Activities for 18 Month Old

7+ Activities for 18-Month-Old (Ideas)

At 18 months old, toddlers are constantly learning and growing. They are walking, using basic words, and showing more independence and interest in pretend play. This is a crucial stage for their development, and engaging them in various activities can boost their learning and development. Here are some ideas for activities that you can try with your 18-month-old to keep them entertained and promote their learning and development.

Key Takeaways:

  • Engaging in activities promotes the learning and development of 18-month-olds.
  • Activities should focus on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, cognitive development, language development, and social development.
  • Sensory play and learning through play are essential for stimulating the senses and cognitive abilities.
  • Montessori activities provide a structured and educational approach to learning.
  • Creativity and arts & crafts activities enhance imagination and fine motor skills.

Shape Sorting Activities

Shape sorting activities are a fantastic way to engage your 18-month-old in learning while having fun. These activities help develop their fine motor skills and cognitive abilities. One popular shape sorting toy is the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube. This classic toy features different shapes that your child can identify and manipulate. It’s a great tool for teaching them about shapes and improving their hand-eye coordination.

Another option is to create your own shape sorting activities using everyday items. You can use different-shaped felt pieces or color sorting bears to teach your child about shapes and colors. This hands-on approach allows them to explore and learn while playing.

The Sidewalk Chalk Shape Game is a fantastic outdoor activity that combines shape recognition and physical movement. Your child can hop, skip, or jump on different shapes and colors drawn on the ground. It’s a fun way to incorporate exercise while learning about shapes.

Table: Shape Sorting Activities

Activity Description
Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube A classic toy that helps children learn to identify and manipulate different shapes.
Create your own shape sorting activities Use items like different-shaped felt pieces or sorting bears to teach your child about shapes and colors.
Sidewalk Chalk Shape Game An outdoor activity where your child can learn and explore different shapes and colors while being active.

Engaging in shape sorting activities not only enhances your child’s cognitive development but also encourages their fine motor skills. Whether you choose a shape sorting toy like the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube or create your own activities, these interactive learning experiences will captivate your 18-month-old and stimulate their curiosity.

Stacking and Building Activities

Stacking and building activities are not only fun but also great for promoting fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in 18-month-olds. These activities help children develop their problem-solving abilities and spatial awareness. One popular toy for stacking is the Melissa & Doug Rainbow Wooden Ring Stacker. This toy challenges children to stack the rings in the correct order, teaching them about size and color differentiation. It also enhances their concentration and patience as they work to create a stable tower.

In addition to the Rainbow Wooden Ring Stacker, there are many other stacking toys available on the market that offer different levels of difficulty and creativity. These toys come in various shapes, sizes, and materials, providing children with a wide range of options to explore and experiment with. By engaging in stacking activities, children can improve their hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and problem-solving skills.

Another way to incorporate stacking and building into playtime is by introducing letters. Foam bath letters, for example, can be used to build words or simply stack and knock down. This activity not only promotes fine motor skills but also introduces early literacy skills. Children can learn the alphabet, recognize letters, and even spell simple words. It’s a great way to combine physical play with language development.

To summarize, stacking and building activities, such as using the Rainbow Wooden Ring Stacker or foam bath letters, are fantastic for promoting fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and early literacy skills in 18-month-olds. These activities provide a hands-on learning experience that engages both the body and the mind, fostering creativity, problem-solving abilities, and cognitive development.

Benefits of Stacking and Building Activities
Develops fine motor skills
Enhances hand-eye coordination
Improves problem-solving abilities
Boosts spatial awareness
Introduces early literacy skills

Sensory Play Ideas

Sensory play is an excellent way to stimulate your 18-month-old’s senses and promote their cognitive and physical development. These activities engage multiple senses, allowing your child to explore and learn through touch, sight, sound, and more. Here are some sensory play ideas that you can try with your little one:

Sensory Play Idea Description
Sensory Bottles Create your own sensory bottles by filling clear plastic bottles with various materials like colored water, glitter, sequins, or small beads. Your child can shake, tilt, and explore the bottles to see the materials move and interact.
Winter Sensory Play Bring the winter indoors by creating a sensory bin with fake snow or cotton balls. Add in some arctic animal figurines or scoops and let your child build snow mountains or explore the different textures.
Blanket Fort Build a cozy blanket fort using chairs, blankets, and pillows. Your child can crawl inside, play with soft toys, and experience the feeling of being in their own little hideaway.
Bath Time Play Make bath time even more fun by providing your child with cups, funnels, and other water-safe objects to play with. They can pour, splash, and explore the water, stimulating their senses.
Play Dough Offer your child play dough in different colors and let their imaginations run wild. They can squish, shape, and create different textures, enhancing their sensory exploration and fine motor skills.

