Is Lining Up Toys a Sign of Intelligence? (Curated Findings)

Many parents ask, “Is lining up toys a sign of intelligence?” when they watch their kids play. Understanding what our child’s habits mean can be puzzling. We’ve spoken with child psychologists and studied common behaviors to get answers.

In this article, we’ll decode if and how toy arranging links to your child’s smarts. Let’s uncover what your little one’s playtime says!

Is Lining Up Toys A Sign Of Intelligence?

Lining up toys is a behavior in children, often leading parents to wonder if it’s linked to intelligence. Some experts see it as an indication of planning abilities or a preference for order, which might suggest higher cognitive skills

“Lining up toys is a normal part of a child’s development. It’s a way of exploring shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns. It’s also a way of expressing order, control, and predictability in their environment.” – Dr. Amanda Gummer, child psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide

However, others believe it’s a standard behavior among children and might be influenced by environmental factors like parenting or toy variety. While there’s debate on this behavior’s significance, research remains inconclusive. 

“The child has its own ways of seeing, thinking, and feeling, and nothing can be more foolish than to try to substitute ours for theirs.”- Jean Piaget, the renowned developmental psychologist

It’s best to monitor a child’s overall growth and recognize that intelligence can manifest in various ways.

Possible Reasons Children Line Up Their Toys

Toys are wonderful buddies for a child’s growth!  Kids sometimes line up their toys, and the reasons can be quite diverse:

  • Spatial Skills: Lining up toys lets kids learn about shapes, colors, and patterns, helping them grasp how objects relate in order and structure.
  • Emotional Expression: This behavior can be a way for children to manage emotions, especially during stress or anxiety, offering them a sense of order and control.
  • Imitation: Children may organize toys to mimic adults’ behaviors, like cleaning or organizing, as a learning method. Once, I watched my son line up his toys. He learned colors and shapes, copied how adults tidy up, and showed his love for cars. 
  • Communication: Lining up toys might show a child’s interests. For instance, arranging toy cars by color might reveal a love for vehicles.

Lining up toys is a unique way kids express and learn. Every child’s reason can differ.

Child’s Cognitive Development and Toy Arrangement

Have you ever wondered how your child’s toy arrangement might reflect their cognitive development? Cardiff University neuroscientists used advanced brain-scanning technology, called fNIRS, to study how kids’ brains respond to playing with dolls. Their research found that playing with dolls allows children to develop empathy and social processing skills from a young age.

It turns out that the way children play with and organize their toys can offer valuable insights into their cognitive abilities and milestones:

  • Classification: Sorting toys by attributes shows an understanding of categorization based on characteristics, a key cognitive milestone.
  • Pattern Recognition: Spotting sequences in toy layouts hints at developing cognitive skills.
  • Spatial Understanding: Lining up toys shows they grasp how objects relate to each other in space.
  • Memory & Attention: Recreating toy patterns they’ve seen earlier showcases memory and focus.

To gauge cognitive growth through toy play, watch how your child arranges toys and responds to patterns. Yet, toy arrangement isn’t the sole indicator of cognitive growth. Language, problem-solving, and social skills are also vital. 

Creativity and Toy Organization

Organizing toys can boost a child’s creativity, imagination, problem-solving, artistry, and storytelling skills. Plus, it boosts self-confidence. When children organize toys, they use memory and imagination to identify patterns, group them by colors and shapes, and bring order. For instance, building with organized LEGO bricks showcases their imaginative power.

To boost creativity through toy organization:

  1. Allow kids to create their own categories, fostering out-of-the-box thinking.
  2. Combine themed toys, like action figures with LEGOs or toys animals by ecosystem, to encourage imaginative play.
  3. Teach kids about colors and patterns to improve their organizing and artistic abilities.

Moreover, exposes them to other creative activities, like painting or music. It’s crucial to maintain a supportive environment, ensuring each interaction is enjoyable. 

Problem-Solving Skills and Toy Arrangement

Toy organization can help develop a child’s problem-solving skills. As they arrange toys, they may use logic to achieve certain patterns, learning through experimentation and feedback.

