How to Entertain an Eighteen Month Old

901D1C8C-98BB-467A-B7A8-E8D536DC3710Between eighteen months and two years old, toddlers will have developed a mind of their own, using their imagination and enjoying playing more than ever before. Tobias loves to mimic me, constantly trying to do things for himself and getting frustrated when he needs my help. This is also the age where their vocabulary starts to take off, as Tobias is listening and talking more, he’s picking up new words at a quick pace. The best types of toys to encourage their learning are items they can physically interact with. Such as pop-up toys, nesting, sorting, push along and role-play toys (such as kitchens or work benches).

Pretend play: Tobias loves to copy what I do as part of my daily routine. He has to get the food to help feed our cat, each morning and afternoon. He throws a tantrum if you don’t let him have a duster when cleaning. He even has his own dustpan and brush! Everything he picks up seems to be a phone that he knows to hold to his ear and speak at. He has a tool box with wooden tools which is helping to develop his imagination and learn about the world. Tobias has a variety of stuffed animals which he plays with and talks to, he also plays “bath time” with a doll at nursery.

Building & Blocks: playing with blocks helps improve toddler’s handling skills by grabbing, stacking, and sorting. Tobias plays in the bath with different sized cups, putting the smaller ones inside of each other, making towers and pouring water from them. The scope is endless and allows Tobias to be as creative as he likes. Lego bricks are also a great way to teach them how items link together.

F5E10D08-28EF-4E02-8EF9-AA76AE6A7345Toy instruments: Most toddlers love music, it teaches them how to dance and how to make music by banging or blowing into something. Tobias has a tambourine that he shakes, a xylophone that he bangs and a drum that can make different noises. We even made some of our own instruments by using dried rice in a plastic tub that can be shaken. We also have the beatbox dancing toy that aids with learning through dance. Every day I put the music channels on to have a boogie with Tobias, which he loves and has a great big grin on his face throughout. All these toys will help to develop his sense of rhythm as well as his concentration skills.

Puzzles: As Tobias’ thumbs and fingers get stronger, he is showing great signs at completing puzzles and jigsaws by himself. Puzzles are a great way to enhance problem-solving skills, practise their hand-eye coordination and develop shape recognition. The satisfaction of putting something in the right place and getting the perfect fit boosts Tobias’ self-esteem and sense of achievement and you can tell when he’s impressed himself. One thing that annoys me is the amount of missing pieces and constantly having to scramble under the settee for pieces, I’ve invested in some pouches to store everything in, hopefully this will help.

You Tube and Apps: this might upset some people but my theory is computers are a way of life now and I want Tobias to know how to use one. At this age, as long as it’s supervised and not all the time, what’s the problem! As well as reading aloud Tobias’ books i have saved a few videos on YouTube that teach the alphabet, numbers and colours . This is helping to develop his speech and language. Tobias is mesmerised by the videos and on hearing his favourite ones played in the car means he will happily keep amused on a boring journey. Talking about books, Tobias still adores his touchy-feely books and pop-up books. I am always advocating books, it’s a start to your toddlers reading journey and developing their communication.

Push along toys: Train sets and other push along toys are a great way for toddlers to use their growing dexterity. Physically, by moving around the house, Tobias will be building his gross motor skills. We have a puzzle train, so Tobias is also able to develop his fine motor skills by building the train parts together.

Artistic play: Creative play is a great way to encourage toddlers to use their imagination and express themselves. I must admit I do tend to leave this to Tobias’ nursery – especially when mess is concerned! We do doodle with pens and crayons at home and I encourage him to use the books where colour appears once wet. By encouraging this type of play you’re helping your toddler build a foundation for writing and an understanding of colours and textures. Currently, Tobias has taken a great interest in organising the crayons, more than actually colouring.

Balls: Tobias has found a new happiness in learning to throw, catch and kick balls. This is an important skill, developing his hand-eye coordination. He has a small set of football posts, basket ball net and ten-pin bowling, which help to encourage different arm movements and kicking motions.

4E844152-D720-4397-98FA-C563D8904A4EOutside Toys: not just for outside but Tobias loves to climb on anything and everything he sees, such as the settee and stairs. We also have a slide where Tobias likes to test his limits and stand at the top – we’ve now had to make this an ‘only use when someone is around’ toy, with crash mats everywhere.

Ride-on Toys: Tobias has a few tractors and cars that he continues to love, he’s now able to push himself along with his feet. This means he’s learning to be more independent and how motion works. He’s finally come round and is happy to go in the electric car, at first he seemed to be scared of things out of his control.

I hope this was useful and you can take a few tips and tricks from it! I find Pinterest really helpful when trying to find new and inventive ideas of how to entertain Tobias.

Much love

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