Skip to main content

4 classic toys every baby should have

As a parent, you probably have fond memories of some of your favorite childhood toys, and it only makes sense that you’d want to bring that same joy to your kids. While the industry is constantly evolving, classics toys for kids and babies have lasted the test of time — and for a good reason.

Here are four classics that should be staples in your child’s nursery.

Building blocks

Mother with child playing with building blocks
Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock

From simple wooden blocks to brightly colored Legos, building blocks come in all shapes and sizes. Babies and toddlers can spend hours building, stacking, and then toppling their blocks over.

Besides providing plenty of fun, building blocks also serve as a powerful learning tool. Figuring out how the blocks fit together can help develop hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and mathematical skills. As toddlers play, they have to decide how many blocks they have, identify patterns, and then figure out how tall their tower can be.

In pre-K or kindergarten, children can use blocks to develop social skills with other kids. When your child builds, others might wander over and want to join in on the fun.

The best part is that the skill development that comes from playing with blocks will feel natural to your child — they probably won’t even realize they’re learning something.

Musical instruments

So, you probably won’t be buying your 6-month-old a full-size drum set anytime soon, but you can start with a shaker. As soon as your kid has enough motor skills to grasp a rattle, they can start playing music. Many infants become mesmerized by the sound of music and the sounds they can create with a little bit of movement.

Once they’ve got more coordination, you can upgrade their rattle to a musical play set — like the piano or drums.
The cognitive benefits of musical instruments are endless by the time your child becomes a toddler. You’re feeding your baby’s attention span, brain growth, and language skills.

Push bikes

As your baby grows into a toddler, they’re learning to navigate the world for the first time. While their own feet might be unsteady, push bikes or “toddler bikes” can get them mobile.

The “little red tricycle” has been a signature toy for decades, and the design of these vehicles has only gotten safer. Push bikes can be safe for toddlers who are as young as 2 years old.

Toddler push bikes come as regular bicycles but also as tricycles that have a handle for parents to grab onto. With three wheels, the tricycle tends to be more stable. For tots that are still wobbly, you might want to start off with the tricycle before graduating to the bicycle.

Push bikes are also a toy that you can interact with, too. Whether you’re riding alongside your toddler or pushing behind them, it’ll be a bonding experience for both of you. And, even if you’re the one doing most of the work, cycling is a great form of cardio for your little one.

Art supplies

Mother with child using art supplies
Oksana Kuzmina / Shutterstock

If your baby is trying to draw on the wall or make marks where they shouldn’t, it might be time to head for the art aisle.
Not all kids will grow into the next Picasso or Frida Kahlo, but most toddlers still enjoy drawing. Even just scribbling with crayons or markers can develop motor skills that transfer over into other parts of your kid’s life. If they’re able to hold a crayon correctly, they might have an easier time tying their shoes or working utensils.

Art is also a crucial way for toddlers and preschoolers to express themselves. They’re creating their own work and building self-confidence that can last for years. Many art or craft projects often require time, so as your kid draws or paints, they’re slowly learning patience and discipline.

Not to mention, there’s evidence to suggest that early art education plays an important role in developing visual-spatial skills. As they work, your toddler must analyze what they’ve created and what they need to do to make it better. Kids can start drawing when they’re as young as 12 months, so you can start art education whenever you want.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy an expensive art set for your kid to reap the cognitive benefits of drawing. A pack of crayons, washable markers, and some colorful construction paper are usually all that toddlers need to get started. If you find that your toddler really enjoys art, you can always upgrade to more advanced supplies.

Toys are constantly changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with every new trend that makes it to the toy aisle. However, many of the best baby toys are still the classics — the ones that continue to last the test of time.

In addition, you can check out our list of the best educational baby toys to educate your baby while they entertain.

Editors' Recommendations

Heads up, 7 up: What’s the game and how to play it
Learn the ins and outs of this classic kids' game
Five kids each giving a thumb-up

Seven up is another classic kids' game that has definitely stood the test of time. This game has been played in countless classrooms throughout the U.S. since the 1950s. No one is actually sure who invented this popular game, but most people have played at some point. Seven up is also known by other names like heads up, heads down, thumbs down or thumbs up. Its name variations point toward the basic aspects of the hands-on game.

A majority of elementary school teacher has led several rounds of 7 up during their teaching careers. New teachers may want to add it to their menu of classroom games because it's a perfect pick to fill time when waiting for a specialty teacher or transitioning to another subject.

Read more
The best outdoor games for kids – try these fun, classic activities
Cool activities to play outside with kids
Kids playing games outside

When the nice weather rolls around, there's nothing better than getting the kiddos outside to run and play. It can be difficult these days because getting kids off the devices is always a challenge. Another obstacle is often the dreaded announcement of being bored or there isn't anything to do outside. Well, as parents, we know that's certainly not true, especially when there are a whole host of outdoor games for kids.

Having an array of fun and engaging outdoor games is always a perfect pick for the whole family, whenever you're hosting a party or when the kiddos have friends over for a playdate. The wonderful thing about outside games is that they are timeless. They take adults back to their childhood, and even teens enjoy taking a page from their elementary school gym class days.

Read more
Liven up family game night with these crowd-pleasing board games
Grab any of these board games for your next no-screen night
Parents with children playing a board game

Other than everyone staring at their personal screens or staring together at the largest screen in the home, what else are you going to do to get the family together? While cleaning the house might be a tempting answer for the parents, having a collection of family board games on hand is the right answer. Make memories, have a few laughs, and see who will come out on top in a battle of kids versus parents when you have a family board game night.
Classics never go out of style
Let's start with old-school options, which will stick around for the foreseeable future and beyond.

Guess Who?
There is no age limit to Guess Who?, which is great if you have an age range in your family. While only two people can play at a time, you could turn it into a tournament to rotate everyone in. This is a great thinking game, as parents need to break the questions down for a small child to understand but have to work to ask more difficult questions to their older kids.

Read more