Thatbaby is very much a sports fanatic. At daycare he had been loving playing with the basketball hoop, so Thatmom got him one to play with at her home. It was an instant hit. He loves for us to make it higher and cheers for himself when it gets in. It is equally cute when he tells us "Ohhhh missed it" when he doesn't make the basket.
Technically this is still part of the cars phase I think, but over the past year he has got really into trucks and tractors. He still like cars as well, especially those of the matchbox variety, but I think he likes being able to put things in the beds of the trucks, all of which are either "dump trucks" or "garbage trucks."
I know. You're terribly surprised. Train books are equally as popular.
We got these for Thatbaby for Easter, but they would have been great for even younger. He had them at daycare when he was in the infant room and loved them then. There's a little bead that slides back and forth which works as a rattle. They're nice and colorful, and they're thick which makes them easy for little hands to grab. At 18 months, Thatbaby loved to dump them out and put them back in the container one at a time. As he got older, he's gotten really into linking them together and making necklaces.
These are a step up from the stacking cups I think. Around 18 months, Thatbaby became very very interested in my Russian Doll measuring cups. Which are ceramic. In order to keep him from destroying them, I picked him up his own plastic nesting dolls. He loves putting the little ones inside the big ones and it's especially fun for him because he can do it all on his own.
We especially like the Melissa and Doug Wooden Puzzles or Magnetic Puzzles. The puzzles aren't very complicated, usually just a few pieces, so Thatbaby doesn't get too frustrated. The pieces are chunky, or have large knobs, so they're easy to hold. And as a bonus, they're developmental. It's fun to watch your child figure them out with less help as they get older.
Thatbaby is a big fan of art. Painting, drawing, coloring. I like the magnadoodle because it's mess free. Thatbaby likes it because he can swipe the slider across and clear his own drawing. I recommend the travel size one of these. We only have the full size, but I feel like the travel size is more versatile. When we travel with this, it takes up a lot of room.
I think this probably goes along with the art supply thing, but Thatbbay also loves his stickers. L&O turned me onto the Melissa and Doug Reuseable Sticker Book. It's good because Thatbaby doesn't always understand the concept behind only using a sticker once.
These are probably great ideas for stocking stuffers. By 18 months, Thatbaby could swing the bubble wands pretty well, so the kinds that come in a tube and the ones like the one pictured above meant he could be a lot more self sufficient. Not totally independent if I don't want bubble solution everywhere, but at least I don't have to do all the work!