Top 10 Toys for 18 month olds

Floss’s Top Ten Toys – 18 months old. They’re in no particular order.

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December 2022 update – as I look down this list of toys I’m amazed to see that Floss our daughter, now aged 6 still plays with the majority of these toys frequently. We’ve certainly had value for money from them! I’ve recently discovered a couple of new online retailers where we’ve found toys we love. We got quite a few presents for Floss for Christmas from The Kids Collective – you can find them here. We also love the range from Kidly – you can find them here.

18 month old toy ideas - toddler - preschooler - early years

1. Small World People

Floss has really liked Grimms Dwarfs and Grapat Nins since around 12 months old. The Dwarfs are the perfect size for little hands, soft and squishy. I often find Floss has one in each hand, just taking them along with her in her play, wherever she goes.

18 month old toy ideas - toddler - preschooler - early years

Recently, she’s started role playing with them; sitting them in mini chairs, putting them in bed, giving them food and drink. The Nins are little wooden people from a beautiful brand called Grapat, that again are perfect little hand size.

For her first birthday we purchased the Carla Set which has been immensely popular (to update you, Floss is now 6 years old and still plays with this set every day). We’ve also made little people out of socks and other things from around the house too.

2. Animals

1. Small World People Floss has really liked Grimms Dwarfs and Grapat Nins since around 12 months old. The Dwarfs are the perfect size for little hands, soft and squishy. I often find Floss has one in each hand, just taking them along with her in her play, wherever she goes. Recently, she's started role playing with them; sitting then in mini chairs, putting them in bed, giving them food and drink. The Nins are little wooden people that again are perfect little hand size. We've also made little people out of socks and other things from around the house too.

Children love animals, especially making the noises that they make. Floss has a collection of wooden farm animals from Lanka Kade that her Auntie L got her for her 1st birthday.

Matching snap - farm animals

She loves matching these up with pictures I laminated for her. We also have a lovely Lanka Kade Ark that we purchased on eBay.

Sadly, it arrived broken in transit. However, the lovely lady selling it said that if we were happy to have a go at putting it back together then we could and she would refund us the money. Some delicate work from one of Floss’s Grandads means we now have a fabulous Ark that she loves to use with her animals – as well as being able to fit in the Ark herself!

Grimms Rainbow and lanka Kade Dolphins

The Kid Collective have a lovely range of small world animals and toys that you can find here. I got some lovely items for Floss for Christmas 2022.

Animal puzzles are also a big hit right now as well.

Melissa and Doug Insect Puzzle

3. The Rainbow

Fun 5 for Friday. Finger Gym. Fine motor activities. Fine motor skills. Language skills. Social play. Small world. Suitcase play. Stacking. Containing. Sorting. Enclosing. Schema. Natural. Wooden toys. Grimms. Fabric. Puppets. Gems. Stones. Books. Stories. Reading.

Now I know some people can’t believe anyone can spend that amount of money on a wooden rainbow. But, there’s a reason people pay virtually the same price for it second hand as you would new, it’s not just a wooden rainbow.

It’s a beautiful, hand crafted work of art that I am so happy to have in our home. It brightens up wherever it lives. Yes, I’m talking about the Grimms Rainbow. Don’t believe me – just put Grimm’s rainbow into a search engine and you’ll see what I mean. Endless possibilities; hours of fun. As Floss has got older she uses the smaller rainbows more in her play now too.

4. Loose Parts

What are loose parts? My description would be resources that have no set design or purpose that allow you the freedom to combine, move, manipulate, order and create in your own way; open ended.

Fun 5 for Friday - fine motor, gross motor, hand eye co-ordination. Finger Gym, Puzzles, Grapat, Melissa and Doug, Stone are. Rock art. Pebbles. Early years play resources activities ideas.

Loose parts are only limited by your imagination and in my experience children have amazingly, vivid imaginations. They can be anything from natural resources found outside in the garden to bought wooded or synthetic materials.

Loose parts

We have some beautiful Grapat loose parts that we all like to play with. Loose parts are a resource that often show me most what Floss is processing.

Shelfie - toy rotation - toy organisation - early years - toddler ideas - play

When she learnt to crawl she regularly demonstrated that she was working on the transporting schema (schema – a pattern of behaviour regularly repeated, which help children make sense of the world), moving objects from one place to another. There’s been a subtle shift over the last couple of weeks to an enveloping schema, especially with her loose parts.

5. Books

I am huge book lover and Floss is too. DadDad has never really been that into books before Floss arrived, but now it’s something they readily share together. DadDad spends a great deal of time thinking about the voices he’s going to be doing for characters. He tries very hard to get home from work most nights to be able to be there for bedtime.

Books Books Books

We love it when the three of us are all there, sharing stories together and enjoying snuggles; it’s a magic time. Lots of our books are charity shop finds and we love going to the library to see what treasures we can find. Floss definitely has favourites and she obviously likes certain voices that we do as some books she prefers DadDad to read and others me. It’s lovely to see her making choices and knowing her own mind.

6. The Kitchen

Busy busy in the kitchen - roleplay - early years

Children love to act out everyday activities that they see happening around them. Floss has a Little Helper FunPod which means she’s able to be at the right height to help me in the kitchen when I’m cooking and baking.

It’s amazing watching her play with her own kitchen as she recreates activities that she sees and helps with. The kitchen is a real hub of our home and everyone gathers, shares food and chats away.

It’s lovely to see how she replicates this in her own little kitchen – especially the social babble as she goes.

There’s some fabulous play kitchen sets available. Kidly have a great range available here. The Kid Collective doesn’t have quite as big a range but seems to be cheaper on brands like Little Dutch in comparison. You can find them here.

7. Stacking Tower

Stacking tower - fine and gross motor skills

Wood, plastic, fabric – it doesn’t matter. Floss loves to stack, remove, re-stack and repeat. Now her motor skills enable her to stack these with much more ease than when she first started. It’s the understanding of adjectives, size and colour, which is beginning to develop.

Stacking Tower - fine and gross motor skills

I’ve never been afraid to use a variety of language with young children as I’ve found they enjoy the sound and use of new words. Yes, the concept of big and small is important, but the use of huge, tiny, massive, minuscule, colossal, minute, humongous are all words that I would intersperse into our play when we are describing things that are big and small.

You can find a range of stacking tower toys in various materials and sizes here and this one is a lovely bright rainbow of colours.

8. Balls

Fun 5 for Friday - early years play ideas - gross motor skills - science - understanding the world - langugae skills - cause and effect

I’m going to call them the ultimate toy! Why? Floss loved them from birth and it’s fascinating to watch how her fine and gross motor skills are developing as well as social skills as she begins to engage others in her play with me. It’s a toy that almost everyone wants to play with at any age.

Floss’s Great Grandma H is hard of hearing and partially sighted, but give her a bright ball and she will sit and roll a ball backwards and forwards with Floss for ages. Kick them, throw then, roll then, bounce them, hide them, decorate them, add paint to them, make them a ball run – the possibilities are endless.

We love the different colours and textures of this set.

9. Water Play

Bath time, tuff trays and bowls inside, outside – doesn’t matter where – Floss loves playing with water. Her favourite toys that we bought are a musical drum, flute and xylophone that are bath toys.

However, give her a whisk, straining spoon and some jugs from the kitchen cupboard and she’ll happily entertain herself (and all of us) for ages. I can’t wait until we have our garden finished and I can have some more water fun outside with her. Do check out my blog post on Water Play here.

10. Peter and Panda – soft toys

Peter and Panda are soft toys that Floss absolutely loves more than anything in the world; if she could only save DadDad and me or Peter and Panda then we would be goners! Honestly, I’m not sure if it was a choice for DadDad and me about whether to save the other or Peter – it’d be a tough call.

Top Toy Tip – if your child has a favourite soft toy, consider buying two. We did this with Peter and would alternate him every couple of days so they had equal usage. This meant there was always a back up if one was lost!

Panda came along shortly after when I’d crocheted a Panda for a gift for someone. It was love at first sight and I quickly made a second panda to give as a gift. You can get the pattern from this book.

Floss had always woken in the night, but around 12 months her cousin Mr B (5 months younger) gave her Peter and since then she has (unless unwell) slept through the night. If she wakes up she finds Peter, gives him a snuggle and heads back off to sleep. Peter saved our sanity!

2022 update – well I wish Floss continued to sleep though with a quick snuggle with Peter. Like many children she struggles with going to sleep and waking in the night. Audio players have really helped – you can find my blog post by clicking below for more info.

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