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buy MUST HAVES for 1 year old to 18 month old baby

A guide by Suzi "modsuzi" (SF, CA)

Products sampled from this guide:
What to Expect The Toddler Years My reference book for toddler related issues.

1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 Our pediatrician recommended this book for discipline issues that I found started at about the same time my kids started walking.

Toysmith Busy Zoo Activity Center I got the Anatex learning cube in natural wood, but had some problems with it's construction (tack nails, sharp edges, peeling paper, etc), so I would go with this one instead. These learning cubes are great for babies learning how to stand at about one year and getting ready to walk. They are known to be one of the best motivational developmental toys.

Little Tikes Climb & Slide Castle No need to get a huge play structure for your early walker. This keeps my 18 month old busy for hours (and my 3 year old). Climb, turn the steering wheel, and slide on down. We use inside and out on deck. Pop slide off and move from place to place. Several design flaws, however: two windows on one side are tempting to climb up on, so watch that your tot doesn't do that (I stopped my youngest, and so far she hasn't tried that again). Best used indoors on carpet, as slide is short with no curvature for landing, so bottoms just land flat on ground.

Fisher Price Learning Home Best to get this before your baby even starts crawling, but is fun for 1 year old too. Outgrown by age 2, when time to give away and make space for other toys. However, this was the absolute favorite toy for my kids from 6 months to 18 months.

Little Tikes Push and Ride Doll Walker This is still the best early ride on toy. We have several, like Thomas the Tank ride-on, Dora the Explorer ride-on at Grandmas, and Chicco's Play N Ride Train. What makes this one better than the others is that the front wheels don't turn causing your early walker to constantly go in circles no understanding steering yet. It also works better for pushing too. The simple model like this is so much better than the busy entertainment center type ride-on's for 1-2 year olds.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy Our 18 month old loves.

<product no longer available> Our tots favorite carseat. We spent $500 also to buy 2 Britex Marathons for them, but they did not like at all (and were extremely heavy to travel with). This is the lightest weight carseat and very safe (we were broadsided, our car totalled and our son at 17 months didn't get a scratch).

Silver Cross Micro V.2 Stroller in Pink and Black The ultimate convenience stroller being the lightest one on market with 6" wheels.

<product no longer available> The lightest and most versatile jogger stroller available. Our kids love it and both can get in a stoller that's the size of a single (one in basket back seat). My double duallie Ironman is gathering dust.

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table Kids love this, both my 18 month old and 3 year old. Doesn't leak because no drain. Just tip and empty out when done playing. They love the water wheel and somehow never get bored with it. Supply your own other bath toys and make sure to buy waterproof aprons too!

Easel for Two One fault here is that this easel is not foldable as hoped, but it has so many activities with a magnet board, a white board, a chalk board, and clips to add paper for painting. Can leave outside like we do which is what we needed. Says ages 3 and up but our 18 month old loves this. It is very sturdy, and is kept on a windy roof deck.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks (40 pc) Our 3 year old actually builds things with these, but it's our 18 month old that squeals with delight as she knocks them down.

Kettler Kettrike Blossom Tricycle Makes me nervous when my daughter insists on riding this being that she's only been walking 4 months now, but time goes fast. She doesn't peddle yet, but pushes it along while sitting on seat. Get a kid's Bell helmet to go along with this, which I insist that they wear.

Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair, Cherry We had to get one for our daughter at 15 months, because she kept trying to push her brother out of his chaire. Now we have one for both of them. No longer use the highchair in kitchen, as they both sit happily on their Stokkes at main dining table. Base legs protrude out a bit in back creating a toe-stubber situation for kids, though. Still they love this chair.

Naturally Playful Picnic Table with Umbrella Our little girl at 15 months of age could easily sit herself down at this table. Indispensable items for outdoors for toddlers and their friends. We bought for son's 3rd birthday party so kids could have place to sit. Adults were even sitting at the table with them, as was sturdy enough. We love the umbrella for sun protection too.

JR. Twin Tri-Fold Hide A' Mat in Black - Adult We found these at Costco for $39.99 each (maybe not same brand) & got 6 of them. These are great for creating tunnels, mazes, steps, etc for early crawlers, tots, and young children. When not playing with them, we use them for childproofing (padding wall next to beds, etc.). Also can use for guests that come to visit, and our guests have said they are quite comfortable.

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon®, Red Don't buy the wooden one or the medal one, but the plastic one with the rubber wheels. This is so light weight, and I can take to parks, zoo, etc. and my kids love it. If younger child gets tired, both seats fold down, so she can take nap. We also have the Step 2 choo choo wagon, but doesn't fit in SUV very well. The Radio Flyer easily pops in back of SUV with room to spare. Tires roll quietly being since they are rubber.

Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Melody Push Chime Tots love push toys like this, but this one with the chimes is the favorite of our kids. They hardly use the Corn Popper version also by Fisher Price.

Funchute 6' Parachute A must-have for any tot. We double it as a picnic blanket too.

