Toddler Lining Up Toys: Is It A Sign Of Intelligence?

If you notice a young child lining up and organizing their toys, you might find yourself asking what it could mean. Some people believe this could be a positive sign, indicating intelligence and growth, but is this really true? 

Lining up toys is perfectly normal behavior, and many kids tend to do this every so often. While this behavior may indicate that the child is on a healthy growth path, lining up toys definitely isn’t a surefire predictor of future intelligence. 

That being said, there are many different theories surrounding the behavior of children, and what it might indicate about their future habits, personality, and intelligence. Curious to learn more? Then check out the rest of this article for more!

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Why Do Toddlers Line Up Toys?

There are many different things that could cause a toddler to line up their toys, and many of these reasons are simply related to normal childhood development. As children get older, they start to learn and get a sense of how things in their environment fit together. They will start to recognize the shapes, colors, and textures present in the world around them! 

That can be very interesting to a toddler, and just like us adults, they want to find a way to interact with all of this stuff! That’s why many toddlers take to organizing their toys, it gives them a way to interact with the environment in a meaningful way, creating patterns, and recognizing how to create order out of the things surrounding them.

Surely these tendencies are important in the development of a child, and thus serve as some kind of indicator of development. Lining up toys can also indicate some other tendencies, these can include: 

  • Pattern recognition behaviors 
  • They enjoy creating patterns 
  • Seeing cause and effect
  • Learning organizational skills 

Some theories tend to emphasize the importance of this behavior as indicating intelligence, and some others use it as a precursor to potentially indicate autism. Neither of these situations is 100% infallible, but to give more context we will cover each of these theories in greater detail below. 

Lining Up Toys As A Sign Of Intelligence

While most of the time lining up toys shouldn’t be considered anything more than a sign of proper developmental growth, some consider this behavior to be a predictor of future or current intelligence. Intelligence is often judged by how quickly a child can learn things, but it is also worth paying attention to how they interact and play with their toys. 

A toddler who has fallen into the tendency of lining up toys may be doing so as a form of play practiced through organization and recognition of patterns. Some also consider this to be the ability to plan and think ahead through organizing. 

Others believe that all children will likely go through a phase of lining up their toys, regardless of their intelligence. Some believe that this is a behavior most children should express by age 2. This might make you feel like you should seek out this behavior, or encourage it, but rest assured that this is not necessary, and your child should do it on their own. 

Is Lining Up Toys A Sign Of Autism?

Some experts also believe that lining up toys may be a sign the child is autistic. Most often, lining up toys should not lead you to suspect that your child is autistic and the majority of cases will prove otherwise. Still, depending on the specifics of their tendencies in combination with other factors, this behavior could potentially be related to autism. 

All children develop at different rates, but if you notice that your child continues to line up toys into preschool or further, this could possibly be a sign they are having trouble socializing, or are a bit of a late bloomer. It could also potentially be an indicator that they are on the autism spectrum. 

The behavior surrounding toys should not be the only way that you determine this, and more often temperament is a better indicator. If the child tends to be obsessive and extremely repetitious, it may be a warning sign. This is more likely if the child is consistently more focused on the act of lining up rather than ever actually playing with the toys. 

Just as a reminder, I want to be thorough in pointing out that lining up toys should absolutely not be the primary way you intend to identify if your child is autistic. For this, we always recommend seeking the help of a professional doctor who is able to properly screen your child and then provide them with the appropriate care. 

What Toys Measure Intelligence?

If you are interested in helping to gauge and encourage your child’s intellectual development, there are some toys that were designed with cognitive engagement in mind. One of the best examples of this kind of toy is blocks/building toys. These are great not only for aiding fine motor skills but are also excellent for creative problem-solving. 

Some toys that you can consider buying for your kid that might help to develop their curiosity and intellect are:

  • Lincoln Logs 
  • Lego 
  • K’nex
  • Magna-Tiles 
  • Foam Blocks

How Do You Know If Your Child Is Intelligent?

Some misguidedly believe that intelligence is predetermined through genetic factors, but this is far from true. Intelligence can be developed and expanded over time, especially when it is nurtured, rewarded, and encouraged. 

There are many different ways that individuals can be intelligent. Some people are able to work wonders with their words and create beautiful images with brush and paint, and others are naturally great at crunching numbers. Each of these skills requires drastically different sets of skills, but generally certain characteristics are recognized as indicating intelligence. 

These are: 

  • Curiosity 
  • Problem-solving skills 
  • Memory 
  • Creativity 
  • Communication 
  • & much much more

Intelligence is a broad category that can include many different kinds of skills and abilities, too many to include just here. Everybody has that special something, it’s just a matter of giving them the time, space, and resources to bloom. 


Children organizing their toys shouldn’t be a cause for concern, it is most likely just an expression of their natural development as curious little humans. If you notice your children showing this behavior, try not to make any assumptions about what it could mean, and if you are concerned for any reason, talk to your pediatrician for help. 

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