If you're at that stage where you're looking for the best baby toys for 18-month-olds, you might be surprised to learn that there are tonnes of different toys available for that age group. Toddlers' brains are developing at a rapid rate, their motor skills are advancing, their balance is getting better, and their speech is fast becoming coherent and adorable, so ideally, you'd like them to play with toys that can aid their development. There are many toys that are fun and educational and will keep your child entertained for hours, and we've collected the best of them below.
Choosing the best baby toys: 12–18 months
Children aged 12-18 months need stimulation and toys that are brightly coloured, delight them with noises, and don't have any small bits will help keep them busy and learning. You might think that you have chosen the best baby toy and find that your child only plays with it for a few minutes then discards it. Don't be disheartened; they have the attention span of a gnat at this age and tend to favour certain toys over others. A favourite toy could be played with daily and be a godsend on train journeys or road trips. A good trick is to operate the toys on a rotational basis –hiding some and giving them others to play with– and swapping them over weekly to keep their interest fresh.
Choosing the best baby toys: 18–24 months
At 18-24 months, their interest grows so a simpler toy may not do the trick as well as it used to. Opt for something with many buttons and dials, and even books that will keep them entertained for hours.
What's the average baby toy cost?
There is no set average for baby toys, but the toys on our list range from £7.50 to £50. As many a frustrated parent will tell you, sometimes a child will get just as much pleasure from the box a gift comes in as from the toy itself, so there's no need to go overboard when it comes to baby toys.
How safe are toys for children aged 12–24 months?
Toy regulations in the UK are governed by Europe-wide toy safety standard EN71 that governs the safety of all toys sold in the UK and within the European Union. These toy safety standards have been in place since 1990, and have since been updated. To prove that these requirements are met, all toys should carry a CE Marking.
What are the best baby toys for 12–24 months?
Scroll down to see our picks for the best toddler toys for kids aged 12-14 months.
This fun train is bright, simple and appealing. There are enough pieces to keep little ones busy but not too many to overwhelm them. It even manages to mix in some education too. Our testers loved that it helped tots count and match colours.
Any downsides? The connections between carriages could be stronger; it sometimes comes apart when being pushed along the floor.
Although it's for ages 2 and up, this is a fun, snap-based game that can help your toddler use problem-solving skills to match cards with adult supervision. Our mums thought it was a good game to encourage tots to take turns and share.
Any downsides? It might be best for slightly older kids.
This is an interactive toy that encourages your tot to follow it around. It has sensory details and encourages the development of fine motor skills and imagination. One of our testers described it as a “showstopper”.
Any downsides? The buttons are pretty stiff for little ones to use.
This is a fun and educational game which is aimed at helping little ones with their counting skills. Our testers found it helped their children learn colours, counting, and general number work, and that it kept them occupied for a decent amount of time.
Any downsides? It's quite easy for the coins to get stuck down the back of the till.
Dr Pooch helps your tot learn how to dress themselves, whilst giving them a cuddly companion to look after. Our mums loved the friendly pup who helps with the development of motor skills.
Any downsides? His large size means he’s not really a transportable pooch.
This is a fun, football game for your toddler that is safe enough to use indoors. Our mums loved how easy it was to put together and simple to clean, and many commented on how well their little ones played together.
Any downsides? The netting can quite easily come loose if not affixed properly.
This sweet playset is based on Mr McGregor's garden. Our testers agreed it felt built-to-last and was easy to wipe clean.
Any downsides? The storage facility was criticised, with some mums opting to buy a separate tub to keep the pieces in.
This includes a variety of different instrument sounds and fun animal noises as well as ‘follow me’ lights on keys and drum pads that encourage children to play rhythmically. The scratch pad is also good fun. It won the Mother&Baby awards 2015 best toddler toy bronze award and was shortlisted in 2014.
Any downsides? It can be a little too loud for mums who haven't had their coffee yet.
The puppies talk, sing rhymes and songs, and teach little ones about numbers, letters, colours and even feelings. They can be personalised for your child too. It was shortlisted for best toddler toy in the 2015 Mother&Baby awards, and took the silver award in 2014.
Any downsides? You need access to a computer to set it up.