Mom Seeking Ideas on Engaging Toys for 18 Month Old Boy

Updated on July 07, 2009
L.B. asks from Middleton, MA
12 answers

Hi All, My son really enjoys playing with manipulatives like mega blocks. He likes blocks and stacking and also loves books but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for other toys that your boys really enjoyed. For instance I was considering getting him one of those racetracks that he could put cars on and watch them go down. Good idea? He is at that difficult age where he just wants to open doors and climb on things and generally create havoc so it would be nice if I could find a few more activities that engage (or at least distract him) for a while. Any good ideas for me?

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Thanks to all for the great suggestions! I really appreciate your thoughtful comments.

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answers from Norfolk on

Hi L.,

My little boy is 3 and he now loves matchbox cars, but when he was that age, he liked those little people houses, airport, firetrucks, etc. Believe it or not, he also enjoyed a kitchen and play food :)

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answers from Washington DC on

My son is 20 months and similarly likes to manipulate toys and build with blocks. He's recently began to love the shape sorter toys and puzzles (the big chunky wooden ones). I have found them to be great things to keep him occupied. His friend has a car ramp he enjoys playing with and I know many little boys his age that also enjoy it.
His particular love right now is for small objects (like pennies or rocks) and putting them in "holes"-- in a water bottle, in a shoe box with a hole, in a toy truck. That's a quick, cheap and easy solution if your son no longer likes to put things in his mouth.
Hope this helps.



answers from Washington DC on

Love the train idea -- both boys and girls at this age through about 4 or 5 adore trains and you can get good "chunky" ones right for their hands. Do be aware, though, that some Thomas the Tank Engine brand trains were caught in the lead-paint scare about two years ago and were recalled; don't buy them second-hand and check to research anything you do buy (Consumer Product Safety Commission, has a section on children's toy recalls). Another manipulable for quieter moments, and one that might be ignored for boys, is stringing chunky beads; you can buy a set with a small "rope" and fat wooden or plastic beads of different shapes to string on it. If you do it with him some he'll get it. Great for developing coordination. Also, on the climbing front - please get safety latches for bookcases, chests of drawers, cabinets, etc., the kind of latches that actually attach the furniture to the wall! I know it sounds like a hassle but will save your son if he is an avid climber; it's too easy for heavy furniture to topple onto kids. Or ensure those kinds of items are in rooms where he doesn't have access. Have fun with the toy hunt.



answers from Washington DC on

My son is now 2 years old, so i remember the stage you are at right now. It's too young for many toys, but old enough they want more than the baby ones available. balls or things that get them moving a little are fun and cheap, and my son loved (and still enjoys) any cars. They make soft ones for kids (I think Tonka makes them, they're plastic and chunky and cost maybe $4-5 each: firetrucks, police cars, mail trucks, garage trucks, taxis, etc). We have a few different kind of blocks that are nice to have around, train sets, basic puzzles, even chunky crayons are good to start in a few weeks probably. Good luck!



answers from Norfolk on

My 16 month old son LOVES the play kitchen we bought for our boys. He loves to open and close the fridge and cupboard and put things in and out of the drawers, etc. He even pretends to "eat" the food. We have the Step 2 one that makes a bunch of sounds too so that is a bonus but as far as keeping him busy, it is THE most played with toy in his room and gives me peace and quiet while a take a shower.
Good Luck!



answers from Richmond on

Ok, let's start with something you will need to just accept no matter what kinf of toys and how many toys you have for your boy - he is a boy and boys are VERY different than little girls and creating havoc and opening doors and climbing is just what they do and prefer over any toys you could get. What you want to do which you may not have needed to the same extent when your daughter was that age is proof proof proof! You want to put up gates, lock cabinets (leave one with tupperware if you can for him to get into). Good toys are stacking cups, wooden peg puzzles (but you would have to do them with him for a while), shapes sorters and basically things that can go into things! The race tracks are wondeful if he no longer puts things in his mouth because those cars are still pretty small. We started my son on those just a little over 2 years old which may have been overly cautious but I felt better with that. And of course every boy out there just loves Thomas trains and tracks. My son has a ton of toys and he always ends up only playing with his trains and race cars. And it might be a good age to start him at a part-time day care program if you can afford it because it will give him a chance to interact with other boys his age and will tire him out! If I think of other toys I will let you know.



answers from Washington DC on

Some of the toys my daughter's daycare has that seem really popular are the learning tables (with music/lights/etc), the Fischer Price farm thing that has noises when you pull open doors and stuff, I think it's a Little Tykes hammer set bang the hard hatted little guys on the head and it makes noise, and there's also a contraption where you put a ball on the chute, it rolls down and then air pops it out the top(my daughter LOVES that thing). Hope that helps.

