Now that your little one is 18 months old, you’re officially out of the baby phase. With this transition into the toddler years, you can finally get rid of all those
big, bulky baby toys and start making space in your home for toys for 18-month-olds. Between ride-on toys, shape sorters, counting toys, and simple puzzles, there are a lot of fun options to pick from. What to consider before shopping for toys for 18-month-olds
Shopping for the best toys for 18-month-olds can be a bit tricky because it’s this fuzzy age between baby and little kid. At this age, kids are usually too old for a lot of standard baby toys, but also still too young for many
preschool toys. To help with this, the first thing to do is always check the recommended age for a toy you’re considering. If it says it’s best for kids aged 3 and up, then it’s likely too advanced for an 18-month-old. Similarly, if it’s incredibly simple and made for newborns, then a toddler possibly won’t find it very fun and engaging.
At 18 months old, toddlers are usually walking and “will try to play with anything that they can get their hands on,” says pediatrician Dr.
Dyan Hes, M.D., which means they’ll be overjoyed with just about any toy you offer them (and it also means if you haven’t baby proofed already, now is the time). “Many kids love the pretend vacuum at this age,” she says, “[and] they also love musical instruments like toy xylophones, keyboards, and tiny toy guitars.” Other toys she suggests include shape sorters, matching games, and large puzzles.
Another tool you can use to help you find the best toys for 18-month-olds is the
milestone chart from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here, you can get a better idea of what most 18-month-olds are able to do, such as: Follow simple, one-step directions Scribble Independently climb on and off a couch or other piece of furniture Walk without having to hold on to anything or anyone Mimic some behaviors, like doing chores Drink from a cup Play with toys in a simple way such as pulling a tug toy, pushing a car, or pressing buttons
If you want to see what skills an 18-month-old is working towards, you can also take a look at the
CDC’s milestone chart for 2-year-olds which includes things like kicking a ball, trying to use switches and knobs, and running.
Now that you know what to look for, here are some of the best toys for 18-month-olds to consider.
We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article. 1 A silly bath toy Pros: Fun to play with as a ring toss game or just in general. Cons: Some younger toddlers may have trouble tossing the rings onto the tentacles.
Safe for children as young as 18 months old, this little toy is fun to play with in the tub, in a water table, a pool, or any other body of water. The octopus is designed to float on the water with its tentacles pointed up as targets for a fun ring toss game. There are three rings included in the set, one a traditional ring shape, one fish-shaped, and one star-shaped. This toy is great for developing hand-eye coordination and is easy to clean with some soap and water.
Review: “Awesome toy for bath time. My baby loves it. It doesn't let any water get in it, so it doesn't get moldy inside. The material is similar to silicone, so it's easy on baby's gums when he chews it and no risk of it hurting him when he kicks around in the tub! Totally recommend!” 2 A colorful stacking toy Pros: Helps with spatial awareness, cognitive development, and color and number identification. Cons: A battery is required for the small topper cup.
This set comes with 10 stacking cups, each in a different color with a number and symbol printed on it. When they’re placed upside down, they stack up like a tower, and when they’re placed with the open side up, they nest together. The set also comes with a bonus cup that features a little animal that lights up and plays music. Each cup also has a pattern on the bottom, which makes them great for playing in the sand, and the set is safe for toddlers as young as 6-months-old.
Review: “This is by far the best stacking cups toy we have found. The little “cat” as my toddlers call it is a HUGE hit. It plays little celebration sounds and lights up when you complete the tower and my kids just love it. Plus it’s not an obnoxiously loud or shrill [toy].” 3 Their first xylophone Pros: Plastic, so it’s lightweight. The hammer mallet is tethered to the instrument. Cons: Some customers say the string connecting the mallet and instrument is too short, a battery is required.
Most children of all ages love toys that make sound. The Fisher-Price xylophone is a classic. It’s plastic and lightweight enough to trek around from room to room, doesn’t have sharp corners which can inadvertently hurt a child, and sits at a higher height than some kids xylophones (so your child doesn’t have to bend over as much), and the smartest design element is the string that keeps the mallet tethered to the xylophone. The wheels allow the child to push it around like a car as well.
