If you have an 18-month-old, you surely have your hands full! As your kiddo gets farther into toddlerhood, they become more active and interested in their surroundings. That’s why these activities for 18-month-olds are so excellent! Every activity on this list promotes learning and development!
If you’re a stay-at-home mom, these activities for 18-month-olds are incredibly crucial. Sometimes, being a stay-at-home mom can become monotonous as we run out of new things to do. You can quickly get stuck in your day-to-day routine!
But when you have this list of activities for your toddler, it helps to introduce new games to keep your 18-month-old engaged.
Also, when you rotate these activities throughout the week, it helps to keep them fresh and new. It will be much less likely that your toddler will become bored of these fun games!
Let’s start with some new developmental milestones:
At 18 months old, most toddlers will be able to…
- Play simple pretend
- Explore independently with parents near
- Knows what everyday things are for
- Walks by themselves
- Can stack objects
- Can feed themselves with a spoon
- Points to things they want
- Points to at least one body part
Keep these milestones in mind as you think about fun things that will help challenge your toddler.
As you read this list, remember that your kiddo might not be ready for some of these activities, and that’s ok! Children develop at different rates, and it’s perfectly normal. But, never hesitate to call your doctor with any questions you have.
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Now, on to the activities for 18-month-olds!
First on this list of activities for 18-month-olds is reading. Reading has so many benefits for children of all ages.
When you have regular reading time with your kiddo, it helps to develop their focus, social skills, and communication skills, in addition to sparking their imagination.
When reading with your 18-month-old, I have found that board books are still fabulous options, as they are more sturdy. And don’t be discouraged when your toddler wants you to read the same book over and over again! The repetition is significant for their growing brains, and it gives you hints about what your child enjoys when reading (like the rhyming or pictures).
For example, my son has always loved The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton. Ever since he was around nine months old, he has enjoyed reading that book at bedtime most nights of the week.
Over time, I have added more and more Sandra Boynton books to his collection, and he loves every single one! Boynton’s books have an excellent mix of rhyming, silliness, and fun illustrations, so it’s no wonder why he loves them!
This starter box of Boynton books is a great option to get your child more interested in reading!
Similar to reading, getting outside is great for kids of all ages and parents too! When you go out regularly, it can help to reduce stress and give you a much-needed energy boost.
Plus, letting your child play outside gives them many opportunities to learn and explore. You can point out bugs or birds that fly by, look at the clouds, or watch the airplanes fly above. Also, there are so many different textures for them to explore, like dirt, grass, smooth stones, or rough sticks!
When my son was around 18-months-old, he loved to walk down our street, and he still does months later!
Any time we go on a walk, he enjoys picking up treasures along the way. He will find a rock to pick up and soon trade that for a big leaf or stick.
When you start taking your toddler on walks that aren’t in a stroller, make sure you find the appropriate length for your kiddo to go. That could be one block or several! Also, keep in mind what the weather is like; earlier in the morning or the evening are great times to walk!
At 18-months-old, your toddler is probably starting to try to climb on things, like furniture, for example. Climbing gives your child the opportunity to test out their muscles and pique their curiosity!
When your toddler is climbing on anything, they will need your full supervision. They will need you right behind them in case they need help. With that in mind, give your kiddo plenty of time to test their climbing skills.
Some great ways to get your toddler climbing is to help them climb stairs in your home or climb structures at the playground! These foam shapes are another fantastic option if you’re more comfortable with your toddler climbing on something softer. They give your kiddo plenty of opportunities to explore!
ABC blocks have so many terrific uses and benefits. In addition to learning the ABCs and numbers, your toddler can also use the blocks to build towers or buildings.
Playing with blocks promotes the development of your child’s hand-eye coordination as well as their fine motor skills. Building things with their blocks can also help build their concentration and critical thinking!
Pass The Ball
Next up on our list of activities for 18-month-olds is Pass the Ball. For this activity, you will grab a ball and sit across from your toddler. You will want a ball like this one that isn’t too big or too small.
Then, you pass the ball back and forth. You can pass the ball by rolling, kicking, or gently bouncing; either way is great for your kiddo!
When you play Pass the Ball with your toddler, they learn things like timing and taking turns. Plus, rolling, kicking, and bouncing balls are extraordinary tasks for developing your child’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination!
Puzzles are an activity that has many benefits for toddlers. When your child works on a puzzle, it can help improve their concentration, problem-solving skills, and shape recognition.
If your 18-month-old isn’t quite getting the concept of puzzles, or they aren’t entirely interested, don’t give up! Have them available for your kiddo to explore and practice if they want to. One day it might click, and your kiddo becomes excellent at them!
You’ll also love: Fun Activities To Help Teach Your Toddler
When your toddler is stacking toys, it helps to build their motor skills and concentration. Stacking items also helps your toddler develop their hand-eye coordination.
Our toddler’s favorite stacking toy has always been these stacking cups. These cups are great because they are versatile; you can put things in them or play with them in the bath!
Painting With Water
Once your toddler swipes the paintbrush against the paper, the paper will darken, leaving the design behind. Your kiddo might also like using their fingers to make designs on the paper.
Another tip to keep the mess somewhat controlled is putting the construction paper inside a baking sheet. The baking sheet helps to contain the water.
When your toddler paints, it helps to teach them cause and effect. They will see that the paper was plain, and when they put the water on the paper, it changes to a darker color! In addition, holding the paintbrush helps your toddler develop their fine motor skills.
