Christmas Toys for Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers

December 17, 2015 Published by


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Children quickly change from being babies in a cot to starting school and in between time, the toys they play with change dramatically.

Play is a key part of the Early Years Curriculum – the toys children have access to can help them develop many vital skills including personal, social and emotional, literacy and understanding the world.

Here is a quick guide to babies, toddlers and preschoolers to help you choose toys that will help their development and will be enjoyed long-term. You can also have a look at our guides for each age which have more specific toy types for that age group, as well as examples of toys from our Good Toy Guide, all of which have been tested and approved by experts and children.


Christmas Toys for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers


These are some examples of toys that a child of this age may enjoy, but please remember that every child is unique and has a preference for different toys and brands.


Babies are just starting to explore the world, so we recommend toys that can stimulate them with lights and sounds.

Babies aren’t as fussy as older children about what they get but can be difficult to buy for if you don’t know their level of development – i.e. what they are actually able to play with and enjoy yet. Infants are just starting to explore the world, so we recommend toys that can stimulate their various senses (for example, toys with lights and sounds).

The Lil’ Ocean Explorers range from Little Tikes has some wonderful interactive and stimulating toys for babies. For example when we tested their Ball Chase Octopus babies loved chasing after the colourful balls launched by the octopus – there was lots of giggling and squealing too in enjoyment! The Ball Chase Octopus also encourages little ones to get moving, strengthening the muscles needed for crawling and walking.

See below for more ideas:



Familiar brands are popular and can act as a springboard for a toddler’s pretend play, supporting imagination and developing social skills.

Toddlers will be starting to have interests – particularly familiar brands from T.V., themes such as dinosaurs, or favourite colours (where it doesn’t matter what the toy is, as long as it’s pink/red/blue etc.). They will be playing more independently and start to enjoy pretend play.

Through pretend play toddlers can explore their imaginations through fantasy or act out real-life scenarios helping them to make sense of their world. It is also a great opportunity for them to start learning to share and play with others, and practise their communication skills. Props like the lovely colourful wooden My First Doctors Kit (complete with medicine, a bandage and a Doctor’s bag to keep it all in) help support their pretend play.

See below for more ideas:



Preschooler’s skills have reached the point that they can play and enjoy puzzles, board games and simple craft sets.

By the time they are approaching school, children are likely to know what they want and will have favourite brands and interests that guide their preference for toys. Their skills will have developed to a point where they are able to use more difficult toys such as puzzles and simple craft sets.

Preschoolers are also becoming more capable of playing board games, where they can learn social skills (such as friendly competition and communication) and practise following instructions, both of which will be valuable when they start school. Orchard from HABA is great for this age and involves harvesting wooden fruit pieces and putting them in your basket – when we tested this the children really got into the excitement of collecting the fruit before the raven ate it! Orchard requires children to work as a team against the raven which is another important skill to develop at this age.

See below for more ideas:



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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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