Review: “Our favorite 13 month old loves this! Durable and can withstand the hitting! One draw back is the cord that connects the drumstick from the xylophone is too short. Should be longer.” 4 A fun dump truck Pros: Two of the three play modes are manual (so they don’t require batteries) and the toy features volume control. Cons: Flashing lights and sounds may be overwhelming for some.
There are several ways little ones can play with this dump truck. It has a string attached to the front, so it can be used as a basic pull toy, it comes with three balls that can be placed in the back of the truck and “dumped” out, and it features buttons along the side that play different sounds including music, phrases, and more. The toy requires two AAA batteries (included) and is made for kids between 6 and 36 months old.
Review: “My 18-month-old received this as a gift. He loves pulling it along behind himself. The "rocks" take a little effort to push through from the top of the truck and he occasionally gets frustrated by that. But he'll just toss them directly into the bucket and go on his merry way. The sound has two levels and plays the typical VTech songs and sounds. Cute little toy, great for gift giving (as long as it's going to a family that isn't anti-noisy toy)!” 5 A Little People food truck Pros: Three-piece set with interactive elements. Cons: Children might need some help opening and closing the truck.
With this set, kids get their very own food truck as well as two little worker figurines. The truck’s side opens up to create a little table and chair set and gives plenty of space for the figurines to fit inside to serve up food. Inside the truck, there’s a taco tray button as well as another button on the driver’s seat that each plays music and says fun phrases.
Review: “My two-year-old loved it immediately. I usually hate singing/talking toys, but the Little People one's don't bother me as much as some other lines and brands. The songs are cute. The truck is cute. He doesn't do enough quiet, imaginative play to warrant an elaborate setup so this was the perfect affordable, small item to fulfill his role-playing needs in a new way. Oh yeah, and it's sturdy. He's a rough kid and even though this opens up I haven't seen any damage from him or his baby brother. (It's been a little over a month).” 6 A hedgehog puzzle Pros: It’s affordable and adorable. It doesn’t take up a lot of space. Cons: There are a lot of small pieces you need to keep track of.
Over 35 thousand customers have reviewed Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog from Learning Resources from Amazon and rated it 5 stars. The plastic quills can be stored underneath the hedgehog’s back when not in use. While playing with this toy, toddlers hone fine motor skills and can practice counting and color identification. Even after your child has outgrown the toy, it’s a cute decorative piece to display in their room.
Review: “This is a cute little learning toy. I have 2 grandsons- 17 months & 9 months old. My younger one likes teething on the “spikes” & putting his finger in the holes. Eventually he’ll start learning colors and counting how to put the spikes in the back. My older grandson was putting spikes in and out the minute I put it on the floor in front of him. We will continue with learning the colors and counting the spikes. It’s a great staple learning toy.” 7 A book of first words Pros: Huge library of words pronounced in both English and Spanish. Cons: Thin pages may be difficult for toddlers to turn until they strengthen their fine motor skills.
At 18 months old, toddlers are still working on building their vocabulary, and this electronic book is filled with more than 100 new words for them to hear and learn (in both English and Spanish). It features several pages of categories including colors, opposites, animals, food, mealtime, pets, and more, and it’s interactive with touch-activated pages. Two AA batteries are required (and included) and once your child makes their way through this book, there are several more available for purchase.
Review: “What a great learning toy! My little boy loves it. It’s (light)touch sensitive and his little fingers don’t have to press it too hard. He already knows 75% of the words but hasn’t lost interest in it yet.” 8 An egg puzzle Pros: Toddlers can practice hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills matching and assembling the pieces. It’s affordable. Cons: Because pieces are on the smaller side, it’s easy to lose them.
This egg puzzle set can be enjoyed throughout the toddler years and beyond. Younger toddlers can practice nestling whole eggs into each pocket, and as they finesse their fine motor skills, practice matching the various shapes and colors within each egg while learning how to identify each shape and color. It’s only 11.2 inches long (about the size of an actual egg carton), making it easy-to-store. It’s a classic toddler toy that can be used for generations, provided you keep track of the pieces. It has a near-perfect, 5-star rating on Amazon.
Review: “This is the one toy that my picky and easily bored 2 year old continues to play with. I like that it keeps her busy for a while when she picks it up. The pieces are durable, different colors, and different shapes.” 9 A Frozen ice skating set Pros: It’s a really good price for a Disney toy. Cons: There is not any music or sounds with this toy (which might be a pro for some).
