How to choose toys that will grow with your toddler

October 31, 2018 Published by

They grow up so quickly, don’t they? And as much as we resign ourselves to buying new shoes and clothes every few months, we hope that the toys Father Christmas brings will last a little longer than that.

This isn’t simply about the toy’s quality though, it’s also about the child’s stage of development.

“Choosing toys for toddlers can be daunting – there’s such a huge selection. As toddlers are developing rapidly, toys can quickly become out-grown, so finding toys that can adapt and grow with your child offers value for money. ” Dr Amanda Gummer

While you might buy slightly oversized clothes for your child to grow into later, it’s best not to buy a toy or book that is too advanced for your child. This is because children learn things in a certain order, although not necessarily at the same pace as other children their own age.

Rather than your child learning quicker because they are being pushed, they may simply not be able to use the toy – so they won’t get any benefit from it at all. Instead, you can look for toys that are particularly open-ended and creative, that let your child explore at their own pace.

Building blocks are an excellent example of this. A younger child will simply enjoy exploring the individual shapes and colours of the blocks, but when they get older they can use the same blocks to build towers and cities for make-believe play.

There are also toys that can be adjusted to suit your child as they grow. These can prove to be a great investment, as they continue challenging your child’s abilities as they develop their skills and confidence.

Beware of recommended ages

It’s important to watch out for inaccurate age guidance on toys while shopping. Often these only refer to the toy’s safety rating, not to the play value or ease of use for that age group.

At the Good Toy Guide, our experts test toys with children to give you a true idea of their age suitability, shown in the red bar on every review.

The value of licensed toys

If your child is reaching the older end of toddlerhood, it’s likely he or she has a favourite TV character.

Some parents avoid buying toys that feature favourite characters, partly because their child will grow out of the toy but also because – unless it’s a long-standing programme – it’s not something that can be passed down to a younger sibling.

However, children love to play with a favourite character and this can be a great springboard for their imaginative play. When they get older, it can also be a great way to encourage children to play together, as they are both familiar with the character(s).

The key to finding a licensed toy that will last is to make sure it is a good toy in its own right.


Buying toys that are suitable for your child’s level of development will mean they can get the most benefit from the toy for as long as possible.

To help you out, we’ve highlighted some of our toddler favourites in the Christmas Good Toy Guide which you can view here. Simply click on the toy to read the full review online, including in-depth age guidance as well as an overview of the skills the toy can help your child develop.

For more advice and tips for Christmas, take a look at The Christmas Good Toy Guide magazine.

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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