Finding gift ideas for an 18 month old girl can be more challenging than you realize. Naturally, you want to get her something that she'll like, but toddlers are notorious for hopping from toy to toy. It's also common to find that she's more interested in the box than the toy itself. By paying attention to her likes---and maybe even the developmental milestones she needs help reaching---you can find the right gift.
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At 18 months, she should be able to flip through books on her own, but she may not be gentle enough to turn the pages of a paper book. Board books are perfect for this age. You could find one that features a favorite character, like Dora the Explorer or Elmo, or you could stick to simple picture books with a single image on each page.
Ride On Toys
Now that she's walking and has gained some control over her legs, ride-on toys make a good addition. This could be a small tricycle or a car. You can even find ride-on toys that have a special place for her to put a favorite doll.
Role Playing Toys
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According to the National Network for Child Care, 18-month-old children will begin to role play common activities, such as brushing hair, cooking meals or taking a bath. Give her toys that could encourage these activities, such as a mini kitchen with a set of pots and pans, a tea set to have a party with her stuffed animals or a grocery cart to "go shopping."
Dolls are another favorite toy for young girls. At 18 months, you don't need to buy a doll that has a lot of bells and whistles (or batteries). A basic doll with a bottle and a change of clothes is just fine. You can encourage more realistic play by purchasing accessories, such as a stroller or sling, a cradle and a diaper bag.
Let her develop her creative side with some musical instruments or toys. You can find musical activity tables that feature a number of different instrument sounds. Alternatively, you can purchase child-sized versions of real instruments, such as an electronic keyboard, castanets or a drum---just make sure you ask her parents first.
Having toys for outdoor use makes going outside more exciting. A small play house with a slide will help her to practice her climbing skills and can encourage role playing. A sandbox can provide hours of entertainment, as can a child-sized swimming pool.
Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.