info from babycenter.com
In her first months, before she learns to grasp objects or sit up, your baby will most appreciate things she can look at and listen to. Her vision will be fuzzy at first and she'll fix on things that are about eight to 14 inches from her eyes. She's drawn to the human face — and can recognize yours at about 1 month — but she will also enjoy large pictures of faces. High-contrast patterns and bright colors captivate her because they're the easiest for her to see. She's already learned to appreciate sounds and soft music. Objects that move slowly and produce a gentle sound are far more interesting to her than those that are fixed and silent.
Examples: music, unbreakable mirror, soft books with east-to-see patterns, rattles attached to wrist or ankle, soft toys that make noise when pressed, mobile, YOU!
As he enters this stage, a baby discovers how much fun his own hands can be now that they're no longer clenched in a fist. He can suck his fingers, and use them to grasp a toy that has been placed in his hands. He has begun to reach for toys. He soon learns to pass a toy back and forth between his hands and rotate his wrist to inspect it from all sides, usually before popping it into his mouth. Make sure that all toys are safe for chewing! And never attach a toy to a crib or playpen with elastic/string, which could end up strangling or entrapping your baby. By 6 months your baby can probably sit up, giving him a new perspective on life and making him the center of his own clanging, colorful, ever-changing world.
Examples: activity center with dangling toys (you can also get some that hang across car seats/strollers), lightweight rattles (they love to make noise), soft stuffed animals (many babies start forming an attachment), squeaky rubber toys, board books, colorful teething rings,
Your baby's play is becoming much more vigorous. When she picks up a spoon now she bangs it against pots and pans, and she furiously rattles the bunch of keys she finds. She can now grab two toys at once and slam them together. But her movements are also becoming more precise; thanks to her growing dexterity, she can pick a raisin off the floor. She is becoming aware that objects still exist even when she can no longer see or feel them. This means she'll miss a favorite stuffed animal if she can't see it, and try to search for it. It also means you can begin playing hide-and-seek games with objects. Hide her teddy bear while she's looking, and she'll find it right away — and be very proud she did. This is the age at which most babies go mobile. From sitting, it's a short developmental step to scooting around on her stomach, to rocking back and forth on her hands and knees, and then to crawling. By the time she's 8 months old she may be pulling herself up to a standing position and climbing your stairs. The following toys can help her explore her quickly developing senses.
Examples: lightweight balls (especially fabric ones), household items (like measuring cups/wooden spoons, Tupperware/etc), wood or soft blocks (stacking, filling a box, dumping are favorite activities), moving toys (sturdy cars to push around, toys that pop up when pushed), board books, toys which help her have fun practicing coordination – poking/twisting/squeezing/shaking/dropping/and opening things will fascinate her
By the time babies are 9 or 10 months old, they're usually able make their way around the room in some fashion — creeping, crawling, cruising (walking with the furniture's assistance). By 12 months, many babies have risen to their feet and can stand and even walk. Your baby has started using objects as tools, pushing a ball with a stick or chasing the food around his plate with a spoon. He's also more interested in interactive games. Tickle him and let him tickle you back. Talk on the phone and then pass it off to him so he can babble, then hand it back to you for another round. His problem-solving skills are improving and now he'll take the lid off a clear container to get the toy he sees inside rather than trying to reach through it. And he's beginning to understand words and recognize the names of familiar objects. On all fours or on two feet, giddy with the freedom of movement and mobility, a baby at this age will want move, grab, and get to whatever used to be out of reach.
Examples: pail and shovel (love filing and dumping), blocks, books (especially ones which have flaps to open/textures to feel), toy telephone (love to imitate parents), balls, shape sorters, safe push toys
Your toddler is really taking off these days — and as you chase her little body down the street, you may miss the days before she learned to use her legs so well. "Active" is an apt way to describe her now, and she likes any toy or game that allows her to throw her whole self into it — balls, swings, and tiny climbing sets, to name a few. Her hands are becoming more coordinated, too, and she can now use toy sorters more efficiently, build even greater block towers, and scribble a drawing. Her play involves lots of experimentation, like "What happens if I drop this ball?" or "What happens if pull this lever?" She's very interested in the consequences of her actions, and because her memory isn't well developed she won't tire of repetition. Toddlers also like to try out what they see adults doing, so look for toys that imitate daily life.
