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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.

Bouncing Toy - The vast majority of toddlers I know love to bounce. It develops their balance, large motor skills and coordination, and is just plain fun.

Trumpette Howdy Cow Kids Inflatable Bouncy Rubber Hopper Ride-On Toy White
Trumpette Howdy Cow Kids Inflatable Bouncy Rubber Hopper Ride-On Toy White

Not only is this soft-rubber cow completely adorable, it's phthalate and latex-free. Once a child figures out that Howdy bounces, it's pretty much irresistible. My daughter is a bouncing addict, so this is perfect for her. I also love that the cow's ears and horns make natural handles. If you have more than one child, be prepared to have more than one Howdy Cow to prevent conflict.

 

...And If You Have The Space for a BIG Toy - What toddler wouldn't want to get this mini indoor bounce house?

My Bouncer Little Castle Bounce Ball Pit Popper with Non-Toxic Puncture Resist Nylon Material
My Bouncer Little Castle Bounce Ball Pit Popper with Non-Toxic Puncture Resist Nylon Material

This would be my daughter's dream present. If we got this for her, she'd be over the moon, and probably tire herself out every day for a great naptime. It's designed to fit in smaller indoor spaces, but it still takes up more room than your typical toy. So, if you've got a decent size playroom or basement, this mini bounce house has gotten fantastic reviews from parents about ease of setup and how much fun their children have. It's phthalate-free too. Or, if you're really wanting to go for the gusto, this company has larger bounce houses available too. I know a set of neighbors who've bought a bounce house together and let all the kids play in it. Just an idea. ;)

 

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.

 

Toys for Toddlers' Pretending Fun - Toddlers this age love imitating what they see their parents doing, so toy brooms, shopping carts, tea sets, mowers, kitchen

Step2 Little Helper's Kids Grocery Cart
Step2 Little Helper's Kids Grocery Cart

It's got solid, durable construction, but is still easy to maneuver for kids in this age group. My daughter took her stuffed animals 'shopping' quite a bit and enjoyed piling all sorts of things into the large basket. She has a toy stroller too, but the grocery cart tends to get more use between her play food and zooming her baby dolls and play animals around. The 'kids' seat is a good size for many dolls or stuffed toys, and there's even an extra storage area underneath. I like that there aren't any holes in the basket for play food, blocks, or other little treasures to fall out.

 

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.

 
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Screen Laptop

I wish this new little laptop was around when my daughter was just becoming aware of our computers. She was sooooo into ours, and she would have been entertained by one where she could really make stuff happen, and I would have been delighted not to have little fingerprints and crumbs all over my keyboard.

 

Hot Toddler Gift Idea - Yes, LEGO DUPLO blocks are a classic. There's a reason: they're just plain fun. These sets are among the most popular and highly reviewe

LEGO Bricks and More DUPLO My First Build 4631
LEGO Bricks and More DUPLO My First Build 4631

My daughter got this set as a gift, and it's a lot of fun for us to play with together. The beauty of this particular set is the cards that show kids and adults how to build some simple structures from the blocks. They're easy to follow, and give kids lots of ideas. She liked that there's a person figure and a dog, a wheeled block for making cars, some play food pieces and a gas station. Easy to combine building and pretend play. The food is a little random...it's a huge loaf of bread and then some meat on a grill, but this ended up being a springboard for my family's silliness during playtime.

 

Musical Instrument toys - Your toddler probably already loves music and trying out different noises, so this is a great time for toy musical instruments. Whethe

Parents Magazine Bee Bop Band Play & Learn Drum & Instruments
Parents Magazine Bee Bop Band Play & Learn Drum & Instruments

The big drum can store all the colorfully fascinating bug instruments for this appealing set. One of my daughter's friends gets loads of use out of hers and especially enjoys the jingle bell ant and the shakey eggs. I like that the drum is loud enough to satisfy toddlers' noisemaking desires, but still not too much for parents' ears...a big plus for when your child's into drumming. All the instruments are a great size for little hands and feature a good variety of textures too.

 

Balance Bikes for 18 Month Olds and Up - This confidence-building, alternative to a tricycle has great appeal to 18-24 month olds --they can ride their own 'big

Strider ST-2 PREbike Balance Running Bike, Green
Strider ST-2 PREbike Balance Running Bike, Green

There's so much to love about this bike. My daughter got one at 22 months and it's been one of her very favorite toys. The seat and handlebars adjust for kids from 18 months to 5 years. Talk about a toy that lasts! It's very durable and stands up to what young children can dish out; ours is still looking great. You may not think that's a big deal until your child decides that he or she has had enough of riding and you're 6 blocks from home. The tires look like they're inflatable, but they're actually a spongy but very durable plastic. They give a good ride, but there's no maintenance.

 

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 (Caldecott Collection)
Freight Train Board Book (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.

 

What Toys Are Tops With Your Kids? - What do the children or grandchildren in your life like to play with the most? Brag about your child's favorite toys and te

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    • samojonno profile image

      samojonno 4 years ago

      My son likes his play keyboard, microphone and drumkit. I guess its the voice changing effect of the 'mike' and the mum and dad annoyance effect of the drums that he loves!

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 4 years ago from Kentucky

      My 1 year old son loves his piano play mat still, and hes just starting to play with the mega blocks we bought :) Loved your article! Great ideas :)

    • Alschaner profile image

      Alschaner 4 years ago

      Great list! I love the bouncy cow - LOL. My 18-month-old adores her baby doll and has just discovered coloring and stickers.

    • freecoolstuff4u profile image

      freecoolstuff4u 4 years ago

      great lens, my child approves

    • profile image

      DanatheScribe 5 years ago

      My 2 year old nephew LOVES the large Legos. He will play with them ALL day. He also enjoys musical toys. Great choices for toys for this age group.

    • Synergise2011 LM profile image

      Synergise2011 LM 5 years ago

      My sons favourite toy at the moment is his balance bike. I just wrote a lens about it.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I noticed girls prefer all sorts of dolls and boys like all sorts of bricks. It is obvious even at this early age.

    • reginaaj2gerica profile image

      reginaaj2gerica 5 years ago

      My granddaughter loves to play with toys that play music.

    • opatoday profile image

      opatoday 5 years ago

      Your lenses are grandparent approved :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @pawpaw911: Hahaha Truth!

    • vegan3k profile image

      vegan3k 5 years ago

      Really great picks on the toys for toddlers

    • rooshoo profile image

      rooshoo 5 years ago

      My cousins love Legos and balls.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 6 years ago

      The blocks are my kids top toys! Great lens! :]

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 6 years ago

      Cars, always cars :)

    • kellypr83 profile image

      kellypr83 6 years ago

      puzzles! my 19 month old can't get enough of them :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      We prefer balls, books

    • catherinelovestv profile image

      catherinelovestv 6 years ago

      kids were not fussed with megabloks but they loved playdough, playhouses and those bubble cars, anything they could push around the room!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I love your reasons why a toy is a top pick, its all fun from there on! I love toys that inspire imagination, what amazing development occurs at 18-24 months. You are so right about that independent dependence, its just part of the fun!

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      My youngest is happy with anything her older siblings are playing with. We prefer balls, books, and blocks.

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 6 years ago

      Anything I tell them not to play with.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 7 years ago

      have thumbs up on me!!

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 7 years ago

      Little People playsets and figures.

    • SquidooMBA profile image

      SquidooMBA 7 years ago

      My daughter loves the Sweeping Sam broom. She doesn't even realize how helpful she is with cleaning!

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