Preschooler Toys for Each Stage: 2-5 Years
   

The older your child becomes the more elaborate toys they will need to keep them intrigued and push their development curve upwards. Use the following guide to determine the type of toys to expose your child to in order to give them the physical and mental stimulation they need at each stage of their preschooler years.

2 to 3 Years Old

During the span of this year, your little one will learn to jump, climb up and down a flight of stairs one foot at a time, and imitate the actions and mannerisms of people they like. 2 to 3-year-olds usually become more interested in social play with other children their age; develop better eye-hand coordination that enables them to perform more elaborate actions such as tucking a doll in its cradle; and draw with enough skill to produce figures that slightly resemble the objects they have in mind. 

Toys that your preschooler would benefit from at this stage include:


  •  Role-play toys such as kitchen sets with pretend food and utensils
  •  Dolls and stuffed animals
  •  Simple puzzles
  •  Simple counting, number and shape-matching toys
  •  Crayons, coloring books and paints 
  •  Play dough
  •  Normal as well as battery-powered ride-on toys
  •  Sports toys
  •  Themed playsets
  •  Music-making toys
  •  Simple remote-control cars

3 to 4 Years Old

Children venturing into their fourth year will show greater physical prowess, and will be able to perform tricks such as raising their feet higher when jumping and bending their knees when they land; maintaining their balance while running; playing ball games that involve kicking a regular ball or catching a large ball that has been directly thrown at them without losing their balance and coordination; drawing faces with more clarity; and making smaller and more elaborate shapes with play dough, such as strings or balls, and arranging them to look like people. Children around this age will also become better at role playing games and will enjoy dressing up and pretending to be other people; are more socially active and enjoy hearing about their friends or family members; begin to compare themselves to others; and start to show empathy for story characters. 

Toys that your preschooler would benefit from at this stage include:


  •  Simple early learning computer programs 
  •  Educational or learning toys
  •  Simple board games
  •  Puzzles
  •  Role play toys
  •  Cars and remote control toys
  •  Simple hand puppets
  •  Toys for learning shapes, colors, numbers and letters
  •  Picture books and story books
  •  Pedal trikes
  •  Science-themed toys
  •  Dollhouses and accessories
  •  Playsets and action figures
  •  Battery-powered ride-on toys
  •  Dress-up clothes and props
  •  Sports sets

4 to 5 Years Old

By their 4th and 5th years, most preschoolers will be able to walk along a curb without losing their balance too often; climb up a slide’s steps; play on a monkey bar; carry large toys with greater ease; ride and maneuver a tricycle or bicycle with training wheels with greater skill; learn to swim; and draw with more attention to detail. Children around this age can also keep themselves entertained with new toys for longer periods of time; begin to take other people’s feelings into consideration when deciding their actions; and are more articulate when explaining what happened to someone who was not present during the incident.

Toys that your preschooler would benefit from at this stage include:

  •  Simple early learning computer programs 
  •  Toys for learning shapes, colors, numbers and letters
  •  Child tape recorders, telephones and cameras
  •  Toy housekeeping and fix-it tools
  •  Musical instruments
  •  Drawing toys and materials
  •  Simple board games
  •  Dress-up clothes and accessories
  •  Role play toys
  •  Dollhouses and accessories
  •  Cars and remote control toys
  •  Sports toys
  •  Battery-powered ride-on toys
  •  Two-wheeled bike with training wheels and a helmet
  •  Climbing gyms with slides and ladders