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The best educational baby toys for kids at 12-18 months

As your baby grows, so does their need for toys that educate while they entertain. Children learn through play, so it is crucial to choose toys that not only keep them amused but help them develop mentally and physically as well. As a parent, you will want toys that your child can play with on their own as well as with you. Toys that teach colors, shapes, letters, and numbers as well as further develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, dexterity, cause and effect, and sensory abilities are available for your 12-18-month-old. Babies between 12-18 months are often starting to grow out of their first baby toys and are usually developing some of their own interests, such as sports, animals, favorite colors, and more. Gender preferences can also begin to show up around this age. So, what are the best toys for an 18-month-old? This can be a tricky age to buy toys for since most 12-18-month-olds now require more stimulation but cannot use toys that have small parts and pose choking hazards. There is a wide array of toys to choose from, and it can be overwhelming, so we’ve picked some of our favorites out for you.

Hape Pound and Tap Bench

child playing with hape-pound-and-tap-bench
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This brightly colored musical toy offers two modes of play – kids can pull the xylophone out to play it solo or use the mallet to pound the balls and send them sliding down the xylophone. Either way, your child chooses to play with this toy, they will further develop hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and musical skills. The maple and birch construction is sturdy and painted with kid-safe paint that is easy to clean. Kids will love making noise and developing sensory skills with this toy.

Go! Go! Smart Wheels Launch and Chase Police Tower

child playing with go-go-smart-wheels-launch-and-chase-police-tower
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This pay set was a 2018 Toy Award Winner, and your little one will love it too. The set features a police car and a getaway car that race around the track. The toy is colorful, emits noises, and lights up to keep kids stimulated and engaged. The multiple track levels, ramps, trap doors, and road barriers will keep kids from getting bored. The police car plays sounds, says phrases, and plays three sing-along songs. This toy begins to teach letters and letter sounds as well.

VTech Magic Star Learning Table

baby with VTech Magic Star Learning Table
Image used with permission by copyright holder

An activity table is a great way to keep your baby’s mind and hands busy without taking up lots of space. This table features six different activities that build fine and gross motor skills. The steering wheel drives the bear around the table, the interactive book plays nursery rhymes, and the other features play sounds and music. The legs of the table are removable, which means this toy can grow with your child, and it is big enough for two kids to play with at once.

Smart Shots Sports Center

child playing with Smart Shots Sports Center
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Budding sports fans will love this soccer and basketball toy that teaches shapes and numbers. The set lights up and makes sounds while it keeps track of baskets and goals on the LED screen. A soccer ball and basketball are included in the set. The shape buttons are interactive and encourage learning.

Fat Brain pipSquigz

little girl playing with Fat Brain pipSquigz
Image used with permission by copyright holder

This toy is like the fidget spinner for toddlers – though incredibly simple, it is oddly enticing to babies and pre-toddlers. The suction cups on the bottoms stick to tables, counters, highchair trays, stroller trays, the tile in the bathtub, and each other. Each toy has a different texture and rattles to create additional stimulation. Since they are made of high quality, BPA-free silicone and are dishwasher safe, they are perfect for teething as well.

Radio Flyer Busy Buggy

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This Radio Flyer ride-on toy grows in stages along with your child. While your baby is working on walking and building leg muscle strength and balance, they can hold onto the back of the buggy and push it around. Children can also sit on the toy while parents push them around until they are able to move themselves around. Along with 17 interactive sensory activities, there are turning gears that click, spin and make noise to keep your child engaged and improve motor skills. It also features a functional horn and spinning steering wheel that kids love. Spinning beads introduce letters and numbers, and there is storage under the seat, which allows your child to bring their favorite toys along for the ride.

Hape Walk-A-Long Snail

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This adorable snail will keep up with your fast-moving pre-toddler. The colorful shell spins while it moves, and kids can hear the shapes tumble inside. The shape-sorter shell is removable, making this a two-in-one toy that helps build different skills. Kids learn motor skills, hand-eye coordination, shapes, colors, and more while playing with this toy.

Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm Playset

little boy playing with Fisher-Price Little People Caring for Animals Farm Playset
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Your little animal lover will enjoy this fully functioning mini-farm. Your child can feed the farm animals, hatch baby chickens, mill corn, and tuck the animals in after a long day, all the while learning about animals, farms, and hearing songs about caring for others. The set includes a farmer figure and four animal figures – a pig, a chicken, a horse, and a cow with her calf. Pressing buttons makes animal sounds and phrases, turns on lights, and opens stall doors. The whole farm is sensory stimulating and hands-on while teaching cause and effect.

Melissa & Doug Farm Animals Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle

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One-year-olds love farm animals and learning the noises that they make. This barn-shaped puzzle board and eight thick puzzle pieces with jumbo knobs help kids further their learning. The puzzle features seven farm animals and a farmer that stand out against the big red barn. The puzzle board also features a full-color matching picture that encourages hand-eye coordination and visual perception. The knobs are perfect for little hands to grip, and kids will love solving this puzzle while learning coordination, dexterity, and animal sounds (with your help, of course).

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Kelly Kaliszewski
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
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