Children are advancing in all areas of development between the ages of 1.5- 2 years old. They will begin to combine 2-3 word sentences in a communicative setting. Additionally, they are able to play with toys by using their intended purposes. For instance, they may use pretend foods and dishes to "pretend eat". Fine motor skills become more advanced through drawing, coloring, and writing as well. We came up with a list of store-bought toys and everyday household items that are developmentally appropriate for children between the ages of 1.5- 2 years old.
- Cash Register: Going to the grocery store is a weekly activity for most families. The more your child is involved with weekly errands, the better behaved they will be during those errands. Having your child practice grocery shopping or working at the store is a great way to role-play before going to the real grocery store. A toy cash register will help children with counting, adding, recognizing colors, and using food vocabulary, as well.
- Little People: Fisher- Price’s "Little People" line makes wonderful gifts for toddlers. Whether it is the school bus, zoo, house, farm, castle, school, etc., Little People’s line can be great for working on vocabulary skills, language skills, and/or role-playing. The link provided is the Little People Place Musical Preschool Playset. If your child will be attending preschool or daycare soon, this is a great way to help integrate them with that new experience. Your child can role-play scenarios in order to feel more comfortable on their first day of school. For younger children, purchasing the pack of zoo or farm animals is beneficial to learn animal sounds and names.
- Picnic Basket: LeapFrog Shapes and Sharing Picnic Basket are great for learning food items, shapes, colors, and manners. Play-time is a comfortable environment to practice appropriate mealtime manners. Children can practice using forks and cups on their own, without the mess! At dinnertime, you can remind the children of manners you practiced while playing with the picnic basket.
- Bath Crayons: Between the ages of 1.5-2 years old, fine motor skills are rapidly emerging. Encouraging writing and drawing is crucial. These bath crayons are a great way to occupy your child during bath time and practice drawing at the same time. Children can draw on tile with them and wash it off with water. The perfect solution for kiddos who ‘accidentally’ draw on the walls!
- Suitcase: Kids love to push suitcases around the house! Suitcases are a great way to encourage gross motor skills by having the child pull the suitcase while walking or running. It can also be used to role-play an upcoming trip. For instance, practice packing clothes into the suitcase, reenact the airport experience, as well as how to check-in, and then take a pretend airplane ride on the couch! If a child has knowledge of the steps of traveling, they will do much better!
- Shaving cream: Shaving cream can be used to practicing drawing and writing skills. Pour shaving cream onto a table, and then have your child use their finger to draw. You can practice drawing straight lines, circles, or other shapes. If your child constantly puts things into their mouth, avoid this activity until they are a little older.
- Simon Says: Simon says is a great game to play with this age group because you can practice adapting commands. By engaging in this activity, children can sharpen their language or motor skills. Try to use commands about identifying body parts, such as “Simon says touch your eyes, shoulders, knees, feet, etc”. It is also great to incorporate 1-step directions, for example, “Simon says put the stuffed animal in the couch”.
- Laundry basket: Laundry baskets make the best racecar! Giving your child laundry basket rides can help initiate language commands. Try to integrate requests(more), prepositions (in ,on, around, out), action verbs (stop, go, spin), and/or cause/effects (ready, set, go) during your laundry "car-ride". For example, while your child is climbing in say, “What are you doing? Are you getting in or out?” Before you push, you can say, “Ready, set, go” then have your child repeat. While you are pushing, you can play ‘red light, green light’ by having your child call out “red light” to stop and “green light” to push.