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activities for 18 month old
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So you’re looking for activities for your 18 month old? You can give your child tons of different opportunities to play and learn at the same time and it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. 18-month-olds are always learning, no matter what they’re doing. They are soaking it all in at this age so play is a great way to introduce new things. I put together a list of 18 month old activities for your toddler to do at home with what you probably already have on hand.

Playdough

activities for 18 month old

All of us moms probably have a love/hate relationship with play dough, but our kids really benefit from it. It’s great for fine motor development and an easy way to inspire creativity and imaginative play.

Doodling with chalk

Even if they’re just scribbling and going wild with lines and zigzags, this is a fun learning activity for toddlers. Being allowed to draw on different surfaces like a chalkboard, sidewalk, or wooden playset is fun for toddlers and provides a multi-sensory experience.

Messy Play: Pool of flowers

This is a fun activity that improves hand-eye coordination. You can fill up a big tub or some kind of large container with water. Sprinkle in some flower petals put some smaller containers into the water as well, and hand your toddler a ladle or spoon. Give them any household items they want that can get wet. Show them how to transfer the water, flower petals, and other items from container to container.

Imitation games

Imitation games are easy for toddlers to follow along and they all love to play Follow the Leader. This is a great game for toddlers and older siblings.

Matching/Sorting games

This simple activity can be done with actual sorting games or you can make your own game out of socks or other items in the house that need to be sorted. Anything that is easily identifiable for matching can be made into a game. Use empty ice cube trays or muffin tin and give them legos to sort by color. Sorting small items will help with the development of fine motor skills.

Storytelling

Take turns telling stories with your toddler. This will help develop language skills and imagination.

Sock puppets

This can be as elaborate or as simple as you want it to be. You could make an activity out of sock puppet crafts, giving them eyes and hair, the works. Or you could just grab a sock, put it on your hand and pretend it has a face. Your toddler will enjoy it either way.

Feet and Finger painting

Set your toddler up outside on the sidewalk or driveway with washable and edible paints and broken-down cardboard boxes or large poster boards and even a paint brush. This messy activity will be entertaining for a while and you may end up with some salvageable water paintings to save.

Paper folding

This sounds super simple and it is. But your toddler can be occupied for a long time when left with the task of folding paper. Show them a simple way to fold a sheet of paper and ask them to try it. Once they start to get the hang of it, give them several sheets of paper and let them go to work. Use different colored construction paper to make it even more interesting to them.

Sensory bins

This is one of my favorite ideas for sensory exploration. Find an empty container and fill it with pasta, beans, rice, or something like that. Then throw in other small items too like small toys, small kitchen items, small plastic balls, pom poms, etc. Anything that can’t hurt them if they’re digging around in there. If you don’t want to use pasta, rice, or beans, you can use shredded paper or even water. Let’s them dig around and find toys and then hide them again. The same ideas can be used for sensory bags. You can even use things like shaving cream, hair gel, and marbles in a plastic bag, with supervision of course.

Learn animal sounds

Around. the18 month age range, your toddler will be ready to start learning animal sounds. Use a book with sounds or a video that they can watch to put the photo of the animal with the sound they hear for the association.

Zig-zag line walk

Map out a path with masking tape for your toddler to walk. Demonstrate staying inside the lines and help them through it by holding one hand if they need it. Simple activities like these develop gross motor skills and attention. You can also try having them practice walking a straight line without veering off course.

Easy puzzles

Simple puzzles are one of the best things to have on hand for toddlers. Puzzles help develop hand eye coordination and problem solving.

Water table

Having a water table has saved me many times with all of my kids as a work from home mom! Water play and outdoor activities are a must for kids. Not just because they are so much fun, but also because it gets them away from screens and in the fresh air and sunshine. If you want to make it even more fun, give them something to transport water from their table to the dirt. Mud play helps develop tactile skills and imagination.

Plastic pool ball pit

Create your own outdoor ball pit with a little plastic pool and plastic balls. For even more fun, add water!

Caps and lids

All those plastic containers food comes in, save them! Keep a container of containers that will provide your 18-month-old-toddler with endless entertainment. This can end up a little frustrating for your toddler, so make sure to introduce this activity when they’re in a good mood. This is a great activity for matching sizes, developing fine motor skills, and hand eye coordination.

Magnets

As will any small items and toddlers, this activity should be supervised closely. Playing with magnets is fun for everyone, even adults. Fill a basket or small container with magnets and give your toddler a magnet wand. They will have fun for a long time “catching” magnets with their wand!

Line up dominos or cars

Give your toddler a large quantity of any small toys — cars, dominos, toy animals — and demonstrate lining them all up as far as they will go. Then demonstrate making a circle and a square. Let your toddler try to duplicate what you did.

Sticking foam letters to windows

Toss some foam letters into a bowl and splash them with water. Show your toddler how they can stick them to the window and let them get to work. This might not last a very long time, but it’s good for a quick 10 minutes of distraction.

Building and tearing down

There’s something every toddle loves about stacking things high and then tearing them down. This can be done with whatever toys you have that will stack. For the most fun, use a toy car or truck to destroy your tower of toys. Your toddler will love it!

Using play for development

activities for 18 month old chalk

Play is how young toddlers learn and using different activities and different textures in play helps your child’s development. Pretend play develops the imagination and helps kids learn critical thinking. Playtime is a great opportunity for us to potentially get a little time to ourselves as moms, but it’s also extremely important for our kids to develop cognitive skills. Hopefully, these fun activities will be a hit with your toddler. Some of the best activities for little ones are the simplest.

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