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Top Toys for Preschoolers

Learn what the top toys for preschoolers are.

Building blocks help improve children's motor skills. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
Building blocks help improve children's motor skills.

Parents can foster healthy brain development in young children and strengthen their physical, cognitive and emotional well-being by taking the time to discover the top toys for preschoolers. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, for preschoolers, playtime is an opportunity to gain confidence, develop problem-solving skills, resolve differences, communicate with others and broaden their imaginations. Playing is considered so vital that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights recognized it as a right of every child. Giving children the top toys for preschoolers will aid their development.

The Best Kinds of Toys for Preschoolers

Preschoolers enjoy imitating the adults around them and playing with toys that allow them to use their imaginations. They prefer realistic toys with smaller working parts as they learn to master their motor skills. Around the age of four, children become much more goal-oriented and prefer to play with toys in which they can produce a result. With the strengthening of their social and language skills, preschoolers prefer toys that will allow them to play with other children in a group. The top toys for preschoolers are sturdy, nontoxic, not made of glass or brittle plastic and do not have rough or jagged edges. Parents should only allow preschoolers to play with toys that have electronic parts under their supervision.

Active Toys

Preschoolers are learning to better control their fingers and balance, jump and climb. To foster these skills, parents should give them ride-on toys such as tricycles or toys with pedals, balls of all shapes and sizes, doll strollers and wagons or wheelbarrows. At this age, children also like to take risks and enjoy tests of physical strength, so the use of outdoor gym equipment with adult supervision is recommended. Preschoolers enjoy playing on slides, seesaws, swings, rope ladders and balance beams.

Manipulative Toys

Toys that require children to match colors, letters or numbers are great for children of this age. Children are also becoming expert builders at this stage, so it is important to provide them with building blocks, interlocking building systems and jigsaw puzzles. These toys not only aid in the mastery of finger control but also contribute to a child's imagination. Preschoolers will also begin to express an interest in pattern-making toys, such as strings for beading, pegboards, magnetic boards with shapes and simple weaving toys.

Creative Toys

When they are three or four, children show an increased interest in art and creativity. Providing art materials such as crayons, markers, finger paints, chalk and modeling clay will give children the opportunity to exercise creative freedom. Children of this age may also enjoy making music with various musical instruments, such as xylophones, harmonicas, whistles, recorders or pianos.

Make-Believe Toys

Preschoolers enjoy dramatic, make-believe play and often incorporate props, sets and costumes into their play. Several top toys for preschoolers encourage children to use their vivid imaginations, such as realistic dolls and accessories, stuffed animals, sock puppets and detailed transportation toys. At this age, children will prefer toys that are realistic, such as dolls with movable eyes and limbs or toy road machinery that actually works. They also like toys with accessories such as clothing or removable parts.

Role-playing is very popular among preschoolers, as they enjoy recreating adult occupations. Props such as costumes, cooking equipment, toy cameras, toy doctor kits and specialized doll equipment are all useful in encouraging imaginative play. At this age, children begin showing a differentiation in role-playing and interests based on gender.

Learning Toys

As preschoolers learn how to construct longer, more complex sentences, story time is vital. At this age, children listen not only to what a parent reads but also to how the parent reads. Children are developing phonological awareness, which is the ability to listen to sounds in words. The top toys for preschoolers include rhyming books because they help strengthen this skill. According to Parents.com, storytelling improves the language skills and thinking capacity of young children, while also improving their imaginations. Among the top toys for preschoolers are educational books on animals, letters and numbers, places or people and books with detailed, complex illustrations. Other learning toys include games like dominoes, simple board games, matching or sorting games and simple card games.

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