Pacific Play Tents I See U 6' Tunnel The mesh versions (see-through) are so much lighter to tote around and more fun for baby!

Playhut Thomas the Tank Train Engine Play Tent A Thomas the Tank pop-up tent excites our tots whenever we pop open.

ALEX® Toys - Bathtime Fun Tub Island - Racing Around 809R Our tots favorite bath toy.

<product no longer available> Our little girl, as soon as she was walking at about 13 months, refused to leave the house without this and her Crocs.

BABYBJORN Potty Chair, White Time to start potty training soon. We started at age 10 months, but still working on it.

BABYBJORN Safe Step, White We have 2 of these at our sink for each of our tots for brushing teeth and washing hands.

BABYBJORN Toilet Trainer - White/Black Our son asked to sit on the big potty using this seat today, so we're making progress.

Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe This car is a classic and still a favorite!

<product no longer available> I bought the Vtech version of this book in Paris, and keeps my kids entertained for long time.

Naturally Playful Storybook Cottage We got the Adobe home but is small for my 3 year old. Saw this one at a toy store and has high ceiling inside so I could actually get in with my children. Like this one better.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy This puppy has so many things to sing and talk about. Good sound quality.

VTech - Winnie The Pooh - Call 'n Learn Phone We have 6 or more different phones, several by VTech & this is by far kids' favorite. Cute Winnie the Pooh voice that makes my kids laugh.

Galt Folding Trampoline At 18 months, my daughter just loves jumping on this trampoline at her friend's house. Had no idea that babies this young could do this without having a major accident. She does fine, though, and recommended age says ages 18 months up to 77 pounds. Read reviews that it's very hard to assemble, though, so I went with Rebound Air version instead so mommy could use too and no assembly.

<product no longer available> If you have space, this trampoline is even better. I jump on it with my two toddlers at same time at our baby gym near our house.

Half-Fold Rebounder Mini-Trampoline: Lifetime All Parts Warranty - Folding Portable Jogging / Fitness Small Tramp Excercise Equipment In place of our coffee table, we have this trampoline in the middle of our living room. Strong enough so both me and my tot can jump together. We got the stabilizing bar too and makes it so much more fun.

Interlocking 2'x2' Foam Mats In Color Pad your play surfaces with matting for your now busy climber. Also use in kitchen by sink to reduce fatique while your kitchen chores mount (cooking meals for yourself, family + baby).

Black & Decker LI3000 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver After wasting hours putting together toys with manual screwdrivers, I finally went out and bought this item at Target. It mounts up on wall (I put mine up high out of reach) with a large set of attachments always charged and ready to go. Now I always have a "handyman" right at my fingertips to get the toys put together fast now. Fisher Price "Learning House" took me over an hour to assemble (70+ screws!). If I had only had this tool earlier!

Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 10-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.8-Liters Trying to cook dinner while monitoring 2 tots bouncing off walls and crying every 5 minutes over something, I had to find some assistance. This rice cooker will cook my rice for me without supervision, while I prepare other parts of meal. Rice is a healthy food for all children, and one of the best first foods to give them. I also cook a combination of orzo noodles and rice, which kids also love. This rice cooker can cook many things.

Pick-a-Book Stand Flush Back by Jonti-Craft Our kids spend 50 percent of their time with books, and we read to them all the time. Part of the reason are these display cases. We borrowed several of them from a preschool teacher friend, have one right next to rocking chair, and several on other side of playroom (formerly called our living room). Also see my listmania of books for babies and tots.

ClosetMaid 8654 Fabric Drawer, Green I have about a dozen of these in a spectrum of colors to organize toys in the playroom (legos, soft books, cars, trains, dolls, etc). There is also a faux-wood shelving system that goes with them, but we just use a regular hardwood bookcase. When not needed, can fold and easily store. I like that they are not floppy like the larger folding storage baskets.

<product no longer available> These pop-up hampers are the best. When taking to laundry room, can fold them down and save space until needed again. Then they also double as toys. My kids each dump out their laundry, put them over their heads and walk around the house playing "Robot."

Melissa & Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen A play kitchen like this is great fun. They say ages 3+, but my 18 month old loves to play kitchen. Buy locally, not on-line, to avoid shipping damage.

Mimi the Sardine Organic Child's Apron, Blue Flora I bought several other kids aprons and smocks and none of them were big enough, even for my 18 month old. These apron, used for water play and arts/crafts at kids' museums, fit both my 18 month old and my 3 year old.