Engaging in these sensory play activities provides your child with opportunities for discovery, creativity, and sensory stimulation. Remember to supervise your child closely during these activities and ensure that all materials used are safe and age-appropriate.

Outdoor Exploration and Climbing

Outdoor exploration and climbing are essential for promoting gross motor skills and physical development in 18-month-olds. Providing your child with climbing toys can help them develop balance, body awareness, and coordination. Investing in a climbing tower for your backyard can provide a safe and fun environment for your child to climb and explore. Daily walks are also beneficial for your child’s development, as they target gross and fine motor skills, visual skills, and hand-eye coordination. Allowing your child to interact with their environment through outdoor exploration and climbing can enhance their physical and cognitive abilities.

Outdoor playtime not only promotes physical development but also encourages a sense of adventure and exploration in your child. Climbing toys, such as a mini rock-climbing wall or a climbing dome, can provide opportunities for your little one to develop their gross motor skills, coordination, and spatial awareness. These toys allow them to engage their muscles and challenge themselves physically, building strength and resilience.

In addition to climbing toys, consider incorporating daily walks into your child’s routine. Whether it’s a stroll around the neighborhood or a visit to a local park, walking allows your child to practice their gross motor skills, improve their balance, and strengthen their leg muscles. It also provides an opportunity for them to observe their surroundings, enhancing their visual skills and encouraging curiosity about the world around them.

Outdoor exploration and climbing activities provide a multi-sensory experience for your child, allowing them to engage their senses and develop their coordination. As they climb, jump, and explore their surroundings, they are enhancing their gross motor skills, fine motor skills, visual skills, and hand-eye coordination. So, make sure to incorporate outdoor playtime and climbing activities into your child’s daily routine, allowing them to grow and thrive in a fun and stimulating environment.

Reading and Language Development

Reading books with your 18-month-old is not only a great bonding activity but also crucial for their language development. Choose colorful and engaging books that are suitable for their age and interests. Point out objects, characters, and colors, and encourage them to repeat words or make sounds. This interactive reading experience will help expand their vocabulary and improve their language comprehension.

Make bath time a fun learning experience by introducing foam letters. These floating letters can be used to teach them the alphabet and basic spelling. Encourage your child to identify the letters, name the corresponding sounds, and even try to form simple words. This hands-on approach to learning letters will make bath time more enjoyable while boosting their language skills.

Engaging in storytelling activities with finger puppets is another effective way to enhance your child’s language development. Using puppets, bring characters to life and create imaginative stories together. Encourage your child to participate by using their own puppets or adding their own ideas to the story. This interactive storytelling experience will foster their creativity, language skills, and imagination.

In summary, incorporating reading books, foam letters, fishing for letters, storytelling, and finger puppets into your daily routine will greatly benefit your child’s language development. These activities provide opportunities for interactive learning, vocabulary expansion, and imaginative play. So grab a book, some foam letters, or finger puppets, and embark on this exciting journey of language development with your little one!

Social Interaction and Playdates

Social interaction and playdates play a vital role in your child’s social development. At 18 months old, toddlers are naturally curious and enjoy being around kids their age. Playdates provide opportunities for parallel play, where children play independently but alongside each other, fostering valuable social skills.

During playdates, children learn how to take turns, share toys, and communicate with their peers. These interactions promote important social skills such as empathy, cooperation, and problem-solving. Playdates also give children the chance to observe and imitate others, helping them learn new behaviors and develop their own unique personalities.

Engaging your child in social interaction and playdates offers a supportive environment for them to build relationships and develop essential social skills. Encourage your child to interact with other children, provide opportunities for shared activities, and model positive social behavior. Creating a network of playdates not only benefits your child’s social development but also provides a support system for parents.

