The Best Toys for Kids of Every Age
You’re on the hunt for the top toys—but what will truly capture your little one’s attention? Figuring out where their personal interests lie is of course key, but the most important step is to find playthings that are developmentally appropriate for your child’s age. That way, those kids’ toys will be challenging enough to excite and stimulate but not so hard or easy that they’ll frustrate or bore. Of course, finding cute, trendy toys for kids’ specific ages can be a bit of a head-scratcher. Don’t sweat it. We gathered intel from leading retailers and toy industry experts to put together a guide of popular kids’ toys perfect for each age. From trendy virtual pets and robots to classic educational toys and games, these playthings are buzzy and brain-boosting and are sure to win your kiddo’s heart.
Best Toys for 6-Month-Olds
While babies aren’t exactly begging for the triendiest top toys (at least not yet, anyway), they love to mimic what Mom, Dad and older siblings are doing, says Adrienne Appell, toy trend specialist for The Toy Association. “That’s why trending products trickle down to children of all ages,” she explains. These best toys hold major parent and baby appeal, boosting fine motor skills, language development and understanding of cause and effect.
Magformers Dolce Activity Zebra. This savannah dweller is ready to romp, with rattles, rings, mirrors and ribbons. He plays songs when his tail is pulled, making him among the top toys for babies in this age group who are endlessly tickled by making things happen.
Buy it: $20, Amazon.com
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn First Words Smart Puppy. Here’s an interactive pup that teaches first words, songs, numbers and shapes. Before you know it, your little one will be building a vocabulary along with developing fine motor skills.
Buy it: $50, Amazon.com
Lamaze Repeat Petey. Among the best toys for babies learning their first words is this plush parrot, aptly named Repeat Petey. While the back and forth of those first babbly “conversations” are adorably cute, they’re also important for language development.
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com
Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds
More, more, more! That pretty much describes your now very-busy toddler: They’re more mobile, more vocal and more curious than ever. Here are the top toys that’ll keep your new toddler learning and growing all day through play.
Fisher-Price Little People Animal Rescue. “The Little People brand has been around for decades, and kids can enjoy rescuing neighborhood animals with the firefighter in this adorable two-sided set,” says Marissa DiBartolo, senior editor at The Toy Insider. Tots turn the crank to spin the helicopter propellers and activate lights, sounds, songs and phrases.
Buy it: $40, Amazon.com
Hape Pound & Tap Bench. This first instrument lets your mini Mozart make music by pounding away on the balls (when they drop through the bench, they play notes). As they fine-tune their motor skills, slide out the xylophone for more mellow sounds rather than an all-out rock concert.
Buy it: $26, Amazon.com
Little Tikes Light n Go 3-in-1 Sports Zone. He shoots…he scores! “Little ones can enjoy soccer, basketball and bowling in this compact mini play set,” DiBartolo says. “Plus, it teaches colors, numbers and shapes.”
Buy it: $42, Amazon.com
Best Toys for 2-Year-Olds
You know what they say about the twos—they’re terrific! Okay, that’s not what they say, but what do “they” know anyway? Two-year-olds are full of energy and a growing independence. Your child is picking up new skills so quickly, they can’t wait to put them to use. These best toddler toys encourage little ones to test out their skills through creative play.
Playskool New Tickle Me Elmo. He’s back! When your tot presses Elmo’s tummy or squeezes his feet, he giggles. Tickle him again, and he becomes downright hysterical, shimmying and jiggling. While your child delights in our favorite Muppet, they’re also learning cause and effect.
Buy it: $26, Amazon.com
Wicked Cool Toys New Teddy Ruxpin. Did we mention nostalgia is another trend among the top toys on our list? This storytelling bear is ready to enchant the children of parents who remember him from their own preschool days in the mid-80s. The new and improved Ruxpin 2.0 is powered by an app, is Bluetooth-ready and sports LCD eyes that show 40 emotions—in color!—as he tells his tales.
