Best-Loved Preschooler Toys

The best-loved toys for preschoolers age 3-5 years. Encourage exploration, imaginative learning, and engagement with the world around with the best-loved preschooler toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

preschooler toys, preschool toys

Preschooler’s Physical Abilities & Interest

  • runs, jumps, climbs, balances with assurance —by age 5, gross motor skills are well developed
  • likes risks, tests of physical strength and skill; loves acrobatics and outdoor equipment
  • increasing finger control: can pick up small objects, cut on a line with scissors, hold pencil in adult grasp, string small beads.
  • expert builder; loves small construction materials, and vigorous activity with big blocks, large construction materials
  • by age 5, our preschooler shows rudimentary interest in ball games with simple rules and scoring

Developmental toys encouraging exploration, eye-hand coordination, outdoor and constructive play


preschooler toys, preschool toys

Preschooler’s Mental Abilities & Interest

  • interest in appearing and disappearing objects and people; develops “object permanence”; looks for familiarity with common shapes, primary colors
  • interest in simple number activities, alphabet play, copying letters, matching/sorting
  • around 4, begins to be purposeful and goal-directed, to make use of a plan
  • interest in producing designs, including puzzles, and in constructing play worlds.
  • intrigued with first representational pictures
  • interest in nature, science, animals, time, how things work
  • peak interest in dramatic play recreates adult occupations, uses costumes and props

Developmental preschooler toys that spark imaginative learning


preschooler toys, preschool toys

Preschooler’s Social Abilities & Interest

  • beginning to share and take turns; learning concept of fair play
  • by age 5, play is cooperative, practical, conforming
  • interested in group pretend play
  • not ready for competitive play because hates to lose
  • enjoys simple board games based on chance, not strategy
  • more sex differentiation in play roles, interests
  • enjoys looking at books and listening to stories from books

Developmental preschooler toys motivating engagement through cooperative and pretend play


“It is with children who learn to read fluently and well: They begin to take flight into whole new worlds as effortlessly as young birds take to the sky.” —William James


Our purpose is to make developmental toy selection easier for you. We do this through research, recommendations by experts and parents, and through the pre-selection of toys on Amazon, as reviewed by verified consumers. We welcome recommendations in helping us and other parents choose age-appropriate and developmental toys.

The Brightest Family conducts independent research, and may refer to studies from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission web site, and from non-profit organizations.

“Kids and Babies - Safety Alerts.” United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/kids-and-babies. Accessed Aug. 2017.

Which Toy For Which Child. Washington D.C., U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Accessed Aug. 2017. A Consumer's Guide for Selecting Suitable Toys

“Age-by-Age Toy Buying Guide.” PlaySafe.org, The Toy Association, www.playsafe.org. Accessed Aug. 2017.

The Best-Loved Toys for Young Kids

Support physical skills development, independent thinking, and emotional development with the best-loved kids’ toys organized according to physical, mental, and social abilities.

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