50 Best activities for 18 month old toddlers at home

18 months is roughly when your sweet, precious baby takes a sharp turn into the tornado of toddlerhood! Don’t get me wrong though; it’s so much fun. The key to keeping the peace during this time of transition and immense growth is intentionality. 

The more intentional you are with providing and facilitating suitable activities for your toddler, the calmer the at-home learning environment will be.

We’ve compiled a list of the best activities for 18 month old toddlers to do at home that will both help you support their learning and keep them entertained.

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Key Developmental Milestones For An 18 Month Old Toddler

There are a few major developmental areas and milestones for an 18 month old toddler to harness and refine. These areas include the progression of: 

  • Gross Motor Skills
  • Fine Motor Skills
    • Pincer grasp: thumb and forefinger hold
  • Language Skills 
  • Social-Emotional Skills
  • Cognitive Skills

Fine Motor Skills At 18 Months Old

A child needs strong fine motor skills to be able to complete activities and tasks throughout life. Smaller, more refined movements develop a child’s fine motor skills. 

One of the major fine motor skill developments at 18 months is the pincer grasp, which is essentially the ability to hold items between their thumb and forefinger. This sets a child up for success especially when it comes to scribbling and early, emergent writing. 

Strengthened fine motor skills enable a child to hold a writing utensil, drink from a cup, and use cutlery at mealtimes. 

Gross Motor Skills At 18 Months Old

Gross motor skills will equip a child to accomplish physical tasks throughout childhood and the rest of their life. Strengthening larger muscles such as core and leg muscles help to further develop a child’s gross motor skills. 

At 18 months of age, your child should be able to walk unassisted/independently, experiment with running, navigate up sets of stairs, push and pull toys, and squat to pick items up. 

best activities for 18 month old to try at home

How many words should an 18 month say?

Around 18 months of age, a child should be able to say approximately 10-25 words. They should also be mimicking adults around them, and participating in simple conversations to continually develop their language skills. They will be able to repeat words they hear from others, and answer basic questions (with yes/no answers) at 18 months of age.

How do I keep my 18 month old toddler busy at home? 

You may also be asking, “How do I entertain my 18 month old all day?”

18 month olds are busy and into everything as they explore the world around them. As they gain new skills and abilities, they are able to do more, resulting in more action and activity. 

As frustrating as it can be to have your 18 month old getting into everything, it’s actually very developmentally appropriate!

Hopefully, this serves as a comfort for you as you constantly traipse behind them, cleaning up as you go!

Do toddlers get bored at home?

They do get bored, but not in the same way that adults get bored. They have inherent mechanisms that protect them from doing things that “waste time.” 

Toddlers are constantly learning, and every experience is new and exciting for them, so it’s hard to get bored under those circumstances.

If you discover your toddler is beginning to get bored, try to provide them with a new, exciting activity – this list of activities specifically aimed at 18 month olds should help in that department.

How often should I be playing with my toddler?

Playing is like a love language for children. Playing together is the best way to spend quality time with your toddler. It’s important for establishing, cultivating, and nurturing your relationship with your child.  However, it’s also important for them to learn independent play.

The overall recommendation is at least 5-10 minutes each day. This will provide quality bonding time while also enabling them to learn independent play. 

It doesn’t have to be as long or as often as you may think, because a little bit goes a long way.

What should I be teaching my 18 month old?

Your 18 month old should be exposed to a variety of topics, concepts, and skills in order to further their development. Some of these concepts include colors, shapes, sizes, textures, matching and early sorting, vocabulary, and more. 

You can also help them develop skills such as holding and navigating eating utensils by themselves, and dressing themselves.

Lots of the activities in this list of best activities for 18 month olds will help develop and strengthen their overall learning and knowledge.

Should an 18 month old know colors?

Around 18 months, a child will begin to be able to recognize different colors, but they will not be able to verbally identify them until approximately age 2 and a half. 

Some children can do this sooner, and others later, but within their second year, their color recognition and ability to verbally name different colors will solidify.

