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Toys for Toddlers 18-24 Months Old - My Favorites List

Updated on October 14, 2014

I've seen these toys be tried and true in helping toddlers play, learn and have fun all at the same time

It's mind-boggling how many toddler toys there are on the market. I know it can get overwhelming looking through a toy aisle trying to pick out a great gift for your grandchild, niece, nephew...or even for your own child. There's a lot of cute stuff out there, but if you're like me, you want to focus the purchasing power of your hard-earned dollars on toys your child will actually play with and that won't break after a few weeks.

I love playing with toddlers. Volunteering in my church's childcare program is quite fun for me, and the bonus is that over the years I've seen both through the children in my classes and through my daughter, her cousins and their friends, some great examples of toys that are worth the money and get a lot of use.

To give you some ideas, I want to share my very favorite toys in some general categories of playthings recommended for toddlers 18-24 months (1 1/2 to 2 years) old. These toys consistently get high ranks with parents and children, including my own family and circle of friends, as well as in Amazon reviews.

Here's what gets a toy on my 'favorite things' list:

- Holds child's interest...engages them and invites them to interact

- Fun/Enjoyable

- Durable/Quality Construction

- Age and Developmentally Appropriate

Have fun!

--photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/melalouise/191251537/

How an 18-24 Month Old is Developing and Playing

Knowing where your child is in his or her development, as well what his/her interests are can help you choose the best toys for how they are developing and growing.

I've heard toddlerhood called 'the first adolescence,' in one sense because both stages are about being excited about independence and pushing to see where the limits are. Your 18-24 month old may push you away to try something on his own, only to turn to you for help moments later.

As a result, this age is full of experimentation. She wants to figure out what she can do, so her little hands are all over anything that can be manipulated - knobs, switches, doors, dials and the like. Spinning wheels and bouncing balls can provide great entertainment. Finding a variety of toys that have these appealing factors for your little problem solver to focus on will keep her exploring and testing her abilities in more appropriate places than door locks or DVD player knobs.

You'll see your toddler start imitating what he sees grownups do like holding a phone to their ear or 'driving' with a toy car's steering wheel, and he'll get a big kick out of you taking a 'bite' out of a piece of toy food he offers. On the other hand, the vast majority of children nearing 2 years old aren't able to play cooperatively with other kids their own age yet. Going-on-two year-olds do really well with unstructured play, so give them toys and let them have at it.

In this photo, my daughter's having fun with a musical activity table we got from a toy exchange. Read further down to learn about more great musical toys for 18-24 month olds.

--photo credit: BunnyFabulous - my daughter BunnyJunior enjoying her activity table. It's an older Chicco model that she happened to love, but I don't think it's available any more. Bummer.

Blocks for 18-24 Month Olds - Sorting, stacking and manipulating blocks helps build your toddler's growing motor and organizational skills. Large blocks can bec

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks - 40 Blocks in 3 Sizes
Melissa & Doug Jumbo Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks - 40 Blocks in 3 Sizes
These Melissa and Doug bricks are sturdy enough to take a beating from rough and tumble toddler play. Different sizes and colors stimulate creative building and sorting. The set in my church's toddler childcare area gets heavy use each week with kids delightedly building and knocking down, and the blocks still look great.
 

More Highly-Rated Toys for Toddlers' Pretend Play - The vast majority of Fisher Price's Laugh and Learn toys are well-designed for lots of toddler fun and skill

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Say Please Tea Set
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Say Please Tea Set
A cute tea set with a shape-sorting snack plate to delight young tea party-goers. My best friend's daughter started getting into learning her manners from the phrases the sweet little teapot says.
 

One of my daughter's favorite things to do at 22 months was ride her balance bike

One of my daughter's favorite things to do at 22 months was ride her balance bike
One of my daughter's favorite things to do at 22 months was ride her balance bike

Good Books for Toddlers 18 to 24 Months - Your child has figured out more connections between what you say and what's going on in a story. When you read to your

Go, Dog Go (I Can Read It All By Myself, Beginner Books)
Go, Dog Go (I Can Read It All By Myself, Beginner Books)
At this stage, toddlers can handle slightly more complex pictures, so bring out Go, Dog. Go! I loved this one as a child, and my daughter followed suit. There are all sorts of dog activities, colors, motions and the toddler-appropriate suspense of wondering where the dogs are going. We enjoy talking about all the activities at the crazy dog party at the end of the book. You'll find yourself repeating lots of lines from this one...'Do you like my hat?', etc. Another bonus...it's a good one for explaining what we do at bedtime. I told my daughter that at bedtime we go to sleep and sleep all night just like the dogs.
 

More Great Books for Toddlers This Age - You really can't go wrong with any of these choices; all tried and true favorites. I dare you not to get any of the cut

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic
We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Anniversary Edition of a Modern Classic
Can't tell you how many times I've read this book with my child. The sound effects of a father leading his children off to look for a bear through grass, a river, a forest and more are addicting to little kids, and the repetitive nature of the story helps them follow the whimsical plot. There's a silly chase at the end with more sound effects for a satisfying ending.
 
Freight Train Board Book: A Caldecott Honor Award Winner (Caldecott Collection)
Freight Train Board Book: A Caldecott Honor Award Winner (Caldecott Collection)
An enjoyable book for toddlers and parents alike. It's hard to get tired of reading this one about a train's journey through the city, the country, day and night. The colored train cars are illustrated clearly and labeled with their proper types, much to the delight of children gathering new words and knowledge. Our library's storytime for toddlers uses this book on a regular basis for a good reason. It's a quality book that kids love.
 
The Napping House (Board book)
The Napping House (Board book)
So many of our friends own this charming, funny book and enjoy it with their toddlers. The illustrations are detailed and the colors exemplify the time of day along with the story. It's a rhyming, cumulative story (think 'The old lady who swallowed the fly') that has a grandma, child, dog, etc. sleeping all piled up and then a wakeful flea hilariously rousts everyone from bed. An excellent read for bedtime, naptime or any time of day.
 
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