How to find a cool toy for boys
Toys are an important part of childhood and any parent, regardless of means, tries to provide his offspring with special items to play around with. If archaeologists are to be believed, it seems that this always has been so, since small wheeled statuettes of animals or chariots had been uncovered from sites dating as far back as the bronze age.
With the wide variety of toys available today, it could prove daunting to pick the right thing for our kids, something they will find engaging but will also add a little to their developing personalities and skill sets. Modern toys must be safe, resistant enough to handle the gauntlet children will put them through and also fun to play with.
In the following guide, we’ll be narrowing our scope to advice on choosing gadgets and toys for boys, but most of it can also apply to girls, if we adjust it a little to fit the different innate interests of the fairer gender. A distinction criterion that’s somewhat harder to adjust for is age, since children develop quickly and their attitudes tend to change significantly as they grow older.
How we chose the coolest toys for boys
Toys for toddlers
All the best boys’ toys reviews seem to emphasize the same things for the 1 to 3 age group, namely physical play. The items to go for are the already familiar large building blocks, simple puzzles and resilient plastic trucks. These will help the child develop better muscle control and hand-eye coordination.
Electric toys are neither recommended or required at this stage since the toddler will get great enjoyment from moving an item around on his own. These might also not prove tough enough to handle the treatment they’ll be put through.
Ride-on toys such as pedal cars will make great toys and gifts for 3-year old boys since they’ll allow him to imitate daddy as he drives to and from work. Other good outdoor toys include any type of inflatable ball, sand construction sets, and sports sets.
Safety is particularly important when this age group is concerned. Only try to buy toys whose parts measure more than 3 inches by 3 inches to prevent choking hazards. Also, it’s always a good idea to verify that they don’t flake or contain any dangerous chemicals since toddlers tend to chew on their toys.
Toys for kindergarteners
Children are beginning to get the hang of how simple mechanical objects work at this stage. Feel free to go for simple construction sets such as age-appropriate LEGO or Mechano that also feature movable parts.
This will also encourage the child’s budding creativity, which can be further honed by buying items like crayons, markers, modeling clay and coloring books.
Rule-based playing is best introduced around the age of two, but mostly older children, around 3 to 5, will get to really appreciate something with rules as clearly defined as a board game. The simple games we used to play as children are still being produced and the current generation can get equal enjoyment out of them.
Basic pretend play starts being important at around 4 or 5 years of age. It’s not yet as important as it will be later on and it mostly consists in mimicking basic acts, such as answering the telephone or performing household repairs. Toy-tools are something to consider around this time if the boy shows interest in the technical aspect of things.
Also at around 4 or 5, children will start recognizing cartoon and movie characters, which will give them a real appreciation for licensed toys. The child is prone to model his own behavior on the character’s personality, so it is recommended to be mindful of the type of heroes he chooses to play with.
In the 80s, for example, both the Alien and Predator franchises had action figures featuring the titular characters. Make sure that the universe the character originates from conforms to your own values or isn’t prone to give your child nightmares.
Toys for school-aged children
Pretend play involving other children and team play start becoming more important at this stage, as the child gets more accustomed to complex social rules and interactions. Consider buying him toys he can share with his group of friends.
Most boys of 5 to 9 begin developing specific interests for certain themes, they start becoming more engaged in playing with swords castles and spears than in playing train conductor, for example. It is important to take this into account to ensure that the child gets as much enjoyment from the toy as possible.
Mechanisms and more complex electronic toys will really come into their own towards the end of this stage. The child won’t be interested just in building a back story around the toy, but also in the complexity of the item itself and the possibilities it offers for interaction.
Remote controlled model aircraft, cars, and boats will be the coolest things to have for boys this age. Make sure to choose a build-your-own kit for any of the above if the child shows any technical inclination.
Even if the boy is not particularly technically skilled, building his own electrical toy will teach him both self-sufficiency and raise his self-esteem after completing the challenge. It’s important to keep in mind not to provide any help unless specifically asked for.
Toys for preteens (9-12 years of age)
Their interest in more complex (and expensive) big kids toys will only increase around this age, while simpler items will only provide engagement as a result of external factors. A miniature car, for example, will only prove exciting if an appropriate track is built for it, or if it falls victim to a firecracker explosion that breaks it into pieces.
Twelve years is often old enough to play regular board games, like Monopoly, without ending up as easy prey for other players or falling to a temper tantrum. These types of interactions are especially important around this age since the child will develop a preoccupation with being accepted by peers, for which social skills is a necessary factor.