Whether they are made of wood, cardboard, or plastic, toy castles are fantasy objects for kids who dream of faraway places and enchanted lands. They make wonderful backdrops for royal figures of kings, queens, princes, and princesses, and can provide hours upon hours of creative enjoyment for children of any age. Recreation with castles is enhanced with accessories and building features to make role-playing and play-acting more fun and exciting for all involved. Here we highlight the best-rated toy castles available, and they do come in many shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. There are several that come fully-assembled and only have to be folded to store away, while others are constructed entirely of LEGOs. Some castles are for medieval play, while others have a My Little Pony theme.
Several popular castles are Disney Frozen princess palaces complete with figures and accessories. Others are for toddlers with plush, colorful unicorns or a stand-up activity center loaded with things to do. Intricate castles for the older child include working drawbridges, turrets, and dungeons for longer, extensive play. Although castles seem like all fun and games with no skills gained, that is not true. These toys provide development of many abilities needed for current and later years of childhood. The simpler castles for toddler and young kids gives them a chance to use their imaginations, possibly for the first time, and makeup stories using the castle and a few play figures. Role-playing can be done with several kids or with an adult to develop social, emotional, and language abilities.
As children explore their world, they can apply new insights to their playtime and get to understand themselves better. Older kids will gain from play castles emotional intelligence and thinking talents from their skill level of acting out scenes and solving problems. All kids will develop fine or gross motor skills as they move pieces, put parts together, or simply put characters into place. No matter the age of the child or style wanted, if you are shopping for a castle toy, we have the finest choices for your review. Here are our selections for the best castle toys for kids in 2018.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Fold & Go Princess Castle
- Ages 3+
- Fisher-Price Lion's Den
- Requires AA Batteries
- Le Toy Van Castle Playset
- All Made of Wood
Criteria Used In Evaluation of the Best Castle Toys
When evaluating castle toys for this list, we kept three key factors in mind: safety, development, and imaginative aspects. When judging a toy’s overall safety, we mainly considered the toy’s age range and individual pieces. We wanted to reduce the risk of choking hazards, along with other injuries, to create a universally safe list of castle toys. For development, we judged the toy’s overall ability to impact a child’s intellectual, social, and psychomotor development. Though each castle toy may not fulfill each one of these developmental checkboxes, each toy does benefit a child developmentally in some way. Finally, we judged each toy on their inherent ability to exercise a child’s creativity. Creativity, in this context, relates to a castle toy’s propensity for imaginative playtime, role-playing, and story creation. Each toy was judged on its own, then placed against the other toys to create the ranking for this top 15 list. Along with the criteria presented, our decisions were also heavily influenced by general parent reviews of the products. This is just a general guide to our evaluation, but for a deeper explanation of each aspect, please look below.
As always, safety is our number one concern when creating our top lists. When judging these castle toys for safety features, we first looked at the recommended age of the toy. We wanted a wide spread of recommended ages so that all children could benefit from this list and so that none would feel excluded. Generally, castle toys that feature small parts are recommended for children ages 4 and up. For younger children, we included: buildable castles that include only large pieces to prevent a choking hazard, pre-built castles that feature strong elements of story creation, and castle toys that focus more on playing with then castle rather than building the castle. Another aspect of safety we were concerned with are the chances of a castle toy pinching a child. To combat this issue, we carefully combed through parent reviews for sturdy castle toys with minimal hinges and other mechanics that could injure a child. Overall, we not only want children to be safe and have fun, but we also want parents to feel confident when giving their children toys to play with.
As mentioned previously, we focused on three areas of development when selecting castle toys for this list: Intellectual development, social development, and psychomotor development. Intellectual development includes things like problem-solving skills, complex thinking skills, and reasoning skills. We feel that many of the buildable castle toys on this list aid in at least one, if not all, these skills to some degree. Social development deals mainly with interpersonal relations between children and helps children relate to the world in some fashion. Many of the role-playing toys on this list aid in a child’s overall social development, but any of these toys can be played by multiple children for a collaborative, social playdate. Finally, psychomotor development deals with a child’s thought process of moving objects. A child’s understanding of their movements in relation to the world is constantly changing and evolving, and buildable castle toys are a great way to increase that understanding. All the buildable castle toys on this list, and some of the pre-built ones, greatly aid in a child’s overall psychomotor skills.
The imaginative aspect of our criteria is pretty straightforward with regard to castle toys. Mainly, we looked at castle toys that offered some form of story creation or role-playing to exercise the creative portions of a child’s brain. Castle toys based on TV shows or popular movies, such as Frozen or Ninjago, give children a familiar base to begin their creative adventures. This base gives them not only great starting material for their own imagination but acts as a catalyst for their own ideas and stories. Though many of the pre-built castle toys offer great creativity liberty with story creation, the buildable castle toys offer an organic kind of creativity. Rather than basing their adventures off an already defined world, your child can create their own by building that world themselves. Both kinds of castle toys, pre-built and buildable, offer to create creative outlets for any child.
How We Determined the Best Castle Toys
Coming up with a list of the best castle toys is very challenging. First, we have to carefully study each toy for their age- and developmental- appropriateness. Toys must be able to help children develop their psychomotor, cognitive, social, and emotional skills expected of their age. Secondly, we must look at the safety of the materials used as well as the quality of the design. Thirdly, we have to consider what countless parents and other consumers have to say about these castle toys. And lastly, we also have to check the toy maker’s overall reputation. We know that these are also the things that you will be looking for in the best castle toys for your kids that’s why we have made them as the bases of our selection process.
