If you find yourself asking, "What toys should I get my preschool-aged child this holiday seasonthat will foster their development and be educational for them?" Then you have come to the rightplace!Many toys make annoying sounds, take up space, and worst of all, don't encourage the child to playbut rather are designed to entertain them. However, the right toys can help aid a child's cognitivedevelopment in multiple ways.Why have toys such as rattles, blocks, and dolls stood the test of time? As technology advances,you would think old toys like these would be tossed aside for shinier and brighter items. Yet, mostbabies today own these items. It is because these simple toys encourage problem-solving,imagination, creativity, and sensory exploration.

I am a former preschool teacher with an education in Early Childhood Development and now homeschoolmy preschool-aged children. Here is a list of toys I purchase for my children and for anyone in mylife who has a baby or young child.

Infants to 6 monthsBabies love to look at faces and put everything in their mouths.Textured balls,teethers,rattles,unbreakable mirrors, andboard booksare toys that will help baby explore more of their senses and learn more about their environment.

Infantino textured multi ball set

Infantino textured ballsIdeal for grabbing, rolling and even cramming into their mouths. That's what learning looks like atthis age!

Doddle & Co. critter teether bundle

Doddle & Co. critter teether bundleNot only do they help soothe teething woes, but the bubble popping design makes them a tactiledelight as well.

Plan Toys wooden beads rattle

Plan Toys wooden bead rattleThe rattle is made to perfectly fit those tiny hands so your child can stimulate their sensorydevelopment as they watch, listen to and handle the rattle.

Bright Starts sit and see floor mirror

Bright Starts sit and see floor mirrorWho says peek-a-boo takes two?

Child's Play peekaboo board book set

Child's Play peekaboo board book setBright and colorful with lift-the-flap pages, these books are perfect for pre-readers to exploretheir prediction and memory skills. Not to mention they can identify a few new animal friends inthe process.
7 months to 1 yearBabies at this age are moving around a ton and are learning about cause and effect. They enjoywatching things drop and taking things out.Wooden blocksandtouch and feel booksare excellent toys for this age. Toys that foster their gross motor skills, such aspull toysandlarge balls, are perfect for this age. Older babies are also learning more about their world and their bodies.Board booksshowcasing generic body features (eyes, hair, nose, legs) are wonderful as well.

Modern blocks set

Modern Blocks10-Block Counting, Shapes + Alphabet SetThese natural blocks encourage constructive play and fine motor skills, as well as number, letterand shape recognition. When it's time to clean up, put the blocks in the included organic,unbleached cotton drawstring bag for easy storage.

Child's Play Off to the Park tactile board book

Child's Play off to the park tactile board bookUse all your senses to read this interactive book, developed with help from children and designedwith every young reader in mind. High contrast images and tactile features like a shoelace, funtextures and a scratch-and-sniff ice cream make this book a fun sensory adventure.

Plan Toys pull-along snail toy

Plan Toys pull along snail toyThis little friend helps babies and toddlers develop gross motor and coordination skills.

CaaOcho pure natural rubber sensory ball

CaaOcho rubber sensory ballEasy for little hands to manipulate, this colorful sensory ball encourages them to experiment withholding, squeezing, dropping, rolling and chasing—skills that help develop hand-eyecoordination and gross motor skills as well as baby's sense of cause and effect and spatialawareness.

Child's Play Sign About Getting Ready board book

Child's Play sign about getting ready board bookSigning with baby is a great way of teaching early communication skills. Introduce your little oneto forty signs involving a toddler's daily activities inside the home (described in text anddemonstrated in pictures) including the signs for brush, pants, hearing aid, and bath with thiscolorful and engaging board book.
1 to 2 yearsBlockscontinue to be beneficial for the child at this age as they learn different ways to use and buildwith them. They will also begin exploring more creative outlets, such as coloring and painting.Washable, non-toxic markers and paints would make a great present.Puzzles,illustrated books, and items for pretend play, such asbaby dolls,kitchen items, andstuffed animals, are great as well!

Modern Blocks numbers set

Modern Blocks numbers setHand-painted in San Francisco using organic paints and polished with organic jojoba oil andbeeswax, these gorgeous natural blocks are made from untreated white birch and count from 1-10 withvarious shapes on each block corresponding with the number.

Melissa & Doug first play touch + feel puzzle

Melissa and Doug first play touch and feel puzzleSimple and fun, this colorful puzzle is a full sensory experience. Each pet features a differentsoft fabric while the mirror in the middle is perfect for peek-a-boo!

Weather board book set

Weather board bookCelebrate all the sights, sounds and textures of the seasons with this delightful board book set.The rich illustrations and engaging text are perfect for developing speech and language.
2 to 3 yearsImaginative play is what it is all about at this age.Pretend food,toy cars, and other toys that mimic real-life will foster children's imagination and help them understandthe world a bit better.

Janod wooden fruits + vegetables set

Janod wooden fruits and vegetables setYour little foodie can use the set to wash, chop and create yummy fruit and vegetable dishes, thenthey can clean up in minutes by putting everything back in the included wooden storage crate.

Wise Elk ice cream truck

Wise Elk ice cream truckZoom it around, take it apart and put it back together! This sweet wooden ice cream truck is onethey'll come back to again and again.
3 to 6 yearsBuilding on the toys, they have but more advanced.Larger puzzleswith more pieces, along with more extensive or intricateblock sets. Action figures anddollsallow them to create different scenarios for their toys fostering imaginative play and creativity.Craft and art projects are more detailed and meaningful at this age, as well.Illustrated bookswith advanced illustrations along withmusical instrumentsare very beneficial for children in this age group.

Little Likes Kids fun outside jumbo puzzle

Little Likes kids fun outside puzzleThe extra-thick pieces are easy for little hands to hold, making this a screen-free activity thewhole family can enjoy.

Wise Elk wooden construction set

Wise Elk wooden construction setBrightly colored and smoothly sanded wooden blocks connect with mess-free glue circles to help themhone their 3D building skills.

Meri Meri Mia rainbow doll

Meri Meri mia rainbow dollWith long arms and legs that are perfect for toting her around, this adorable fabric doll is asstylish as she is loveable.

Rainforest by Julia Groves

Rainforest by Julia GrovesDelicate, colorful and distinctive, Julia Groves' illustrations introduce little ones to theanimals that live in this endangered habitat.

Janod musical instrument set

Janod musical instrument setGet the band together with this super fun set. Including a tambourine with cymbals, guitar,harmonica, trumpet and a clapper there's plenty of toe-tapping music to be made.
When it comes to toys and children, less is more. Chances are they will have more fun playing withyour car keys and trash than that fancy designer rattle.