Products mentioned include:
1.  What to Expect The Toddler Years  by Arlene Eisenberg
Used & New from: $0.01
3.8 out of 5 stars   (222) | 2 customer discussions
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2.  1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12  by Thomas W. Phelan
Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars   (261) | 2 customer discussions
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3.  Toysmith Busy Zoo Activity Center  by Toysmith
Out of stock
4.2 out of 5 stars   (99)
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4.  Little Tikes Climb & Slide Castle  by Little Tikes
$105.61 Used & New from: $103.99
4.1 out of 5 stars   (75)
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5.  Fisher Price Learning Home  by Fisher-Price
$66.89 Used & New from: $59.99
4.8 out of 5 stars   (593)
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6.  Little Tikes Push and Ride Doll Walker  by Little Tikes
$53.76
4.7 out of 5 stars   (103)
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7.  Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy  by Fisher-Price
$15.51 Used & New from: $6.35
4.2 out of 5 stars   (1,029)
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8.  Silver Cross Micro V.2 Stroller in Pink and Black  by Silver Cross
Out of stock
4.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
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9.  Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table  by Step2
$38.68 Used & New from: $26.00
4.6 out of 5 stars   (803)
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10.  Easel for Two  by Step2
$62.33
4.9 out of 5 stars   (34)
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11.  Melissa & Doug Deluxe Jumbo Cardboard Blocks (40 pc)  by Melissa & Doug
$33.49 Used & New from: $25.96
4.5 out of 5 stars   (376)
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12.  Kettler Kettrike Blossom Tricycle  by Kettler
Used & New from: $120.00
4.9 out of 5 stars   (7)
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13.  Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair, Cherry  by Stokke
Out of stock
4.4 out of 5 stars   (294)
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14.  Naturally Playful Picnic Table with Umbrella  by Step2
Out of stock
4.7 out of 5 stars   (39)
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15.  JR. Twin Tri-Fold Hide A' Mat in Black - Adult 
Out of stock
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16.  Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon®, Red  by Radio Flyer
$110.00 Used & New from: $81.88
4.6 out of 5 stars   (709)
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17.  Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Melody Push Chime  by Fisher-Price
Used & New from: $42.92
4.5 out of 5 stars   (96)
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18.  Funchute 6' Parachute  by PACIFIC PLAY TENTS
$22.39 Used & New from: $14.99
4.5 out of 5 stars   (40)
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19.  Pacific Play Tents I See U 6' Tunnel  by PACIFIC PLAY TENTS
$23.99 Used & New from: $20.66
4.6 out of 5 stars   (143)
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20.  Playhut Thomas the Tank Train Engine Play Tent  by PlayHut
$32.17
4.1 out of 5 stars   (152)
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21.  ALEX® Toys - Bathtime Fun Tub Island - Racing Around 809R  by Alex Toys
$17.34
4.5 out of 5 stars   (28)
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22.  BABYBJORN Potty Chair, White  by BabyBjörn
$29.95 Used & New from: $24.46
4.5 out of 5 stars   (1,150)
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23.  BABYBJORN Safe Step, White  by BabyBjörn
$19.95 Used & New from: $14.76
4.5 out of 5 stars   (406)
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24.  BABYBJORN Toilet Trainer - White/Black  by BabyBjörn
$26.99 Used & New from: $21.84
4.7 out of 5 stars   (772)
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25.  Little Tikes Princess Cozy Coupe  by Little Tikes
Out of stock
4.5 out of 5 stars   (34)
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26.  Naturally Playful Storybook Cottage  by Step2
Used & New from: $642.99
4.9 out of 5 stars   (9)
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27.  Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Love to Play Puppy  by Fisher-Price
$15.51 Used & New from: $6.35
4.2 out of 5 stars   (1,029)
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28.  VTech - Winnie The Pooh - Call 'n Learn Phone  by VTech
Used & New from: $11.75
3.8 out of 5 stars   (17)
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29.  Galt Folding Trampoline  by Galt
$68.98 Used & New from: $56.08
4.0 out of 5 stars   (204)
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30.  Half-Fold Rebounder Mini-Trampoline: Lifetime All Parts Warranty - Folding Portable Jogging / Fitness Small Tramp Excercise Equipment  by Rebound Air
$299.00
4.3 out of 5 stars   (24)
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31.  Interlocking 2'x2' Foam Mats In Color  by Adroit
Out of stock
5.0 out of 5 stars   (3)
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32.  Black & Decker LI3000 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Screwdriver  by Black & Decker
Used & New from: $49.12
4.2 out of 5 stars   (67)
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33.  Zojirushi NS-ZCC18 10-Cup (Uncooked) Neuro Fuzzy Rice Cooker and Warmer, Premium White, 1.8-Liters  by Zojirushi
$179.97 Used & New from: $132.26
4.6 out of 5 stars   (819)
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34.  Pick-a-Book Stand Flush Back by Jonti-Craft  by Jonti-Craft
Out of stock
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35.  ClosetMaid 8654 Fabric Drawer, Green  by ClosetMaid
Out of stock
4.5 out of 5 stars   (240)
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36.  Melissa & Doug Classic Deluxe Kitchen  by Melissa & Doug
$190.38 Used & New from: $69.99
4.5 out of 5 stars   (187)
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37.  Mimi the Sardine Organic Child's Apron, Blue Flora  by Mimi the Sardine
Out of stock
5.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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Suzi "modsuzi" (SF, CA)
Qualifications: mother of 2 tots
Last updated: 7/31/07
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