1. Large blocks.
For stacking and for knocking over - stacking blocks helps a child learn to use both hands to complete a task and strengthens little fingers. According to the article, most 13-month-olds can put one block on top of another. At 11 months, Linnea still prefers knocking down and throwing.
This set of 21 blocks ($47.25) is made of hard Rock Maple from Michigan and Indiana. Larger sets are also available. And, Eleanor, these aren't quite sticks, but what do you think of these ($29.95)?
2. Shape sorter.
Occupational therapists often use shape sorters. When toddlers match a shape with its corresponding hole they learn cause and effect and they are "oh so proud" of themselves.
This German sorting drum ($34.95) is very basic.
This shape sorting wagon ($48.95) is a Spiel Gut award winner. Use our discount code to get free shipping.
And, a very cute option from Djeco ($35.99)
3. Large-piece puzzles.
Start with puzzles that have simple shapes like circles or squares that easily fit in easily - even in the wrong direction. Once those are mastered, move on to ones with cutout pieces or peg pieces that can only fit in one way. Puzzles teach about shape matching, as well as in and out. There are some suggestions on the Melissa and Doug post, or check these out.
"Abre Magique" ($15.79)
4. Push toy.
Toddlers like push toys because they can move faster when they have a bit of extra support. If the toys play music or have other features, the child learns to concentrate on walking even when distracted by exciting things. Wagons let the little one walk and cart along treasures.
This wooden roller from Plan toys ($24.90) has balls inside that make a sound.
The Voila dragon is an inexpensive choice ($14.90)
The hedgehog's glasses on this German toy ($28.99) bump up when pushed. Moolka has several other options -- all adorable, but this post would go on forever.
Finally, this push car ($157.90) has room for a stuffed friend.