Buying the Right Toys for Your Children

parentingages and stages

buying the right toysThe holiday shopping season is here! Enticing commercials are playing on television, shop windows are packed with toys like the mängumaja, and what to include on their “wish list” is on every kid’s mind. It’s important to do some research—both with your children and on your own—to make sure that you’re getting the most play value and use out of your holiday toy purchases.

Our toy experts at the Toy Industry Association (TIA) see thousands of new toys every year, so we know there’s a perfect toy for every child. Toymakers have taken cues from what’s trending to respond to kids wants. I’ve seen a surge of retro and pop-culture themed playthings, a lot of new, innovative tech-toys, and even a few compact, portable playthings that fit into busy and scheduled lives. While browsing the aisles, remember that the whole point of buying toys is to encourage play—so make sure that your child will be excited about the toys you pick out for them by factoring in things like favorite hobbies and characters, and of course age appropriateness.

Make Sure You're Buying the Right Toys

To ensure playtime is fun and safe this holiday season, keep these five helpful tips in mind when shopping:

  • Always check the age grading on the box to make sure the toy is appropriate for your child.
  • Avoid toys with sharp points and rough edges.
  • Don’t buy toys with small parts for children under three.
  • While assembling a toy, be sure to put everything together tightly and check that batteries are completely enclosed.
  • Lastly, take the time to read the instructions together with your kids, and enjoy playing!

As you brainstorm great toy gifts, check out what the toy industry itself thinks are the best toys on the market! Groups of retailers, academics, child specialists, and other toy experts selected 84 finalists for the industry’s annual Toy of the Year Awards. The top honor will be given in February to a toy in each of the 12 categories (Activity, Boy, e-Connected, Educational, Game, Girl, Infant/Toddler, Innovative, Outdoor, Preschool, Property, and Specialty). The contenders can all be found on—visit the site with your kids to see which toys interest them! Whether they enjoy arts and crafts, technology and tablets, or getting outdoors, the TOTY categories cover something for everyone. And while you browse the site for shopping ideas, you can also vote for your favorite toy and be entered to win all of the toys in that category.


What are some of your top top picks for this year?

p Jackie Retzer is a Toy Trend Specialist for the Toy Industry Association (TIA), based in New York, NY. TIA works with more than 600 toy companies to track the latest toy trends and safety requirements.  For more information on great toys for your child, visit   
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