Picking out gifts for young toddlers can be challenging – it’s hard to know what’s really age-appropriate, and they’re all so different in terms of development. But this post has, without a doubt, the best toys for 18-month-olds – as approved by my own three kids (and ME)!
The Key to Finding the Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds
The holidays are right around the corner, and one-year-olds can be some of the hardest family members to buy gifts for. But they’re also some of the most fun to buy gifts for! When you hit the jackpot and find the toy that really captures their attention and interest, and that they truly love to use over and over again, it’s so rewarding!
And, even better, if you can find a gift that their parents also love – then you’ve really struck gold.
The trick with shopping for a one and a half year old is that sometimes the really expensive, over-the-top toy really is their favorite thing ever – but sometimes the box it was shipped in becomes their favorite thing ever, and the toy sits in a corner building dust.
In my experience with choosing toys for 18-month-olds – and I’ve had a lot of it at this point, with three kids of my own, plus nieces & nephews – the key is to not try too hard. Oftentimes, the items they love the most are the simplest!
The best toys for 18-month-olds aren’t always the flashy, loud, or fancy ones. Usually, they’re the classics – wooden busy boards, books, stuffed animals. Those are the ones with staying power, which in my house, is always priority number 1.
With an almost-6-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 1-year-old, our house is overflowing with toys. So when I come across a toy that captures the attention of all three of my littles, I make note of it – and share it with all of you, of course!
Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds
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When I tell you this busy board is THE best toy for an 18-month-old... I MEAN it. It's the best toy for a 1-year-old, or a 2-year-old, or a 3-year-old... heck, even my 5-year-old was glued to it when we gifted one to our youngest on his first birthday.
This Busy Board is a little more expensive than most of the ideas on this list, but it's well worth the investment. It's sturdy and well-made, it has so many different activities to keep your little one busy, and it's just dang pretty!
This particular wooden toy shop on Etsy offers several different styles to choose from, so you can probably find one to match your decor style and toddler's interests; they can even create a custom one for you!
Y'all this car has been THE toy with the most longevity it our house. My oldest got it for his first birthday, and has never. stopped. playing with it. He's about to turn 6 (!), and he still fights with his little sister and baby brother over it.
It has just the right amount of activities in it and around it, it sings songs, and it's the perfect size for them to sit in and "drive."
This one goes out of stock often, so if you're thinking about getting it, and you see it in stock – grab it!
Young toddlers tend to LOVE bath time, so bath toys are always a great option for 18-month-olds! Simple suction toys like this one are fun and engaging, and they encourage some of those fine motor skills with pouring and spinning.
I honestly don't know if Slumberkins are more a gift for me or for my kids, but either way – they're one of my favorite gifts for toddlers.
Not only are these stuffed animals (Kins) and loveys (snugglers) unbelievably soft and cute, they also each come paired with a book written by a therapist and a former teacher, specially designed to help children learn a specific emotional skill or message.
There's one for emotional courage, self-esteem, conflict resolution, family change, stress relief... and that barely scratches the surface.
Check them out – you're sure to find one you love! (I may have bought the Dragon for myself recently...)
I don't know about y'all's young toddlers, but my 1-year-old is obsessed with plastic balls. Between the bouncing, and the rolling, and the loud noise they make clacking against the floor – he just can't get enough of them.
So when he received this Pop-a-Ball Bulldozer toy for his first birthday, we know it would be an instant favorite, and it didn't disappoint.
My oldest got this Cozy Truck as a first birthday gift, and it has since been his favorite toy, his little sister's favorite toy, and now his baby brother's favorite thing.
It's been pushed, ridden on top of, colored on, crashed, flipped, and many combinations thereof – and you'd never know it. It's as good as new! Any toy that can be pummeled by not one, but three kids and survive it, is definitely a good toy to give an 18-month-old.
I’m pretty sure "buh-bohs" is going to be the last word I ever hear. If not out of sheer probability (because my kids beg for them all day, every day), then because one of them straight up offed me for not obliging their request for “BUH-BOS!!!” quickly enough.
My oldest got this Hape Activity Cube for his first birthday – nearly 5 years ago! – and two kids later, it's still getting tons of use. My youngest now loves sitting at it and crawling around it, exploring all the various activities.
I love that it doesn't make noise (if I hear one more demented toy singing in the middle of the night...), and that it gives him so many open-ended play opportunities. As a third child who doesn't get a ton of guidance in his play most of the time (sorry, bud), he really explores it and gets to figure out all the various sides of the cube on his own, which keeps him engaged with it even longer.
Puzzles are always a great toy for one and a half year olds.
Apparently, some babies in this age group actually enjoy learning to place shapes in their correct cutouts and feel a sense of accomplishment.
Others like to clap the pieces together to make lots of noise, and slam the pieces on top of the puzzle, whether they fit into the holes or not, then dump it all out in false triumph. You do you, toddlers.
We've gotten a Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair for each of our three kids on their first birthday. Not only are they adorable, but they give your kid a sense of independence, and they come in all different colors and patterns and fabrics.
Pro-tip: DON'T get the "My First" Anywhere Chair – you want the regular one. I promise it's not too big for your baby, and you'll be thankful when your little one grows up and can continue to use it. My 5-year-old STILL cozies up in his on movie nights.
The day my kids learned to climb up the back of this thing and slide down it all by themselves was quite possibly the best day of my life. So much independent playtime, AKA mama-stares-off-into-space time. Best gift ever!
Another big win: when your 18-month-old learns to hoist themselves up on this bad boy all on their own.
Pottery Barn Kids sells this in basically every animal imaginable (even a LLAMA, for Pete’s sake!), so whatever animal fetish you’re forcing on your child (you know you’re doing it; we all do), there’s a rocker for you.
What were your favorite toys for your 18-month-old babies? Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments!