My little girl is about to turn 1, so it’s only natural for me to look around at the baby stuff in our apartment and decide that it’s time to change things up. Years of hanging out with other “girl moms” and babysitting for a bunch of awesome girls as well has me ready to stock up on cool, educational, and just plain fun toys to get through the next four years until kindergarten. When creating a safe place for imaginative play, I want to instill in my little girl that it’s okay to reach for “feminine” toys like dolls and play makeup. But I also want to encourage her to try out other things and explore interests that might traditionally be called “boy stuff” — like cars, fishing, and building blocks.
I’ve spent the past six months scanning the shop windows and dot-com marketplace for the best of the best toys for girls ages 1 through 5. This cumulative list by age includes classic must-haves, items I loved in my own childhood, handmade pieces that put the cash in the pocket of another American family, and innovative finds that reflect the times. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to shop!