Kids between 18 months and 5 years old can safely play with this
Frozen Little People set that includes a palace ice skating rink, an Anna figurine, and an Elsa figurine. Anna and Elsa “ice skate” when they’re placed on snowflake pegs and moved around with a little pull handle that’s sized for small hands. Along the castle walls, Olaf and Sven are also visible, and there is a frozen swing that the figurines can sit on. Review: “I really only bought this for the Elsa and Anna figures but my 4 and 2 year play with this for about an hour a day with their various Little People princesses, which is well worth the money!” 10 A LEGO Duplo set Pros: LEGOs are great for open-ended play and strengthening fine motor skills, and this particular set builds into a fun push-toy. Cons: Not all 18-month-olds have strong enough motor skills to effectively push LEGO blocks together, so adult help may be needed.
LEGO Duplo blocks are safe for kids as young as 18 months, and this set comes together to create a fun, colorful train. The set includes 23 pieces including blocks with the numbers 0-9 on them, a train, two figurines, and a pet. After the train has been built, the LEGO blocks can be used to build up any other design the child can think up.
Review: “My toddler loves playing with this toy. They spend 30 min chunks absolutely absorbed in building and playing with the pieces. Works well with other Lego products.” 11 A counting piggy bank Pros: Helps strengthen fine motor skills, teaches kids how to count, and offers different stages of play for increased difficulty. Cons: It’s a pretty noisy toy.
Great for getting tots familiar with counting and number identification, this toy comes with ten coins that slide into the piggy bank, triggering the bank to count as each one falls in. It features a button on the nose that plays songs and says phrases when it’s pushed, and it has different “stage” settings so that it increases in difficulty level as kids get older. Children will strengthen their fine motor skills as they tuck the coins into the slot on the bank and can watch through the little window on the side as the coins fall into the piggy’s tummy.
Review: “Bought this for my 17-month-old. Right away he loved it and weeks later still does. Very cute. Has several cute songs and phrases. Has a level 1 and level 2 switch that counts in English and Spanish. Both levels are enjoyable. My son loves to push its nose and hear it sing! He also loves to put the coins in the slot and stays entertained for at least 30 minutes if not an hour. A great educational toy for my little one!” 12 A gear-spinning caterpillar Pros: Great toy for hand-eye coordination and fine motor skill development. Cons: There’s really only one way to play with this toy.
With this toy, toddlers get a wood “caterpillar” base and six colorful interlocking gears that all move together when one is spun. The gears are interchangeable and the board is designed with sturdy pegs so that it’s easy for little hands to move the gears around to create different patterns.
Review: “I will be getting more of these for birthday gifts for my friends because of how durable, educational, and interactive this set is. Definitely a great toy that encourages learning at a great price point with durable materials.” 13 A set of toy cars Pros: Includes a carrying tote to stow the toys away in when they’re not being used. Cons: Since the bag unfolds for play, it uses velcro to stay closed, so it may start to give way with regular wear and tear.
According to the CDC, push cars are some of the best toys for 18-month-olds. This set comes with six vehicles that are sized for toddlers. Vehicles include an airplane, police car, rocket ship, regular car, garbage truck, and construction truck. When the cars aren’t being played with, they can be stowed away in the included tote bag, and when kids are playing with the cars, the bag unfolds to turn into a little roadway mat.
Review: “My little boy loves these. We have one for the car and one to play. The [cars] are small enough that I’ll throw one or two in the diaper bag for doctors appts or lunch dates and they will keep him happily occupied.” 14 A talking & singing vacuum Pros: Offers age-appropriate play and a fun design. Cons: The “vacuuming” sound could be too loud for some.
Toddlers can imitate grown-ups with this talking and singing vacuum. It’s sized for kids between 12 and 36 months old and has an adjustable design so little ones can tilt it at just the ring angle for themselves. When it’s switched “on” the toy makes a vacuuming sound, and when it’s switched “off” kids can push buttons on the vacuum that play music and say different phrases.