Oh, and have you looked into weebles or Little People toys?



answers from Washington DC on

We have a home depot work bench w/ sound and lights tools, it has kept our son occupied for hours and it is the only toy he has not gotten tired of. I see it as the boys version of those fisher price kitchens. WE LOVE IT!

See link below.




answers from Washington DC on

My son is a big fan of balls - big and small and he's starting to get really good and kicking and throwing (for awhile, I kicked or threw and he carried it back to me - I felt like we were playing "fetch" but he was having a blast).

We also have the Fisher Price garage, that was a hand-me-down gift from a friend and he has tons of fun with that. I can't find the same one on-line now, but it's a big set - about 2feet high or more - with ramps and stuff. He's got a bucket full of cars that he pulls out and plays with on this.



answers from Washington DC on

My son still likes putting things together and taking them apart. He also loves anything with wheels.

His favorite combination of those two things: Trains. Ask him his favorite toy: trains.

When he was 17 months, I did some research and bought a big geotrax set at christmas. The $100 geotrax combo set at Toyrsus that year, but I caught it on sale. We set it up Christmast night (we were at my in-laws in Michigan that year) to make sure everything was there. Everything was their- but their was one broken pieces and 2 pieces that did not work. I knew that is likelyhood from research, low quality control most likely, but Fisher-Price is good about making it good.
We did buy another set with the geoair from walmart the next x-mas, and a few other items. He is not so much interested in the Geoair, as the trains.

Anyway, when we got home with the original set, I only got back out the trains and the track. All buildings and small parts got put away, except for the clock tower and a crane.

As he started to use it more and grew older, I'd put out more of the parts, until I felt comfortable enough to even put out small parts. It was over a year before I had everything out, and every time I put something out, it was like gold to him.

At first, he only wanted me to put up the track and watch the train go round. Then he learned to use the remote control. Then he started using the push trains. Then using the buildings and making small tracks. He was delighted to show me his circle of track the first time he put 4 curves together himself.

And he always likes building trains.. hooking cars together.

He is 3 now, and we bought a small HO scale set with Thomas the tank, after visiting "A Day with Thomas.",
and the PA Railroad Museum. (He loves all the Thomas stuff, including the sets with the wooden track, but I did
not want another set meant for young kids, so I went with the HO scale figuring once again like I did when he was 17 months at x-mas, he could grow into it.)

He still loves both, but if he is playing more with the HO set, I'll probably sell the geotrax and put that money into the HO scale RR.

He also has some other cheaper trains we bought at yard sales, but that don't end up being long term collections.

If you would like to stick with something to go with your blocks, Duplo has train sets that you can use with the blocks.



answers from Washington DC on

My boys loved those wooden cut out puzzles (not really a puzzle, just a board with cut outs with little handles on them that baby has to put back in to place in the right way.) they also loved the wire and bead toys (where the wires have beads strung on them and are fixed to a board so the beads can be moved around, but not taken off)

However frustrating the climbing stage is (and with two boys I can tell you it can be very frustrating) it's important for them to learn to do it safely. I wouldn't restrict him from doing this altogether, just supervise when you can and when you can't, then restrict. My 21mo is now a very experienced but careful climber. He goes up and down our long, steep staircase all day and I don't have to worry because I showed him the safe way to do it, just like I did with his big brother years ago, and I check on his safety at irregular intervals so he knows mommy is watching him. ;)



answers from Washington DC on

look at the fisher price range stretch the limit abit i gave my son stuff for 2 yearolds and he loved it. he also loved the animal train, from fisher pice you push the funnel down and it starts to sing and then moves along. also look at some of the thomas the tank engine toys. they are good and they last atleast untill he is 7 and you can expand on them for christmas and birthdays.

as it is great weather why dont you consider a sand table. i say table cos then he is not sitting in it and is less likely to get it all in his clothes. you can also get a 50lb bag of sand for about $3. we got the table that has an umbrella with it. it is great keeps wild animals out and the sun off of my sun while he plays.

get him interested in colouring. give him crayons and shapes, and my sons fav. painting do finger painting.
hope this helps.

ps not sure if anyone suggested this but clear out a cupbord in the kitchen and put a few pans and lids and wooden spoons in it and just let him play with that any time you want. and as long as you dont have expensive pans they can be your everyday pans.

hope this helps

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