to 6 months)

Top toys & gift for the infants (7 to 12 months)

Top toys & gifts for the young toddler (1-year-olds)

Top toys & gifts for the older toddler (2-year-olds)

Top toys & gifts for the preschooler (3, years)

Top toys & gifts for the preschooler (4, 5 years)

Top toys & gifts for grade school age (6, 7, 8 years)

Top toys & gifts for grade school age (9, 10, 11, 12 years)

4.Toy Characteristics

Toy characteristics have the greatest influence on the toy appropriateness.

Toys for toddlers must be easy to grasp.

Preschoolers prefer toys with realistic detail and working parts.

In general, there are 14 characteristics of toys have the potential to influence toy consumers and should be used to analyze toys and to aid in determining age appropriateness.

These toy characteristics include size, shape, number of parts, interlocking versus loose parts, materials, motor skills required, color/contrast, cause and effect, sensory elements, level of realism/detail, licensing, classic, robotic/smart features, and educational.

We recommend appropriate and appealing toys based on toy characteristics in each toy subcategory.

Toys Categories are based on how they use toys during play.

There are nine main play & game categories, include Early Exploratory/Practice Play, Manipulative Play & Games, Pretend & Role Play, Sports & Recreational Play, Creative Play (Arts, Crafts, Music), and Educational & Academic Play.

Each play & game category is divided into two to five toy subcategories.

General types or groups of toys that children use are included in the subcategories.

The table below lists the seven main categories, subcategories, and examples of toys that are common to each subcategory.

Play Category

Toy Subcategory

Early Exploratory

Mirrors, Mobiles, & Manipulative

Push & Pull Toys

Manipulative Play & Games

Construction Toys


Card, Floor, Board, & Table Games

Computer & Video Games

Pretend & Role Play

Dolls & Stuffed Toys

Play Scenes & Puppets

Dress-Up Materials

Small Vehicle Toys

Sports & Recreational Play

Ride-On Toys

Recreational Equipment

Sports Equipment

Creative Play

(Arts, Crafts, Music)

Arts & Crafts

Audiovisual Equipment

Musical Instruments

Educational & Academic Play


Learning Toys

Smart Toys & Educational Software

Common Questions on Choosing Toys for Toddlers

What are the best, simplest toys for kids?

What should I do if my child won’t stop screaming because I don’t buy him some toys in the store?

What are some of the best educational toys for kids?

What are the best developmental toys for babies?


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