I like to give my son a mixed bag of toys. Watching him sort them by color and size was fascinating. I’d ask questions, challenge his choices, and introduce toy puzzles. It’s not just about organizing; diverse games help kids grow.

You can bolster their skills via the below methods:

  • Have them create patterns, organizing toys by color, size, or type.
  • Pose open-ended questions about their toy arrangements.
  • Introduce toy-based challenges, like matching shapes or assembling train tracks.

However, problem-solving isn’t just about toy arrangement. Activities like LEGO building, jigsaw puzzles, or strategy games are crucial. For your kiddo’s all-around development, make sure you give them a diverse and enriching environment. It’ll offer them so many fun and educational opportunities to learn and grow!

Autism and Toy Lining Up: When To Be Concerned

Organizing toys can boost a child’s mathematical, language, and social skills. Through activities like counting, naming, and sharing toys, they develop essential competencies. If your child becomes very anxious when arranging toys and has communication challenges, it could suggest an autism spectrum disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) impacts communication, social interaction, and behavior. Some children with autism might frequently line up toys, possibly as a way to manage sensory overload or seek predictability. However, this behavior can also suggest the repetitive behaviors associated with ASD.

It’s essential not to use toy lining up as the only autism indicator. Diagnostic criteria include social communication deficits and repetitive behaviors. A correct diagnosis needs experts to evaluate using standard tools like the DSM-5 criteria.

If you’re worried about your child lining up toys, notice how often and intensely they do it and look for other signs of autism, such as communication difficulties. Though toy lining up can occur in children with autism, it alone isn’t a definitive ASD sign. Always consult professionals if you are concerned about your child’s development.

How Do You Know If Your Child Is Intelligent?

Some parents may ask how can they know if their child is intelligent. Actually, intelligence encompasses cognitive abilities like abstract thinking, problem-solving, and learning. 

In children, signs of intellectual development include:

  • Vocabulary & Language: Using new words and complex sentences.
  • Curiosity: Frequently asking questions and showing eagerness to learn.
  • Memory: Recalling details from books or conversations.
  • Concentration: Focusing on tasks for extended periods.
  • Reasoning: Demonstrated through activities like puzzle-solving.
  • Creativity: Creating stories or artwork.
  • Adaptability: Adjusting to new situations and learning from mistakes.

It’s important to remember intelligence can evolve and be influenced by multiple factors.

Here is a quick table that outlines intellectual development milestones for children aged 0-3 years:

AgeCognitive SkillsLanguage DevelopmentMemoryProblem-SolvingSocial Understanding
0-3 months– Begins to track objects with eyes – Shows interest in faces– Cooing sounds – Turns head to sounds– Recognizes familiar faces and voices– Begins to grasp objects– Starts to smile in response to faces or voices – Begins to recognize primary caregivers
4-6 months– Explores objects with mouth and hands – Notices differences between objects– Babbles and laughs – Responds to name– Recognizes familiar objects and people not present– Reaches for objects – Understands cause and effect in relation to dropping toys– Enjoys looking at own reflection – Recognizes emotions by tone of voice
7-9 months– Looks for hidden objects – Understands object permanence to a degree– Starts to understand simple words like “no” – Begins to use hand gestures, like waving– Remembers the location of hidden items for a short duration– Uses tools to reach objects – Starts to understand “in” and “out” with containers– Engages in peek-a-boo games – Begins to show anxiety with strangers
10-12 months– Experiments with the concept of gravity (e.g., dropping toys)– May say 1-2 simple words like “mama”- Understands simple instructions, like “come here”– Imitates gestures and actions – Shows object preference– Begins to solve simple problems, like moving obstacles to get a toy– Imitates familiar behaviors in play, like feeding a doll – Shows preferences for certain people and toys
1-2 years– Begins pretend play, like talking on a toy phone – Starts sorting shapes and colors– Vocabulary expands to several hundred words – Starts to form simple sentences– Can locate hidden objects easily – Remembers routines and mimics adult behaviors– Shows trial and error learning – Uses objects correctly (like holding a phone to ear)– Enjoys playing alongside peers (parallel play) – Begins to show defiance, like saying “no”
2-3 years– Begins understanding the concept of time (now, later) – Can sort objects by shape and color– Vocabulary grows to over 1,000 words- Asks many questions (“Why?”)– Recalls parts of a story – Remembers and understands routines– Begins simple planning – Can do simple puzzles– Begins cooperative play with peers – Understands the idea of “mine” and “yours”

