Experts believe—and you should too—that animal toys play a huge role in a kid’s development, and go above and beyond just having fun! The best toy barns help stimulate senses, build imaginations, and develop co-ordinations. When shopping for the best barn for kids, you can’t forget that safety comes first, and since you can’t really test out the material of a respective toy to determine if it’s safe, a wise thing to do is buy from brands that have been around for ages—think Fisher Price. But we can’t really tell you what’s best for your kid; you’ll know this off the top after reading our toy barn buying guide. You should be in a much better position to pick the right one from our five recommended options now.
Married for over 30 years, Melissa & Doug is a husband-wife team that invested their entire lifesavings and worked around the clock to develop their first product out of Doug’s father’s garage. With the help of customer feedback and 2 cents of their own, the company today has a wide range of kids’ toys products that are all designed to help kids find their place in the world, in the most fun way possible—through imagination and all the other things that truly inspirational kids’ toys can bring about.
The Melissa and Doug Fold & Go Wooden Barn is crafted of high-quality wood, and fitted with chunky handles to easily take it around. Further, it’s appointed with doors that slide open to provide easy access to the included 7 lifelike animals (cow, pig, horse, dog, goat, sheep, and turkey), and is recommended for kids between 36 months and 6 years of age.
Apart from the 7 animals, the barn comes stocked with a wooden ladder and folding corral, which is adjustable and can be moved around to any number of shapes, allowing your child’s imagination to run wild. This beautifully detailed toy barn is sure to grab your kid’s attention from the first glance, and is sure to aid your child’s imagination and other important growing skills.
Fisher-Price has been an all-time favorite ever since it set stage in the 1930s. An all-American company headquartered in East Aurora, New York, the company excels at designing and producing toys that you and your kids will love, whether it’s an animal farm or RC mobile command center. Fisher-Price today is a parent company of several other reputable brands including Laugh & Learn, Little People, Power Wheels, Bob the Builder, and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
The Fisher Price Little People Animal Friends Farm is designed for kids between 12 months and 5 years, and provides real country farm fun complete with animal sounds and even tunes to make the farming work that much more exciting (requires 2 AA batteries—not included). Your kids will get an opportunity to help Farmer Eddie keep the barn organized by putting the animals in their own special stalls, and even drop a couple through the silo—that’s sure to bring a few smiles to your child’s face!
The doors of this barn playset are easy to open and close, and provide first-hand access to the 7 included figures (goat, cow, chicken, sheep, horse, pig, and farmer Eddie, and the tool (hay bale). Further, it encourages imaginative play, fine dexterity, grasping and motor skills, and storytelling, and can even be folded up for easy storage.
A big name in the toy industry, Schleich takes home the gold in the designing and manufacturing of some of the most well-known figures to children. Its products sell quite well in numerous parts of the world, and are a favorite of kids just about everywhere. The primary goal of Schleich is to provide kids with value-filled concepts that encourage creativity and accelerate their development. Each product from the company’s stable is built in line with international toy requirements and tested to meet stringent quality standards. You can buy with confidence knowing they’re the safest toys you can possibly buy.
The Schleich North America Large Farm is just that, a rather expansively-spaced toy barn measuring 5.5 x 22.4 x 15 inches. The farmer is able to push the wheelbarrow with his movable arm, and also transport the hay bales across the farm. Further, the cow shed is divided by cubicle-style feeding areas, complete with a special massage brush to keep the animals clean and happy. The roof of the barn can be easily removed and the doors provide easy access to the residents inside. And that’s not all—this toy barn comes with a wide range of accessories including several animals, a hay bale, wheelbarrow, pitchfork, crate, pale, and water & fodder trough—your child will never run out of things to do!
Breyer Animal Creations took flight in the early 1950s with a special # 57 Western Horse for the F.W. Woolworth Company. Purchased by Reeves International in 1998, Breyer is its largest international line, and manufactures a vast range of products including horses—its expertise—and similar plastic or resin models.
The Breyer Traditional Wood Horse Stable measures 12.2 x 3.5 x 11.2 inches and is designed for kids of ages 5 years and older. It’s made entirely of wood, can accommodate classic and traditional series horses, and is outfitted with chain stall guards, barn doors that swing open and closed, and two feed bins to add a decorative flair to the setting. Assembly is required, but is relatively easy with the included instructions. Considering all of its fun and one-of-a-kind features, this is a toy barn your child (or the collector in your life) is sure to love.
A California-based company, Green Toys—just as the name would suggest—designs and builds toys in the USA that are 100 percent recyclable, and free from harmful substances such as BPA, phthalates, and PVC. Toy ideas are communicated to parents, after which 2D and 3D sketches are made for the green toy treatment. Believe it or not, recycled milk bottles are the most-used material for the brand’s toys, along with other recycled plastics, all to create excellent products; this also keeps unnecessary plastic from landfills, reduces the amount of energy used, and keeps its carbon footprint to a minimum. But that’s not all—all toys are neatly packed in 100 percent recyclable cardboard, so there are no cellophane wrappers or pesky twist ties to deal with.
