What toys do you recommend for an only child?
By Kathleen Alfano
Q: What are the best toys for an only child?
A: The best toys for an only child are those that are fun for both the child and the parent, because there will be many times when both will play together.

For babies, choose toys that have lots of features and textures to explore, such as blocks. When playing together, the infant and parent can take turns putting blocks on top of each other and knocking them down. Describing the different blocks and talking about what’s inside extend baby’s vocabulary and create room to explore. For toddlers and preschool-age children, a variety of toys are a good choice to help them develop their imagination and creative thinking skills. Playsets encourage this development because they offer kids a scaled-down version of familiar surroundings.

Children often use real-life experiences as a jumping-off point for make-believe play, so take your child on a variety of excursions—to the market, the zoo or the library, for example—and talk about what you saw and what happened. You’ll probably notice that she transfers what she’s experienced during these outings to her playtime fun.

Finally, a soft, cuddly animal or figure is a wonderful choice for an on only child, who can use it as a “playmate” during imaginative play as well as a special friend to hug for comfort.