Goodbye infant, Hello Toddler!

For most of your little one's life, you've been their source of entertainment. Now, they want to make their own experiences. To try new things, make new sounds, and taste everything, that's their goals. Your goal is to find them toys that will keep them from reaching their goals by tasting the trash or climbing up the curtains. After trying many different toys, here's the top 10 that saved me a lot of heartache.

1. Musical Instruments

Melissa and Doug sell a great set!

I'm not talking about those electronic noisemakers that look like the real thing. Where you push a button and a whole band starts playing. I mean real instruments like maracas, tamberines, and triangles. The kind that can be used to make REAL music.

Why I love them: they encourage him to be creative and realize that actions have consequences. If you shake a maraca it makes noise.

What he likes: He gets to make lots of noise.

1 year old playing with instruments and boxes.

2. Empty Boxes

Laundry baskets and toy boxes are great too!

You may look at an empty cardboard box and see trash, but to a toddler, the possibilities are endless. It's the beginnings of a tower, a place to sort toys, and a comfortable chair.

What I like: It's free. When it breaks, I can simply throw it away.

What your 1 year old will love: It's lots of fun. You can put is on your head or sit in it. Why they like to sit in things, I don't know.

3. Finger Puppet Books

"This is literature?" -Gru

One year olds love interactive things. A book that has a puppet connected is lots of fun. We have the "Little Zebra" from Image Books. 

What I like: He lets me read it, most of the time. Experts say reading to your kids is good, but they never tell you how to get them to sit through a book.

What he likes: He likes to try and figure out how the puppet works. Your little one will love the cuddle critters too.

4. Wooden Blocks

Fun for the whole family!

We bought him some wooden blocks, since that's a classic toy. At first, he just wanted to taste them, but now he likes to stack them and knock them down. My big fella, hubby, also saw some really neat architectural wood blocks at the toy store. Those are ooutage wish list. Blocks are fun for everyone!

What you'll love: They'll learn good hand eye coordination and develop good dexterity.

What they'll love: Destroying towers and chewing the wood are the two things you're likely to see them do the most of. 

5. Plane, Trains, and Automobiles

Anything that has wheels or moving parts.

They see big cars on the road and planes flying in the sky. Being the curious individuals they are, they want to know how things work. I don't understand why he likes wheels so much, but he does. Big wheels, small wheels, stroller wheels, or toy wheels, it doesn't matter to him.

What I love: He can be curious and inquisitive without playing in the trash. Yes, it has happened.

Things he loves: Figuring out how things move and work all by himself. Being independent.

6. Balls

Balls that light up are especially fun!

Balls come in all shapes and sizes. They have spikes ones and squishy ones. There's even a slow motion ball, it's made in Italy! They can be used for sensory play, feeling the difference between rough and smooth, or rolled back and forth.

Things you'll like: You'll enjoy watching them develop from rolling the ball between their hands, or feet, to bouncing it back and forth. 

What they'll love: It's so much fun!

7. Pretend Electronics

iPhones, tablets, and computers are good examples.

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you know how delicate they can be. Letting your kids play with them will make you cringe. Thankfully, there's an alternative. Kids, mostly, just want to push buttons and maybe taste them. A plastic phone or tablet that lights up when they push a button will keep them away from your very expensive electronics.

What you'll enjoy: Peace of mind because your phone is safe. Most of the play phones are also educational, extra bonus!

What they'll enjoy: Pushing buttons and being just like you! Because mimicking is a form lot love.


8. Rubber Ducks

Whales, walruses, sharks, pigs, snails, cows etc.

If your constantly pulling things out of your child's mouth, like me, then you'll be glad to hear that rubber animals are safe to chew on. What a relief! They are also great for playing outside the tub, like on a farm or in a fish tank, pretend of course.

What I like: They're cute and fun to play with. 

What he likes: They feel good on his gums, fun to squish, and great for sorting.

9. Stacking Toys

Those rings you stack from largest to smallest to form a tower.

Those toys are classics. They may not figure out how to stack them right away, but they'll enjoy taking them apart. We have one that plays music every time a ring gets put on. It's really quite entertaining.

What I love: He learns to differentiate sizes. Cognitive development.

What he loves: Playing with the rings and using his ingunuity to figure out how they stack on each other.

10. Lift the Flap Books

Slide and seek books are great too.

Going back to what I said before about getting him to sit through a book. Be careful, it hey might decide that they want to taste the book and rip the flaps off. Hand me down books are good ones to let them play or rip with.

Whay you'll enjoy: Bonding and reading to them.

What they'll enjoy: They'll love lifting the flaps, or sliding them. It fulfills their need to know what's behind a closed cubard.