Toddler toys. There is such a huge variety on the market it can be overwhelming knowing where to start when picking the perfect present for your precious darling.
Tots' brains are developing at a rapid rate, their motor skills are coming on in leaps and bounds, their balance is getting better, and their speech is fast becoming adorable. Most of the time, anyway. Is it possible to choose a toy that will be educational and fun?
How to choose the perfect toy for a child aged 12 – 24 months
Think about what your baby likes. If she’s just not into plushies yet, she’s just not into them. Does she have a favourite toy at a friend’s house or nursery? Something similar to that could be a good place to start.
And think of the whistles and bells. Can you handle them? Plus, if a toy is really meant for outside use, you probably don’t want to purchase it in mid-winter.
How often will I use a baby toy?
That is down to the whim of your child. A favourite toy could be played with daily and be a Godsend on train journeys or road trips. If one’s out of favour, it will be ignored.
Some parents operate toys on a rotation system to keep interest fresh.
How much money should I spend on a child’s toy?
Consult your budget. 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. The toys on our list range from £7.50 to £50.
Are toys for children aged 12 – 24 months safe?
Toy regulations in the UK are governed by Europe-wide toy safety standard EN71 that governs the safety all toys sold in the UK and within the European Union. These toy safety standards have been in place since 1990, and were updated in 1995. To prove that these requirements are met, all toys should carry a CE Marking.
What are the best toys to buy for children aged 12 – 24 months?
We've hand-selected our favourite toddler toys here:
This fun train is bright, simple and appealing. There are enough pieces to keep little ones busy but not too many to overwhelm. It even manages to mish-mash some education in 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.
This is a fun, snap-based game that will help your toddler use problem-solving skills to match cards. Our mums thought it was a good game to encourage tots to take turns and share.
Any downsides? The game didn't keep our testers’ little ones occupied for long.
Best toddler toy for imagination skills: Vtech Electronic Toot-toot Friends Magical Unicorn, RRP £29.99, Amazon
This is an interactive toy that encourages your tot to follow her 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 this fun, 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 helped with the development of moto skills.
Any downsides? His large size means he’s not really a transportable pooch.
Best toddler toy for more than one child: Chicco Goal League Interactive Football Net Game, RRP £29.99, Amazon
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, which can be a little annoying.
Children can make a huge number of 2D flat 'nets' and 3D geometric structures using these magnetic pieces, including super cute small animals. It was shortlisted in 2017 and 2016 too.
Any downsides? It’s not cheap.
This sweet play set 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’s loud.
Best toddler toy for learning numbers, letters and colours: LeapFrog My Pal Scout and Violet, RRP £23.99, Amazon
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.