Note: These milestones are just general markers, and every child develops at their own speed. If you’re worried about your child’s progress, reach out to a pediatrician or child development expert.

What Toys Can Measure and Encourage Intelligence?

Want to give your little one’s brain a boost? Some toys can do wonders for their intellectual growth!  Let’s explore a few toys that can nurture and measure your child’s intelligence:

  • Blocks and Building Sets: 

Toys such as blocks, LEGO, and Magna Tiles boost kids’ creativity, problem-solving, and understanding of space. They help children plan and recognize patterns, sharpening their minds.

  • Board Games and Card Games: 

Board games help kids think and make decisions. Strategy games boost logical thinking, and card games enhance memory and focus.

  • Musical Instruments and Art Supplies:

Instruments and art tools boost creativity and help kids express themselves. They also improve fine motor skills and encourage artistic growth.

  • Science Kits and Experiments: 

Science toys, like chemistry sets, robots, and geology kits, spark kids’ interest in nature and learning. These fun activities help develop their critical thinking, logic, and analysis skills.

  • Educational Apps and Devices: 

Today’s apps and gadgets have turned learning into a fun-filled adventure for kids. Whether it’s math, reading, or language, these apps keep them entertained while soaking up knowledge.

Dive into this handy comparison table to find the top educational apps for your little ones in 2023! 

App NameAge RangeSubject AreasFeaturesPrice
HOMER Learning2-8 yearsReading, Math, Creativity, Social-Emotional Skills– Personalized learning plans- 1000+ interactive stories and games- Offline access- Progress tracking- Parent dashboard$59.99 per year$99.99 lifetime fee
Night Zookeeper6-12 yearsWriting, Reading, Creativity– Gamified writing platform- Feedback from tutors- Challenges and competitions- Parent dashboard$12.99/month or $59.99/year
Khan AcademyAll agesMath, Science, Arts, Humanities, Test Prep and more– Free online courses, videos, quizzes, exercises- Progress tracking- Personalized recommendationsFree
Busy Shapes2-5 yearsShapes, Colors, Logic, Spatial Skills– Award-winning puzzle game- Adaptive difficulty level- Realistic physics engine- No ads or in-app purchases$2.99
ABCmouse.com2-8 yearsReading, Math, Science, Art and Colors– Over 10,000 activities- Curriculum aligned with standards- Progress tracking- Rewards system- Offline access$13 per month
Prodigy6-12 yearsMath– Engaging fantasy game with math challenges- Adaptive learning platform- Curriculum aligned with standards- Progress tracking- Parent dashboardFree (with optional premium membership)
Google Arts and CultureAll agesArts and Culture– Virtual tours of museums and landmarks- Interactive stories and exhibits- Art filters and games- Augmented reality featuresFree
QuizletAll agesAny subject– Flashcards and study tools for any topic games and quizzes to test knowledge- Progress tracking- Offline accessFree (with optional premium subscription)
Hopscotch9-11 yearsCoding– Kid-friendly programming- Provides play-along video tutorials- Can create games, stories, and art- Values kids’ privacy$8 per month or $80 for annual subscription

Just a heads-up! The information above might get a refresh now and then. For the most up-to-date details, it’s always a good idea to check out the official product website or peek inside the app.

Remember, toys are just one way to measure and encourage intelligence. Incorporate varied activities like reading, exploring, and chatting into your child’s routine to help them flourish.


While lining up toys can indicate skills like sequencing and pattern recognition in children, it’s not the sole sign of intelligence. It can simply be a fun activity for them. While it doesn’t label your child a genius, it does highlight their developing cognitive abilities. Feel free to share your views in the comments!

