Your toddler is really taking off these days and as you chase your little one down the street, you may miss the days before she learned to use her legs so well. "Active" is an apt way to describe kids this age, and they like any toy or game that allows them to throw their whole self into it — balls, swings, and tiny climbing sets, to name a few.
Small hands are becoming more coordinated now, too, and your toddler can probably now use toy sorters more efficiently, build even greater block towers, and scribble a drawing. Play involves lots of experimentation, like "What happens if I drop this ball?" or "What happens if pull this lever?"
At this age, most children are very interested in the consequences of their actions, and because their memory isn't well developed, they don't tire of repetition. Toddlers also like to try out what they see adults doing, so look for toys that imitate daily life.
Large building bricks: These light cardboard bricks are big enough to stack up into a fort or wall, or any other way your toddler wants. But the most satisfying part of the process continues to be the finale — when the walls come tumbling down.
Push and pull toys: Heavily weighted push toys can give your beginner something to lean into as she motors around your home. Wagons can be ideal. Pull toys are for slightly advanced walkers who can look behind them as they move forward. Give them something to look at: Pull toys that flap, bobble, squeak, or in any other way make a scene are favorites.
Sorting and nesting toys: Toddlers love to sort, stack, unsort, unstack, and basically reorganize their lives. Sorting and nesting toys are great fun for those who are trying out their early problem-solving skills.
Climbing gym: A tiny gym can give your toddler a safe place to climb, hide, slide, and practice all her emerging motor skills — over and over again. But these sets can also be pricey and are quickly outgrown.
Balls: Any ball that's easy to grasp will be a hit with this group — underinflated beach balls, vinyl balls, cloth balls. Stay away from foam balls that could end up as a mouthful. Your toddler will have fun kicking, rolling, and throwing a ball.
Washable crayons and paper: Let the scribbling begin! Hand your toddler no more than a couple of crayons at a time — you don't want to overwhelm her — and tape the paper to the floor so she can make her mark without dragging the paper along with her.
Ride-on vehicles: This mode of self-locomotion may be even more popular than walking. Many small ride-on toys have models with handles for an adult to push when the child gets tired. Avoid electronic versions — they're expensive and take away from the fun of getting around under your own power.
Tool bench or toy kitchen: Junior fix-it kids or aspiring chefs will get hours of play out of plastic or wooden models scaled to their size. Sets like these give a child a chance to emulate the things she sees adults doing, and they'll continue to hold her interest for several months as her play gets more sophisticated.
Picture books: Your toddler will enjoy more advanced picture books showing familiar objects and activities. He may also start to take pride in his own library and the chance to pick out a favorite for you to read.