In terms of toys, its also a great age as I feel they finally begin to engage in play with others around them, rather than merely showing a slight interest in the objects you place in front of them.
You get to watch them get attached to the most random items, and also have some much fun playing with the same toy over and over.
1 - 2 Years
1) ScuttleBug - We recieved this as a present and both of mine loved it, also folds up so easy to store, or place in the boot of the car, any ride on including small cars, balance bikes etc encourage movement and a way to learn to use your legs in another way.
RolePlay Toy - Pushchairs, cooking toys, pretend fruit and veg, any real life items they see you using they will love, as suddenly they no longer see themselves as babies and can show you how independent they are. I always get asked about this pushchair when it appears on my stories, its actually my sons, who recieved it as his present from his little sister when she was born. Really good quality and can even take the weight of my 2 year old ( obviously not recommend or part of the health and safety testing ).
3) LeapFrog interactive toys - This icecream cart is so fun, younger kids can just use it as a roleplay toy and as they get older are able to listen to instructions, use counting skills and encourage teamwork when playing with friends, we orginaly saw it on a playdate at a friends and the kids love it, even when its not ice cream weather.
4)Duplo Lego - Always a great present, can be added to an existing collection or the start of a brand new one, even older kids love going back to the larger bricks. I recently used it on an activity table at my daughters 2nd birthday and it was more the 5 year olds that were playing with it than the 2 year olds.
5) Coluring Pencils - These crayons are fab, always take them with us when eating out or going away, no need to sharpen and provide endless hours of essential mark making skills
Wooden Puzzle - Mellisa and Doug do great quality wooden toys and puzzles, again they stand the test of time and are still in perfect condition to be passed down to younger cousins. This threading activity is lots of fun to and helps with shape recongnition.
2- 3 Years
1) Dyson Hoover - maybe because they always watching you clean up after them, but kids just love this, one of the first toys to cause a fight.
Toy Kitchen - Even more roleplay toys, I love them and so do my kids, we have now moved this upstairs into the nursery and sometimes at weekends the kids will wake up and go off and play for 20 minutes giving us an extra lie in. They both still love cooking in it. Any role play toys I think are great, but the hoover, pushchair, kitchen and supermarket till are our most used.
3)MagnaDoodle - I have larger and smaller travel versions of these for drawing on the move without any of the mess, also similiar to the Aquadoodle.
4) Plastic Animals - We have a huge box of plastic animals collected over the years, great for scene building, encourage questions about the environment and world. Now that my oldest is 5, he has watched a few nature documentries, recently the one about sharks and recongnised so many from his plastic shark collection.
5)Playdoh - Even though I kind of hate the stuff for the mess it leaves and that sickly smell, there is no doubting its awesome ability to keep them quiet for a long time. Although I am guilty of sending most of the playdoh presents we recieve to my parents for them to play with them there ..... on their cream carpet.
6) Scooter - building on the ride ons, a bigger present for sure but you can get cheaper alternatives and its perfect to encourage their confidence and spend time outdoors.
7) Character Preference - This is also around the time they begin to show a preference for a favourite character or tv programme so its always worth asking what they are into the most at the moment.
I hope you found these useful and if you are looking for other age groups check out my links belows: