Top sites for baby equipment deals Buying toys
Buying toys online
You can order toys online from plenty of high street names such as Argos, Mothercare, Early Learning Centre and Hamleys. There are also interesting toy ranges at the Great Little Trading Company, among others.
Toy libraries are great for trying out a range of products on your child before buying them. There are toy libraries all over the UK - the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries (NATLL) can tell you where your nearest one is.
Choosing the right toys
Though all babies are different and some will like toys that others aren't interested in, certain types of toys suit babies at certain ages. The list below should help you choose toys appropriate to your child's age.
Some toys will be multi-activity, so you won’t necessarily have to buy a separate toy for each characteristic.
Choose toys appropriate to your baby’s age
A toy your baby may dislike one week may prove fascinating if reintroduced a couple of weeks later, so don’t cast aside rejected toys straightaway.
You don’t have to have the latest ‘all-singing, all-dancing’ electronic baby toys – the classics (such as stacking towers, balls and building blocks) have remained popular for good reason.
Toys for different age groups
Birth to three months
- Mobiles, particularly musical ones and those with patterns or objects that face your baby when he or she is lying in the cot
- Toys with in-built mirrors. Your baby won’t be able to recognise him- or herself until nearly two years old, but will be fascinated by the reflections in the mirror
- Brightly coloured, noisy rattles
- Toys with high-contrast patterns, such as simple faces
Three to six months
- Baby gym or activity arch with a good selection of toy attachments to bash and swipe at
- Baby ‘nest’, a textile-covered inflatable ring or play mat with different textures, flaps and squeaks
- Soft toys with interesting textures and chewable attachments
- Easy-to-grip plastic balls with sounds inside
Six to nine months
- Musical instrument toys, especially drums
- Toys that ‘react’ if you press a button or push a lever
- Toys with flaps or lids that can be opened and closed
Nine to twelve months
- Simple push-along toys, such as chunky, easy-to-hold vehicles, if your baby is mobile
- Push-along baby walker
- Toys your baby can play with in the bath, including items such as plastic cups as well as manufactured toys designed for the bath
12 to 18 months
- Shape sorters
- Stacking towers
- Simple sit-on riding toys
- Wooden puzzles with shaped pieces to match with shapes on the board
- Stiff board books, the pages of which your baby can turn by him- or herself
18 to 24 months
- Dolls and their paraphernalia such as mini buggies and bottles
- Child-sized ride-along cars and trucks
- A first train set
- Building blocks
- Play dough
- Matching games