Holiday guide: Best toys for babies 1 to 3 years old

Consumer Reports News: November 19, 2009 05:08 AM

Playtime can get messy starting at 1 year old, when children begin to take an interest in emptying, transferring, and rearranging their environment. Filling and dumping are organizing skills that help your toddler to experience how things work and relate to each other. Stacking toys, which kids younger than 1 might enjoy, continue to be fun for kids this age. Starting about 12 months, your baby might also begin walking. From 2 to 3 years old, playing actively and testing physical skills by jumping, climbing, and throwing is the name of the game. Toddlers this age also like using their expanding hand-eye coordination to work with basic arts and crafts, blocks, and simple puzzles.

Suggested toys
Those that encourage your child's budding ambulatory skills, including blocks, books, fit-together toys, push-and-pull toys, pounding and shape toys, fill-and-spill sets, and balls. To bath time, add spoons, a plastic pitcher, measuring cups, and plastic cups to encourage filling and dumping skills without a mess. Toddlers and preschoolers also love ride-on toys and starter tricycles. For more information, see our report on Tricycles, ride-on toys, and scooters.

See best toys for newborn to 3-month-old babiesbest toys for babies 4-10 months old, and best toys for babies 9 months to 1 year old for more buying advice.

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