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Best toys for 18-month-olds 2023: Toddler toys for fun and development

Help toddlers reach their developmental milestones with our pick of the best toys for 18-month-olds

The best toys for 18-month-olds help them to reach their necessary milestones. Children develop their knowledge and skills at a startling pace at this age. They also learn more about how to engage and interact with the world.

Learning to walk, talk and explore is what being 18 months old is all about, and there are plenty of toys to help encourage the process. That said, they’re still too young for small parts and hard edges, so it’s important to choose safe toys that foster their newly-developing skills and independence. Ultimately, the key to buying a toy for a toddler is to make sure it’s fun!

Choosing a fun toy for a toddler is not necessarily a challenge, but certain things can make the item a favourite for the child. Here we look at the factors to consider when buying toys for an 18-month-old and provide a list of our favourite options that your child will love.

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Best toys for 18-month-olds: At a glance

  • Best overall toy for 18-month-olds: VTech Playtime Bus Educational Playset | £20
  • Best musical toy for 18-month-olds: Chad Valley Crocodile Xylophone | £10
  • Best soft toy for 18-month-olds: B. Toys Happy Hues Peppy-Mint Bunny | £8.95

How to choose the best toys for 18-month-olds

What are the most important features?

Challenge: As children develop their balance, speech and other motor skills, they’ll need to be challenged, cognitively and physically, to consistently improve them. Toys that help them walk, learn new words or develop other skills are always a great choice.

Movement: Toys that make children dance, chase things, jump or climb will help them work off energy and improve their fine motor skills.

Stimulation: Children of this age require stimulation. Toys that are colourful or noisy will always be a delight to them.

Creativity: Whether it’s through music or making art, letting kids express themselves will help their personalities grow.

Pretend and play: If your child enjoys watching you cook, why not teach them how with their own toys? Imitating real-life tasks with toys like kitchen sets helps them prepare for the real world.

How to make sure a toy is safe for an 18-month-old

As fundamental as encouraging development is, it’s also important to ensure that the toy is safe for a child. Aside from sharp edges, here are some safety features to take into account:

Is it breakable?

A toy that breaks can be hazardous to children, especially if it has sharp edges or small pieces that they can swallow. Choose a toy made of sturdy material that can handle getting knocked around.

Is it too small?

Toys with small pieces risk getting caught in a child’s windpipe. Since children are too young to understand the risk, it’s important to keep small items out of their hands.

Are the batteries secure?

Batteries can pose a serious risk to curious children. Look for toys with battery cases that close with screws.
As a final note, it’s important to monitor the child as they play; accidents can happen in the blink of an eye, so if you’re not playing with them, you’ll have to at least watch them closely.

Read on to discover our top picks of toys for 18-month-olds and why they’re the best options for this delicate and important age.

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The best toys for 18-month-olds to buy in 2023

1. VTech Playtime Bus Educational Playset: The best overall toy for 18-month-olds

Price: £20 | Buy now from Amazon

This playtime bus offers young children hours of both fun and learning. Designed with more than 100 interactive questions, children can use this toy to learn their alphabet and numbers and develop language skills. It has bus sound effects to keep the child’s attention and more than 30 songs and melodies.

The myriad benefits of this toy include motor skills, maths skills and language development. It teaches children phonic sounds, letters, numbers, vocabulary and even safety rules. Toddlers can learn to count by the number of children getting on and off the bus before the door shuts.

The bus also has a quiz function, so children can reinforce what they’ve learned. There is a music station activity, so they can flex their creative muscles by composing their own music. Along with letters and numbers, there are buttons for brake, horn and driver and a door that opens and shuts.

Key specs – Material: Plastic; Powered by: AA Batteries; Sound: Yes; Interactive: Yes

2. B. Toys Happy Hues Peppy-Mint Bunny: The best soft toy for 18-month-olds

Price: £8.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Sometimes a child just needs a simple toy they can snuggle up to. This adorable bunny is just that, with its extra soft coat, floppy, patterned ears, brightly coloured paws and adorably pink cheeks. The bunny is easy to care for, as it’s machine washable.

While the main benefit is just giving a child something soft to cuddle, it’s not the only one. Plush toys help children improve their sensory skills by learning textures, colours and sizes. It also helps them to understand and better manage their emotions. Plush toys give children something familiar and comforting when they are feeling scared or overwhelmed.

Toys such as stuffed animals also help children practise social interaction. Most children love to play pretend by interacting with their stuffed toys, which can help them when making real friends later on.

Key specs – Material: Polyvinyl; Powered by: N/A; Sound: No; Interactive: No

3. Q Play Cutey Bike: The best riding toy for 18-month-olds

Price: £30 | Buy now from Smyths

For children working to improve their balance, bike-style toys can be a great help while providing lots of fun. The Q Play Cutey Bike has four wheels, offering better stability than a tricycle. There are no pedals involved. Instead, the child must push themselves with their feet.

The sleek frame has a comfortable cushioned seat and adjustable handlebars with two settings, allowing the bike to grow with the child. A great way to keep them physically active, this toy will help strengthen their legs and core as they keep themselves balanced while pushing themselves around.

A riding toy also helps children practise observational skills and situational awareness as they learn not to run into the things (and people!) around them. This bike comes in multiple colours, so children can pick the one that appeals most to them.

Key specs – Material: Plastic; Powered by: N/A; Sound: No; Interactive: No

Buy now from Smyths

4. Chad Valley Crocodile Xylophone: The best musical toy for 18-month-olds

Price: £10 | Buy now from Argos

One of the easiest ways for children to express themselves is through sound. A toy xylophone can help foster a child’s love of music while helping greatly with their development. Tapping the stick on the key helps practise hand-eye coordination. Meanwhile, the different keys can help them learn their colours as well.

There are seven different tones on this little crocodile toy, and the stick is thick enough to be easy for young children to hold. It fits comfortably in the croc’s mouth, preventing it from getting lost and teaching kids the importance of tidying. The crocodile has a string on the front, allowing children to pull it along with them.

For added fun, the crocodile’s mouth moves, and its tail wags when the child walks with it. The wood frame means that it’s a sturdy toy that will last your child a long time.

Key specs – Material: Metal, wood; Powered by: N/A; Sound: Yes; Interactive: Yes

Buy now from Argos

5. Cutting Vegetable Puzzle: The best pretend cooking toy for 18-month-olds

Price: £15 | Buy now from Kidly

This toy is perfect for children who love to be in the kitchen with their parents. It helps children with hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, visual skills and understanding of healthy eating. The puzzle includes nine vegetables: corn, carrot, green pepper, tomato, cucumber, mushroom, pumpkin, red onion and lettuce.

The set includes a blunt wooden knife to help “cut” the vegetables, which are held together by touch fasteners. One side of this puzzle can be used as a cutting board, while the other is a puzzle. Children can match the vegetable to the image on the board, learning to identify common veggies or even colours.

Children love imitating the adults around them. So giving them their own way to practise their gripping and cutting skills can make them feel involved with what you’re doing while also fostering their independence.

Key specs – Material: Wood; Powered by: N/A; Sound: No; Interactive: Yes

Buy now from Kidly

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