How can I teach my 18 month old colors?

Teaching them the names of colors is as simple as narrating everyday activities.  “You’re wearing a red shirt today.”

You can also ask them questions like, “Where is the red flower? Can you see the yellow car?” They may be able to point and identify the different colored objects. 

Having frequent conversations with them about colors will help sharpen their knowledge and ability to understand and learn the names of colors themselves.

THE BEST ACTIVITIES FOR 18 MONTH OLD TODDLERS!

Super Easy Indoor Activities For 18 Month Old Toddlers

These are no-prep or minimal-prep indoor activities for toddlers. These are the ones you need to have up your sleeve when the weather turns!  They’re perfect rainy day activities for 18 month olds. 

Equally, when you’re low on energy or patience (we all have those days) and can’t handle much mess for whatever reason these are the ones you want first!

1. Pom Pom Transfer

fine motor skill activities

This is another fun pom pom activity from Mom Brite! Put pom poms into the compartments of a muffin tin or ice cube trays. 

Hand your child a spoon and let them spoon the pom poms back and forth. This activity works to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

2. Resealable Plastic Bag Painting

If your toddler wants to paint but you can’t face the mess, this activity for 18 month olds is ideal.

You need a resealable plastic bag, piece of paper, and various colors of paint. Place the piece of paper inside the plastic bag with a few globs of paint, and seal the bag shut. Tape the open, zipper end of the bag so nothing seeps out. 

You can also tape the bag to the table to keep it from moving around while your child paints. Have your child smush and manipulate the bag to allow the paint to get all over the piece of paper in the bag!

Or try this Muddy Pig Art from Taming Little Monsters.  Place the free pig printable in a resealable plastic bag, along with shaving cream and a little bit of brown paint. 

muddy pig art sensory activities for 18 month old

Let your child apply the “mud” wherever they want on the pig! Then take the pig out to dry and admire the results.

3. Sensory Bags

sensory bag activities for babies

While they do take a bit of prep, once you’ve made a sensory bag, it can be used time and time again.

Mimosas and Motherhood has a very detailed and informative post on sensory bags for toddlers. They are a great way for children to explore certain smaller items without being able to put anything in their mouth.  

This activity is open-ended, and can be themed however you want with whatever contents you have.  You’d be surprised what you can do with basic household items to facilitate your child’s learning while keeping them engaged and entertained.

4. Window Resealable Plastic Bag Exploration

This activity is similar to the resealable bag painting above, but substitute out the paint with hair gel instead. This invites a new exciting texture for your child to explore. You can color the hair gel with food coloring, or add items to the bag for your 18 month old to investigate.

5. Posting Something Into Something Else!

posting toys into a bottle easy toddler activity for at home

Squeezing toy cars into the opening of a large plastic bottle kept my toddler entertained for quite some time.  A large plastic milk bottle would work well if you don’t have a 5L water bottle as picture.

Then of course there was much fun to be had shaking the toys up and down once the bottle was nearly full.  Since the cars were then fairly stuck, it made for a nice impromptu tidying up activity!

However, you could increase the interest in this activity for your 18 month old by cutting a large hole low down in the side of the bottle, so that the toys will fall out again once rattled.  This is one I have to try with the twins once they reach toddlerhood.

So simple, and possibly the best indoor activity for 18 month olds.

Sensory Activities For 18 Month Olds

Sensory play is so important for a child’s overall development. Through sensory exploration, your child is actively discovering the world around them through their five senses. They are making observations, predictions, and experimenting in order to discover different outcomes. 

6. Make And Play With Rainbow Spaghetti

rainbow spaghetti sensory activities for 18 month old

Taming Little Monsters has a recipe that shows you how to easily make rainbow spaghetti. One of the most fun ways to explore rainbow spaghetti is by making a sensory bin with it. 

Once you’ve made the rainbow spaghetti, add utensils and tools for your toddler to explore this new texture and the vibrant colors with.

easy sensory activities for toddlers

7. Play with Oobleck

Oobleck is neither a solid or liquid. It’s almost similar to a slime, but has a little more structure. Oobleck is based on the Dr. Seuss book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, so you could read this book with your child to further extend the activity. 

