Shopping for a birthday present? Or just looking for some new additions for playtime? We’ve rounded up the best toys for 18-month-olds that are fun and seriously engaging for this age group.
The grand old age of 18 months comes with some pretty big developmental milestones. At this time, most little ones have mastered how to walk, they're climbing and jumping and, more often than not, they're making the most of being on their feet by dancing. So the best toys for 18-month-olds are items that help them perfect these life skills. Toys designed for this age also help to close the gap between the best toys for 1-year-olds and the best toys for 2-year-olds.
But what toys are worth investing in? And what toy features should you look out for? Nicole Ratcliffe, at Baby 2 Sleep, explains that toys that help little ones learn about emotions can be really helpful. "This allows mum or dad to spend one-to-one time with their little one, role play emotions and teach them ways to help them communicate how they are feeling," Nicole says. "Blocks and stackers are also brilliant. Music for dancing, pop-up tunnels, and obstacles around the house can be great too. They love things that may be noisy, colourful and interactive, and things that challenge them.”
To guide you through the process, we've trawled cyberspace to find the best toys for 18-month-olds from a range of retailers including the likes of Boots, Mamas and Papas and John Lewis. With prices starting from £10, there's something for everyone.
Best toys for 18-month-olds
Why you can trust GoodTo. Our experienced Consumer Editor & parent reviewers spend hours testing products to help you make the best choice. Find out how we test and review products.
Good for: Physical and auditory development | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £55
For the 18-month-old who’s always on the move, this cute rocking caterpillar from Mamas & Papas is sure to keep them entertained. The bright colourful character, with a cheerful smile would be a great addition to any bedroom or playroom.
Plus the hidden crinkle sounds in its feet and rattling antennae are great for stimulating your little one’s senses and encouraging exploration.
Good for: Auditory and cognitive development Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: Yes - 3 x AA (included) | RRP: £29.99
This beautiful wooden piano with 11 colourful touch keys is a great first musical instrument for little ones. It comes with five music sheets that play 10 melodies when inserted. So younger children will enjoy trying to play along to the classical music and older ones will have fun composing their own tunes.
Good for: Fine motor skills | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £12
This super cute animal stacker is a brilliant way for little ones to work on their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving. The five chunky wooden rings can be stacked in different orders and are topped off with a cute teddy head with felt ears.
Mum Sara tells us: 'This is an excellent and simple toy. My baby loves it and it is great for practising fine motor skills.' The colourful design will look lovely displayed in a nursery and we thought this was a great price for a little gift.
Good for: Social skills | Age suitability: Newborn + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £21
As toddlers start to become more aware of the world around them, they'll begin to role-play. Recreating family life is always a favourite game, and the My 1st Years cuddly dolls are made from super soft, lightweight and machine-washable fabrics so they can be cuddled around the clock, while looking as good as new. You can personalise this doll with your little dreamer’s name.
Early years practitioner Kirsty Ketley, from Auntie K’s Childcare says: 'Toddlers' social and emotional development will centre around imaginative play. So dressing up and role-play toys are a great idea. These are also great for helping them to make sense of their developing emotions, which will be very strong at times!'.
Good for: Auditory and cognitive development | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: Yes - 2 x AAA (included) | RRP: £15
Most toddlers love colourful lights and this is a great way for little ones to also develop their listening skills.
The five different coloured lights and animal graphics create fun visuals to attract a toddler's attention. By turning the ring they can discover different animals and the sounds they make. The three buttons can also be used to learn colours and numbers, as well as play different melodies.
Grandad Martyn explains to us: 'This is a brilliant little torch with a few different modes. It kept an 18-month-old busy for ages.'
Good for: Cognitive development and fine motor skills | Age suitability: 18 months+ | Batteries required: No | RRP: £14.40
Duplo is a great option for busy toddlers and this number train ticks lots of educational boxes too. So it's easy to see why it made our list of best toys for 18-month-olds
Bright and colourful, it’s a great introduction to numbers and colours for little ones. Plus, the set also comes with two characters and a dog figure which encourage imaginative play. Our little tester enjoyed opening and closing the roof to put the driver in and pushing the train around.
Grandma Tracey tells us: 'My grandson absolutely loved this Lego Duplo number learning train. We played for a long time putting different numbers on all the little carriages.'
Good for: Gross motor skills | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £12.99
As toddlers become more confident on their feet, they’ll start to practise standing on one leg to kick. So these little footballs are the perfect size for an introductory ball.
With a choice of cute characters, including a fox, corgi, zebra, polar bear and unicorn, there will be something to suit every animal enthusiast. The faux leather ball also comes with a pump, making it quick and easy to inflate.
Good for: Gross motor and social skills | Age suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £55
Now that toddlers are starting to play pretend, it’s the perfect time to introduce a toy pram. The great thing about this wooden pram is that it is heavy enough to be used as a walker, but moves smoothly over floors and carpets. It comes in a pretty in pink pastel colour and contains a bed big enough to carefully house a doll and all of their favourite teddies as they start to develop their role-play skills.
Good for: Cognitive development and fine motor skills | Age suitability: 3 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £22
These beautiful nesting babies from Rosa & Bo are a great toy for 18-month-olds, encouraging hand-to-eye coordination and imaginative play. The Russian Doll-inspired toy includes Ruby Fox, Basil Badger, Olive Owl and Benji Bunny, who includes a chime feature.
This toy helps to boost ordering and sequencing skills and also develops early number concepts, counting and fine motor skills. We also love its versatility, as it is water safe so can also be used in the bath or at the beach.
Good for: Cognitive development| Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £9.99
Sometimes the simple toys are the best and we found this cute wooden pop up toy keeps little ones amused for ages. It features four colourful figures which bob up and down on concealed springs and has been designed to encourage hand and eye coordination and introduce colour awareness.
Mum Danielle tells us: ''m using this to help my child develop colour matching skills. He finds the springy pegs funny. It's great to engage with a focused activity.'
Good for: Cognitive development and social skills | Age suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: Yes - 2 x AA (included) | RRP: £19.30
Little ones love imaginative play and this tea set is the perfect way for them to learn at the same time.
The set includes nine tea-time learning songs, and 80 phrases and sounds to help teach colours, opposites, counting and matching. The teapot lights up in five colours and gurgles as tea is ‘brewed’ inside. It’s a great set for role play and learning to take turns.
Ruth explains: 'As children are starting to act out familiar actions in play and beginning early symbolic play such as using toys or dolls, toys which support this are great for their development. For example, tea party cups and saucers or a play kitchen.'