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The Only Toys You Need For Your Toddler ( 1-2 years)

As a mother I am very particular about the kind of products I expose my son to. Be it baby care products or clothing. So toys are no different. In-fact children below the age of 2 often mouth toys, which directly exposes them to the chemicals in plastic and coloring agents used on toys. That is why toys along with baby care items and clothing are the categories where I don’t compromise on quality and try to invest in safe and sturdy materials.

I try and stick to wood toys made of hard woods. Avoiding cheaper quality wooden toys made with MDF materials.

MDF and Ply-wood are commonly bonded using toxic glues and adhesives.This can sometimes include the toxic chemicals like Formaldehyde. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), classified formaldehyde as a “known human carcinogen”. Furthermore, if the wooden toy is coated with cheap paint and lacquer which possibly contains lead, the wooden toy is just as bad as any plastic toy.

If a wooden toy is not available I choose cloth toys and  trusted brand name plastic toys. Also note, when a plastic toy starts to wear off, it is time to discard the same, and don’t use second hand and old plastic toys as there may be possibility of chemicals leaching out and the toy not meeting the current toy safety standards.

Don’t just think about material when you think of safe toys; the shape and size of the toys are also important. Check that there are no sharp edges to the toy and that it passes the sizing standards for that age group. Especially with children below age of 2, there is always a risk of choking on toys. It’s best to stay away from toys that contain tiny parts.

When you start investing in good quality toys it becomes about quality over quantity. So your child will have a smaller collection but one that can last him/her through childhood.

Again, these are just basic guidelines for you as a parent when you choose a toy; I don’t mean to preach by any means. I too have a collection of toys for my son that are a mix of largely wooden, few plastic and cloth toys. In the end it’s about having an understanding about the chemicals in our children’s toys and being thoughtful about our choices.

Now getting to the list of toys that I found most age appropriate between 1-2 years of age. Some of the toys from my previous list of toys for baby’s first year are still relevant to this age group e.g, stacking rings, blocks, pull along toys, books etc. So we carry those forward into the toddler years.

The Only Toys You Need For Your Toddler
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Only toys you need for your toddler 1-2 years

  • Mega Blocks: Once the child gets the hang of stacking, he/she will move onto building. Mega Blocks are easy to use for those tiny toddler palms that are not yet very adept with fine motor skills.

Recommendations:

Fisher Price Big Building Bag

  • Balls: This is the perfect age group for them to start understanding the concept of throwing balls. They have just started running and jumping and a ball is the perfect play companion to them. This one is a must buy.

Recommendation:

Kipsta Green Blue Ball

  • Books: Once they enter toddler years kids get really excited about books, especially if you already have a routine that incorporates reading. Try and find a variety of themes and storybooks. Some board books, a few pop up books, interactive books, paperbacks etc. Let them get exposed to a variety of formats. Some of our favorites are:
  1. Peter Rabbit Finger Puppet Book – Beatrix Potter
  2. Polar Bear Polar Bear What Do You Hear – Eric Carle
  3. Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You Hear – Eric Carle
  4. What The Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson
  5. What The Ladybird Heard Next – Julia Donaldson
  6. When I Grow Up – Noella Menon
  7. Busy Airport (Busy Book) – Rebecca Finn, Campbell Books
  8. Cheep Cheep – Tulika Publishers
  • Kitchen set: Pretend play becomes a huge developmental activity in this period. Toddlers pick up on the nuances of what cooking looks like, trying their hands at stirring pots, serving on plates etc. I looked everywhere for a steel set or a wooden one and finally found one by Hape Toys. I will highly recommend this set. My son loves it a lot, it is one toy he is found playing with everyday. If you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen this set in the many pictures I have put up there.

Recommendations:

Hape Gourmet Wooden Starters Kitchen Set

Hape Wooden Tea Set For Two

  • Vehicles: Kids at this age love the pretend play concept of cars, trains, airplanes, construction vehicles. They are now aware of their surroundings and observing the vehicles on the road, this helps them connect the real world physical objects they see through playtime.

Recommendations:

Maya Organic Wooden Pull Along Engine

Shumee Tow Truck

Shumee Blue Race Car

  • Musical toys: At this age children start enjoying music and want to participate in it by dancing, playing musical instruments. Introducing an xylophone is great for this age. They enjoy the process of creating music. I like the ones that come with a single stick unit rather than ones that have a tiny ball attached at the end. Because if the ball falls off, it can pose a choking risk. You can even buy other musical instruments more suited to their age like a baby casio, drums etc.

Recommendations:

Hape Wooden Xylophone

Plan Toy’s Wooden Xylophone

  • Coloring books and pencils: Coloring is a great activity to enhance your child’s fine motor skills. Also helps hone their creativity. They learn about colors and textures through coloring activities. There is no real need to buy special coloring books, you can just give them blank papers or old diary’s, notebooks lying around the house. Look for age appropriate crayons especially if your toddler still mouths his crayons. Crayons made of natural materials like soy or beeswax are most suited to this age group. I like the ones by Azafran Crayons as they are made of organic waxes of palm, soya, soya butter and food grade colors.

Recommendation:

Azafran Crayons

  • Animal Set/Fruit Set/Vegetable Set: Through books, observation and conversation toddlers start picking up names of animals, fruits, and vegetables. Buying them play sets of the same becomes a new pretend play activity for them. They soon have their own favorites among these. I found that my son picked up names of a lot of animals, fruits and vegetables when he saw them in such a toy format.

