Much.Most.Darling.: Favorite toys and books for an almost 2 year old toddler

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Favorite toys and books for an almost 2 year old toddler

The weather has definitely started turning here where we are, so I have a feeling our days of constant walks outside are unfortunately coming to a close. Because of this, I've been on the hunt for some awesome toys and books for H that will keep him occupied long enough for me to actually sit down. However, H is a toddler in every sense of the word, and its hard to keep him entertained for longer than a few minutes at a time, so it's been no easy feat! 

I wanted to share a few of our recent purchases that my almost 22 month old little tot has been obsessed with lately, in hopes that you all may find some that will be great for your little ones:

I'm trying to be better about actively engaging H in a 'tot school' type of experience, and these fun puzzles make it all the easier. With how deep the letters are in these Hape alphabet puzzles, you can actually take them out of the base and stand the letters up on their own to practice spelling words with your little one. At this point, H is far more interested in just standing them up and then putting them back into their respective slots, but I know as he gets older it will be really fun for him to help me build simple words together like 'cat', 'dog', 'truck', 'fart', 'rocks', you know, typical toddler language. 

One really nice thing about the uppercase letter set is that the H and I, and the M and W are discernible enough from each other that it's not confusing, and they only fit into each of their perspective slots. The colors are bright and vivid, and while we only have one set right now, I think it would be really great to have both eventually (hint, hint Santa Claus), that way you could also work on matching the uppercase and lowercase letters together, and you would be able to spell even more words since you would have multiples of the letters!

Funtime Activity Turtle from The Learning Journey International

H is currently obsessed with playing with this turtle! We've had it for about a month now, and while I'm not usually a huge fan of light up toys, this one actually offers some educational fun, and doesn't make any obnoxious noises, so it gets a big 'check' in my book.

The Funtime Activity Turtle offers H several different knobs and buttons and gears to turn, and he loves the flashing lights and fun music and sound effects that ensue when he starts pushing on the shape-covered buttons. He also thinks its super duper fun to hold onto the string that is attached to the turtle and walk (aka: run) around the house and chase our dog with his turtle in hand. We've taken it outside onto the sidewalks as well, and I was surprised at how well the turtle got around, which I'm guessing is due to the fact that the wheels have enough clearance that they don't get caught up on the cracks in the sidewalk. This Funtime Activity Turtle is one of the only things he will currently sit and play with for longer than 5 minutes at a time, so he and I both love it!

Right now you can use The Learning Journey International promo code ELECTRONIC to save 10% off!

H has had these for about 6 months, and we literally play with them daily. We actually picked H's set up at a local thrift store for a whopping 2 dollars, and I'm still high five-ing myself for that find. His set is technically the 'girls' set, but a toddler boy playing with pink and purple blocks isn't going to damage anyone, so I'm totally fine with that (plus, did I mention they were only two dollars?!)

We have a set of the Lego Duplos (larger lego blocks) and while they're great, I prefer the Mega Bloks for H's current age. The Mega Bloks are larger overall than the Duplos, and way larger than regular Legos, so when I step on one I don't feel like I'm going to lose a foot. 

When H was a little younger, he loved trying to copy what I was making, and there was a lot of repetition, but in the last few months, he abilities have exploded, and its been so evident in our Mega Blok play. He is such a curious little monkey when we're building, and I love that I can see the wheels turning as he's figuring out how each piece fits together. When I'm feeling really Super Mom-ish, I'll separate the colors into different piles and we focus on learning colors, or I'll build a tower and encourage H to copy my shape or height, but most of the time he just stacks as high as he can, and then roars and growls and knocks it over, because, toddlerhood.

Goodnight Lad book by Bradley C Grimm ( or Amazon)

The story itself was inspired by Bradley and his wifes experiences with their son who never wanted to sleep when he was little, and is something that we as parents can all relate to. It's a 32 page book about a little boy who refuses to go to bed. All the boy, Logan, wants to do is stay up and play and have fun, so his parents decide to take him on a trip around the world in hopes of tiring him out. His parents take him to the beach, to the mountains, and more, but as the time goes on he becomes more and more of a beast. You'll have to try the book out to see what happens, but I totally recommend it! 

