When buying toys for your little one, it is important to understand The Different Types & Stages of Play.

While not all fathers can afford to buy their children expensive toys, if you do spend the money or receive gifts, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what your child needs.

Parental involvement in play is critical to raising happy, healthy children.

Here is everything you need to know about the toddler years of toys (Ages 1 – 3):

  1. The first year of your baby’s life is about exploring. The toddler years are about understanding how things work.
  2. Toddlers master skills through repetition. This is their way of learning to control the world around them.
  3. Encourage make-believe play as this helps widen their imagination and creativity.
  4. Bright and colorful toys are ideal, as your toddler will start identifying colors and differentiating between shapes.
  5. Their fine and gross motor skills are developing rapidly. Their toys and activities need to help both skills grow in tandem and with balance.
  6. Children will inevitably play in a gender stereotypical way (E.g. boys with trucks and girls with dolls), even if you try to give them a politically correct experience.

The best toys you can buy for this age group (Ages 1 – 3):

  • Role-play and make-believe toys (play kitchen, doctor sets)
  • Soft, washable stuffed animals or dolls with a smiling face and with no loosely sewn parts (but never in the crib when alone or during sleep time)
  • Shape-sorting or nesting toys
  • Stacking rings
  • Soft balls
  • Simple, sturdy child-friendly musical instruments
  • Mechanical and musical toys with flashing lights and sounds
  • Hardboard books with rounded edges
  • Simple puzzles
  • Soft blocks when they are younger and gradually advance to wooden blocks
  • Bath time toys


  • Toys made with lead-based paint
  • Small objects or toys with small parts
  • Toys with sharp edges
  • Stuffed animals with loosely sewn parts

Always consult with a qualified medical professional or childcare expert when taking important decisions regarding your child and their health.

Understand your child’s growth and development at 18 months, 2 years and 3 years.

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