USA-made from 100 percent recyclable plastic without the use of potentially harmful BPA, phthalates, or PVC, the Green Toys Farm Playset is designed for kids of ages between 24 months and 6 years, and is bound to offer hours of creative play and encourage fine motor skills. The set includes a wide range of accessories including fences, pigs, sheep, hog shed, pickup truck, barn, and let’s not forget the farmer—all dishwasher-safe. Cleanup and storing it away is a joy as well, given that all the characters can be tucked away neatly inside the barn, and the onsite handles allow your little one to take the fun with them anywhere.
Remember that good old rhyme “Old MacDonald had a farm ... ee-eye ee-eye oh!”? Play it for your little one, and see how fast they leave what they’re engrossed in, be it a toy kitchen or kids’ tablet, and bolt towards to find their favorite animals. This is because kids still have that special connection with animals that dolls and super heroes simply can’t match.
For children that grow up on farms, a true love for summer
often comes from being able to play in the barn and petting the animals for real. But even kids that live in the city or suburbs love farm animals!
Before discussing the factors to consider when getting a barn or farm playset for your child, we wanted to let you know that we had a bit of a tough time narrowing down our selection to just five top picks. In the world of barns for kids, there are many different types, and we wanted to give honorable mention to three brands that stood out to us, besides the ones for which we did full product reviews:
- Family-owned Battat has been making educational toys for over 100 years, and offers two great options: the Battat Big Red Barn Play Set and the Baby B. Baa-Baa-Barn Play Set. Both of these sets have interactive features such as doors that open, and come with a variety of animals that can double as bath toys.
- The award-winning Aurora My Barnyard Friends Baby Talk Playset includes a plush barn which doubles as a carrying case and four plush farm animals. Your baby or toddler will squeal with delight because each animal makes its own sound. Parents will love the fact that the set is washable, as well.
- StoryTime Toys offers a 3-in-1 Farm Play Set that will provide hours of fun. This 3-D puzzle-style barn and farm not only encourages imaginative play, but children can build it and take it apart as many times as they like, plus there’s a story book to go along with it.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get on to talking about some of the features you should know about toy barns. They’re popular among most age groups, and can keep them occupied in storytelling and playing pretend games with their barn pieces, namely animals and Farmer Joe. Toy barns are extremely versatile as well, in that they can be mixed and matched with other accessories including tools, but (probably) not superheroes—you never know what your child’s imagination might conjure up, though!
The prices of toy barns vary considerably, with most models ranging from around $40 - $200, depending on several factors such as brand and the quality of construction. There are plenty of cheap toy barns available too, but these will most likely come with just a couple pieces (or none), or not be completely free from BPA, phthalates, or PVC.
High-quality toy barns are always a good investment, most notably because they’re from a trusted source that has garnered a reputation for making products with kid-safe materials. If your child is just 3 months old, great chances are that you don’t have to go all-out and buy the best toy barn there is, but a small barn with a few animals should do the trick—for now anyways. But if your child is going to indulge in group play, it’s a good idea to buy a barn that comes with several pieces so that you don’t have to take the expensive route and buy them separately.
Toy barns aren’t complicated items to buy, but there are some features that make one product better than another. Big-name brands generally offer accessories to match, so you may not feel the need for a ladder and corral at the moment, but these items will definitely make playtime more interesting as they grow.
That said, here are a few important features to look for in the best toy barns:
- Size – Buy a barn according to what your munchkin can handle, and not one that’s overwhelming.
- Material – Common materials are plastic and wood; while both are equally good, buy one that your kid will be comfortable with, and of course, one that is 100% safe.
- Figures – Most toy barns do not come empty, but with at least a few accessories such as animals and a farmer.
- Battery-operated – Some barns are powered by batteries for lights and tones.
- Skills - Toy barns commonly promote imaginative play, motor skills, and storytelling, while others encourage dexterity, grasping, and important skills.
Construction and Design
Toy barns can be ordered in different sizes, and are generally crafted from high-quality plastic or wood. Further, they feature great designs, most with sliding doors to provide easy access to the residents inside. If your child is between the ages of 0 and 6 months, a basic toy barn with movable objects that are easy to grab is an ideal choice. When kids at this age reach for objects, they are strengthening their arms and at the same time improving their hand-eye coordination.
As they get older, between 6 and 12 months, they’ll get inquisitive so look for toy barns that promote dexterity (fine motor skills). And a notch above, at ages between 12 and 24 months, you’re probably going to need that ladder and corral we mentioned earlier, because this is when they begin to express themselves!
Performance and Ease of Use
Toy barns are easy to assemble, and some even come ready to go right out of the box. If you’d like to liven up playtime, look for products that emit special animal sounds. Take note that most of the pieces they come with are fairly small, so it’s a good idea to keep a storage bag handy in case you don’t already have one. Some toy barns even have completely removable roofs for that country-style feel, and others come with integrated pens to place livestock.
Further, it’s important to pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommended age, as not all toy barns are built alike. For example, a toy barn that’s appropriate for children 5 years and above will probably come with bigger-sized pieces that may not ideally be safe for a child who’s a year old.
Now that you’ve read our toy barn buying advice and know what your options are, buying the best one for your little munchkin is just a matter of a few clicks!