Finding toys for your children can be tricky.

Something too simple can get boring; too complex and your child can get distracted.

For parents-finding what works can be downright stressful.

"It's really overwhelming, because there are so many different opinions," said Lauren Morgan.

Morgan has three children ages 7, 5 and 3. But her son and two daughters have very different tastes.

More News

Next Story

Not Available

Just For You

Not Available

Trending

Not Available

"Every time we hit a new stage, there's a lot that I feel like I need to learn," she said.

So how do you choose the right toys?

Ildiko French, toy specialist at Smart Toys and Books, says to think of your toys as an investment.

"A lot of times we see the parents come in and they say oh my gosh and have no idea where to start," she said. "All toys are important, but if they also learn something, even if it's just sensory or fine motor skills you just set them up for a really good and easy time to start school."

For babies under one--keep it simple.

Look for things like blocks, rattles and textured balls that can help build fine motor skills.

"Very natural, holding stuff in your hands, using your hands. It does hold their attention because there's so much to do," said French.

Once your child becomes a toddler, French says look for toys that will help them socialize.

"When children just start preschool and you have to share, you have to do a lot of little things you don't even think about at home," she said.

She says many children like toys they can play with outside or simple puzzles.

Dress-up play can also boost imagination.

French says parents too often rely on tech devices.

"Nowadays everybody has an iPad. Everybody has a computer so our children don't really even know how to hold a pencil anymore," said French.

As they get older, French says educational items are best for elementary-aged children.

Look for art or jewelry making kits or toys that focus on stem learning.

It's all about letting kids be kids but finding new ways to challenge them.

"It's such a great thing to be with your children and see what they're interested in and blossoming into," said French.

Toys to Avoid:

Babies (under 1)

*Toys with small parts

*Toys with sharp edges or long strings

*Toys made with lead-based paint

Toddlers (1-4 years)

*Toys with small parts

*Toys made with lead-based paint

Preschoolers (4-5 years)

*Toys made with lead-based paint

*Sharp objects like scissors

*Electrical toys