Toys play a very important role in toddler development and choosing the right toys can be a little confusing to new moms. I have tried to list down a few toys here which we have loved over the past one year and which I feel also have learning value to them.
Here are my picks for top 10 must have toys for the age range 1- 2 year old.
- Nesting and Stacking toys :
I do not generally recommend plastic toys but this set is one of those toys which has been proven to be a great pick. I had got this set of nesting and stacking toys when Raisha was around 3 months old. This one is high on my recommendation list, Raisha has played with it for the longest time and we still use them. The nesting eggs and cups are great to carry along as they take very less space. These can be used in a number of different ways like for nesting, as bath toys and the cups can be used for stacking. This is a toy which is going to grow with the baby and will last long.
Another stacking toy I would recommend for a slightly older child is something like the one above, link. 1 year old kids will show interest in stacking items one over the other, at around 18 months they can start stacking with blocks of same sizes or play with stackers like these. Playing with stacking toys help enhance hand eye coordination, enhance logical thinking capability, teaches spatial awareness, improves fine motor skills to name a few benefits.
- Puzzles and shape sorters :
Start with basic shape sorters or chunky puzzles like these. There are a lot of variety in these board puzzles: Ones which make sound, peg puzzles, simple shape sorting ones. You can buy a couple of these in different variants. We love the chunky ones better than the rest.
We have started with the alphabet puzzle now at 22 months. Here is the link I bought it from.
You can also check this Shape and Number House by Shumee, it has got variety of options of play in a single toy.
Once they have mastered these, you can introduce 2 piece jigsaw puzzles like the ones below.
Highly recommend getting animals-baby or alphabet – word puzzles as the little ones can understand and connect them better.
- Magic slate or colored pens :
We have loved this magic slate and would highly recommend getting one of these. These help the little ones with their creative skills without really causing any mess.
Give them some colored pens and a sheet of paper and this will keep them busy for quite sometime. The colored pens that we have are washable, so I don’t have to worry about the colors getting on her clothes. Check and get age appropriate colors as even at this age, they tend to put everything in their mouth.
- Flash Cards:
Great for teaching them anything, be it animals, vehicles, numbers, alphabets etc. Make sure the cards are made up of sturdy cardboard, so that the little ones cannot rip them off. I have different sets from Shifu
- Rocking horse:
A classic toy. Even I had this when I was little, so it definitely has some memories with it 🙂 This has by far been my best investment and is played with at least 4 times in a day in our house. I would strongly recommend getting this traditional toy and your little one will love you for this. This has been her most favorite toy so far, she would never ever refuse to sit on it and never gets bored of it. Love it!
Another favorite in the house. Get one of these for your toddler, they will have great fun hitting and seeing the balls pop. This needs adult supervision, the one we have is quite heavy, but is recommended for 18 months plus anyways.
- Fishing game:
This is played with at least once in a day here. Trying to catch the fishes with the magnetic rod helps enhance their fine motor skills, thinking and concentration. With the kind we have, I call out a specific color and she tries to catch the fish of that particular color. A great toy for your toddler again which also helps with color recognition, color sorting.
- Building blocks:
Get them a Lego or a Megabloks set and see how it keeps them busy for a considerable amount of time. Check my post here to help you decide which one to choose.
- Baby doll /Soft toy:
When your child is 1 year plus, it is the right time to get them those dolls or soft toys. I don’t think younger babies are even interested in soft toys. It is just recently that my 1.5 year old has started pretend play and has started enjoying playing with her doll and soft toys. This is the doll she plays with the most and treats it like her baby, we got it from Hamley’s. I intend to get her a bigger doll when she is 2 plus, for now my little baby is happy playing with this little baby doll which seems to be of the right size for her little hands now.
- Beading and lacing:
Around 1.5 years of age Raisha started showing interest in these beading and lacing activities. Again they are great to enhance their fine motor skills, concentration and problem solving skills. The beading one is little more challenging even for a 20 months old, but I would recommend getting these.
Both are from firstcry, cannot find the link for lacing toy but you can check the beading toy here
My tip while selecting a toy would be to look for toys that can be used in multiple ways. This can help reduce clutter, save money and also will last longer due to the various ways they can be played with.
I tried to curate this list among the toys I have here in Belgium and it was difficult to list only 10 top toys. Balls and playdoh also should have been among the top toys, but I wanted to keep the list to only 10.
I hope this has helped you to get some idea about what toys you can choose for your kids. Do share in the comments if you feel there are any toys I have left out and I would be more than happy to try out your recommendations.