I've had a request from my friend, Ali, as to Christmas gifts for her little girl. She is in the age of imitation where she will mimic anything she sees mom and dad doing. In the next year or so she will start using her imagination in pretend play and will love household props in her size. Ali is also expecting a baby soon and with that in mind I recommend the following to help her daughter through the adjustment.
I am just in love with the Baby Stella doll from Manhattan Toy. She is so stinkin' cute and has lots of accessories available.
Some fun accessories are her feeding set, changing set, bath set, stroller, bouncy seat, cradle, and high chair. She also has adorable outfits that you can buy once your girl is able to take off Stella's clothes and put them back on. A little rocking chair would also be nice for times when you're rocking the baby and she wants to be next to you.
Other dolls with accessories are the Chou Chou Doll by MGA and Bitty Baby from American Girl.
A simple yet beautiful block set is also nice for children this age. Fantasy Land Jigsaw Blocks from Haba are fun and whimsical! Some of the blocks offer a sensory experience like a bell, mirror, or prism while others come in fun shapes. I myself love Haba toys. This set is available through Oompa.com.
One and a half year olds are always on the go! A fun item at this age is a ride-on toy. There are so many out there but some classics include:
This Classic Tiny Trike from Radio Flyer. Which seems sturdy and wide enough that it won't tip over. Plus it looks easy to get on and off, an important feature for young toddlers.
Another childhood classic we all know and love is the Cozy Coupe from (cringe) Little Tikes. This is a fun outdoor toy with a working door that requires a lot of foot power. Very fun!
A new and hip ride-on is the Wheely Bug. These are so fresh and fun looking and a little less traditional.
I wish they had them in my size!
Another classic toy is a rocking horse. Plan Toys makes several models including this one, Lusitano Palomino.
A good quiet time activity is a set of lacing cards. These Little Hands My First Lacing Farm Animals from Alex are big and chunky, perfect for little hands. They are made of foam and are flexible, yet sturdy. Threading the lace in and out of holes is great for fine and gross motor development. My son has the Tools set which he also uses as pretend tools and Alex also makes a Fashion set that looks cute, too.
Finally, I recommend art supplies. There is nothing that will inspire a creative genius more than letting them create and explore with different mediums and materials. This process should remain open-ended, meaning let them create whatever they want with minimum input from you. Crayons are great, as are finger paints, most toddlers like being allowed to get their hands messy and smear them on paper, but others won't like the feel. Try this 6 piece Finger Paint set from Alex, along with some Finger Paint Paper.
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