Melissa & Doug’s 5 Tips for Selecting Toys for 12-24 Month Olds

Last week, we shared Five Tips for Selecting Baby Toys and we are thrilled to share our picks for the 12-24 month olds in your life. The time between one and two is a special time, full of new skills and exploration. We often describe this time as an “explosion” of new abilities – it’s exciting for parent and toddler alike! Here are our five tips for selecting the perfect toy for your 12-24 month old:

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1. Explore Motor Skills

Get those little arms and legs moving with these toys that encourage gross motor skills! Toys like Melissa & Doug’s Chomp & Clack Alligator Push Toy encourage walking in a fun, playful way. Every time your little one takes a step, three alligators chomp – which also encourages cause and effect exploration. Select a toy that makes your child excited to interact in a physical way.

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2. Engage in Imaginative Play

Twelve to twenty-four month year olds have active imaginations, so engage them with imaginative play! Since they are thick enough to hold in their hands,  Chunky Puzzles are a great way to introduce story-telling with toys. Chunky Puzzles  can also stand up for pretend play, which allows children to create stories and scenarios.

Looking for fun new ways to play Chunky Puzzles with your child? Here are two extension activities we suggest for the Farm Chunky Puzzle:

- Make each animal’s sound, and ask the child to point to the right animal and say its name as you “call” it.

- With all the pieces on the puzzle board, ask the child questions to make up a simple story about a day on the farm. For instance, “Lots of farm animals have come to the pond! What do they like to do at the pond?” or “Which animal will go to the barn first for bedtime?”

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3. Encourage Emotional Awareness

Twelve to twenty-four months is the perfect time to encourage emotional awareness in children. In advance of preschool, select a toy that teaches the joy of kindness and the benefits of caring for another. Plush toys like Sunny Yellow Lab  are sure to become comforting friends that children will cherish for years to come.

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4. Gift a Classic

No playroom would be complete without a shape sorter cube – these classic educational toys for young toddlers are essential for early learning and development. Melissa & Doug’s Wooden Shape Sorter Cube is ideal for teaching children shapes and colors. They also make a satisfying “clunk” sound when pushed through the cube, which teaches while they  play! Shape Sorters have many additional extension activities that encourage multiple uses and years of enjoyment. Here are two extension activities we suggest for the Wooden Shape Sorter Cube:

- Encourage beginning counting skills by asking the child to count the blocks with you. Repeat the activity until the child is familiar with the numbers one through twelve.
- Once the child is familiar with the shapes and colors, ask the child to hand you a specific shape or color block.

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5. Prepare for Writing

Practicing grip is a great activity for young toddlers! Jumbo Triangular Crayons help develop the preferred grip for writing, so coloring with crayons become a fun activity that also helps children prepare for their early education. These crayons are easy to hold – their triangular shape means they will never roll off the table! They are perfect for hours of extended coloring fun.

Shop our toys for 12 to 24 month-olds here and find the perfect present today!