It may have taken us quite a while to come up with this list but, we are hopeful you will find a castle toy in our list that will interest you and your kid.
Kids and Castle Toys
Castle toys are like playhouses that are designed to stimulate imaginative play. Children who are constantly exposed to imaginative plays tend to be more proficient at solving divergent problems. They learn to use their cognitive skills to decide which solution will work best for a given situation. This lays the foundation for more complex critical thinking processes. Additionally, castle toys are also excellent tools for developing counterfactual reasoning, also known as the what-if mentality. This allows kids to explore the infinite possibilities of any given scenario which can be beneficial in developing more complex critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
When shared with other kids, castle toys can be excellent instruments for developing language and communication skills. Kids learn to express their ideas in relation to how the different characters in the castle play need to be roleplayed. This also encourages cooperative play. Enhanced communication can help them develop healthier self-concept, enhanced self-esteem, and boost their self-confidence.
On their psychomotor development, castle toys can help enhance dexterity and fine motor skills as kids will attempt to build the castle and put on different components or elements into their rightful place. This also helps reinforce mastery of hand-eye coordination as well as spatial intelligence.
It is without a doubt that castle toys are one of the most useful playthings some can give to children as birthday presents or even gifts for any occasion. It is, therefore, a privilege for us to share with you our list of the best castle toys.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are castle toys?
A: Most Castle toys are toys that engage the imagination of children by having them build or create castles and other structures. Other castle toys simply look like castles so your child can focus on playing certain characters as opposed to building the castle. Typically, castle toys have both aspects of building and roleplay for a fully developmental experience, but they can also be strictly one or the other. Some children like both aspects equally, but others would rather build the castle or play with the castle.
Q: Are there different castle toys for boys and girls?
A: Yes, different castles toys are marketed towards boys or girls. Typically, brands like LEGOS market towards boys because boys gravitate towards building and construction toys. Brands like Barbie or Disney market towards girls with Princess themes because girls typically enjoy playing with a castle as opposed to building it. However, if you notice your son wants to play with the castle, or that your daughter wants to build the castle, both are also normal.
Q: How do castle toys benefit my child socially?
A: Castle toys promote cooperative playtime through both building and role-playing. Children can build the castle together and put forth a good team effort to complete the tasks. Roleplay wise, children can take on certain characters, such as Anna or Elsa from Frozen, and re-enact scenes from the movie together. Castle toys can also help socially awkward children because the castle is a familiar setting that they know, creating a jumping off point for conversations with other children during playtime.
Q: Will a castle toy benefit my child’s psychomotor skills?
A: If a castle toy has moving features, such as a hand-powered elevator or a catapult, then yes. Psychomotor skills refer to the brain processing movement in tandem with mental activity. So even the building of the castle itself can aid in psychomotor development.
Q: Do castle toys improve overall cognitive skills?
A: By providing social, motor, psychomotor, and hand-eye coordination skills, castle toys do improve a child’s overall cognitive abilities. Because all these aspects work in tandem with one another, your child will not only develop their brains but have fun doing so in a natural fashion.
Q: What are some other benefits of castle toys?
A: In addition to overall cognitive improvement, castle toys also exercise a child’s creative skills. By building the castle toy, your child also has the opportunity to create something new and unique to themselves. By role-playing with the castle toy, the child also has the ability to create storylines and characters within the castle narrative.
Q: Do castle toys promote problem-solving skills?
A: Yes, castle toys absolutely promote problem-solving skills as well as other important skills. Because castle toys require kids to piece together different parts, children learn how multiple structures can come together and function as a whole. This can translate into mathematical concepts and scientific concepts later on in school. And, because castle toys have multiple pieces and multifunctional parts, children can also exercise creativity by creating new structures with the existing pieces. This really helps their problem-solving skills because they learn new and inventive ways to create what they see in their minds as real, tangible structures during playtime.
Q: What are the safety issues with castle toys?
A: The main safety issue with castle toys are the small pieces involved in the actual construction of the toy. Most castle toys are beneficial because children can build and modify the castles. But, to smaller children, this poses an inherent choking hazard. So, when purchasing a castle toy, always look at the recommended age range to ensure you are buying an appropriate toy. Some castle toys are designed for small children and make use of over-sized pieces to prevent choking dangers. If you aren’t sure about a toy’s recommended age range, go to the brand’s website and check under the toy’s description. If you still can’t find the recommended age range, it’s probably best that you don’t but that particular castle toy.
Q: Is there a recommended age for castle toys? And at what age should my child stop playing with castle toys?
A: Different castle toys have different recommend ages. This is simply because different toy brands cater to different types of customer needs. However, most castle toys range from 3 to 10 years in age. This is because many castle toys have small parts that children younger than 3 could choke on these smaller pieces. The cap of 10 is mainly because children older than 10 lose interest or cannot gain much from castle toys. If the castle toys are not interfering with your child’s overall development, then they should be allowed to play with them to their heart’s content. But, if your child develops an unhealthy attachment to their castle toys, then an intervention might be required.
Q: If my child isn’t interested in castle toys, should I try to encourage them towards castle toys?
A: Honestly, no. You can softly push your child towards certain toys, but ultimately, they decide what is and is not fun for them. There are dozens of other toys that give your child the same social, cognitive, and developmental benefits as castle toys, so they aren’t missing out on much by not taking an interest. However, if your child is reluctant about other kinds of social play, a castle toy is a great way to introduce them to more social interactions. In that case, I would recommend encouraging your child towards castle toys.
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