Resources and References

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when a 3-year-old lines up their toys?

When three-year-olds line up their toys, it can signify their growing cognitive abilities and organizational skills. It helps them to categorize objects, work on their visual perception, and understand patterns. Moreover, lining up toys can provide a sense of control, allowing them to manipulate and organize their surroundings.

How is toy-lining behavior related to autism?

It’s important to note that lining up toys can be a typical behavior in early childhood development. If a child intensely lines up toys and shows signs like language delays or social challenges, consider seeing a pediatrician or specialist. Lining up toys alone is not a definitive sign of autism, so it’s vital to consider the entire context of the child’s development.

Is it normal for a 2-year-old to line up their toys?

Yes, it is normal for a 2-year-old to line up their toys. This behavior helps them develop their motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cognitive abilities. It’s a part of their natural developmental process, allowing them to explore their environment and learn about patterns and spatial relationships.

What is the meaning behind the toy lining schema?

The toy lining schema refers to the pattern of behavior in which children line up their toys or other objects. It’s a way for them to make sense of their surroundings and understand patterns, shapes, and spatial relationships. The schema helps improve their thinking, motor skills, and problem-solving, boosting overall intelligence and learning.

How to Improve Children’s Intellectual Abilities?

Here are some tips to boost your child’s intellectual growth:
– Offer a stimulating environment with block play, puzzles, and art.
– Read and narrate stories to enhance vocabulary and imagination.
– Include games in their daily routine to hone problem-solving and planning abilities.
– Celebrate their efforts and achievements to foster a growth mindset.
– Support their hobbies and interests actively.
– Encourage curiosity, questions, and risk-taking to instill a love for learning.
– Beyond intellect, prioritize emotional, social, and physical development for a well-rounded upbringing.

Baby Chewing With Nothing In Their Mouths? Unlock the Truth Here!

Should you be concerned when you find your baby chewing with nothing inside their mouth? Being a parent like you, I wanted to put an end to my constant battle with paranoia – is there something wrong?

In this article, we will go through a complete dive and understand the oral exploration of babies, the possible reasons why they do it, what we should do as parents and many more!

The reason your baby is chewing nothing in their mouth could mean many things, but the most common reasons include building up instincts and habits, they’re exploring, they’re mimicking behavior, they’re relaxing, or they could just being plain hungry.

The website’s general material is given for informative purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. This article has been reviewed by the necessary medical and healthcare professional Margaret Dogwood, BSN, RN we work with. In no way do we claim this a certified medical report.For emergencies, contact your local physician or certified healthcare provider RIGHT AWAY!

Understanding the Baby’s Oral Exploration

Before we dive right into discussing their internal exploration, let us first try and understand what they’re potentially thinking about when they’re chewing – or at least what it means!

Out of all that we can think of, as it turns out, it’s just a normal developmental phase! “Well, I’ll be darned!” will be what you’ll say to how natural it is.

Catch this: Our babies exploring the environment through the mouth is like a tasty little adventure for those tiny taste buds, figuring out what it is they truly want.

Babies use their mouths as little sensory superheroes, gathering all sorts of information about the world around them. It’s like their mouth is their own personal detective, searching for clues through touch, taste, and texture.

Infant expert and researcher, Kristen M. Moyer, M.D., says that they consider their mouths their world because these are comprised of sensory nerves, making them feel more!  

             The sensory nerves in their mouths and lips, on the other hand (pun intended), allow a newborn to truly grasp the nature of an object.”

But what could other reasons be? Is it something to be worried about?

Baby Chewing With Nothing In Their Mouths? 5 Possible Reasons

Don’t panic! If they’re not trying to bite and chew on their tongues, it shouldn’t be a problem! We’ve done due diligence and looked at all possible angles and possibilities on why your baby is chewing even if they have nothing in their mouths!

As a bonus, I’ll also throw something in while they sleep!