It’s made of only two ingredients: cornstarch and water.  You can add paint or food coloring to make it colorful too. Check Kids Activity Zone for a step-by-step how-to.

Your 18 month old toddler can play with it as it is or you can tools or toys to the mix.  Your child will enjoy experimenting with this sticky new substance.  Just have a bowl of water and some towels on stand by!

8. Jello Alphabet Sensory Bin

jell-o sensory activities for 18month old toddlers

For this activity, you only need two packets of Jello and some alphabet letter toys.  Simply place the letters into the Jello and let it set. In the Kids Kitchen has more details and tips into setting this simple activity up.    

While your child is exploring the letters within the Jello sensory bin, you can make the correct phonetic sounds of each letter your child pulls out.

This adds an additional educational element to this explorative, fun activity! 

Your toddler is sure to want to eat some Jello, adding to the sensory experience.  Just be sure to they don’t put the letters in their mouths.

9. Making And Playing With Playdough

fun homemade playdough indoor activities for 18 month old

Playing with playdough is usually the “main event” of any playdough-related activity.  However, the process of making it can be just as fun – maybe even more so – as well as engaging and educational. 

Crafts by Amanda has an easy recipe for homemade playdough that only takes 10 minutes and uses 6 ingredients. 

Although the recipe has a recommended age of 6+ years, due to the stovetop/heat source, you can let your 18 month old help in the measuring and pouring, leaving you to do the cooking part. 

For a taste-safe recipe (it has no cream of tartar) that requires less cooking, try this one from Lil Tigers .  

Your toddler will probably enjoy this new sensory activity all on its own – just squishing and smooching it through their fingers.  But you can also add cookie cutters, tools or suitable toys to make it even more engaging.

10. Soap Foam Sensory Bin

fun indoor and outdoor activities for 18 month old

Making soap foam is one of my toddlers favorite activities! Simply blend together drink crystals (similar to Kool-Aid), dish soap, and water in a blender.  The Kids Kitchen has a great recipe you can reference. 

Provide various tools and utensils for your child to explore the soap foam with: a whisk, scooper, scrubber, sponges, toys of various types (vehicles, animals, etc), letter/number magnets, and many more. 

You could also turn this into a scavenger hunt activity by having your 18 month old find the items within the foam!

11. Experiment with Paper Mache

paper mache learning activities for 18 month old

You need a bit of prep time for this one as the paper needs to sit in the water for a while but you can get your toddler involved in this part too.  

They will love ripping the paper, and this is a sensory experience in itself.

You can make ornaments with it (put it in a candy mold to make shapes), and make letters and numbers with it. 

You can essentially make whatever you want! Using a hairdryer will speed up the drying process.

Refer to the tutorial from Craftsy Hacks for more details on making paper mache.

12. Arctic Ice Sensory Play

ice sensory bin for toddlers and 18 month old

This activity is fun to play with during hot weather days. For this activity, make “igloos” by freezing water using different containers.  

You can freeze the animals inside ice blocks for your child to “rescue” them. Your child can hammer the ice blocks, and play with arctic animal figures (penguins, polar bears, etc.) 

Follow the step-by-step process from Simply Full of Delight to learn exactly how to set this one up.

13. Love Themed Sensory Bin

thematic sensory activities for 18 month old

A fun love-themed sensory bin for Valentine’s Day or any time of year, as love is always in season! DFW Crafts is a great reference for creating this sensory bin. 

Simply use what you have on hand to add in the kitchen and around the house. Dried popcorn kernels as a sensory bin base, pom poms, hearts, pipe cleaners (to shape into hearts or other designs), etc., as sensory bin fillers. 

Scoopers, sifters, rakes, shovels, and any other tools will be an exciting element to add to your toddler.

This age loves to explore by putting materials in their mouths, so be sure to supervise your child closely throughout this activity. 