Review: “This is very durable my little has run into walls and dropped it and it hasn’t [broken]. It also looks like an adult vacuum. It has switches and music sounds it is very fun. Great item for your learning little.” 15 A singing CoComelon doll Pros: Plays different songs and clips from the show (con for some) and is (mostly) soft for snuggling at bedtime. Cons: It’s spot clean only. Toddlers who love will enjoy this JJ bedtime plush doll. The doll is dressed in footie pajamas and is carrying a little teddy bear. When you squeeze its tummy, it either sings or says something (there are seven sounds total), including the “Yes Yes Bedtime” song. CoComelon Review: “My son will NOT put him down. JJ doesn’t do a whole lot - a song, a giggle, etc - but it’s enough to keep my son happy and entertained. I have a feeling this little guy will be dragged along with us everywhere we go for quite some time.” 16 A colorful tea set Pros: Encourages good manners and comes with a variety of accessories to play with. Cons: The pieces can easily go missing since there’s nowhere to store them when they’re not being played with.
Tots can have a fun tea party with this set that includes a teapot, two cups, a serving tray, a sugar cup, a spoon, and five pastry treats. The “magic” teapot lights up whenever it’s tipped to fill up a cup and it also has a button that plays more than 30 sounds including songs and phrases that will help introduce toddlers to colors, numbers, shapes, and more.
Review: “This is such a cute interactive tea set. Both my youngest really enjoy playing with it. I like the different modes the tea pot has and the pouring sound when you actually pour is awesome. We enjoy using the cookies and tray as a puzzle as well.” 17 A push bulldozer Pros: There are multiple ways to play with this toy. Cons: The balls have the potential to create a mess (or get misplaced).
This bulldozer toy comes with four plastic balls that pop out as the truck is pushed along, fall into the front shovel, and can then be dumped back into the truck for looping fun. It also features a variety of buttons that light up, play music, and say different phrases with the objective to introduce colors, numbers, and more.
Review: “This product is really great quality. My son loves to play with it. Lots of play options and buttons to push. Comes with 4 balls and no assembly required. Highly recommend this product.” 18 A talking picnic Pros: Offers two ways to sort/match shapes. Cons: There are a lot of pieces that can easily get lost.
Made for children between 6 months and 4 years old, this basket comes with 15 pieces and offers several ways to play. The basket itself lights up, talks, sings, introduces colors, numbers, and shapes, and features a shape sorter on the top. Inside the basket are a set of two cups, forks, and plates, a little picnic blanket (about the size of a cloth napkin), and several pieces of food in different shapes. It requires three AA batteries (included), and when it’s not being played with, all of the toys tuck away nicely into the basket for easy cleanup.
Review: “This toy seriously needs to get 6 stars. I need to upload a video of my toddler playing with it. (A toddler who gets bored of every single toy in 2 minutes!!) it’s a very fun, educational, and smart toy that keeps my toddler occupied for hours..I love love love this toy.” 19 A t-ball set Pros: Good for gross motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, and concentration. Cons: There’s always the risk of injury when little ones are swinging objects.
This classic toy is sized just right for toddlers to learn how to play t-ball. It comes with a plastic bat, a stand, and five plastic balls for batting practice. When the toy isn’t being played with, it folds down compactly with enough room to store the “T,” the bat, and all of the balls. While you may want to keep it outside to avoid potential damage to the house, this toy is technically safe for indoor and outdoor use.
Review: “I bought this as a present for my son's 2nd birthday. I'm very satisfied with it and my son loves is. Even though it is made of plastic and is pretty lightweight, it stays upright when he swings at the ball. I also appreciate that it came with 5 balls because this gives him an opportunity to take multiple swings before having to collect them. Also, the bat is lightweight so he can hold it up and swing, but it is made of strong material so he can't damage it - even hitting it against the brick house!” 20 A car & garage set Pros: This toy doesn’t light up, make sounds, or require batteries (con for some). Cons: It’s somewhat large, so difficult to store away when it’s not in use.
This set is made for kids between 18 months and 5 years old and is packed with fun ways to play. It comes with two cars that fit into the multi-level garage that features an elevator, parking spots, a twisty ramp, a bell, a gas pump, and a little parking arm for the cars to drive through. While the set only comes with two cars, there are a variety of other Little People brand cars that will work with this toy and can be purchased separately.
Review: “My little preschoolers on the Autism Spectrum really enjoyed this toy. They were willing to work hard for a chance to play with it. Also, just the nature of the cars going up and down, the ‘ready set...go!’, colors, etc. provided multiple opportunities to address vocabulary and basic concepts and more!” 21 A dinosaur that chomps & counts Pros: There are several ways for kids to play with this toy, and it comes with volume control and auto shut-off. Cons: This is not a toy for kids who prefer minimalist designs.
