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Toy Tips
CreativeParents Guidelines for Selecting Toys
based on a Child’s Age and Stage of Development

If you’re a parent or grandparent looking for a suitable gift for a child, here are some guidelines:

For children under 3
Safety is paramount. Don’t get anything marked “for 3 and older.”

For babies, look for mobiles, rattles, and other toys where they can make something happen by shaking, pulling or tapping.

For toddlers, look for light stacking and nesting toys, dolls, stuffed animals, and wheel toys they can push and pull.

Young children learn about their world by interacting with people and working with real, tangible objects. Don't be swayed by "smarter baby" claims for technology that takes time away from these real learning activities.

For preschoolers
Look for toys that encourage kids to use their imaginations. For pretend play there are dress up hats, puppets, dolls and stuffed animals.

Blocks and other construction and table toys give kids a chance to build and rebuild. Find "open ended" sets where the kids can decide what it is they want to construct.

Find activities that provide opportunities for observation and problem solving such as puzzles and gear sets.

Give materials that encourage creativity, such as paint, crayons, markers, play dough, and clay.

For 6-11s
Look for activities that foster collaboration and friendly competition, such as board games or card games.

Give toys that pose a physical challenge and give kids a chance to use their developing dexterity (like pick-up-sticks.)

Find crafts activities that encourage making cards, clocks, picture frames, stationery and other useful items.

For Teens
Give gifts that support the teen's interests or hobbies -- for instance, photography, music, sports or science.

Give a gift certificate to a music, book or clothing store

Read a CNN online article about handling kids' holiday requests (that includes quotes from Istar and others) on holiday giving --go to

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