14. Water Bead Sensory Window

Submerge water beads in water for a few hours prior to doing this activity so they can expand. Once they’ve grown, put the water beads into a resealable plastic bag. Tape the bag closed and attach it to the window with tape. 

Your 18 month old can explore the interesting texture of the water bead bag with their hands, and also enjoy this activity visually with all the vibrant, beautiful colors. 

It’s a lovely multifaceted sensory activity to engage your toddler. 

15. Tape Resist Painting

indoor and rainy day activities for 18 month old

First, make a desired shape or letter out of tape on cardstock paper. Next, have your child cover the paper, making designs with paint markers or regular paint. 

Let the paint fully dry before peeling. Peel off the tape to reveal the design. The Soccer Mom Blog has a step by step post featuring this project with images that can help ensure your success.

16. DIY Monster Sensory Bag

Simply draw “monsters” on a resealable plastic baggie, fill it with shaving cream and googly eyes, and let your child explore. Team Cartwright has more details.

A fun activity for toddlers that refines their fine motor skills and facilitates cognitive concepts, such as cause and effect.

17. Play With Kinetic Sand or “Moon” sand

sensory toddler activity to do at home

Kinetic sand is such fun to play with, it has to be up there as one of the best sensory activities for 18 months old.  You can buy it but it’s also interesting, fun and simple to make at home. 

Simply mix flour and oil together in a ratio of 8:1.  Any type of flour or oil will work, use whatever you have.  You can also try adding sand in, in place of some of the flour.

It’s so easy to make that your 18 month old toddler can help too. 

They’re sure to love playing with this homemade moon sand – it is so super soft, light and fluffy while being moldable. I have to admit I also really enjoyed playing with this with my toddlers too!

tactile sensation and sensory activities to do at home

18. Finger Paint On Aluminum Foil

Rather than paint on paper, which can get sodden and start to tear with little ones that paint back and forth, back and forth, try aluminum foil.  It’s such a different activity and a fun sensory experience you’re 18 month old will love.  You can use washable tempera paint or another baby-safe paint.  Check out this post from Taming Little Monsters for more detail on foil painting.

Montessori Activities For 18 Month Olds

You may be wondering, “What classifies an activity as Montessori?” The Montessori method holds significance in the ideal of independence in a young child’s learning process. 

A common focus of Montessori is summed up by this popular quote, “Help me do it myself.”

Independence can also help avoid a temper tantrum or two, as your toddler is more able to do the things they want without assistance.

Montessori learning also places emphasis on exploring nature/natural elements and processes, as well as hands-on exploration. 

These activities for 18 month old toddlers below highlight these ideals of Montessori play. 

19. Cheerios Fine Motor Snack Activity 

string activities to develop fine motor skills

Keep it simple with this Cheerios stringing activity! This is great for fine motor practice, developing hand-eye coordination skills plus other cognitive skills. Living Life & Learning has a guide for you to reference. 

You will need a skewer and Cheerios. You could also provide yarn or other types of string for a flexible version for older toddlers.  However, for an 18 month old, stick one end of the skewer into a lump of play dough, to secure it.  

Let your toddler stack the Cheerios onto the skewer.  This is an engaging and taste-safe activity idea for toddlers.

20. Making Straw Jewelry

Using cut straws and pipe cleaners, your toddler can create custom jewelry pieces. The rigid pipe cleaners make it easy for children this age to manipulate.

This activity strengthens the small muscles in your child’s wrist, fingers, and hands to further develop their fine motor skills. 

Making straw jewelry also teaches determination and perseverance as your child will likely have to make several attempts without giving up in order to accomplish their intended objective.  It’s such a fun Montessori activity for 18 month olds.

21. Dyed Rice For Sensory Bin

dyed rice for sensory and Montessori activities for 18 month old

Dyed rice is such a fun and interesting material to explore. You can create whatever colors you want, and it only takes a few ingredients: rubbing alcohol (or white vinegar), food coloring, and uncooked rice. 