This dinosaur toy can be played with a number of ways. First, it comes with eight colorful coins that the toy will “eat” and count as each one goes in. It also has a string attached to turn it into a pull toy when it’s not counting, or kids can sit with it and press the different buttons along its side that light up, play songs, and say phrases that will introduce them to different shapes, colors, numbers, and foods. This toy requires two AA batteries (included), has auto shut-off, volume control, and is made for kids between 12 and 36 months old.
Review: “The dino has also endured much banging around and being dropped, and all without a scratch. To my relief, dino comes with an off button along with the two sound settings. However, the highest setting can be heard across town next to active construction equipment and earbuds playing at max. So we compromise and play with dino at a low sound setting. Happy toddler equals happy parent!” 22 A shape sorter tote Pros: Soft construction and a carrying bag make this a good toy for on the go. Cons: It’s a simple design, so toddlers may find it less challenging than a traditional cube shape sorter.
This shape sorter features nine different shaped blocks that are all different colors and include different textures and numbers printed on them. The sorter itself is a soft bag that zips open and shut and features a handle, so it’s great for taking on the go. The bag itself also features different textures to add to the sensory play as well as pictures to help kids more easily identify and match the different shapes.
Review: “Great quality and my kids love it. My daughter chews on it and [it still has] the same amount of color and no teeth marks. The durability is great.” 23 A set of soft building blocks Pros: Blocks offer open-ended play and the soft construction of these are great for avoiding injury. Cons: The quantity is a bit low, which limits how much they can build/stack.
Soft building blocks are some of the best toys for 18-month-olds because they’re stackable but don’t have any harsh edges that can cause injury. This set comes with 14 pieces, including 10 cubes and 4 triangle pieces, as well as a little carrying case for storing them when they’re not being played with. The blocks feature numbers, objects to count, bright colors, and cute animals that kids will enjoy examining and exploring.
Review: “So we've had these blocks for almost a year and a half, now. My then-five-month-old is now almost two. These blocks are STILL a hit! The blocks have gotten some rough play from my nephews (they also love them), as well as my daughter. Yet, they've held up beautifully. I routinely rotate toys to keep things fresh, but these always stay out, and they always get lots of playtime. I just cannot recommend them enough!” 24 An inflatable hopper Pros: It’s fun to bounce on and can moonlight as a piece of furniture. It’s also quite durable. Cons: You have to inflate the toy yourself, but a pump is included. It takes up a significant amount of floor space and cannot be easily stored in/on a shelf.
The bouncy hopper from Babe Fairy is available as a giraffe or triceratops, in an assortment of colors, so you’ll find something your child will be excited about. While you do have to inflate the hopper yourself, it’s not too large of an item (like a pool float) that makes it seem impossible, and a hand pump is included. There is an age limit — depending on your child’s weight, it’s suitable for children up to 6 years of age. Children can enjoy using it as a seat (while watching a show or playing at a table), and as a bouncer to hop around a space. While younger toddlers might not feel as confident on it (especially if they are unable to reach the floor), sitting on it can help with core strength and will be able to enjoy hopping on it as they get stronger and bigger.
Review: “Kids are fighting over it. Might get another.” 25 A sensory shape game Pros: This is an excellent toy for sensory play and fine motor skill development. Cons: Even though it’s carefully designed to avoid this, the elastic bands may snap back on little hands.
Children as young as 10 months old can explore different textures, shapes, and colors with this toy. The cube is covered in elastic bands that kids can pull apart to get the different shapes through. It comes with six shapes in different colors and textures that are sized just right for small hands. This toy is great for sensory play, fine motor skill development, spatial awareness, color identification, and more.
Review: “These are great for cognitive play! Our little guy loves to put all his Duplo LEGOs in this as well. It fits a surprising number of toys. I think he’ll continue to enjoy it for a long time.” 26 A bubble-making lawn mower Pros: Good “pretend” toy and it can be played with indoors or outside. Cons: Parents will need to help and supervise with bubbles.
