If you’ve been thinking about the best toys for 18 month old kids remember children are absolute sponges when it comes to learning. When you think about all of the major milestones they learn in their first two years of life it really is amazing. Toys are an integral part of that learning process and foster development in your child. The right toys at the right time will bring a lot of joy.
18 month old children are really at a very unique age. They are still babies in many senses of the word but they are also beginning to exhibit some very independent behavior. By this age there are certain things you can use as a base to see that a child is developing normally, or identify when they may not be and seek professional advice.
What they can and can’t do with simple toys and objects is a great indicator for parents and care givers. We may not have a handbook on parenting but there are a solid set of measures used to see your 18 month old has normal development.
Types of Development
Children develop in a few ways as they grow. Here are the major areas:
* Social Skills– how they might act socially and interact with people around them. This can be family, friends, other children, child care providers, and strangers. How they understand and respond to the emotions of others is another important social skill.
* Gross Motor Skills– Take in the major muscle groups that are used to walk, run, sit, stand etc. All of these things they will learn by the age of 18 months. There’s also keeping balance, climbing and moving from one position to another.
* Fine Motor Skills – These include the smaller movement and many hand-eye coordination activities. Using the hands to eat, writing, drawing, get dressed, catch a ball etc.
* Cognitive Skills – This encompasses the brain activities of thinking, memory, problem solving, and reasoning (if you leave the room you are still there and will be back, for example). You could say that all developmental skills rely on the cognitive.
* Language Skills – This area includes not only speech but the body language and gestures in communication with others. It is clear that babies understand a lot more than they can speak to us about and they have many ways of letting us know there needs without speech.
What Should An 18 Month Old Be Capable Of?
Remember that all children can learn differently and thrive in some areas. But there are some ways to ascertain what is known as a normal development for an 18 month old. Once you can understand each of the developmental skill categories and where the average 18 month old should be, then you begin to see clearly which toys are going to be the best for them to learn with.
Toys designed to fulfill their learning needs will keep them satisfied, and advancing normally in their learning journey. The following is a guide and not by any means an exhaustive list, nor meant as professional advice. The list will help you to buy the right toy for this age group.
Motor Skills –Both Gross and Fine
* Enjoys pushing, pulling and dumping things
* Runs with rigid movements and can keep eyes on the ground
* Can turn book pages
* Can stack two blocks on top of each other
* Can remove hats, socks, mittens etc
* Scribbles with crayons and thick pencils
* Walks unaided with good balance
* Identifies an object in a book
* Can laugh at actions they see as funny (using a box as a hat for example)
* Knows something out of sight is still there and looks for it
* Can fit objects the correct shape together (square lid onto a square box)
* Does problem solving which involves trial and error
* Can understand and follow simple directions with one step
Social and Language Skills
* Can seem a little selfish
* Will compete with other children for the toys
* Like to play alone on the floor with toys
* May still be anxious when separating from parents
* Actively looks for attention
* Can use eight to ten words that are said clearly
* Points to objects and uses one word descriptions
* Can play pretend games with adult
* Draw your attention to an object or to an action
* Can place words like Bye, Hi, Please and remembers to use them when prompted
* Can communicate frustration and make a protest
* Will ask for mum or dad in a specific manner
* Can recognize themselves in a mirror or in photographs
Best Toys for the 18 Month Old Child
So now a good picture of educational and developmental toys becomes apparent. With not too much trouble there are many choices available in toys and they don’t have to cost the earth. Just be sure they are sturdy and safe as they are likely to take some banging and crashing together quite often.
Here are a few that come to mind:
* Large blocks
* Toys with wheels that can be pushed and pulled
* Simple hide and seek games
* Shape puzzles and games
* Dolls and soft toys
* Sturdy and colorful books
* Low climbing toys
* Crayons ( but protect your walls)
* Simple dress ups
* Basic role play (kitchen sets, tea party, shops)
* Simple puzzle and problem solving games and activities
Being 18 months old puts your child right into the middle of the toddler toys in the 1-3 years age group. Look for toys by Playskool and Little Tikes.