Mimosas and Motherhood has a recipe and detailed guide. You can create themed sensory bins with dyed rice, and use various tools to explore it with. 

If you store the colored rice carefully, avoiding damp, wet conditions, it can last a long time! I have Valentine’s Day and Christmas colored rice from three years ago that we still use each year. 

22. Toys In Tin Foil Unwrapping 

Wrap some small toys and/or objects in tin foil, place them in a container of some kind, and then let your 18  month old unwrap them.  hand it to your child for them to go to town on! 

This activity for 18 month olds will be extremely engaging as it will take some concentration to unwrap each item. 

It’ll be exciting for them too, discovering a new item each time!  

23. Fridge Door Pom Pom Drop

simple and easy pompom drop activity to do at home

This activity by Taming Little Monsters is a fun game that fuels curiosity that will last for an extended period of time! It’s mess-free and low maintenance. 

Simply tape toilet paper rolls and paper tubes to the refrigerator door and provide pom poms for your child to drop through.

24. Walking Through And Over Different Textures 

This activity is so simple and easy but very conversational and thought-provoking! Walk with your toddler on different textured areas so they can explore with their bodies. 

You could walk on an uneven or rougher part of the road, traipse through a grassy area, and walk through pine straw, mulch, woodchips, or sand. Make sure your child is properly supervised in order to keep them safe.

A good activity for physical development too, as they learn to balance and navigate different surfaces.

We encourage you to facilitate conversations with your toddler as they explore, so they can learn how to make and vocalize observations: “Is the texture smooth or bumpy? Squishy or solid? Is the surface warm or cool?”

25. Water Pouring Table

Provide various tools, such as different-sized cups, funnels, sifters, eye droppers, and more for your child to continually pour water with. Provide bowls and other small containers for them to pour the water into. 

You could try this at the sink or outside at a water table.

Your 18 month old toddler will simply enjoy pouring water over and over – they’ll have such a fun time!

To make the activity even more intriguing add food coloring to the water to give it color.

This is a good activity to take to bath time.

26. Doing “Chores”

Toddler can be useful! Washing up is an easy toddler activity to do at home

 

This activity is so simple, but vital for establishing independence, and empowering your child to simple and important tasks themselves. 

You’ll probably find they’ve already tried to copy some of they chores they’ve seen you do – babies and toddlers have amazing observational skills and are great imitators.

So encourage your 18 month old to try wiping surfaces, bringing empty dishes to the counter or the sink when finished, wiping up spills.  They can also help put clothes into the dryer, and putting folded clothes from the laundry basket into dresser drawers. 

27. Bird Watching/Feeding

You could make this activity as formal or as informal as you want and adapt it according to your toddler’s interest and ability.

For an 18 month old, keep it simple.  Talk about bird sounds and characteristics of birds – beaks, wings, feathers, talons to help with object-noun association skills.

You can do this for any animal to help your toddler learn animal names.

Other Fun Learning Activities For 18 Month Olds

Below are some miscellaneous crafts and activities for 18 month old toddlers to try out. Variety is so important in a child’s learning process, exposing them to different materials and experiences, helping them to build on and develop different types of skills while also engaging and entertaining them.  

28. Paper Plate Ladybugs

paper plate painting learning activities for 18 month old

Your child will get to create a cute little ladybug friend to play with once this activity is complete. You’ll need paper plates, paint, glue, paintbrushes, and googly eyes. Crafts by Amanda has more details in her post about this ladybug craft. 

This art project and easy activity for toddlers will help fine motor development, as well as introduce them to dramatic play concepts as they play and use their imagination with their ladybug.

29. Color matching exercise

easy color matching activities for toddlers

This is a fun and simple color matching activity ideal for 18 month olds as well as older toddlers. Set up a table with a few sheets of construction paper, each one a different primary color.  Then collect toys and any other small, toddler-safe objects and match them to the correct sheet of colored paper.

30. Cardboard Box Car Ramp  

cardboard box car ramp craft activities to do at home

This cardboard box car ramp by A Little Pinch of Perfect is so cool! You will likely need to build and create the ramps, but your child can be involved in whatever way you see fit. 