Buy it: $72, Amazon.com
LeapFrog Scoop & Learn Ice Cream Cart. Are you melting over just how stinkin’ cute this ice cream cart is? And it’s full of educational lessons too! Something so seemingly simple as ordering two scoops of chocolate ice cream with caramel sauce and whip cream actually helps children build memory, sequencing, fine motor and social skills.
Buy it: $35, Amazon.com
Best Toys for 3-Year-Olds
Two words: Pretend play. With imagination kicking in full force, 3-year-olds are all about make-believe. Not only does this stage represent a big leap in development, it’s also going to be a lot of fun with these best toys that fuel your preschooler to create their own world of fun.
Just Play Disney Junior Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery. Is there a doctor in the house? Yep: Your sweetie is on call to perform a checkup, from listening to their baby doll’s heartbeat with a stethoscope, measuring her height and weight and providing a diagnosis on the portable electronic patient laptop. This popular toy even boasts a bandage dispenser.
Buy it: $67, Amazon.com
Jada Toys Mickey Transforming Roadster Racer RC. Your child’s imagination will be fired up with this shape-shifting car, manned by none other than the big cheese himself. It’s easy to steer forward, in reverse and in circles with this authentic R/C. Is your little one at the Indy 500, NASCAR or Test Track at Disney World today? It’s all up to them.
Buy it: $23, Amazon.com
Hasbro Baby Alive Sweet Tears. Always a perennial favorite among popular toys, dolls have come a long way from just sitting pretty. Hasbro’s Baby Alive utters more than 35 sounds and phrases (in English and Spanish, no less), cries real tears and addresses her caretaker as mommy or daddy. She’s also available as a blonde and as an African American.
Buy it: $40, Amazon.com
Best Toys for 4-Year-Olds
Preschool upperclassmen are starting to develop their first friendships, thanks to improving social skills. They also have a longer attention span, sharper problem-solving skills and there’s no limit to their imaginative play. Here, the best toys to make the most of this wondrous year.
FurReal Roarin’ Tyler the Playful Tiger. Sort of like your kid, Tyler’s favorite way to play is to roar! This clever cub responds to noises and touch with more than 100 sound-and-motion combinations of his own. Bonus: This animatronic pet comes with his own little chicken toy. (We’re not sure why, exactly, but it’s adorable.)
Buy it: $91, Amazon.com
Spin Master Soggy Doggy Board Game. As far as board games go, it’s easy to see why this one is rising in the ranks of popular toys for preschoolers. It involves young players getting wet and, yes, a damp dog. Enough said.
Buy it: $14, Amazon.com
Star Wars Luke Skywalker Landspeeder. If you’re looking for top toys with movie tie-ins, this one is bound to be a hit. Modeled after the X-34 craft from Star Wars: A New Hope, this dream gift takes two riders for a 5 mph spin while helming an interactive dashboard with lights and real sounds from the movie. (And yes, intergalactic rides don’t come cheap.)
Buy it: $400, Amazon.com
Best Toys for 5-Year-Olds
Now that you have a kindergartener, expect to regularly hear about all the popular toys the other kids have and your kiddo wants. While there’s little chance of escaping the power of what’s hot and what’s not, you can fulfill your child’s holiday or birthday wish list with these best toys that are coveted and support learning and emotional development.
WowWee Fingerlings. Kids love having a little sidekick, and this one attaches to their fingers wherever they go. But more than looking cute, these simian collectibles are interactive: They blink, turn their heads, blow kisses and swing by their tails. Clap twice, and Fingerlings sing together on command too.
Buy it: $15 each, Amazon.com
Spin Master Hatchimals Surprise Puppadee. Hatchimals—mysterious eggs that slowly hatch sweet-silly creatures—were the Cabbage Patch Dolls of holiday 2016. Years later, the craze is still going strong. Get 'em while you can, folks!
Buy it: $89, Amazon.com
Oonies. They’re not balls, and not exactly balloons. Whatever you choose to call them, the important thing is Oonies inspire creativity. These top toys magically stick together to make virtually anything your child dreams up, and can be embellished with special Oonie Deco Bits.
Buy it: $17, Amazon.com
Updated March 2019
Plus, more from The Bump: