Your toddler is becoming more independent at this age, and “I do it myself!” is her mantra. She is embracing every opportunity to learn and do things on her own. She is using her hands to explore her environment and her natural curiosity will herlp her to learn at every opportunity. If a door knob is there, she’ll turn it. If there’s a door, she’ll open it!
The best toys for 18 month olds are toys with interlocking parts like nesting blocks, sorters and trucks with doors to open and shut will provide endless opportunities for your toddler to explore and push her limits. Your toddler will love to be busy, and offering opportunities for unstructured play by keeping toys available to use will enable her to thrive.
Your toddler is on the move, climbing over, under and up, and onto things. She will squat to pick up toys, and she even might enjoy hauling objects in vehicles and bringing them place to place.
Your toddler needs plenty of space free of obstacles. With time, she will develop better coordination and learn to steer around obstacles. Creating a route for her to follow, with flags or guides along the way will challenge her coordination and thinking skills as she figures out how to reach the next destination.
Fine Motor Skills
Working with blocks lets your toddler build her fine motor skills by grabbing, stacking, and sorting. Large bricks can become toddler-size forts and hiding spaces. Small wooden ones can be sorted and organised into towers and organizational designs. Your toddler will enjoy opening and closing the doors on toy vehicles, and putting objects inside and “driving” them to their destination.
Problem Solving Skills
When playing with your toddler, strengthen her problem solving skills by talking about what you are doing and asking questions like, “I wonder what happens when we put the ball there? … What do you think will happen when we pull this handle?” Put words to what’s happening with a toy so your toddler can understand the concepts behind language. Putting pieces together using toys like Mix and Match Magnetic Wooden Animals allows your child to experiment with different animal parts to see which ones fit; a problem solving opportunity, indeed!
Colour and Shape Recognition
This is the prime age for your toddler to be making connections between colors, shapes, etc. and their names. You can help your toddler reinforce these connections by pointing to an object and saying the color and/or shape, and also the features, “You are putting the blue triangle in the triangle slot”. Provide gentle encouragement for your toddler as she explores how to use a toy. Your enthusiasm now will give her the confidence to tackle bigger challenges later on.
Using your imagination with your toddler opens up a whole new world of fun. Pretending will help her understand new experiences. Foster imaginative play with your toddler by creating a scenario and having her participate in it. “We are driving on our big tractor, can you buckle your seatbelt?” You can use play food to bring along for a picnic and bring stuffed animals along for the ride. Encourage your toddler to role play by pretending to be things your toddler is familiar with. “Swing your trunk like an elephant”, “Fly like a bird”, “Sway side to side like a giant tree”.
If you’re looking for age appropriate, educational toys that are eco friendly and non toxic for your toddler, check out Hello Charlie’s range of toys for 18 month olds.
First published September 2013, updated 2016. Copyright © Vanessa Layton
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