Recommendations:

K’s Kids Take Along Playset – Jungle

Shumee Safari Truck

Hape Wooden Fruit

I hope you found this list useful. Its always great to have an age wise compilation like this at hand when you want to gift a toy or have forgotten what you used for your previous baby. Which toys does your child love? Leave me a comment below. If you liked what you read follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for more ideas.

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38 Comments

  1. This is such a useful post for moms. You gave a detailed description of a different type of toys.

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank-you Deepa!

  2. That’s an awesome list of toys for toddlers, I never did this much research while selecting toys for my child but I am definitely going to select a few from your list, as these look really wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank-you Neha, hope it helps!

  3. Awesome and very helpful list! As first time parents we tried real hard to hold off going crazy as well – we wanted our boy to appreciate the few things he had rather than have everything! We have a deal for every 4 new toys 1-2 have to be given away to another child (helps children)

    1. Ophira says:

      That Is a great idea, Rivita! Teaches kids about sharing and caring of items they own. I liked your tip.

  4. Dilpreet says:

    Great list Ophira!! Where were you 5 years back ?? Thank you, loved the article 🙂

    1. Ophira says:

      Glad you found it interesting, hopefully it helps new moms. That is the intention right, we research and pass on what we learn.

  5. A great compilation much needed for the moms who are confused on what to buy for their kids. I loved the fact that you counted books under toys too 🙂

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank-you Anubhuti 🙂

  6. Agree with you completely. These are the only toys my 18 mo plays with too.

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank-you Mahak 🙂

  7. What a brilliant and detailed post, Ophira. I truly admire the quality and thought you put into each post. I notice you’ve added Maya Organics and Shumee toys, both brands I love! Definitely sharing this one.

    1. Ophira says:

      Thank-you so much Shailaja, my son loves his Maya organic pull along train and shumee toys. These are classics every child should own.

  8. This is quite a list that you have curated. Makes a lot of sense and should ease a lot of parental stress.

  9. I have many of the same requirements for toy purchases! I also agree that it’s important to expose children to books in a variety of different formats. We love books with finger puppets and flaps, as well as traditional formats.

    1. Ophira says:

      I am glad that there are other mothers like you Kate, who appreciate my content. Keeps me motivated to write more. thank-you!

  10. That’s an awesome detailed and interesting list…The correct toys for the age.A useful post for new mothers especially thinking what to buy for your children

  11. There are some brilliant suggestions in here! Love it!

    1. Ophira says:

      Thankyou Ritu!

  12. I love the wooden toy sets from Lidl and Aldi. They are fab!

    1. Ophira says:

      Thankyou Fancy, I will check Lidl and Aldi ones too. Thankyou for the suggestions.

  13. MDF is bad even in case of kids furniture. Unfortunately, as the prices of wood has shot up, the only ready made kids furniture one gets in the market is made of MDF. Happy to find that you are educating parents about MDF when no one bothers if the design and price is okay.

    1. Ophira says:

      Oh yes, you are so right about MDF in children’s furniture too. As parents we have to be as aware as possible about what we are choosing for our children.

  14. Where was this list when my son was 2! I was marginally aware of chemicals in plastics, but nowhere near as thoughtful as I should have been. Not only is it smarter to choose quality over quantity for the child’s sake, it’s also a sound choice for the environment. I hated throwing away toys my son had barely played with. We tried to give them away as much as possible, but only when they were in pristine condition. So choosing sustainable materials, as well as sturdy ones helps everybody. But, with so many things parents have to think about it’s tough to always make thoughtful choices. Posts like your make this just that much easier! Thank you for sharing your insights!

    1. Ophira says:

      Thankyou Angela, that is my intention. This is a list that a new mom can refer to and have a one stop guide to help her plan buying toys for her child.

  15. I think books are so important. I used to read to my boys every night until they could read themselves. Then they read to me. You’re spot on about the toys, too. They need toys that make their little brains grow. 🙂

    1. Ophira says:

      Yes Lisa, introducing books at a young age is so important. At 18 months my son gets excited about gifts that are books compared to toys.

  16. Good article 🙂 We buy our kids too many toys and end up stressed out because we don’t even have a play to put them all. We didn’t really buy many toys early on because I realized that my daughter’s imagination was the best toy she had!
    Most of the toys she had were bought for her by family and friends. Maybe a good follow up article would be how to get your family (especially grandparents) to stop showering and spoiling our kids with gifts! LOL!

    1. Ophira says:

      Haha, I know that is quite a stressor. I have been lucky so far, our relatives have bought some thoughtful gifts, books and give cash. So it worked! With the grandparents, I usually tell them to buy him books or colouring materials. They happily oblige and my son loves receiving new books, this helps them feel good in return 🙂

  17. This is a good list and agree with all of it. Too many toys is just overwhelming (to any child) and all it does is clutter up the home. A few good educational and developmental toys is all a child that age really needs.

    1. Ophira says:

      Thankyou Amanda!

  18. I have been thinking about this a lot. I just had my first baby and christmas is coming up. I just realized I have no idea what to get kids for christmas!

    1. Ophira says:

      Yay. I hope this guide helps you Jane!

  19. Sarin says:

    Now I know what to get for my baby nephew! Thank you!

    1. Ophira says:

      Hey Sarin, I am glad it helps!

  20. This post is very useful for mums… Thanks for sharing

    1. Ophira says:

      Thankyou Sylvia 🙂

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