The varying buckles have provided hours of fun for my children all while helping to develop fine motor skills. There are several choices of animals and even a smaller version that only has 3 buckles.
Not only is it fun to put the pegs in the slots but each slot is spring loaded which adds an extra point of interest. Over time, my children have figured out the color matching aspect.
This shape sorter comes with five removable lids allowing you to increase the difficulty as the child learns. When the shape is matched, it tumbles out the bottom. My children love watching themselves complete the work in the mirror.
This set comes with 10 pegs and 10 interchangeable plates. The number on each plate has been carved in so it can be easily traced, which my son does naturally. After inserting the pegs a quick pull on the handle sends them tumbling down.
The Incredible Creatures line from Safari Ltd are high quality replicas. Most are sized appropriately for a younger child. I prefer these for both the detail and the fact that they are phthalate free. The offerings are unusual and well beyond your typical farm animal set. This is set 2. There are three sets total or you can purchase them individually.
Initially, my children simply enjoy putting the rings on the pegs. They would match colors and count the rings further down the road.
As a classically trained percussionist, I absolutely adore the Remo line of percussion instruments for children. This is a real drum that produces a loves sound. It is raised off the ground so the lovely bass tone can resonate. The drum comes with two mallets. My youngest loved banging on this drum as soon as he could sit up.
While I'm typically not a fan of plastic toys, this one has captivated all three of my children for years. It is simple enough for my youngest to stack while my older children love to sort and stack by color and shape.
These lacing beads are wonderful for a toddler. Not only are the shapes large but the holes are generous. The included laces are thick making them stiffer and a bit easier to thread. Given that these do include laces, this is something I only allow my children to use with my supervision.
Playsilks are fun for a large range of ages but this size is perfect for a toddler.
Yes, I am actually including a Fisher Price toy. :-) This gift has become a favorite. It's actually quite challenging to put the coins in the slot. The side them opens to retrieve the coins. It is reminiscent of the Montessori toddler coin bank. Yes, it takes batteries which you can decide if you wish to remove. This is good gift suggestion for family members who insist on buying toys.
We adore books and already have more than I can count. However, this one stands out as a favorite for my younger crowd. The artwork is exceptionally engaging. Even I enjoy studying the illustrations.
13. Hoberman Sphere
This sphere begins at 9.5 inches and expands to 30 inches. I can't fully explain why this is so engaging but we are all enthralled with it.
14. Buddha Board
The Buddha Board is incredibly in its simplicity. The board darkens in color with the addition of water and nothing more. Then as quickly as the designs appear they begin to fade as the board dries. It's available in several colors as well as a smaller size.
Bonus! Melissa and Doug Latches Board
Don't get hung up on the age recommendation for this one. My children have all had a strong interest in this board around 1 year of age, working at it for long spans of time even if they weren't able to initially work all the latches.
And stay tuned for my fifteen favorites for preschoolers and kindergartens later this week.
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