Examples: scribbling with washable crayons on paper (by 16 months they mastered scribbling; try introducing it around 12 or 13 months), large cardboard building bricks, heavily weighted push toys, toddlers love to sort/ stack/unsort/unstuck/and basically reorganize their lives, climbing, sliding, balls (this is the age when they can start practicing throwing/catching back and forth), ride-on toys like cars or little bikes, tool bench or toy kitchen to imitate adults, books (especially advanced picture books showing familiar objects/activities)
Your toddler is becoming more excited about independence but is constantly being reminded of her own limits. So while she insists on doing something "Myself!" one moment, the next might find her turning to you for help.
The way she learns what she can do is by getting her hands into everything. She fiddles with knobs, opens and shuts doors, flips light switches on and off. Toys with interlocking parts — pop-up toys, sorting toys, trucks with doors that open and shut, play kitchens with knobs and doors — can create endless opportunities for your child to explore, and push her limits. At this age, children learn best from unstructured play, so just make the toys available and off she'll go.
Examples: plastic eating/drinking/cooking toys for pretend play, miniature brooms/shopping carts/vacuum/kitchen, large and small blocks, toy instruments, train sets, puzzles
Your child is now 2, and has become even more assertive. But his defiance really results from the tug-of-war between his desire for independence and his continuing need for help. What he's doing — again and again — is testing his limits. Along with independence come expanded language skills. He can now speak in short sentences and has become more purposeful, telling you what he needs or wants. He is also beginning to understand abstract concepts. He can ask for more milk, and inquire about whether he can go to bed later. But he still doesn't understand what next month or next year means. He can form images in his mind, and organize his toys by size, or color, or shape. His memory is improving and he may be able to tell you at the end of the day what he had for lunch. A minority of 2-year-olds also know their colors and letters, and can count to 10. Toddlers are spirited folk, so look for toys and activities that give yours a way to channel his energy. Also look for toys that challenge his developing mind.
Examples: art supplies (inspire creativity), still loves balls/wheeled toys, now music inspires dancing/clapping/hopping/even shouting, try giving them percussive instruments to play the beat and experiment with different genres, dress-up clothes (pretend play takes off now), child-size household equipment, construction toys like giant Lego blocks, puzzles, other manipulatives like dolls to dress up (your child's new dexterity has opened up many new play possibilities)
By the time your child reaches his third birthday, he'll be ready for more challenging toys. After all, if he can put on his own T-shirt, wash and dry his own hands, and brush his own teeth, he can certainly manage blocks and even simple memory or board games. Most 3-year-olds can also draw a vertical line, which means now's the perfect time to open a display gallery on the refrigerator. At this age your child is a confident walker, runner, and jumper, and is likely able to balance on one foot for a second or more. That means it's time to let him play with scaled-down sports equipment. He may want to include other children in his games, and he'll really begin to notice and focus on other kids, which allows him to play more structured games. As he gets older, your toddler will become increasingly imaginative. He's no longer concerned just with his physical effect on the world and will start developing his own story lines, characters, plots, and adventures. Giving him clothes and props for pretend play — something as simple as a cardboard box can be a wagon, a spaceship, a fort, and so on — will help encourage this area of his development.
Examples: beginning board and memory games, puzzles, kid-sized pots/dishes/pans, construction sets and especially blocks that lock together like Lego blocks, art kit (Kids this age like crayons, watercolors, clay, collage basics like magazines and newspapers, construction paper, and tempera and finger paints. Just make sure everything is washable and nontoxic.), outdoor equipment (he’ll love toys that let him test his newfound physical abilities so swings/plastic balls and bats/miniature basketballs and hoops/soft soccer balls/play golf sets), books (his language skills and vocab are getting more sophisticated and he’s starting to follow narratives and understand more complicated words and stories)