Gifts for your toddler 18 mo and 2.5 year old

Thanksgiving Day is next week and this means Black Friday ads are out! Many of you have probably started making a list of β€œwhat should we get for the kids?” so I thought I’d share a list of things that may be good for your toddler, who is becoming more adventurous, independent, talkative, and imaginative – it’s fun to watch their world expand πŸ˜€

If you’re looking for gifts for children age 12-18 months old, click here

Art supplies: 

There are so many independent activities and guided projects that you can with your toddler. Stock up on art supplies. Crayola often has some great deals on Zulily and Amazon (up to 60% off). Michaels has buy one get one off sales or use their store coupons to score some great art supplies. Here are what get used the most in our house:

  • washable kids paint, washable markers (pip squeaks markers from Crayola are small enough for toddlers to open and close the lids by themselves), colored pencils, crayons (the triangular crayons are good for toddlers to practice pencil grip), water color paint
  • smock
  • no-spill cups and brushes  as seen on the pics above (they contain the mess when you do painting)
  • construction papers
  • glue (we mainly use Elmer’s glue)
  • art easel and the rolled paper (preferably an easel that is height adjustable and foldable).

Fine motor skills, sensorial work, language development:

Many of the toys used to enhance her fine motor skills, senses, and language skills were bought when she turned 1 (see this post for more details). As she gets older, we have elaborated on how we use the materials. We began focusing on names and attributes of colors, shapes, sizes, emotions, animals and their features, etc. For instance, now when Alia plays with this peg board from Haba, she makes patterns or we take turns calling out on different colored pegs to put on the board. She now uses a pair of tongs to sort the pretend fruits (sorting material from Learning Resources). And we have used stickers in a more deliberate way like matching numbers.

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Your child turns 1! What to get? Toys for 12-18 months old

One of the things that I do when Alia takes a nap is online shopping. Hehehhe, I know, suchΒ a productive way of spending my precious me time, right? :p Anyway, yesterday I came across this under the kids category on Zulily.com – Fun for Year Two: 12 to 18 Months

Screenshot (14)Alia is closer to becoming 2 years old, but I was curious what they’re selling. Honestly, despite the discounted price, I wouldn’t buy most of the toys there because I think many of them are overstimulating, short-lived, and serve little benefit for a child.Β 

So I thought that I’d give my share of opinions of things to get for children at the age of 12-18 months old. I get most of Alia’s toys either at thrift stores, consignment sales, or online (Amazon and Zuliy) when they’re on sale. And I look for these things when getting toys for young toddlers:
– purposeful: the toys that could be to enhance gross or fine motor skills, color and shape recognition, etc.
– open-ended: there are many ways of playing with the toys, using their imagination and creativity — I call these toys “passive toys” since it requires and makes an active child for the toys to come alive
– have good shelf life: the child can grow with the toys
– wooden toysΒ (if possible): they’re more durable, have textures that feel good on a child’s hands, andΒ since they’re naturally made things, they can be recycled.Β 

Here are the toys that we love and recommend because the fit some or all of the criteria above.Β Alia still plays with many of them, so they’re still in our toy rotation! YEAH! πŸ˜€

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Toy Review #4: Knob Puzzles

This past weekend, I felt so accomplished for finding three large knob puzzles for Alia at a consignment sale, specifically these vintage ones from Melissa and Doug. Aren’t they beautiful? With real animal pictures as supposed to the animated, cartoonish images like the ones sold these days.Β 

My eyes twinkle when I see jigsaw puzzles, and I think I’ve become a puzzle hoarder. Hehehe… There are so many benefits of playing puzzles for children such as developing fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, attention, and concentration (more on the benefits, click here). Plus, isn’t fun when you’ve put all the pieces together? Well, I’ve seen that big smile on Alia’s face whenever she completes a set. πŸ˜€Β 

To accommodate those tiny hands of her, we buy large knob puzzles from Melissa and Doug. It’s also recommended that they play with puzzles that have one piece per separate hole. This was her first puzzle which we bought when she was 10 months old.Β 

knob puzzle -1

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Toys for babies? (0 to 6 months old)

It’s the second week of November and I know some people have started making a Christmas shopping list. Even though we don’t celebrate Christmas, I still like to see the word SALE when it comes to toys, books, and shoes!Β 

If you have a tiny baby, you may wonder what toys to get for the baby (at least I did). I know say to our friends who recently become parents or will become parents to not bother to get them any toys, and invest in great children books instead. Continue reading

Toy Review #2: Stack ’em high! Plan Toy Stacking Ring

Disclaimer: Everything here is based on our family’s experience playing with the toy, not a sponsored post.

stacking ring

One of the toys onΒ “must buy” list was stacking rings since I believe that there are so many concepts that a child can learn as they play with them: hand-eye coordination, colors, size, and counting.Β 

At the library, Alia has been playing with the plastic one (by Fisher Price). They’re OK, but I wanted something different. We decided to purchase theΒ Plan Toy Stacking Ring, and we couldn’t be happier! Continue reading