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Pay Attention to Toys' Age Recommendations

While Not Set in Stone, Manufacturer Guidelines Are Usually Correct

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toys age

Toys' age recommendations may be based on small parts or developmental appropriateness

Photo © Mattel

While age limits on toys are certainly not set in stone, manufacturers do have reasons for their toys' age recommendations. They know the approximate age groups their toys will appeal to and are appropriate for. If you know your child can handle something above their suggested age level, go for it. But play along the first few times to ensure there are no issues. If you're buying a toy for a gift, pay close attention to the age range on the package, and when in doubt, get a gift receipt.

What Determines Toys' Age Recommendations?

Here are some reasons why a toy may not be appropriate for younger children:

  • The toy may have small parts that could become a choking hazard.
  • The toy may require reading, counting or skills children will develop later.
  • The toy may require the child to manipulate small parts, which can be frustrating for little ones.
  • The toy may go along with a book or movie with scary or complex themes.
  • The toy or game may require turn-taking or physical tricks (like jumping on one foot) that little ones haven't mastered yet.

for help choosing an appropriate toy, see our toys age-by-age gift lists for holiday time and beyond.

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