Last updated: August 5, 2021

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In the whole of 2019, the turnover of the toy industry was more than 90 billion US dollars. So toys are profitable goods, which are sold worldwide. Hardly any child grows up without toys anymore. Therefore, it is important to inform oneself extensively before buying, so that the child can enjoy the toy for a long time.

The selection of toys is large. From the classic bobby car to modern graphic tablets, the products differ greatly. Depending on the preference of child and guardian, different aspects are the focus. For our product comparison, we have compared different toys with each other and worked out the most important aspects for a purchase decision.




The most important in a nutshell

  • Toys cover a wide range of products and can be selected according to the preferences of the child and guardian.
  • Important purchasing criteria for toys are the age group of the child, the intended learning goals, the product's surface material, the electronic components and the number of individual parts.
  • Toys are available in all price ranges. Interesting toys are also available in the low-price segment.

The Best Toys: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for toys

To find the perfect toy for a child, we have worked out some buying criteria that you should consider when buying. These buying criteria should make it easier to compare the individual toy models so that you can make an objective and informed choice.

The criteria you can use to compare toys include:

Age group

Do you have a baby, toddler or teenager that you would like to give as a gift? Then the age group is an important criterion for your product selection. Often not all toys are suitable for all age groups. Toddlers can be overwhelmed or teenagers can be bored.

Therefore, it is important to either consider the exact age of the child or to use the recommended age range. For example, toys for toddlers are often easier to grasp or involve little interaction. Later on, skills such as dexterity or coordination are more likely to be promoted.

Learning goal

Many toys are simply intended to keep the child occupied. However, there are also products designed for specific learning objectives, with which children can develop through play. Depending on their preferences, they can focus on concentration, creativity, fine motor skills, patience or logical thinking. In this way, developmental steps can be specifically triggered.

Material

The upper material of toys is especially important if your child is allergic to certain substances. Depending on how important sustainability and longevity of the toys are to you, you are more likely to choose a wooden toy from Germany than a plastic toy from China. You can find more information about material testing under "Who controls the quality of toys?

Electronics

When and how electronics should be integrated into a child's everyday life is up to the parent or guardian. However, there tend to be good electronic toys for all ages, e.g. in the field of music. However, the price of high-quality electronics can quickly skyrocket. There may also be additional costs for rechargeable batteries, batteries or cables. For a child, a mixture of classic and technical games is ideal.

Number of individual parts

Depending on the age group for which you are looking for a toy, it is recommended to take a look at the number of individual parts. Not only can you check that the toys you have bought are complete, but you can also let your child play alone without worrying if there are no parts that could be swallowed.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about toys answered in detail

In the following chapter, we want to answer the most important questions about toys. In this way, we want to give you a deeper insight into the industry and topic of toys.

For whom are toys suitable?

If you want to keep a child busy, tire him or her out or promote development through play, then toys are ideally suited for this purpose. Toddlers in particular do not need large play sets, but can also have a lot of fun with household objects, such as the cooking spoon and pot.

Spielzeug

Many toys are available in both digital and analogue form. Older children are often better at using touchscreens, while younger children prefer the handy building blocks. (Image source: Robo Wunderkind/ Unsplash)

However, it remains to be noted that every child has individual preferences and interests when it comes to the use and type of toy. In this regard, it is recommended to simply observe the child during free activity. For example, a preference for light, music or building elements can be identified.

What types of toys are there?

There are toys from all walks of life. Be it the trampoline to promote activity, the classic building blocks, dolls, electronic toys, experiments, board games, books, puzzles, vehicles or music games. There are no limits to the imagination. There is hardly an object that cannot be bought scaled down or simplified as a children's toy.

What do toys cost?

As described above, toys do not have to cost anything at all. Simple household objects are quite sufficient for most children. Natural materials such as stones, sand or blades of grass can also keep children occupied for a long time. If you still want to spend money or are looking for a specific product, you can use the following table as a guide:

Price range Available products
Low-priced (0 - 30 €) Household appliances, homemade items, handicraft materials, books, simple games, building blocks, rattles, etc
Medium-priced (30 - 60 €) Larger building sets, play sets, dolls, ships, small aeroplanes, shops etc
High-priced (€60+) Life-size figures, cars, electronics, sets with many individual parts, sustainable and environmentally friendly (wooden) toys, etc

The toys with the lowest price might currently be plasticine and slime, although the ingredients and skin sensitivities of these products can often be opaque.

Who controls the quality of toys?

In Germany, TÜV SÜD is responsible for the quality control of toys. For this inspection, the DIN EN 71 series of standards is used, which includes requirements for toys, their packaging and labelling. Within this test, the so-called "saliva and sweat fastness" as well as factors such as flammability and suitability are also tested:

Accidents, material defects or chemical concerns are problems that cause enormous emotional waves, especially in connection with children, and can massively damage the image of manufacturers and retailers. Particularly high standards are therefore indispensable in this market.

How do you properly dispose of used toys?

It is nothing new that toys are not used for a lifetime. Used toys that can still be used can be given away, sold or exchanged. In many big cities, there are also toy flea markets where young families sell their toys to each other.

When disposing of toys, the material is particularly important. Battery-operated toys, for example, do not have to be disposed of in the residual waste bin, but are best taken to a disposal centre or a collection container for electronic waste. Plastic can also be handed in at waste disposal centres and can often be recycled. Toys made of several, mixed materials can go into the residual waste and are thus incinerated. If you are unsure about how to dispose of your waste, there are so-called waste guides on the Internet, for example from the Federal Office for the Environment. Various tables on the Internet also provide an optimal overview of what belongs where.

Conclusion

For a child, any object can become a toy. However, if the guardian's focus is on a special occasion, learning goal or gender, specific toys are optimal. The toys presented cover various areas and age groups and help with an initial orientation on the market. In general, however, it is advisable to accompany the child during each first round of play. This way, minor adjustments or protective measures can be made to the toy.

When buying a toy, the safety and compatibility of the product should always be the focus, in addition to any preferences or wishes a child may have. Therefore, the number of small parts is particularly important due to the risk of suffocation. If all the recommended purchase criteria are observed, nothing stands in the way of playing and having fun together.

(Cover photo: Shirota Yuri / Unsplash)

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