Benefits of Playdates for Toddlers
1. Develops social skills
2. Promotes empathy and cooperation
3. Enhances problem-solving abilities
4. Provides opportunities for observation and imitation
5. Builds relationships with peers
6. Creates a supportive network for parents

Remember that each child develops at their own pace, so it’s essential to provide a comfortable and safe environment during playdates. Keep an eye on interactions to ensure that everyone is engaged and having a positive experience. By encouraging social interaction and organizing playdates, you are fostering your child’s social development and helping them build important skills for future relationships.

Gross Motor Skills and Physical Activities

Engaging in physical activities is essential for promoting gross motor skills and supporting your child’s physical development. These activities not only help improve their coordination and balance but also provide opportunities for them to explore their surroundings and enhance their overall physical abilities.

One fun and engaging activity for gross motor skills is ball play. Encourage your child to throw, catch, and kick balls of different sizes. This helps improve their hand-eye coordination and motor skills while also providing them with an enjoyable way to stay active.

Creating a sensory road using bubble wrap is another exciting activity to stimulate your child’s gross motor skills. Lay out a long strip of bubble wrap and encourage your child to walk, crawl, or hop along it. This sensory experience adds a unique tactile element to their playtime and encourages movement.

For a more challenging activity, set up a baby obstacle course using furniture and cushions. This allows your child to navigate different obstacles, improving their balance, coordination, and gross motor skills. Ensure that the course is safe and age-appropriate with soft surfaces to cushion any falls.

Table: Examples of Gross Motor Skills and Physical Activities

Activity Description
Ball Play Throwing, catching, and kicking balls to improve hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Sensory Road Creating a strip of bubble wrap for your child to walk, crawl, or hop on for a unique sensory experience.
Obstacle Course Setting up a course using furniture and cushions to challenge your child’s balance, coordination, and gross motor skills.
Quiet Time Designating a specific time during the day for your child to rest and recharge.
Exercise Time Allocating dedicated time for your child to engage in physical activities, such as dancing or jumping.

Creativity and Arts & Crafts

Encouraging creativity is an important aspect of your 18-month-old’s development. Engaging in arts and crafts activities not only helps foster their imagination but also enhances their fine motor skills. Toddler crafts such as finger painting, coloring, gluing, and animal action cards can provide endless entertainment and learning opportunities for your little one.

1. Finger Painting

Finger painting is a fun and messy activity that allows your child to explore different colors and textures. Provide them with washable finger paints and a large sheet of paper or cardboard. Let them use their fingers to create their own masterpieces, promoting their creativity and sensory development.

2. Coloring

Coloring is a classic activity that helps enhance hand-eye coordination and creativity in toddlers. Offer your child large and easy-to-grip crayons and let them explore their artistic side. Provide coloring books or print coloring pages featuring their favorite characters or objects to keep them engaged.

3. Gluing

Gluing activities are great for fine motor skills and tactile exploration. Offer your child construction paper or cardboard and a bottle of non-toxic glue. Let them stick poms-poms or cotton balls onto the paper, creating textured artwork. This activity encourages their creativity and helps improve their hand-eye coordination.

4. Animal Action Cards

Animal action cards are a fantastic way to engage your child in imaginative play and encourage physical movement. Create or buy cards featuring various animals and their corresponding actions (e.g., hop like a bunny, slither like a snake). Show your child the cards and encourage them to mimic the actions, promoting cognitive development and gross motor skills.

By incorporating these creativity-focused activities into your child’s routine, you are providing them with opportunities to express themselves and develop essential skills. Remember to always supervise your child during arts and crafts activities and ensure that materials are safe and age-appropriate.

Activity Benefits
Finger Painting Enhances creativity and sensory development
Coloring Improves hand-eye coordination and creativity
Gluing Promotes fine motor skills and tactile exploration
Animal Action Cards Engages imaginative play and encourages physical movement

Engaging in these creativity-focused activities helps your child develop their fine motor skills and sparks their imagination, setting the foundation for future creative endeavors.


