When shopping for toys for a preschooler, there are three main things to keep in mind. Obviously once you have established your budget and interests of the child, you should then have these three points in mind when you go shopping or research online.
Everything else falls into a distant second position next to safety. Preschoolers are notoriously curious and are still putting things in their mouth, biting and experimenting, often destructively, with their toys.
If you are keen on wooden toys, and these are always popular with kids of all ages, then make sure the wood used is non-splintering and painted with non-toxic paint. This level of safety and quality will be guaranteed in well known, familiar brands that you can find in many toy stores. Steer clear of wooden toys from cheap shops or from unknown origin.
Make sure the toys are easy to clean, because preschoolers like dribble, bite and chew on toys and they like to take them into the bath, outside and sometimes at the dinner table, so they need to be washable.
Do not buy toys with small parts for preschoolers, because while not all little ones are the same, many like to pull things apart and put them in their mouth. So stick to reputable, durable toys.
We all know that when children play, they learn. Depending on the toy they are playing with or the game, they are learning about their world and developing useful skills. Preschoolers love toys that allow them to use their imagination such as dress ups and play sets, they also like to copy mum and dad by perhaps driving cars or pushing prams. They like to solve problems by playing with puzzles and games and they love making craft and drawing pictures. Toys like Lego, Playdough, Crayola will help them develop their creativity and use their imagination along with develop fine motor skills. Toys like balls and outdoor equipment teach kids gross motor skills and usually encourage social skills such as sharing and negotiation.
Things like safety come into play when choosing an age appropriate toy, but mainly age specific means that the toy is not beyond or below their capabilities. If a child has a toy that is below their skills set, then they will likely not want to play with it, and if they have a toy that is beyond them, they will not understand it and sometimes become frustrated with it. So have a look at what level your child is at and pick a toy that they can use and enjoy but also one that will take them time to master or have plenty of room for exploration and change. Often the simplest toys are the best. Toys that allow children to use their imagination while learning about things like colors, shapes, numbers, groups and sound.
- Age Appropriate
If you keep in mind these three rules and try to stick to well known brands like Fisher Price, Plan Toys, Lego and the like, you will not only be sure to pick something safe, but also something durable, educational and age appropriate.