Activities For Young Toddlers
Simple and fun activities for 12-18 month olds
The young toddler months are amongst the most exciting but also the most challenging when at home with your little ones. Our young toddlers are now fully on the move and super curious of the world around them. Which means, they’re busy at all times and probably getting into things we don’t want them to be getting into!
What Do We Do With Our Young Toddlers All Day?!
It can be increasingly difficult to find ways to entertain these young toddlers while also trying to meet their rapidly developing needs! That’s why I wanted to share the very simple (and fun) activities I set up for my daughter when she was in this 12-18 month old window. The thing to remember is that most of these activities were set up using materials I already had in the house. Because if you have a young toddler at home then you already know, most of their favorite toys are not even toys anyway! So that’s why you will find a lot of materials you have lying around in your cabinets and pantries to set up these simple toddler activities.
Fun Toddler Activities To Do At Home
As a former teacher with education and development always on the brain, I also wanted to showcase how these activities will help support your young toddler’s milestone development and the areas of early childhood education that these activities support.
Speaking of developmental milestones, there are a few for this age group that are important to keep in mind for our young toddlers.
It’s important to note that these milestones are a wide range and every child develops at their own time. But, of course, if you have any developmental concerns, make sure to bring them to your pediatrician.
So, let’s dive in!
Toddler Activity Ideas and Directions:
Pom Pom Whisk Rescue
This simple set up is so much fun for our youngest toddlers! It is a simple activity that can be done over and over again and it helps work on so many important skills for our little ones like fine motor skills, concentration, and language development.
To set this up simply place different sized pom-poms into a kitchen whisk and have your little one explore! Allow them to try and shake the pom-poms out, pull them out one by one, and even watch as they try to put them back.
Foil Puzzle Presents
This foil puzzle presents is a classic activity that we have used over and over again! Even our older toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy it! Simply wrap your chunky puzzle pieces in tin foil or tissue paper and have your little one unwrap the presents. Once they unwrap them, have them match up the puzzle pieces to complete it. This activity works on fine motor skills (muscle strength our little ones will need to hold a pencil), problem solving, and language development.
Pipe Cleaner Pull
I don’t know if you can tell from this picture, but my little one loved this activity. It is so easy to set up and we love to keep it thematic by switching the colors of the pipe cleaners up to match different holidays. To set this up for our young toddlers, simply weave colorful pipe cleaners through the holes of a colander. To make this more durable for our active toddlers you can tape the colander down to a highchair to keep it from tipping. Invite your child to simply pull the pipe cleaners out of the holes. Challenge them to try and thread the pipe cleaners back in. This will definitely be more difficult for them but also fun to continue to practice! It would be a great way to get some older siblings involved in this play as well.
Play Dough Poke
I know I keep saying this, but this is one of our absolute favorites! Playing with play dough I know can sound intimidating when it comes to young toddlers. But, I promise this one will be a very manageable activity once it’s set up. Not to mention if your little one is anything like mine, it will be one you can do over and over again!
You can use homemade play dough or store bought play dough for this activity. Both will work well! To encourage some “poking” we pair the play dough with colorful craft sticks, mini-erasers, plastic straws, and gems. Now, if you have a little one who still mouths things, make sure you supervise them at all times.
Paint With Water
This may seem like an activity that cannot possibly be fun but I promise you, it is so good for our young toddlers! Simply pair colorful paper with paint brushes, paper trays, and a cup of water, and let your little one go to town. This is such a simple but enjoyable way to get your toddler interested in painting and creating without the mess!
Pom Pom Color Sort
Another fun and simple activity for your 12-18 month old with this one! To set this up you only need to gather a few things. Large pom poms balls in two or three colors, it’s important to start small with color sorting! Place them and mix them all up in a large ball and have your young toddler explore the texture and begin the sorting process onto matching colored paper.
Why Do Activities With Your Toddlers?
Why even bother doing activities with our little ones when they never turn out how they’re supposed to? Trust me, I get it. You see all of these activities on social media and wonder why your set up doesn’t look like the picture perfect scene you pinned on Pinterest. Let me reassure you that your reason for doing activities isn’t for a picture perfect after shot. It’s to:
- break up the day with your toddlers at home
- connect and bond
- introduce new concepts like colors and new textures
- transition from one activity to another
- have fun!
So, the next time one of these activities or another you try doesn’t go as planned, make sure you go back to your why. Follow their lead for how they’re making the activity their own and just enjoy the process.