From their first birthday to 18 months old, babies will make huge strides in their development. They’ll go from taking a few unsteady steps to walking confidently. They’ll also start saying at least a few recognizable words.
Both of these developments help children to feel they have more control over their world. The right toys will challenge them to develop more and more skills without being frustratingly difficult.
They are now able to express their emotions, likes and dislikes in a variety of ways: with gestures, hugs, smiles and words. Your little one’s personality will shine through clearly now.
If you pick the right toys for babies of 12 months to 18 months they can happily play alone for longer periods, as long as they feel safe with you somewhere nearby. You may even be able to cook dinner without being interrupted.
Push Along Toys
Children don’t stop wanting to push and pull things just because they can now walk more confidently! They’ll love any child-size imitation of things that mom and dad use, like toy vacuum cleaners, shopping carts like the Melissa and Doug shopping cart, doll baby strollers or toy lawn mowers. Ride-on toys will be a big hit too.
All of these toys help little ones to develop stronger muscles, better balance and co-ordination skills. They’ll also encourage the beginning of imaginative play, as children pretend to go shopping, mow the lawn or whatever.
Educational baby toys 12 months to 18 months can focus on any of a wide range of skills, but language development is one of the most popular. The toys that appeal most to your child will probably still have lights, bright colors and music but they may also talk back to the child and help them to learn more words.
They are now at the age where you can involve them in choosing their own toys, and educational toys are a great place to start because most kids will enjoy some types of educational toy much more than others. However, something that attracts them in the store won’t necessarily keep them interested for very long. You might want to buy something they’ve actually played with at another child’s house.
As they approach 18 months old, children are not really babies any more! They’ll start to appreciate more complex toys, that have a number of different parts and a theme.
Examples are a farm with animals, wooden car or train tracks, a castle like the Princess Songs Palace, a house, car wash etc. They will also start to enjoy playsets that repeat a theme that they see in society or on TV, like a play store or kitchen.
Be sure to still choose toys suitable for under-3s for safety reasons. Although a child of 18 months may seem mature in many ways they are still likely to put things in their mouths, so keep them safe from choking hazards.
This type of play will allow little ones to express their creativity with more and more pretend play. At the same time they are beginning to prepare for life in the wider world by mimicking what their parents and older siblings do.
Next article: Best Baby Toys 9 Months to 12 Months
Published May 27th, 2013