Children change so much all the time and the words “everything’s a phase” is something that has come out of every sleep-deprived parent’s mouth at some point.
But the switch from baby to toddler – which happens around after the age of one – opens up a whole new world for children and their long-suffering parents.
It’s between these two birthdays that children typically learn how to walk and talk; and their personalities start to emerge. There’s a lot going on in their brains as they’re taking in the world around them and learning new things every day.
Toys start to take on a new meaning, as you’ll notice that your child begins to play with them differently – perhaps beginning to understand that blocks can be stacked on top of each other; that a particular shape fits through a hole; or that a toy will make a sound if pressed in the right way.
It’s fascinating to watch them learn these skills, especially when you’ve spent the past year slumped over several large cups of coffee.
“By this age, it’s likely that your one-year-old is already infinitely curious and craving exploration, especially of objects from the real world,” says Jessica Rolph, co-founder and CEO of Lovevery, a company that makes stage-based toys for babies and toddlers.
“We recommend simple, thoughtfully designed play things, created from real materials like wood to encourage deeper, more imaginative play.
“Research suggests that playing environments featuring natural elements help children concentrate, focus, and even calm down, which can be enormously beneficial to their cognitive development.”
We tested these development toys on a 13-month-old baby –who typically gravitates towards brightly coloured toys that can be bashed together to make a noise – and an 18-month-old baby tested the toys that are geared towards babies nearer two. Taking into account cost, the range of activities offered and whether they entertained the children for periods – every parent’s holy grail – we’ve compiled a list of the best toys available.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.