Mess-Free Finger Painting
Similar to painting with water, finger painting can help your toddler understand cause and effect! The added benefit of using colored paint is that you can teach your kiddo about different colors and what happens when you mix colors.
You can find the full tutorial on mess-free finger painting here!
Drawing With Crayons
Drawing with crayons is another art activity that has many benefits for your 18-month-old. Using crayons will help your toddler develop their motor skills, creativity, hand-eye coordination and teach cause-and-effect.
Some crayons are shaped like an egg and say they are easier for toddlers to hold, but I have found that Jumbo crayons are much better.
Jumbo crayons are more similar to holding a pencil, and they don’t break easily.
A ball drop can be so much fun for your little one! Playing with a ball drop will help develop your toddler’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
First, you will take the lid off of the oatmeal container. Next, cut a hole in the bottom of the container that is just a little bigger than the ball. Finally, tape the container securely to a wall so it’s low enough for your toddler to reach but high enough for the balls to fall out of the bottom. And that’s it!
This simple activity for 18-month-olds brings a surprising amount of entertainment!
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Posting With Popsicle Sticks
Popsicle sticks can have many uses; you can use them for crafting and play! One of the many activities you can do with popsicle sticks is posting.
If you don’t know what posting is, posting is the act of putting an object inside a container by pushing it through a slot.
For this activity, you can use a cardboard box or another oatmeal container. Then, you will cut multiple slots, either into the container’s lid or on any side of the box. You will want the slots to be slightly larger than the popsicle sticks. After that’s done, your little one is ready to play!
You can take this activity one step further and color around the slots in the same colors as the popsicle sticks, turning it into a color matching game!
Spike, The Fine Motor Hedgehog
As you can guess from the name, this toy is perfect for encouraging fine motor skills! The hedgehog comes with 12 pegs in four different colors.
Your toddler will practice putting the pegs in the holes, and they can start to learn how to sort the pegs by colors!
I’m sure your toddler loves when you clap after they have achieved something significant. They also probably get excited about giving high-fives! That’s why clapping games can be so fun for your 18-month-old.
When you practice clapping with your toddler, it can help them develop their coordination and rhythm. Also, if the clapping games you play involve words or rhyming, it will help them improve their language skills!
If you can’t remember the clapping games from your childhood, besides Pat-A-Cake, of course, you can find many different videos on YouTube!
‘Where Is’ Game
To play the ‘where is’ game, you will ask your child something like, ‘where is the fridge?’ and see if they can point to it. You can even ask questions like, ‘where is your arm?’ to teach them body parts! Also, encouraging them to say the word back to you is fantastic as well.
Playing word games like ‘where is’ helps to build your child’s vocabulary. It will also help your toddler communicate with you more easily.
Having a dance party is one of the most fun activities for 18-month-olds. It gets you and your kiddo up and moving while having fun and most likely laughing!
When it comes to music, you can find some great children’s music stations on Pandora or Spotify. Also, Cocomelon is a sure hit amongst toddlers, and it will probably grow on you after a while. 😉
A great song to dance to with toddlers is Head, Shoulder, Knees, and Toes. They might not be coordinated enough to dance well, but hearing and watching this song and dance can help them learn more body parts.
As your 18-month-old is learning more about colors, color sorting is a great activity to start to improve their thinking skills!
As always, supervise your child during this activity, so they don’t put any pompoms in their mouth.
Playing with stickers is an excellent activity for 18-month-olds because peeling the stickers improves their fine motor skills. It also helps to build their hand strength!
Using a reusable sticker pad is a nice option. You won’t run out of stickers, and there are many different themed pads to choose from!
Having regular time throughout the week to experiment with musical instruments is so beneficial for your child!
Playing with instruments helps their motor skills develop and encourages their creativity and self-expression.
We love this pack of musical instruments for toddlers. It has a variety of different sounds to experiment with, and they are top quality!
Another one of the top activities for 18-month-olds is to help mama! This means that you let your toddler help you with anything you are doing around the house, as long as it’s safe for them to help with.
Chores like unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry, or feeding the pets are all great activities for toddlers. Once your toddler completes these simple shore, they will have a sense of accomplishment! Just keep in mind, your toddler won’t be perfect at whatever chore you are doing.
If you let your kiddo fold laundry, it will most likely still be wonky. They might spill pet food or water, and they might try to run away with a bowl from the dishwasher. But that is all ok! Don’t try to fix what they have helped with, as that can send the message that their effort wasn’t good enough.
If you are lost when it comes to chores that are appropriate for toddlers, check out our list of chores for toddlers!
And there you have it! When trying these activities for 18-month-olds, I recommend trying only one or two new activities a day. That way, it’s not too overwhelming for your kiddo, and you will have new activities to try for a couple of weeks!
Also, the terrific thing about these activities for 18-month-olds is that you can continue to do most of these things as your toddler gets older. For example, reading and going outside are two things that are always great for your kiddo.
Before you go, check out these related articles:
- The Best Toys For 18-Month-Olds
- Excellent Board Books For Toddlers
- The Best Ways To Clean Your Kids Toys
- How To Discipline Your Toddler (Effectively)
- Potty Training Essentials You Need For Success
What are some of your favorite activities for 18-month-olds? I would love to know in the comments below!