A Parental Guide to 12 Different Kinds of Toys

Children are all around toys. They find their happiness, entertainment, and fun in toys. Not only will toys keep your child busy, but they also help them learn things faster. Moreover, children can have good developmental growth if they have the right toys around them.

Toys come with many benefits for your kids. So it is important to always go for the right type.

12 Basic Categories of Toys Every Parent Must Know 

There are different types of play, for example, constructive play, social play, solo play, physical play, etc. Similarly, there are different types of toys that support various categories of play. For example, if your little girl and her friends are playing with the doll, it is social play. Each different category of toys will help your child in developing some skills. 

The following are some basic kinds of toys that every parent must know.

Constructive Toys

Age Recommendation: 1-3 Years

Toys that allow your child to play while constructing anything are called constructive toys. Your kid will create and build things with such toys. Mainly these toys are in separate parts, and kids have to shape them. Moreover, toys have construction kits, where your child creates different models and varieties of construction toys. These constructive toys develop eye-hand coordination and promote concentration in your little one. 

Building and constructive toys boost the creativity of kids. Furthermore, such toys enhance cognitive skills among toddlers.

Constructive toys include;

  • Magnetic tiles
  • Play dough
  • Lego
  • Blocks
  • Construction kits
Age Recommendation: 1-3 Years

Open-ended Toys

Age Recommendation: 2+ Years

Open-ended toys are those that your child can use in multiple ways. These toys increase the child’s imagination and creativity. There are endless possibilities of play when kids engage with open-ended toys.

Playing with open-ended toys requires a child’s input. So in an open-ended play, there is 10% involvement of the toy and 90% input of children themselves. Such an engagement not only entertains kids but also gives them room to think and play as per their liking.

Open-ended toys include;

  • Sorting and shaping toys
  • Sand
  • Animal figurines
  • Balance board
  • Cars, trucks & trains

Age Recommendation: 2+ Years

Also Read: 5 Tips to Buy Safe Toys for Infants and Toddlers

Developmental Toys

Age Recommendation: 1+ Years

Developmental toys are the toys that help your child develop skills. These skills can be physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioural. In short, the toys that aid in children's general or overall growth are called developmental toys. For instance, a toy that helps your child to talk helps to learn phonics or lets your child learn social skills.

Developmental toys come in several shapes and forms. Such toys enhance the cognitive learning among toddlers and help them improve social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

Developmental toys include;

  • Beads maze toys
  • Puzzles
  • Rattle and teether
  • Colouring books
  • Stacking train

Age Recommendation: 1+ Years

Sensory Toys

Age Recommendation: 6+ Months

The word sensory comes from senses. Any toy that helps your child to use any of his senses falls in the category of sensory toys. Sensory toys will engage your child's senses. Such toys help regulate your child's emotions too.

As per report, sensory toys like fidgets are recommended for children having autism and other childhood disorders. For example, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)

Sensory toys include;

Age Recommendation: 6+ Months

Musical Toys

Age Recommendation: 6 months to 3 years

Toys with built-in music are classified in the category of musical toys. Such toys help in the hearing skills of your little one. They can hear and have fun while listening to music.

Musical toys trigger hearing sense of babies. Moreover, the soft melodies cheer up the mood of infants and toddlers.

Musical toys include;

  • Xylophone
  • Baby musical piano
  • Musical dolls
  • Baby musical telephone
  • Musical flash drums

Age Recommendation: 6 months to 3 years

Talking Toys

Age Recommendation: 1 - 3 years

Toys that copy your words and phrases and repeat them are talking toys. Such toys make your little one happy and curious at the same time. Moreover, toys that have built-in talking features are also talking toys.

Talking toys help babies with delayed speech and teach them how to talk. Moreover, such toys boost the social skills among children.

Talking toys include;

Age Recommendation: 1 - 3 years

Also Read: 5 Effective Ways to Teach Your Toddler How to Talk

Creative Toys

Age Recommendation: 3+ Years

All those toys that let your child improve their creativity fall in the category of creative toys. Creative toys help your child think creatively and use their imagination freely. Moreover, it encourages your little one's artistic thoughts.

Creative toys include;

Age Recommendation: 3+ Years

Educational Toys

Age Recommendation: 3 - 5 Years

Toys used for educational purposes fall in the category of educational toys. They assist your youngster in learning academic material more effectively and enjoyably. Furthermore, these toys will not only let them play but learn Montessori too. 

Educational toys include;

  • Reading Books
  • Number puzzle toys
  • Alphabets sets
  • Colour sorting toys
  • Wooden shape sorting toys

Age Recommendation: 3 - 5 Years

Also Read: How to Choose The Best Educational Toys for Your Kids’ Early Age Development


Age Recommendation: 3+ Years

STEM toys are based on Science, Technology, Engineering, or Maths. In short, any toy promoting these four learning fields is called a STEM Toy. Your children will learn many things with the help of STEM Toys, be it counting or the alphabet, understanding how a car functions, etc. 

STEM toys include;

  • Wooden alphabets sets
  • Counting set
  • Remote control toys
  • Coding cars
  • Gravity maze

 Age Recommendation: 3+ Years

Learning Toys

Age Recommendation: 2+ Years

Toys that help your child in learning are termed learning toys. Learning can be anything. Whether learning to achieve milestones or learning to read or write, draw or paint, all fall in this category. These toys are helpful in the long run as they give your kid knowledge and understanding of different things.

Learning toys include;

  • Crayons and coloured pencil set
  • Books
  • Black board & chalks
  • Painting items
  • Writing tablets

Age Recommendation: 2+ Years

Activity Toys

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Activity toys are those toys that provide activity to your children and keep them engaged. These toys offer both indoor and outdoor activities. They are the ride one toy also pushes, pulls, walks, and climbs falls under it. Moreover, they help in building motor skills and maintaining body balance. In short, any toy that makes your kid active is considered in the activity toy category.

Activity toys include;

Age Recommendation: All Ages

Pretend Play Toys

Age Recommendation: < 7 Years

Pretend play means that a child imitates actions or characters they see around them. Pretend-to-play toys let your kids use their imaginations and creativity and assign them to different items, objects, and toys. These toys are very helpful in boosting creativity in your children. 

For example, your child has held a broom and pretends it to be a car, making it move like a car. Moreover, stuffed toys also fall in pretend play toys.

Pretend play toys include;

  • Kitchen set
  • Cooking set
  • Doll-house set
  • Artificial food set
  • Doctor set

Age Recommendation: < 7 Years

The Bottom Line

It all depends on your little one's liking and preferences regarding which toy they prefer to play with in their daily routine. As a parent, you should buy them the right toys. Moreover, toys help children develop essential skills.

Also, defining specific types of toys help parents quickly choose the toy their kid is most interested in playing with. As the varieties of toys are so wide, choosing one or several toys among many toys is confusing and time-consuming. It's better to buy one toy from each type so that your little one will have a vast concept of everything and explore each toy. Moreover, they will learn each category with the help of toys.