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Best Activities for 12-18 Month-Olds: Play Ideas to Help Build Their Developmental Skills

When your toddler is 12-18 months old, they are starting to move around more and explore and engage with the world around them. 

Are you looking for the best activities for your 12-18 month-old? Ones that can help them build their developmental skills?

We’ve put together this list of simple yet playful ideas for fun games to help build your child’s developmental skills.

Related: Games for Babies: Play Time that Encourage Development

Fun Activities and Games That Help Build Developmental Skills

You can never start helping your 12-18 month-old build their developmental skills too early! So we’ve found some fun activities and games to help your child with their attention, and physical development, improve their social skills, and sharpen their senses.

Get out there and have some fun with your toddler today!

Hi, Bye!

You start this version of peek-a-boo by building a tunnel from pillows or a large cardboard box. Please put your child at one end of the tunnel and sit at the opposite end. Peek through and say “Hi!” and then lean outside the tunnel and say “Bye!” 

Watch your child to see if they make sounds echoing your noise or if they start crawling into the tunnel towards you. Hi! Bye is a great game for helping them with their language skills and learning about object impermanence

Simons Says

This classic game is a great way to help your tot learn the parts of their body and also object-noun association. It’s also a great game to play as a family, as your partner can help show your child how to play it. 

Say, “Simon says, touch your nose!” and have your partner do it, and your child mimics them. Then move to other parts of the body, objects, and actions. 

Simon Says is a fun game that can help your toddler learn to follow directions and develop body awareness and motor development.

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Counting on Their Fingers

A great game doesn’t have to be complicated. From 12 to 18 months old, your child will begin to use their fingers more and more. Teaching them to count on their fingers is a great way to introduce them to basic numbers

Start by showing them a finger and saying “one” and then two fingers and “two.” As they progress, you can show them a number of your fingers and ask them how many you hold up. Finally, they can verbally tell or show you by putting the same number of fingers on their hand.

Look at Family Photos

Take a photo album, sit with your baby, and look through it together. Use your finger to point at the people in the album and ask them who the person is. They should be able to recognize the parents, but this is also a great time to introduce them to other friends and relatives.

Looking at family photos is a great way to work on their visual memory and help them to recognize faces.

Building Blocks

Look for building block sets with multiple colors and shapes to help your child identify them more quickly. At first, they might want to hold and play with the different shapes and colors and try to stack them.

You can also build things for them and then knock them down or have them knock them down. Soon they’ll start learning how to stack pieces as they understand how objects interact, spatial relations, and balance


Playing on Wooden Floor In Nursery

 

Freeze!

Freeze is a game played best with an adult partner and a couple of other toddlers. Have your partner lead the tots by having them stand in a line to start dancing when you start playing some music.

At a random moment, stop the music and yell, “Freeze!” and see who can stay frozen the longest. Chances are it won’t be long before giggling, and toddlers fall all over the place.

Repeat the game to see how they improve. Just don’t forget to reward them with a treat at the end of the game! Freeze is excellent for improving social play and muscle coordination, and giggling.

Related: Parallel Play - Using Playtime to Encourage Social Development

Walking the Line

Take packing or masking tape and lay it down in a straight line on a level floor about ten feet in length. Have your toddler place their feet at one end of the tape. Then walk along the line of tape to you or your partner at the other end. 

You or your partner might have to show them how to walk along the tape and even have them follow you. Give them plenty of encouragement as they wobble their way toward you! You can also hold their hands for extra support along the way if they need it.

Walking the Line is a fun game for developing your toddler’s fine muscle control and body balance

Rolling/Passing Balls Back and Forth at The Same Time

Sit down on the floor with your legs extended and your toddler a couple of feet away from you. While you both are holding a ball, roll yours towards them and ask them to roll it back to you.

They’ll start to understand that when they roll the ball toward you, you will roll the other ball back to them. 

They may start to pick up the ball and pass it back to you, which is excellent. Throwing and catching the ball improves their dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and cause and effect.  

Hidden Object Hunt

Have your toddler stand in the doorway to a room while you hide toys in different places. First, hide the toys in their line of sight so they see where you’re hiding them. Then, ask them to find the hidden toys when you’ve hidden them all. 

As they look through the room for hidden toys, give them hints and encourage them. Hidden Object Hunt is a great game that can help them with their memory recall

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Baby With Building Blocks

 

Playing Can Be Great For A Toddler’s Development

Playing games lets your toddler have a lot of fun and work on critical developmental skills.

By constantly introducing them to new games and mixing in old ones, you can keep them engaged and challenge them, and they can have a blast in the process. Baby Box Subscriptions like those from 123 Baby Box are a great way to add variety to the games you play with your toddler. 

The best part is that these games don’t take much money. Just a little bit of love and patience to teach them the rules.

Games are a great way to help a toddler gain confidence and help continue their personal growth and development

Related: Let's Get Physical! - 14 Infant Exercises You Can Do at Home