Toys Buying Guide

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Toy Buying Guide

Child experts all agree that playtime and toys have a hugely important role in the development of your little one's imagination, coordination and stimulation. All that laughing, banging and stacking helps babies and children make sense of the world around them, so finding safe, age-appropriate toys is more than just a way to have fun!

0-6 months

Even as a tiny tot, your little bundle will be following moving objects with their eyes and ears. At around two months, baby will start to grab, and at around three months, they'll start to enjoy tummy time and pushing themselves up on little arms. At month four, their hand-eye coordination really starts to take shape, and they'll want to touch, hold and shake everything around them - including your hair!

The perfect toys for newborns include:

  • Musical toys
  • Contrast toys
  • Play gyms and playmats
  • Rattles
  • Cot mobiles

6-12 months

Little hands are getting even more dexterous, minds more inquisitive, and their legs more mobile. It's around this age that your baby will start to choose favourite toys to play with, as well as starting to ‘pass and post', which is the early development stage of taking turns. As teething begins to start, you'll also notice that they will try to chomp everything in sight so bear this in mind when you're looking for new toys for them.

Ideal toys for babies this age are:

  • Shape sorters, stacking rings and beakers
  • Building block
  • Highchair toys
  • Pull-along activity toys
  • Baby books
  • Dolls and teddies
  • Bath time toys

12-24 months

Little legs are go! Toddlers are a bundle of energy, so encourage their newfound freedom with toys that’ll feed their imagination and curiosity.

Encourage miniature explorers with:

  • Balls
  • Activity toys
  • Construction toys
  • Walkers and push along toys
  • Ride-on toys
  • Role play toys

2-4 years

Teaching and learning go hand in hand, so introduce fun educational games with numbers and letters to help pave the way to school. Creative play might be messy but it’s a great way to encourage their inner artist so try and include this as much as you can too!

Perfect toys for pre-schoolers include:

  • Outdoor toys
  • Games and puzzles
  • Role play toys
  • Tech toys
  • Creative play

Your toy options

Play gym A great buy for improving visual development and manual dexterity from the very early days, your new arrival will love focusing on the dangling toys and intriguing textures of the play gym. And as baby gets bigger, they'll enjoy trying to grab hold of them!
Play mat Suitable from birth, these colourful play mats are comfy, washable, and the perfect place for babies to explore. When tummy time starts, they make a great starting point for rolling, and the textures, shapes, mirrors and squeakers are great fun to explore!
Baby bouncer Simple yet genius, this will be your favourite bit of kit! A safe and comfortable place for baby to lie while providing visual stimulus, you can go for a classic baby bouncer or one that gently vibrates or swings to keep them content.
Imaginative toys Chef, mechanic, shopkeeper, doctor, teacher… who will they be today? As imaginations grow, they discover a whole world of make-believe, with kitchen sets, tool kits, tills and fancy dress all providing hours of fun and letting personalities develop.
Ride-ons Perfect for strengthening legs and developing independence, busy toddlers will love a ride-on toy that they can climb on and push along with their feet.
Cot mobile A lovely addition to a nursery, mobiles will keep little eyes and minds entertained and interested while awake in their cot, and the gentle music and soothing movements can help them off to the land of nod!
Walker From six months, a baby walker encourages independence while being supported, and will help build those little leg muscles! Some have activities and toys attached, and larger versions often fold flat for easy storage.
Wooden Toys Traditional and timeless, blocks, bricks, stackers, workbenches and toolboxes are all as popular as ever as they help develop problem solving and thinking skills.
Outdoor toys Kids love being outside whether it's in glorious sunshine or splashing in puddles! You can encourage this love of the great outdoors with outdoor toys including bikes, trikes, sandpits, playhouses, trampolines, slides, swings and of course, a great pair of wellies!
Rattle For tiny babies, go for a soft, fabric rattle so that any bumps won't hurt, and when they start teething, go for something specially made for nibbling!
Musical toys Encourage budding Beethovens with musical toys - they might be noisy but they help develop coordination and rhythm, so grab those earplugs and let them unleash a symphony, whether it’s a wooden spoon on a saucepan or kid-friendly pianos, saxophones and xylophones!
Bath toys Splashing in the bath is a great opportunity for playtime, so whether it's squirting octopuses, floating boats or swimming turtles, let the watery bath toy fun begin!
Puzzles Jigsaws, peg puzzles, flashcards and counting games have been favourites of little ones for decades, and with good reason - they're brilliant for developing early learning skills and building a bond, especially when you cheer for a job well done!

Do's and Don'ts

Do...

  • Check that any toys are suitable for your baby's age.
  • Keep toys away from fire.
  • Remove labels, tags and ribbons before giving soft toys to your baby.
  • Avoid toys with small or loose parts that a baby or toddler could choke on.
  • Make sure all toys are non-toxic.

Don't...

  • Give toys with long hair or fibres to babies under 12 months.
  • Leave soft toys in the cot or crib when your baby goes to sleep.
  • Leave your baby to play unsupervised under a gym or activity bar.
  • Hang cot mobiles within your baby's reach.
  • Leave your child unsupervised when using a ride-on toy.