Toys for 12 to 18 months
Your toddler is really taking off these days -- and as you chase your little runaway down the street yet again, you may miss the days before she learned to use her legs so well. "Active" is the best way to describe her now, and she likes any toy or game that allows her to throw her whole self into it -- balls, swings and little climbing frames to name a few.
Her hands are becoming more coordinated, too, and she can now use shape sorters more efficiently, build even bigger block towers, and scribble a drawing. Her play involves lots of experimentation, such as "What happens if I drop this ball?" or "What happens if pull this lever?" She's very interested in the consequences of her actions, and because her memory isn't well developed she won't tire of repetition. Toddlers also like to try out what they see adults doing, so look for toys that imitate daily life.
Push and pull toys: Heavily weighted push toys can give your beginner something to lean on as she motors around your home. Pull toys are great for more advanced walkers who can look behind them as they move forward: ones that flap, bob up and down, squeak or in any other way catch attention are favourites.Find out more about walking and your toddler.
Sorting and nesting toys: Toddlers love to sort, stack, unsort, unstack, and basically reorganise their lives. Sorting and nesting toys are great fun for those who are trying out their early problem-solving skills.
Climbing frame: A small climbing frame can give your toddler a safe place to climb, hide, slide, and practice all her emerging motor skills -- over and over again. But they can also be pricey and are quickly outgrown.
Balls: Any ball that's easy to grasp will be a hit with this group -- underinflated beach balls, tennis balls, cloth balls. Stay away from foam balls that could end up as a mouthful. This is the age at which you can introduce your child to "catch". Start slowly -- she'll begin to get the back-and-forth rhythm with some practice.
Washable crayons and paper: Let the scribbling begin! Hand your toddler no more than a couple of crayons at a time -- you don't want to overwhelm her -- and tape the paper to the floor so she can make her mark without dragging the paper along with her.
Ride-on vehicles: This mode of locomotion may be even more popular than walking. Many small ride-on toys have handles for an adult to push when the child gets tired. Avoid the electronic versions -- they're expensive and take away from the fun of getting around under your own power.
Tool bench or toy kitchen: Fix-it kids or aspiring chefs will get hours of play out of plastic or wooden models scaled to their size. Toys like these give a child a chance to emulate the things he sees adults doing, and they'll continue to hold his interest for several months as his play gets more sophisticated.
Picture books: Your toddler will enjoy more advanced picture books showing familiar objects and activities. She may also start to take pride in her own library and the chance to pick out a favourite for you to read.