Which toys for which age

the playthings below are suggested for children of various ages. Of course, many toys continue to have high play value for more than the age stated.

BABIES 0 –1 :

  • Rattles
  • Soft baby doll. You can also make your own! See TOYMAKING WITH CHILDREN, Making Dolls, and All Year Round or The Children’s Year for Doll making instructions.
  • Glockenspiel – Play at bedtime, for example, to help establish an enjoyable routine.
  • Natural Stacking bowls

BABIES 1 – 2 years

  • Natural Stacking Bowls
  • Soft simple dolls
  • Rocking animals
  • Small wooden cars
  • Wooden blocks, natural irregular shapes, with or without bark

TODDLERS 2 – 3 years

  • Simple doll
  • Stacking toys
  • Horse and cart
  • Wooden blocks, as above
  • Baskets, wooden bowls
  • Shells, conkers, acorns and pebbles for sorting, playing and counting
  • Wooden human figures
  • Small wooden vehicles
  • Wooden boat

YOUNG CHILDREN 3 – 5 years

  • Doll and doll’s bed
  • Human figures, animals
  • Knitted animals
  • Play cloths
  • Play frames
  • Wheelbarrow or doll’s cart
  • Play cooker/sink
  • Pots and pans, wooden bowls, utensils
  • Simple doll’s house and furniture
  • Single ply wool or thick wool for finger knitting and weaving
  • Tractor & trailer, farm animals
  • Stirring Xylophone
  • Block Crayons


  • A more formed doll with dressing clothes
  • Picture books
  • Handwork basket with beautiful pieces of fabric and felt, scissors, needle and thread
  • Weaving frame and wool
  • Carded wool for play and crafts
  • Geometrical puzzles
  • Simple card games
  • Dolls House and furniture
  • Knitting Fork and wool
  • Knitting Needles (around age 7)
  • Lyre – pentatonic, seven strings
  • Block and stick crayons
  • Colouring pencils

Making some of these playthings yourself or together with the child, will give a lot of satisfaction and make the child feel special and unique.

Suggested books for further reading and ideas

  • Free To Learn – Lynne Oldfield
  • Toy Making with Children – Freya Jaffke
  • The Genius of Play – Sally Jenkinson
  • The Incarnating Child – Joan Slater
  • All Year Round – for seasonal activities and crafts
  • The Children’s Year – for handwork and craft ideas, some toy making
  • First Book of Knitting – for making simple knitted play animals
  • Making Dolls – for making your own doll!
  • The Gnome Craft Book – for making simple and more complicated gnomes for children’s play.
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