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SilverSabre25 02:13 PM 12-08-2010
IMO, it's largely the age. You have kids at some pretty tough ages, there. They probably do not have much language, they do not play cooperatively; they are still VERY much into parallel play, it's the age of possesiveness. You're not going to "get them" to play nicely "with" each other; the most you can hope for at those ages is to not hurt each other in passing.

What you need are open-ended toys for which there *is* no right/wrong. I actually don't think there's a right/wrong even with more closed-ended toys, but that's a different post. It's not so much that they are using the toys incorrectly; it's more that they're exploring the environment and discovering what else can be done with that object. This is not only fine; it's developmentally normal.

This doesn't mean you have to put up with all the behaviors, though. Books going in the mouth? Take away the books for a couple months. It won't hurt them. Links getting made into long chains? Well...what else do you do with those anyway (I only used them to attach toys to stroller/car seat)--since what they are doing (swinging them at each other) is undesirable, take them away. Blocks go in the mouth? Remind the offender that toys don't go in the mouth and have them give you the block. Do this each time you catch a block in the mouth and the behavior should decrease.

With that age group, the favorites are play kitchen stuff, toy cars, Duplos, shape sorters, musical instruments, a toy piano/xylophone thing, the slide that's in the playroom, balls.

For the nap room, I don't worry about whether they can see each other. Mine are all in pack n plays at those ages, and they fall asleep just fine being able to see each other.