Possibility #1: They’re Developing Instincts and Habits  

Most parents don’t notice it, but most babies have a natural need to chew and use their mouths for exploration. It’s encoded into their little systems – like how we complain whenever we get angry!

Kidding aside, I mean, we all have habits and instincts – and that is one of the common scenarios with babies. Think about getting a punch, your basic instinct would be to block that punch, parry, or dodge it. The same thing goes for babies! They just don’t know it yet!

Their instincts take over and they begin chewing even when there is nothing there to gnaw on. It appears as though their little lips perform their long-standing chewing rituals automatically.

Robert Rich Jr., M.D., FAAFP says that this is usually due to the fact that this is the only “survival” instinct that babies know.

             This is a basic instinct for survival. Babies have the skill to find and latch onto a nipple to eat and feed themselves. Like clockwork, the baby will turn their head, open their mouths, and start sucking if you stroke the side of their face with your finger or breast.”

It’s almost like it happens automatically!

Possibility #2: They’re Copycats

I don’t know about you, but when other people see my baby, they say that my baby is like me – after copying and pasting my facial features! Well, in fact, babies are excellent little mimics. They watch everything we do, including how we speak, act, behave, and eat!

Well, they might want to join in the fun if they notice you eating lunch. Even though they don’t have anything in their mouths, it’s like them seeing something they want to copycat, as they mimic what you are doing.

I’ve had a friend who told me a story about their baby constantly (but lightly) chewing on something even when nothing was in their mouth – and then he told me they were having dinner at the time while the baby’s in the activity center, and that’s where it hit!

Reason #3: They are Trying to Explore

When would babies start learning everything around them if they didn’t start it while they were young? In fact, did you know that children who are four to six years old ask an average of 400 questions a day?

And what better way to begin their adventure of discovery than with their mouths? It’s the closest thing to them, and their best friend, especially since it is what feeds them!

Under their lovely button noses, or should I say, snuggled between their gums, it seems like they’re doing a small scientific experiment.

Reason #4: Relaxation and Self-Soothing 

Humans have superpowers, too! It is when we dive deep into the world of self-soothing! It’s truly remarkable how infants instinctively find solace in their own actions. I’m not talking about fantasy powers, though – I’m talking about the magic that the human body has on itself!

DID YOU KNOW: When our little ones sense a danger, inconvenience, and restlessness – or even just a tinge of unease, they often seek refuge and find what they’re looking for in their own mouths!

It’s not uncommon for babies to instinctively turn to this oral haven to seek solace, find respite from their worries, or experience a gentle calming sensation.

They will overall feel calm, tranquil, and comfortability. It’s like their own stress reliever – talk about not finding out about stress balls yet. Therefore, even in the absence of something physical to chew on, they find comfort in the act of eating.

Reason #5: They’re Hungry

Sometimes, overthinking gets the best of us as parents and we forget some of the most obvious things around us. I mean, think about it – why would they imitate a chewing motion? I don’t know about you, but from where I came from, imitating something means that you want it for yourself.

Carissa Stephens, R.N., CCRN, CPN says that babies, especially newborns use nothing but their mouths as hunger cues.

             In truth, a newborn baby’s mouth is where they express their hunger the most. Your baby may also slap their lips or open and close their mouth to signal to you that they are ready to eat, according to WIC Breastfeeding Support.”

As parents, let’s all remember that our babies aren’t born with the same hair – each baby is unique. What that means is that what works for you might just not be the solution other parents are looking for. So, to be sure of your every move, contact your pediatrician right away!

Baby Chewing Motion in Sleep

Have you ever seen your little one move their mouths while they’re deep asleep? It’s fun and cute to watch our babies while they’re sleeping, but, you could be bothered by how they abruptly move their lips and mouths!

Don’t worry, though! Let’s get started and learn more about the intriguing realm of baby sleep! As it is for them, it’s also helpful for parents like us!


Babies dream too, you know! It’s not like their minds are blank in the duration of the most precious time of their day.

Their small minds can paint up all kinds of absurd scenarios while they sleep, and the act of chewing might be a reflection of those vivid dream experiences… or they could just be looking for something to eat!

It seems as though their little jaws are just playing along in dreamland while their imaginations run wild.

Teething Discomfort

Teething is the major turning point that can be both happy and painful. Your kid may experience some discomfort when those tiny pearly whites begin to erupt.

I mean, teeth growing out can be extremely painful, especially for babies and newborn children! So, while they’re sleeping, the chewing motion is actually a way for them to ease and soothe what they’re feeling.

Chewing develops into a natural reaction to ease the tension and calm their sensitive gums. Thus, even while they are sleeping, they want to chew arises, providing them with much-needed relaxation. Should this be the case, Healthline suggests doing natural remedies for your little one!


Reflexes, those uncontrollable behaviors that keep us alert, ahh! Numerous reflexes are present from birth, and some of them can be highly active while a baby is sleeping.

For instance, when their cheeks or mouths are stimulated, newborns’ rooting reflex causes them to turn their heads and chew. So those reflexes can still function even in the domain of dreams.

One of Mayo Clinic’s Pediatricians, Dr. Jay L. Hoecker says that chewing motions during sleep is actually normal and substantially safe for them. Emphasizing on parents not worry about it.

             These motions are a normal aspect of their mouth muscles’ development and shouldn’t worry parents in any way.”

Of course, too much of something is not a good thing, right? So, when are these actions and activities dangerous? When should you, as parents, consider seeking professional medical help?

When To Worry About Baby Chewing With Nothing In Their Mouths?

Being parents, it’s just safe to have limits or points, especially when it comes to the actions of our babies. And while it’s common for infants to chew even when nothing is in their mouths, there are some instances in which it’s best to consult a pediatrician.

It’s crucial for parents to be aware of any warning signs that could point to underlying health problems. So, if your baby is exhibiting any or more of the following, contact your local healthcare professional immediately!

Loss of Appetite or Difficulty in Eating

It’s crucial to see a pediatrician if your infant is showing you any signs of difficulties in feeding like trouble with latching, gagging, choking, or being in pain whenever they’re swallowing.

This is a problem that can be the root of many other problems in the future so don’t hesitate to contact a professional right away.

If, for us adults, these are already problems, what more with our babies? Additionally, these difficulties could point to difficulty with swallowing coordination or oral motor function

Excessive Random Chewing

If your baby starts chewing more frequently, more intensely, or for longer periods of time than usual, this could be a problem. Although chewing can be a type of exploration or soothing mechanism for them, they should not do it for long periods of time.

Moreover, if it starts to upset or interfere with the activities and routine, she’s grown accustomed to, you should definitely go see a pediatrician for it.

Exaggerated Crying

It is equally important to immediately speak to a medical expert about the symptoms that your baby is displaying if it includes extended fits of uncontrollable crying. I don’t know about you, but when I feel like my baby’s cries are too much, I panic and always ring a healthcare practitioner up!

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Parents! Don’t worry! Our team and I listed some of the new parents’ questions about this!

Why Does My Baby Move His Mouth When Sleeping?

While asleep, babies can smack their lips and move their mouths! What this simply means is that they’re either in deep sleep and they’re dreaming about eating or they’re trying to soothe themselves out – it’s natural!

Newborn Baby Chewing With Nothing in Mouth

Don’t fuss and panic when you notice your baby chewing even if they don’t have anything in their mouth! It can be a non-verbal cue that they are hungry and need something to eat, they could be exploring, they could use it as a soothing mechanism, or they could be teething!

Why Does My Baby Act Like He’s Chewing On Something?

The act of “chewing” something even if they don’t have anything in their mouths can actually be a sign of something else. Whether it’s their way of telling you they need something or they’re exploring, they’re looking to be soothed, or they could be teething!

The Bottom Line

It’s usually not something to be afraid of, and it’s definitely non-hazardous, if not excessive. When you see your baby chewing with nothing, it’s usually something about development.

Whether it’s the development of their eating habits or digestion, in their mouths, even with their non-verbal signs, as parents, it is our responsibility to know and be aware of it!