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Best Toys For Toddlers 12-24 Months: A Pediatric P.T.’s Recommendations

August 28, 2016
The best learning toys for toddlers 12-24 months, recommended by a pediatric physical therapist - everythingbabies.org

Due to popular demand, I am providing you another “Best Toys” list! (It’s about time!)  This time I am recommending the best toys for toddlers, 12-24 months.  

Bonus! All my recommendations are battery free! Yay sanity!!

If you missed the first two posts of my recommendations, here they are. You’re welcome! ♥

Best Toys for Babies 0-6 Months

Best Toys for Babies 6-12 Months

(Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links and make any purchase on Amazon, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.  Thank you for helping me grow my blog!)

Best Toys for Toddlers: Books

The sky is the limit on the types of books you can read with your toddlers. They are developing their language as well as their fine motor skills at this age. Interactive books are the best, as babies learn better with movement.

This is a good time to introduce letters, numbers, colors, and shapes. Point to the pictures as you label them (say their names.) Pause at the end of a familiar rhyming line to allow your baby a shot at the next word. Leave sturdy board books in toy boxes so they can explore the books independently.

I have a priceless video of my daughter at 18 months “reading” a book to herself on the couch using the same tone and rhythm I do but in her own toddler-ese language. So cute!

You may also choose to read a few books that are slightly above their developmental level, so they can learn the nuances of speech, rhythm and sentence structure. Don’t forget babies are so much smarter than we give them credit for! Their ability to process and understand speech is way ahead of their ability to talk or communicate.

Best Toys for Toddlers: Balls

At this age, babies are improving on their dynamic gross motor skills, like negotiating curbs and stairs, balancing on uneven surfaces, running, jumping, climbing, picking up and carrying heavier objects, moving large objects around the house, kicking and throwing.

As you may know, I’m all about balls. They’re so simple and cheap.  At the clinic when we work with 12-24 month-old babies (toddlers), we use a variety of balls depending on the skill we are working on. I haven’t met a single child that doesn’t get excited about some sort of ball. “Ball” is a common first word.

Variety is key when buying balls for this age group.


Best Toys for Toddlers: Hand-eye Coordination

Babies this age spend a great deal of time developing visual-motor processing, which is coordinating what they see with what they do with their hands (and sometimes feet.)  Like little scientists, they are manipulating objects with their hands or bodies to observe the effects of their interaction.  They are then storing that information in their big brains for future reference. I’m sure you’ve heard that toddler’s brains are sponges, and the greatest amount of learning occurs in the first three years of life.

Give your babies things to experiment with. This will promote independence and confidence in their achievements, too. They are learning about their sense of self and this is the time to start weaning them away from dependence on others.


Best Toys for Toddlers: Fine Motor

Fine motor skills at this age include grasping a marker/crayon, putting shapes in a shape sorter, feeding themselves with utensils, holding and drinking from open cups, putting on pants/shoes/socks with help, unscrewing and removing lids, turning pages in a book, stacking large block towers or creating other designs with blocks like a train or bridge, among many others.

Best Toys for Toddlers: Rhythm and Coordination

You may have heard of the importance of “midline” and “crossing midline” in infant and toddler development.  I can’t emphasize enough how important this is at this age.  Activities that promote crossing midline or use both sides of the body alternating are key for a child’s future development of all areas including speech, handwriting, reading, problem-solving, memory, math and more. Rhythm is important at this age because all brain functions and motor plans are based on precise timing. Kids with poor rhythm have trouble with reading, memory, and sports.

If you are looking for a toy that will help with something specific, or other toys we use in the clinic, just ask!

Are you on a budget? Here are some great sources for homemade toys and activities!

Sensory/crawling obstacle course: http://playingandlearningbeginsathome.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/baby-sensory-crawl-obstacle-course.html

Homemade fine motor and sensory activities:

What’s on your list for best toys for toddlers?  Leave a comment below!

**This post contains affiliate links. However, the recommendations are my own professional opinions and are not influenced by affiliates.**

Cheers! everythingbabies.org

Best Toys for Toddlers everythingbabies.org
Best Toys for Toddlers everythingbabies.org
Best Toys for Toddlers everythingbabies.org

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