12-18 months: Outdoor and Travel
As your child begins to walk, you can start of the most treasured toddler activities: the daily walk. This is a slow activity full of exploration, observation, repetition, and joy.
Outside time also builds gross motor skills, especially with ride-on toys, simple games, or helping with chores. Make sure you get good shoes (see below) so your child learns to walk correctly.
And when traveling, don't forget fun actvities like vocabulary cards or sing-along music!
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Outdoor Materials for 12-18 months
A ride-on toy like this Wheely Bug from Prince Lionheart is perfect for 12 to 18 month olds who are just learning the idea of pushing with their legs. It's almost impossible for a child to tip this over, and the wheels allow it to move in all directions quite easily. I'm partial to the mouse, but there are several other designs to choose from.
Playing with water is a favorite activity for most young children, and a watering can like this encourages purposeful help! I suggest introducing a watering can outside so your child can practice dumping as much water as she likes without drowning your potted plants.
Shoes for Walking
As your child is coordinating her body to walk quickly and efficiently at this age, good shoes are of utmost importance. No boots. No flip-flops. No heels (yes, I have to say that sadly). Your child's feet and legs must move in a natural fashion, and that requires a sneaker, sandal with an ankle strap, or bare feet.
Look for velcro or elastic closures that your child can do on her own, and a sturdy but flexible sole. These would also be a good choice.
I love this shovel for toddlers. It's thick plastic handle and scoop hold up well to repeated use and the curved design helps dig deeper and more gracefully without added force.
Vocabulary Cards on a Ring
A set of picture cards is great for practicing familiar words, and keeping them on a ring like this allows for easy travel. These aren't as nice as the ones from So Awesome (so sad to see them go), but have many similar features. The simple pictures are clear, the words and objects are familiar to many toddlers, and the tapered top makes flipping easy.