Your Guide to Age-Appropriate Toys

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

Best Bets:

  • Basic board games. The key word here is "basic," Szymanski says. "Don't introduce anything too strategic yet." Preschoolers are still mastering how to play by the rules and take turns, so pick games with simple scoring methods.
  • Dress-up clothes, accessories, and props to assist with pretend play
  • Large crayons, pencils, paints, blunt-edge scissors, glue, and other art supplies
  • Modeling clay
  • Books
  • Basic musical instruments
  • Outdoor toys, like a sandbox, pail, and shovel
  • Puppet theaters and puppets
  • Puzzles
  • Ride-on toys. Make sure they go no faster than 2.5 miles per hour, Szymanski says, and are used on flat, smooth surfaces under your supervision.
  • Tricycles or bicycles with training wheels (plus a helmet and your supervision)
  • Wooden train sets

What to Avoid:

  • Electrical toys
  • Remote control toys operated without parental supervision
  • Sharp-edged objects such as standard scissors
  • Toys made with lead-based paint
  • Costumes or clothing items that are tripping hazards
  • Mini-bikes

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