North Star Youth Partnership

North Star Youth Partnership engages youth ages 11-18 through educational, recreational, leadership and service-learning opportunities. What started in 1997 as an educational program to prevent adolescent pregnancy in Yavapai County has expanded to 11 different programs serving youth in Central and Northern Arizona.

Friday, 01 February 2019

Choosing Toys that Promote Your Child’s Development

Rate this item
(4 votes)
Choosing the right toy can be challenging for any parent. By understanding how toys support development, parents can select toys that help their child learn or enhance skills. Here is a list of toys that are divided by the four areas of development.


Aside from being fun, toys support your child’s language development. Your child develops vocabulary as you two talk about what he/she is playing with. Even pre-reading skills are enhanced by your child identifying letters and numbers that appear on toys.  


  • alphabet blocks     
  • play food
  • nursery rhyme books                                       
  • playhouse


  • doll house
  • Mr. Potato Head
  • farm set
  • picture book


Problem solving is inherent in toys. How can your child get the toy to work? Toys enhance your child’s persistence, attention span, memory and ability to focus – skills that are important for kindergarten readiness. Be aware of your child’s level of development, understanding, and capabilities when selecting toys. Toys should be intellectually challenging, but not too difficult.


  • blocks    
  • nesting or stacking toys   
  • shape sorters     
  • large-piece puzzles         
  • matching games    
  • alphabet blocks    
  • magnetic letters    


  • Lego
  • puzzles
  • simple board games
  • dominoes
  • card games
  • toys for matching, shapes, colors, letters and numbers
  • sorting games                                                   

Social & Emotional

What’s not so obvious about toys is that they foster your child’s social and emotional development. Whether playing with you or with a peer, toys provide lessons in sharing and cooperation. They can help boost your child’s self-esteem by being able to do something that he/she couldn’t do before. Toys also allow your child to experiment with roles and situations through pretend play.


  • cars, trains, and trucks    
  • dolls
  • play phone   


  • dress-up costumes
  • doctor’s kit
  • cash register  


In the area of motor development, toys provide opportunities to build your child’s small and large muscles. Toys that encourage throwing, kicking or jumping are great for developing gross motor skills, while smaller toys develop fine motor skills. Playing with the same toys over and over again helps your child to refine his/her movements over time. 


  • peg boards    
  • magnetic boards     
  • play dough     
  • paints      
  • crayons    
  • foot-powered   
  • doll strollers    
  • rocking horses   
  • large balls                                                      


  • art supplies   
  • bath toys
  • preschool scissors
  • balls
  • stroller
  • tricycle
  • jungle gyms
  • riding toys
  • slides
  • wagon
Some toys, like blocks, stimulate learning in all areas of development. However, toys can never replace you. You promote your child’s exploration of the world around him. 
For more parenting advice and support, contact the Parents As Teachers program through Catholic Charities and AzPaC. This partnership provides family support through home visits, screenings, and assessments at no cost to families.  Families in Mesa, Gilbert, and Queen Creek with a child ages 0-5 are eligible.  For more information call 480-388-3292.

Oluyi TinaTina Oluyi, M. Ed., is a parent educator for the Catholic Charities program, Parents as Teacher. She also has experience as a special education teacher. Tina has worked with families for more than 10 years.
Read 93175 times Last modified on Friday, 01 February 2019

Make Your Tax Credit Donation Before April 17th