At 18 months, toddlers like to mimic their parents, so this toy lawnmower offers a great opportunity for them to do just that. Toddlers can push it along as is or add bubble solution to the front to turn it into a bubble machine. This toy is safe for kids as young as 18 months old and requires three AA batteries (not included).
Review: “My little can push and pull it around without spilling the bubbles too much and even after he tipped it some bubbles remained. We give it two thumbs up!” 27 A puppy to care for Pros: Offers several ways to play. Cons: With many sounds and songs, some adults may consider this a noisy toy.
Made for children between 9 months and 3 years old, this set comes with a plush puppy, a feeding bottle, a ball, a comb, a dish with a bone, and a carrying case. When the case is powered on (two AAA batteries required), it lights up, plays music, and says different phrases when tots push the various buttons along the front. It features more than 100 songs and helps children learn about colors, shapes, numbers, and more.
Review: “Super cute and holds the attention of a 14-month-old. We showed her how once and now she brushes the puppy with the comb all the time.” 28 A barn-themed busy board Pros: Good for building fine motor and problem-solving skills. Cons: Some kids may find this toy frustrating if they’re not able to work all of the pieces right away.
Featuring six different latches, this busy board helps kids strengthen their fine motor skills and explore their problem-solving skills. In addition to the several latches, this board also lights up and plays different sounds when the latches are opened. There are three buttons that play the ABC song, a number song, and a song about the house. This busy board requires two AA batteries (included) and is designed for kids between 12 and 36 months old.
Review: “1.5 yo has had a blast figuring out all of the different doors, finding the animals and people, and enjoying the music — and with NO accidental pinches or anything. It's completely safe, which is such a relief.” 29 A stacking toy that also spins Pros: Stacks, taking up less floor space. Discs are large enough for small, young hands to grab and hold onto. Cons: Larger than a tabletop toy, so you need some floor space to play and store.
Suitable for children as young as 12 months old, this stacking toy is extra fun for toddlers — it’s larger than the average stacking toy, and as each colorful disc gets added to the pole, they spin down, which is more fun to watch. Children can practice motor skills and learn to identify colors and scale with the SpinAgain stacking toy.
Review: “This is a really great toy, my daughter has learning difficulties and while she’s kinda past this stage I thought this might appeal to her as a relaxing thing to fiddle with and I was right.
It’s just a really satisfying thing to play with if you leave it out you’ll find grown ups playing with it too. I really think it should be a [staple] in nurseries and early years environments and anywhere that caters to children with special needs.”
30 A set of large puzzles Pros: Each puzzle is made with a simple design specifically for kids between 12 and 24 months old. Cons: Since they’re so simple, these puzzles don’t have a lot of longevity.
Available in a variety of different combinations, these wooden puzzles by Melissa & Doug are designed with large knobs for little hands to easily grab and place onto the board. Each puzzle consists of three jumbo pieces and when the piece is off the board, its image is underneath, making it easier for kids to figure out where to place it.
Review: “My toddler absolutely loves playing with this puzzle. It's age-appropriate, great quality, and durable. I like that it comes with wooden knobs to help my toddler grip the pieces. Melissa and Doug never seem to disappoint. I definitely recommend this product.” 31 A decked-out activity cube Pros: Includes a set of stacking cups and a book. Cons: Measuring 7.48 x 7.48 x 7.09 inches, this toy is on the smaller side.
This toddler activity cube features different activities on five sides including a clock, a bead maze, a shape sorter, gear wheels, and an abacus. The toy also comes with wooden blocks for the shape sorter, colorful stacking ups, and a book of words. There are no batteries needed for this toy and it’s great for strengthening fine motor skills.
Review: “I’ve been looking for a simple toy set to give as a gift to my friend’s daughter. This set is perfect! It keeps her entertained and fits together nicely for compact storage.” 32 A set of plush farm animals Pros: All four animals can be tucked into the barn for easy storage when they’re not being played with. Cons: The dolls are pretty small at only 5 inches tall.
Toddlers can snuggle up with every part of this five-piece barn set. It comes with four plush animals toys, including a horse, a chicken, a lamb, and a cow, as well as a plush barn that they can all be safely tucked into at once. Each piece is made with super soft fabric and is safe for all ages. When they squeeze the animals, kids can even hear what each one really sounds like. The toys are compact at only 5 inches tall and the barn measures 7 x 9 inches.