Your 18 month old will absolutely love sending cars down the ramp and see what happens.  This will aid cognitive development as they experiment and make predictions as to what will happen.

31. Q Tip Painting

q tip painting for easy activities for toddlers

Little Ladoo has free, printable q-tip painting sheets for you to use with your toddler. Your child will have to focus pretty intently to accomplish the task of dot painting with the q-tip, which works to develop their determination and perseverance. 

These are valuable cognitive concepts for them to have that will sustain them for life.

32. Dot Pages For Dot Markers 

easy dot maker activities for 18 month old toddlers

Dot markers are an exciting way to change things up a bit! They’re not quite paint, and also not quite markers.  With their large, chunky size, they’re easy for toddlers to hold.

You can choose dot marker pages for many different themes, seasons, shapes, etc. Check Two Pink Peonies for some free pages, as pictured.

Dot marker pictures make a fun and easy learning activity for 18 month olds and older toddlers too. 

33. Fox And Panda Craft

east craft for indoor activities for 18 month old

This fox and panda paper heart craft from Ruffles and Rain Boots is a simple art activity that’ll help your 18 month old with fine motor skill development. This activity will surely keep your little one’s hands and fingers busy. 

It also actively works on cognitive development.  This craft is a bit like doing a puzzle as your child attempts to fit everything together.

34. Paper Plate Farm Animals

paper plate activities to enhance fine motor skills

In this activity, your child gets to create a paper plate sheep and duck! 

It’ll help teach your child about different animal sounds and characteristics while refining those fine motor motors.  It’s also a fun and creative art activity. Mess for Less has a great tutorial to get you started.

35. Sponge Painting

Painting with sponges helps children explore a new and exciting texture. Sponges can make an interesting pattern on sheets of paper. Busy Toddler has a post with additional resources and tips for your reference. 

You can also purchase sponge paint brushes (there are some that are pre-shaped into various designs) or you can create your own simply by cutting up a kitchen sponge.

Your child can stamp with it, brush with it, and make masterpieces with sponge brushes! 

Gross Motor Activities For 18 Month Olds

Gross motor development is crucial for young children, as gross motor movement is involved in so many areas of their life. Developing strong leg and core muscles enables a child to be more stable on their feet, and travel from place to place. 

Below are some of the best activities for 18 month old toddlers when it comes to gross motor skill development.  Key though is to have fun! Take your toddlers lead and just go with it.  You’ll be surprised at the amazing games you end up playing together!

These games also make great rainy day activities for 18 month olds, for when you need to get those wiggles out but are stuck indoors.

36. Play Ball

This is a simple and self-explanatory activity, with many opportunities to play in open-ended ways. 

If you’re looking for ideas, why not set up a “goal” simply by providing a cardboard box to kick in to.  

Or try throwing or rolling the ball back and forth between the two of you or bounce it off the garage or side of the house.

37. Play With A Cardboard Box

fun gross motor skills for 18 month old toddlers

This is another self-explanatory activity where the possibilities are endless. Your child can color on the box, get in and out of the box, set it up however they want, and participate in dramatic play. 

They can put their stuffed animals and blankets in it to make a cozy reading spot. It can be used as a pretend lemonade stand or cashier countertop, whatever your 18 month toddler desires.

38. Walk Like An Animal Game

A classic game that makes a great activity for an 18 month old.  Slither like a snake, stand like a flamingo, swing like a monkey, hop like a frog, chomp like a crocodile…the list goes on!

You could print off images of animals to use in this activity, or simply call them out loud.

39. Walk the Line

balancing games & gross motor activity for 2 year olds

Make lines on the ground with masking tape, and have your child walk the line. This will improve balance and coordination and involves motor planning too.

You don’t have to only make straight lines! Make zig zags and other shapes for your child to experiment with moving along.

If you have tiles, you could also just draw lines on the floor with chalk.

