I’m so excited to share our must-have toddler items 12-18 months! Once Josie turned 1, it felt like a switch flipped and she was in full-on toddler mode. I swear she skipped walking and just went straight to running. The girl is busy. This stage has been all about reinforcing learning through real-world experiences.
Must-Have Toddler Items 12-18 Months
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The Montessori Toddler – This book has been–and continues to be–the best resource for me during these early toddler days. It’s so easy to fall back on methods like bribes, yelling, or time-out to change your toddler’s behavior, but I really appreciate the Montessori way of talking to and treating your child with respect. I refer to it multiple times throughout the week for advice and ideas and it’s just a fantastic reference.
Toothbrush and toothpaste – With all those new little chompers coming in, teeth-brushing is extra important. We’ve used the banana teething toothbrush as part of our evening routine since Josie first started getting teeth (around 9 months). Our pediatrician recommended finding a toothpaste with fluoride in it. We’ve been using this natural toothpaste which I purchase through Grove Collaborative but is also available at drugstores like Target. Our pediatrician also recommend the Tom’s brand.
An open mouth cup – Around a year, we started to introduce Josie to an open-mouth cup. From our Lovevery subscription, we learned that using an open-mouth cup can help to build the muscles around the mouth that support diction and language skills. For us, though, the primary reason we wanted to start incorporating this into our mealtime routines was that we were realizing the sippy cups weren’t teaching Josie how to properly handle liquids or fragile items. We now use the miniware cup, without the lid or straw, for all mealtimes at the table. A sippy cup with water is still used while we’re playing or on-the-go. It only took a few tries for her to master drinking from it. We just use gentle reminders, like “two hands, please” when she’s picking it
Faucet cover – Bath time is no longer a relatively stationary activity; it’s play time! We use this simple foam faucet cover to protect from any head bumps. I liked this one because the style was fairly discreet. Since we all share a bathroom, I do my best to keep the kid toys from taking over.
Simple lunch and snack ideas – I do my best to continue introducing Josie to new foods, at least weekly. I personally avoid processed and sugary foods or juices at this age, and try to give her fresh fruits, dairy, and vegetables for snack times. I’m not perfect though and she does love her goldfish crackers, which I tend to reach for most if we’re on the go during snack time. I have this book but also have my eye on this one for easy and healthy lunch ideas.
Playing & Learning
Bookshelves – If there’s one thing I read or hear in every book and podcast, it’s that reading to your children when they’re very young is so important for helping them to develop language skills. I try really hard to make reading part of our daily routine as often as possible. We read after breakfast, we read before naps, we read before bed, and whenever we can in between. We hung these IKEA Flisat bookshelves ($15/each) to
display her favorite books. She
loves taking them on and off the
We’re Different, We’re the Same (antiracism book) – In light of the current events, we realized that we can certainly do better at making it a priority to discuss race and introduce more diversity within our home. The illustrations in this book are so beautiful, and the message is simple enough for even a toddler to understand. As we go through each of the pages, we also find our nose, eyes, mouths, etc. This “Little Leaders” book is also on my list for Josie, and I’m already a big fan of the Little People, Big Dreams books; we have several of them on famous women through history
Lovevery play kits – If you don’t already know how much I love the Lovevery play kits, I’m about to tell you again! Aside from the few toys that others have gotten Josie, we only have the Lovevery toys in our house. These Montessori playthings are a beautiful way to teach your child skills and help them to understand their environment in a practical way. I’ve talked with friends about other Montessori subscriptions and have been told the quality of these is just unmatched. We subscribe to these kits, which means that Josie gets a new kit every 3 months with toys that are developmentally suited for her age. Lovevery recently released their 24-36 month kits, which means we’re covered with toys until she’s 3 (woohoo!). Read my full review of the Lovevery kits in this post! Toy organization – A big part of our routine is to rotate toys. We usually only keep out 5-8 options at a time, and I’ve found that the fewer options I put out, the more Josie sits with and focuses on each one. I rotate them out based on how much she’s interacting with the toy. If it’s been a day and she hasn’t used one, I’ll put it away and introduce something else. We use the IKEA stuva drawers to store toys that are not part of the current rotation. We have four drawers that line our playroom wall and I’ve organized them to be: infant toys (1-12 months), toddler toys (12-24 months), and toddler toys (24-36 months). The fourth drawer is used for storing guest items for when the room needs to be used as a guest room. This system is also modular, which means we could build upon it with some of the other products in the line, as Josie grows. The nugget – Like Lovevery, I cannot express my love for the Nugget enough. (I even mentioned this one in the 9-12 months favorites!) This play couch is so much fun! We’ve built it into tunnels, climbing ramps, slides–you name it. The nugget is a great tool for releasing some of that toddler energy in an environment that is safe and soft, but we also love it for a comfortable spot to read books. I’ve also found that it’s a huge winner with bigger kids. My niece, who is 7, absolutely loves to come over and build this into a house for imaginary play. The nugget is a huge winner in our house!
What are your must-have toddler items 12-18 months? Even better, I would love to know what you’re loving for 18-24 months now that we’re entering into the next stage! I can hardly believe that my baby is on her way to TWO!
In the coming months, I totally have my eye on a toddler helper and just might pull the trigger on a pikler triangle. We had been thinking that would be her Christmas present this year, but she seems to be turning into a MONKEY these days, so I don’t know if we will make it that long!
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Not quite the age of your little one? Try my other must-have baby posts.
The No-Kidding Must-Have Items for a New Baby: 0-3 months
The No-Kidding Must-Have Items for Baby: 3-6 Months
The No-Kidding Must-Have Items for Baby: 6-9 Months
The No Kidding Must-Have Items for Baby 9-12 Months
Must-Have Toddler Items 12-18 Months
Looking for more motherhood posts?
These are some of my personal favorite motherhood posts:
The Best Montessori Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Hospital Bag Essentials: What I Did and Didn’t Use
Shared Nursery Guest Room