Review: “My 17-month-old great-niece absolutely loved this! High quality for the price, animal sounds very realistic. Easy for her to manipulate, very soft and safe.” 33 A mini basketball hoop Pros: Great for indoor or outdoor play. Cons: The hoop is lightweight, so can be easily blown over by the wind.
Made for kids between 18 months and 5 years old, this basketball set comes with three balls and a hoop/net. The hoop stand has six height options ranging from 2.5 feet to 4 feet tall, and the hoop has an oversize design to make baskets a little easier to score. This toy can be played with inside or outside, and the base can be filled with sand for better stability.
Review: “The height adjustment feature is awesome, I can leave it low when my son wants to dunk on it like his dad or place it higher when he wants to shoot the ball and practice his skills! This is great for indoor or outdoor. It is a very durable set! I am extremely happy and satisfied with this product!” 34 A starter balance bike Pros: A good way to introduce toddlers to the concept of balance bikes. Cons: Sits low to the ground for younger kids, so tall toddlers may grow out of it quickly.
Available in a variety of colors, this balance bike is designed for kids between 10 and 24 months old. It has a single wheel on the back and two narrow wheels on the front to help toddlers get used to the concept of a regular balance bike so they’ll be ready to transition when it’s time. It sits low to the ground so that it’s safe for young riders, but it does not have an adjustable seat.
Review: “My 1.5 year old loves it. He is able to play outside with the big kids on their bikes and follow them around. The handles and seat are at a set height which will be perfect for any 1year old and up.” 35 A pull-along wagon Pros: It offers three stages of play and several activities in one toy. Cons: Might be loud or overwhelming for children with sensory sensitivities.
Since (most) 18-month-olds can walk independently, they can pull this toy wagon around with them. It’s made for children between 6 and 36 months old and is packed with buttons that play songs and say phrases. The toy also includes a shape-sorter lid as well as bat-at toys. This wagon is also equipped with “smart stages” technology so you can increase the difficulty level as your child grows.
Review: “My 2-year-olds love this!! And, the music isn't super annoying like many other toddler toys!! Fisher-Price toys usually have great music, though! The parts have all been thrown across the hard kitchen floor many times and haven't broken yet. Great purchase!!” 36 A toddler workbench Pros: This set comes with a bunch of different accessories for play. Cons: Some children may be overwhelmed with the different sounds the toys make.
With this toy workbench, kids get a pretend screwdriver, wrench, hammer, drill, and more. On top of the workbench is a fun shape sorter game where the different blocks fall into a drawer underneath that kids can pull out and push back in. The set also includes a bench clamp, electric drill, and a little chainsaw. Many of the accessories feature fun sound effects to make them feel more real and the bench lights up with different colors for extra sensory fun.
Review: “Don't let the smaller size fool you - this workbench packs a punch! Beyond being very colorful it's well-made and has multiple options for play. There's a ball chute and a shape sorter that drops down into the pull-out drawer. I love that the chute and shape boxes have a small button that holds the object in place until it's pushed down. Then your little one gets rewarded with lights/music as well as having the shapes identified. The saw and drill press make machine noises when their handles are pulled down. The clamp and the screws make clicking sounds when turned.” 37 A bounce & ride-on toy Pros: Great for getting lots of energy out. Cons: Determined toddlers may still be able to scoot a little even when it’s in stationary mode.
This toy can be set up as a stationary bouncing toy or as a ride-on toy with wheels. Under the seat is an air-filled ball that allows kids to bounce up and down and the handle features a little hanging monkey for some extra fun. It’s safe for kids as young as 12 months old and it's great for gross motor skill development, balance, and coordination.
Review: “I ordered this for my toddlers and it is a battle to the death for who gets to play with it first! Best gift! It comes with a ball pump so if any of your other balls are deflated you have a new tool! Highly recommend!” 38 A Peppa Pig spinning toy Pros: It’s good for gross motor skills and it’s a toy that kids will enjoy for years. Cons: It’s somewhat large, so it’s not easy to tuck away when it’s not in use.