Goodnight Lad has been SUCH a fun book for H and I to read together before bed. It's described as a "magical augmented reality children's book" and I think that's totally appropriate. Bradley Grimm has taken advantage of the fact that children are very much interested in smart phones, tablets, etc, and has paired their love of electronics and wonder with our love of learning and education as parents. When you purchase the book, you also download an accompanying app and the two pair together technology and a tactile book to deliver one of the coolest reading experiences that we've encountered so far. Each page comes to life - literally, with fun animations and characters that move around the pages, and H squeals with delight every time we turn a page and see a new scene. 

From now until November 15th on, you can save 50% off the normal retail price during their Fall sale!

This was one of those '2am spur of the moment' orders that I had totally forgotten about until it arrived on our doorstep. Whoops. Except not, because H practically lives in this super - easy - to - set - up tent. We were initially keeping it downstairs in our living room, but H started crying when we would separate him from it during nap times, so now it lives in his room while he sleeps, and then it comes back downstairs again when he's awake. Thank goodness it weighs practically nothing (2 pounds actually), because his highness likes for me to carry him in one arm and carry his castle in the other.

We have made it into a little comfy reading type nook for him by adding a blanket to the bottom and a few pillows we picked up from Ikea, and he loves it! Full disclosure, Tomie dePaola is one of my favorite children's book authors, and he has a book called The Knight and The Dragon which I used to read all the time when I was younger, and plan on reading with H once he's older and will actually sit through it, so this tent totally gave me heart eyes when I saw it, because it will be the perfect setting for reading that particular book together.

There are two mesh windows so he likes playing peekaboo through them, and the 'door' rolls up and stores easily via a little latch. In my 2am haze, I thought I was buying a popup tent, which this is actually not, but the setup was super easy (just a few poles needed to be inserted), even without an instructions, and in the long run it will probably far outlast any popup tent I would have ordered because it's super sturdy once it's put together.

Welcome to H's Christmas gift this year. My brother is super sweet and is letting us 'borrow' his train set from when he was younger, but its 30 years old, has one train and only makes a loop about 10 inches in diameter. However, every time we go over to my parents, all H wants to do is play with that tiny loop and singleton train, and he thinks its the greatest. He shouts "tain! Tain! Tain tack? Tain tack!" and makes vrooming noises with his mouth and I love that he's playing with something that brought my brother (and myself) so much joy as well. 

Knowing he's so enamored with my brother's set, I took advantage of KidKraft's big sale a few weeks ago and ordered this huge set for H (it's still currently 70% off at $40.17 right now, which is only $1 more than I paid). Keeping the set in the box and away from my little tot's hands is proving to be way more difficult than I imagined, but I am so excited to see H's face light up when he opens this on Christmas morning! 

Trucks Lift-the-Flap, Fisher Price Little People Planes, Cars, Trucks and Trains, and What's in My Truck? Books from Amazon

My dad has a tendency to never come over to our house empty handed, and these three books have been on heavy rotation ever since being added to H's library. We keep at least one of these in the car at all times because it inevitably will calm a screeching toddler who wants nothing to do with being in his car seat. H is currently obsessed with any and all things that have an engine, especially trucks, trains and planes, so I can literally almost read these three books blindfolded.

Trucks is probably the most bold and simple out of all three. H loves that the book's pages are tabbed, so they are easy enough for him to turn by himself, and you get to meet each driver and learn what their truck does. He has gotten the trucks down so that when he flips the pages, he can point and tell me what each one is, so basically my toddler is a genius.

The Fisher Price Little People Planes, Cars, Trucks and Trains book is the lift the flap book of lift the flap books. This puppy has over 55 flaps (please don't make me count!) and is easily one of the best toddler distractors around. If you need something to keep your kiddo entertained on a flight or long car ride, I would highly suggest picking up this book.

What's in My Truck features a bunch of different types of trucks, and 30 flaps to see what each truck carries. H's favorite is the truck that carries the livestock, and I like that it asks questions and makes H search for things under the flaps. The colors are bright and vibrant, and this one has my favorite illustrations by far!

What do you have on your list for the toddler(s) in your life?

I did receive one or more of the above mentioned products complimentary in hopes I would mention it on my blog, and this post does contain affiliate links. Regardless, I only ever recommend products I truly love!

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