Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Toddler Toys :: Activities For Your 1.5-2.5 Year Old

As requested by a handful of readers, I put together this post sharing some of the "toddler toys" that help Carter and I get through our day. These toys are broken down into categories that focus on a specific area of learning and fun! Girl moms, I apologize in advance that this post will be particularly train and truck-heavy. I'm sure you could substitute with doll strollers and princess little people!

This is just a smattering of toys that we use on an almost daily basis to incorporate a little bit of learning into our fun. 

1. Melissa and Doug Primary Lacing Beads Under careful and close observation, Carter loves these beads. After demonstrating to him the lacing technique, he picked it up in a matter of minutes and now he loves to sit and string beads. This is a great activity as it encourages fine motor skills and as he grows, will help him learn more about colors and patterns. 
2. Melissa and Doug Puzzles Currently, Carter's favorite puzzles are the Melissa and Doug Sound Puzzles. Although they aren't incredibly difficult puzzles to master, I would be lying if I said he didn't learn at least 8 different animal sounds and vehicle sounds by playing with them. We have the Zoo Animals, Farm Animals and Vehicle Sounds puzzles.  Word to the wise: Place all puzzle pieces in a zip lock bag and tape it to the back of the puzzle for easy storage when not in play.
3. Mega Blocks Building towers and knocking them down provides a great activity that can be done anywhere. The perfect size blocks for tiny hands, Carter loves to build and tear down. This is one of my go-to activities for him when I'm sitting down to nurse the baby. 


With easy to manipulate controls (no more than two buttons) Carter loves zooming around the house with these toys. The perfect size for little hands, these toys are great on-the-go! He was given all three of these as birthday presents and they each have their own great qualities. For instance, Steam n' Speed Thomas toots kid-safe steam and Jumbo the Jet is not only a remote control plane, but he is bilingual and a shape sorter!
1. Melissa and Doug Multi-Activity Wooden Table Hands down this is Carter's favorite "toy" of the moment. We currently have this table set up as a train table with this set of trains and he will spend hours playing with it each day. It encourages great imaginative interaction as well as fine tuning motor skills as he helps build and deconstruct the tracks and pushes his trains around. I love that this table in particular comes with a drawer for extra storage of all those pieces of track and train. 

2. Green Toys This is one of my favorite brands of "truck" toys out on the market today. I stumbled across them in a local "learning" store and have been hooked ever since. These toys are often made from recycled milk jugs and are all around environmentally friendly. They also have a myriad of working parts, doors that open and close and they don't make noise which encourages imaginative play in toddlers. Again, here are Carter's favorites!

Many of these toys we keep out in the backyard or on the back deck but in a pinch, we drag them into the playroom (or the kitchen, who am I kidding) for some extra "new" fun in the house. When in doubt, give your toddler a ball (or three) and it will encourage them to work on gross motor skills like running, kicking and balance. 

Although the following toys may drive you to the brink of your sanity, toddlers love to bang things and make noise. What better way to encourage that than with musical instruments? I'm a big fan of B Toys and this drum (and accompanying instruments) has provided endless hours of fun for Carter. He is especially fond of the maracas. 

We recently discovered Play-Doh (once again, under careful parent supervision) and Carter is obsessed. We purchased an activity kit that came with scissors, a rolling pin, cookie cutter shapes and a doh press and it's a great activity for little hands. With different textures and the ability to roll, press, cut, shape and mold, it provides an out of the ordinary sensory activity. Pipe cleaners by the handful are also a great sensory activity and with endless options to bend and create!


Not only are these great toys for this age grouping but they are also excellent gift ideas for little toddler birthday parties! 

What is your little one's favorite toy or activity?

15 comments :

  1. And I'm ordering those lacing beads now!

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  2. Emmy is obsessed with those puzzles! That is a great tip about storing them in a plastic bag. We've been storing them right on the puzzle and the noises randomly go off throughout the night...freaky!! Getting some bags now!

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  3. Those lacing beads are awesome! My C will spend at least a solid 5 minutes playing with it and in toddler minutes as you know...that is a very long time.

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  4. Thank you for helping me with my Christmas shopping!

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  5. Great post! I just pinned this since I will need these in about another 6 months or so.

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  6. just ordered the lacing beads! i thought for sure that i would hate toys that make noise of any kind but we have those musical instruments and i love them! turns out, the sound of whining is worse than any toy could be and those keep her happy for hours (and by hours, i mean minutes)

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  7. Thanks for sharing! I struggle with finding toys the girls will play with. I spotted a few things that will be going on my shopping list for their Christmas presents!

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  8. Great list! We have a few of these things. My 2 year old love puzzles right now. My boys have always loved blocks. I also found super cheap super hero capes and masks at Walmart and I can't believe how much they love them. They love to play dress up!

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  9. I just scheduled a post for Thursday similar to this one, but for slightly younger toddlers! :)

    We love the B Parum Pum Drum, Melissa & Doug puzzles, and Mega Bloks too! I bookmarked this post for when Landon is a little older as well. When did you first give Carter the lacing beads?

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  10. Evie loves her M&D puzzles, her megablocks and her crayons too! Always guaranteed to perk her up!

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  11. This is a great list, AP! I'm dying to get Jackson one of the train tables, but I'll be damned if we're not running out of floor space in our house as it is!

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  12. This is amazing! I added everything to my amazon.com wish list. Now I need to find someone to buy them all for Chase! I shared with my friend that is a new mom of 2. She just asked for ideas today to entertain the toddler while she is busy with baby girl.

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  13. do your Melissa and Doug sound puzzles go off randomly if the pieces aren't on? Freaks me out at 9pm if I hear a random puzzle going off in the playroom... LOL.

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  14. Great list! The 2.5 I nanny for loves the Green trucks too. I can't believe I didn't think of the puzzle pieces in a ziploc bag tip. Genius! The M&D animal puzzle will randomly make animal noises even when no one is in the room. I am so taking the pieces out asap!!!

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  15. My parents ordered the Mega Blocks for Mason for Christmas so I hope he likes them as much as Carter does.

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