Engaging in a variety of activities with your 18-month-old is essential for their overall development. From sensory play to fine motor and gross motor skill activities, each experience contributes to their cognitive, language, and social development. Incorporating Montessori activities and fostering creativity through arts and crafts allows your child to explore their imagination and enhance their cognitive abilities.

By providing a stimulating environment filled with developmental activities, you are giving your child the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. Activities such as shape sorting, stacking and building, outdoor exploration, reading, and social interaction are all valuable for their developmental milestones. Sensory play, whether through sensory bottles, winter play, or bath time, stimulates their senses and encourages exploration.

As your child progresses, they will develop important fine motor and gross motor skills, improve their language abilities, and learn to interact with others. These activities not only promote their physical and cognitive development but also provide opportunities for bonding and creating lasting memories with your little one.

So, get ready to embark on this exciting journey with your 18-month-old. Explore the world together, engage in fun and educational activities, and watch them flourish before your eyes. Activities for 18-month-olds are not only enjoyable, but they also lay the foundation for their future growth and success. Start creating precious moments and supporting your child’s development by incorporating these activities into their daily routine.


What are some activities for 18-month-olds?

Some activities for 18-month-olds include shape sorting, stacking and building, sensory play, outdoor exploration and climbing, reading and language development, social interaction and playdates, gross motor skills and physical activities, and creativity and arts & crafts.

How can shape sorting activities benefit my 18-month-old?

Shape sorting activities help develop fine motor skills and cognitive abilities in 18-month-olds. They learn to identify and manipulate different shapes, which is important for their cognitive and fine motor skill development.

What toys or materials can I use for shape sorting activities?

Toys like the Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube, Colors & Shapes Toddler Busy Binder, and Colorama can be used for shape sorting. Alternatively, you can create your own shape sorting activities using items like different-shaped felt pieces, sorting bears, or muffin tins.

How can stacking and building activities help my 18-month-old?

Stacking and building activities promote fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination in 18-month-olds. They can improve your child’s ability to grasp and manipulate objects, enhancing their fine motor skills and coordination.

What toys or materials can I use for stacking and building activities?

Toys like the Melissa & Doug Rainbow Wooden Ring Stacker or foam bath letters can be used for stacking and building activities. You can also use household objects like different-sized cans or introduce letters in play to engage your child in building activities.

How does sensory play benefit my 18-month-old?

Sensory play stimulates your child’s senses and promotes their cognitive and physical development. It allows them to explore different textures, colors, and materials, fostering their curiosity and enhancing their cognitive and sensory skills.

What are some examples of sensory play activities?

Examples of sensory play activities include sensory bottles, winter sensory play with fake snow, building a blanket fort, playtime in the bath with cups and spoons, and using play dough to shape and create different textures.

Why is outdoor exploration and climbing important for my 18-month-old?

Outdoor exploration and climbing activities promote gross motor skills and physical development in 18-month-olds. They help develop balance, body awareness, coordination, and motor skills through movement and interaction with their environment.

How can I encourage outdoor exploration and climbing?

Providing climbing toys or investing in a climbing tower for your backyard can create a safe and fun environment for your child to climb and explore. Daily walks are also beneficial for gross and fine motor skills, visual skills, and hand-eye coordination.

What are some activities to promote reading and language development in my 18-month-old?

Engaging in regular reading sessions, introducing foam letters during bath time, fishing for letters, and storytelling using finger puppets are activities that can enhance your child’s vocabulary, language comprehension, and imagination.

How can social interaction and playdates benefit my 18-month-old?

Social interaction and playdates provide opportunities for parallel play, where children play independently but alongside each other. This fosters valuable social skills, builds relationships with peers, and helps develop essential social skills in your child.

What are some activities to promote gross motor skills and physical development?

Ball play, creating a sensory road using bubble wrap, setting up a baby obstacle course using furniture and cushions, implementing daily quiet time and exercise time are activities that help promote gross motor skills, balance, strength, and coordination in your child.

How can creativity and arts & crafts activities benefit my 18-month-old?

Engaging in creativity-focused activities like finger painting, coloring, gluing poms-poms or cotton balls, or using animal action cards promotes your child’s imagination, fine motor skills, and creativity. It allows them to explore different materials, textures, and colors.

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