Must Have Toys for 18mth Toddlers

I had a friend text me the other day that her son, who is just a month younger than Leo, is happy as a clam outside, but gets bored when they are inside. 

Leo can totally relate, and honestly, if we could be outside 100% of the time, this sweet kid would be happy with a ball and space to roam 24/7.

But since that's not happening, I took stock in the toys that actually keep Leo's attention for more than a minute or two. The toys that I considered "Must Haves" are toys that Leo plays with day after day, toys that he can play with independently, learn from, and bonus points if they're not super ugly to look at. 

::: Fubbles Bubbles Machine, bought at Target for $10

We love this thing, only downside is that you need 3 batteries. Leo has learned how to turn it on and off himself, he can play with the bubbles for 20-30 minutes, and it's pretty spill proof. It does leak a little, but overall, I really enjoy not blowing the bubbles myself for 30 minutes. 
::: Little Tykes Water Table, Amazon $40
Our 2nd water table, I like this one better because the pieces stay where they are supposed to. Leo likes this table with water or without which is a nice plus! I've also found that Leo's favorite toys are one's that he can stand and play with, versus sitting on the ground. I have a feeling we will use this for years to come. 

 ::: Grocery Cart, TJ Maxx $10
 Leo loves his cart. He probably plays with this toy every single day and it's one of the toys that we keep in the living room. He loves pushing it around, placing toys inside and out, and racing it on the hardwood floors. 

::: Melissa and Doug Cleaning Set, amazon, gift
This is one of our newest toys and we both love it. It's so cute, it's the other toy that I keep in our living room. For the most part Leo sweeps the floors, but I've also been finding him dusting lately. My sister-in-law said that her 7 year old loves this toy too, so I think this is a nice toy that will grow with Leo.
::: Backpack, local toy store, gift
I had to include this backpack, because for whatever reason, Leo is obsessed. He will just run around the house with it on, but he must find it somewhat fun. I think this particular toy is probably a little child specific, but it makes for a great gift and it is possibly the cutest thing ever to see a toddler with a mini backpack on. Leo just started saying "backpack", and it pretty much melts me.
::: Shape Sorter, target 
In full disclosure, Leo isn't a master at playing with this toy by himself quite yet, but it's a great toy for learning, identifying shapes and developing fine motor skills. I also like that I can see him getting better at it each time we pull it out. This is a great gift for a one year old, and another gift that I can see him playing with for at least the next six months to a year.
::: Train Table, everywhere! 
The biggest investment, but by far our most used and loved "toy". Our table stands a little higher, which I like....my mom has one (I think hers is Kid Kraft) and it's a touch low (although it does have 2 drawers and ours doesn't)...but regardless...Leo loves his table. For now, he just has fun moving the trains around the table and up and down the simple track we have, but the older Leo gets, the more creative he can be. Plus, even if we're not playing with the table itself, we seem to have trains everywhere else. They make for the perfect small toy for dinners out and hes been playing with them independently in our living room a lot these last few weeks.

I'm always trying to stay on top of the next phase of toys to keep Leo entertained, so please pass any of your favorites/must have to us! I'm trying hard to have quality over quantity!


  1. Love reading all the motherhood and baby/toddler posts you've had over the last year or so- very helpful in the (hopefully) near future when we have little ones!

  2. I've been eyeing that cleaning set and think a shopping cart would be fun! Maybe I'll get them for W's second birthday this month. He loves the Melissa and Doug car transporter and has played with it every day since his first birthday. He also loves matchbox cars!

  3. Thanks for sharing! I think we need to get a water table for this summer!

  4. My son loves the Melissa @ Doug toy fruit. Found at home goods but they also sell on amazon. Just got him a cart too. He has a water/ sand table and LOVES his bubble machine. Also loves chalk! For mess free we buy the Melissa and Doug water wow books and crayola color wonder markers. My son's first words when he wakes up is "makahs" (markers)...he's obsessed!

  5. Great list! We have a lot of these toys too. Oliver got a water table and sand table in one recently that he seems to enjoy more than the little tykes one. As you know, nothing keeps their attention for long! He really enjoys digging with a shovel and pail in the dirt when we're outside and he'll pretty much use whatever he can find!