Toys: Shape sorters (you can even make your own – just give an empty plastic box and some balls/blocks), balls (i.e. for bouncing) or toys that have balls (e.g. air toys), toy phone (child will try to imitate you and push buttons and babble), books (flaps, pull tabs, textured), blocks (large wooden ones or plastic legos) and sand toys – pail and shovel.
Play Ideas: Place objects (e.g. 3-5 items) around the child and wait for them to grab their preferred object. Engage them to see if they will try to share it with you and if they do then applaud them to encourage that behavior. Talk about the object they are holding and play with it with your child. When taking toy animals/people out of a box – you can practice saying/waving hi to each animal (e.g. “hi cow, hi horse, hi boy”) and you can say/wave bye to each toy when cleaning up. This will help your child practice his new skills – waving hi/bye in a routine with a lot of repetition.
Toys: Sorting and nesting toys (helps develop problem solving), modeling clay, picture books (familiar objects/activities), pop-up toys, simple puzzles, large building blocks, push and pull toys (e.g. wagon/walking stroller), gym – (practice motor skills such as sliding, climbing and jumping.), ball (i.e. kicking, rolling, passing) and crayons/paper.
Play Ideas: Practice turn-taking by playing with a single toy. For example, if playing with a pop-up toy you can take turns with your child pushing buttons and model language such as “my turn/your turn”. Your child will start to hand you toys around this age so you can continue to facilitate these skills by pointing and naming desired objects. For example, point to the cow and say “I want cow. Give me cow” and extend your hand out. This will also help teach your child how to make requests. You can also make your own obstacle course for your toddler to practice their developing gross motor skills by having them crawl through a tunnel, jump in/out of a circle or on a small trampoline and climb up/down the couches.