The Sit ‘n Spin is a classic toy for toddlers 18 months and up, and the
Peppa Pig characters just make it all the better. It features pictures of Peppa, George, and Susie Sheep on the seat as well as the Peppa Pig logo on the top handle. When kids are twirling around on it, they’ll either hear a clip from “Bing Bong” or the Peppa Pig theme song play. Review: “It makes noise, it’s easy to put together, and it will have your kids screaming about whose turn it is in the middle of your living room floor. Great toy.” 39 A set of baby dolls Pros: This set comes with two dolls, each with their own accessories. Cons: Pacifiers can be easily misplaced.
This set of baby dolls is great for 18-month-olds because they’re starting to get more and more into pretend play. It comes with two 15-inch dolls, each in their own set of pajamas, that open and close their eyes and can suck their thumbs or their pacifiers (included for each doll). The body of the doll is soft and great for snuggling and they’re just the right size to get toddlers ready to meet real babies.
Review: “These are nicely made dolls with eyes that open and close. I especially like that the little hats are attached with a ribbon to their outfits. This is a small detail that means my daughter's dolls both still have hats instead of them being lost into Oblivion 30 minutes after she got them.” 40 A poppin’ piano Pros: This is a simple toy that doesn’t require a bunch of sounds or flashing lights to be entertaining. Cons: The balls may not fall perfectly back into the pipe where they came from.
Made for kids as young as 12 months old, this piano features a little dome with “pipes” that shoot out balls as the piano is played. There are six colorful keys that associate with a pipe in the dome, and when kids press them the ball will pop up into the air. The piano actually plays sounds with the press of each key, too, and it can be changed to sound like a classic piano or make silly noises with each key.
Review: “This toy is well made and the kiddos enjoy playing with it. Also, the balls are encased inside the plastic so [there are] no parts to get scattered all over and need clean up. Good musical toy for the kiddos.” 41 A sensory ride-on toy Pros: There are so many ways to play with this toy and it’s great for sensory exploration. Cons: It’s somewhat large, so it’s not easy to tuck away when it’s not being played with.
For kids who love a ride-on toy, this one is sized for children as young as 9 months old and features a variety of different sensory experiences. It’s covered in different textures, has zippers and clips, includes different pops of color, and it makes sounds including crinkles, rattles, and clicks. It’s made with high-quality, durable materials and is designed for exploration and motor skill development.
Review: “Melissa and Doug rarely disappoint. This toy is no exception. We purchased this cute toy as a Christmas gift for our 1-year-old granddaughter and she absolutely loves it!” 42 A two-sided water table Pros: Two sides offer more ways to play with this toy, and it can be filled with other sensory materials besides just water (such as rice, beads, poms, etc.). Cons: It’s a water toy, so it will definitely make a mess.
This water table is designed to be set up on a flat surface (a countertop, table, or the floor) and has two sides that offer two different ways to play. One side is deeper for pouring water and the other side is shallow with a trail cut through to create a stream. The table also comes with a boat, toy truck, a cup for pouring, and a little funnel with a wheel that attaches to either side of the table for more pouring fun.
Review: “Overall, this item exceeded my expectations, especially considering the reasonable price. My son has been playing almost exclusively with the train track side of the table, but he will occasionally flip it over and play with what I call the "monster truck" side. He likes to go over the bumps and make lots of noise. I admit that I find it fun, too.” 43 A climbing toy Pros: Great for gross motor skill development. Cons: It’s large, so it won’t tuck away easily, and it’s somewhat expensive.
At 18 months, toddlers enjoy climbing on things like this slide set. It features a climbing wall along the back (that stands 12.5 inches tall) that connects to a platform (18 inches off the ground) and a slide on the front. The mild slopes offer just enough of a challenge without being dangerous and the toy is free from any sharp edges. This toy can be set up inside or outside and offers opportunities for crawling, sliding, climbing, and more.
Review: “Fun slide for toddlers. Easy to assemble, doesn’t take a lot of steps to put together. Super light and easy to move around, even my little 1 yr old can push it. The first time when he slid down the slide, I guess he couldn’t control the speed, so he landed with a hard bump because the slide is pretty high up. So babies would have to watch out for that. Overall, he enjoys his slide every day. Doesn’t look like he will outgrow it anytime soon.”
There’s no doubt that the 18-month-old in your life would love at least one of the fun toys on this list. But, if not, just remember to shop for toys that are age-appropriate so that they can get the most fun and enjoyment out of them as possible.
Expert: Dr. Dyan Hes, M.D., pediatrician and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City
This article was originally published on
April 9, 2022