Fun obstacle course & Indoor gross motor activity for preschoolers

40. Obstacle course

At 18 months, this doesn’t have to be anything complicated.  Large cushions to clamber over and a table to climb through and some painters tape lines to jump over can keep a toddler entertained for quite some time.  And wear them out! 

You can also easily adapt this for older toddlers and siblings.  You could give them a ball or a larger object to carry while they navigate the course.

This will help toddlers develop their gross motor muscles and aid all sorts of skills, from spatial awareness and bilateral coordination to balance, motor planning and judgment of distance skills.

But perhaps more importantly, an obstacle course is a real energy burner; it’s definitely one of the best rainy day activities for 18-month olds!

41. Balloon Keepy Uppies

fun indoor balloon games & gross motor activity for 1 year olds

All kids love balloons and your 18 month old won’t be any different!  A fun game to play is trying to keep the balloon up into the air.  It also works on hand-eye coordination and motor planning while also building strength in those little arm muscles. 

42. Hide and seek

On oldie and a goldie!  Hide and seek is a lovely family game that your 18 month will enjoy taking part in. If you have older kids they can hide with your toddler and help with the seeking part.

Outdoor Activities For 18 Month Olds

Outdoor play is vital for a child! They learn so much through outdoor play, and their gross motor development is advanced greatly through most outdoor activities.

Experiencing the world around them through outside play is so valuable, so facilitating some outdoor activities for your 18 month old is a must. 

43. Washable Sidewalk Chalk Paint

sidewalk chalk paint outdoor activities for 18 month old

Parenting Chaos has a fun recipe for spray, puffy sidewalk chalk paint that can be used in squeeze bottles. This sidewalk chalk paint washes off the driveway easily and is fun to make together too. 

You could also draw a hopscotch onto the paving stones and have a go at playing it with your toddler.  Fun outdoor process art that you can turn into a great gross motor activity for your 18 month old.

44. Water Balloon Painting

fun water balloon painting for preschoolers to try

This water balloon painting from Lil Tigers is an intriguing twist on typical painting and such a fun activity for 18 month olds. All you need is paper, tape, washable paint, and water balloons. Fill the balloon with water, and put the paint colors in a muffin tray. 

Have your child dip the filled water balloons in the liquid paint colors, and roll the balloons on the paper carefully without them bursting. 

You can also fill the water balloons with paint and let your toddler pop them on the paper by throwing them or by using their fingers.

Just have a bucket of water and some paper towel ready for clean up!

45. Toy Washing Tub

Preschooler washing her toys as an outdoor activity

Let your toddler wash their toy cars in a bin or storage tub, water table, or baby pool.

Provide sponges, rags, scrubbers, and some kind of soap, such as dish soap or bubble bath solution. 

You could add food coloring to the water for an interesting variation to this fun water activity.

46. Chasing And Popping Bubbles

This is a simple, easy-to-facilitate activity that your 18 month old will love. Blow bubbles for them to play with, either manually or with a bubble machine. 

You can play music for them, and have them dance to it with the bubbles. Have them pop the bubbles by clapping their hands together, and clapping different rhythms to the music!

47. Sand/Water Table Play

Sand and water table play is a multifaceted activity for 18 month olds. You can make your sand/water tables themed: add ocean animals and shells for an ocean theme, dinosaur figures for a dinosaur theme, etc. 

Provide various tools, utensils, and toys for your child to explore the elements with. Having a variety of exciting, different tools can engage them for longer and extend their play.

48. Introductory Gardening Activities

18 month olds are a lot more capable than the general public realizes, and they also love to help!  Getting them involved in some easy gardening activities will help set them up for success later in life.

Some examples include watering flowers, scooping soil, misting plants, and more. These tasks work on your child’s fine motor, gross motor, cognitive, and language/vocabulary skills.

Airplane Activities For 18 Month Olds

Airplane trips with toddlers can be anxiety-inducing. One of the best tips is to be prepared. Having a variety of inexpensive, easy-to-transport activities and fun ideas is key. 

Some of the activities or items may get messed up or lost throughout the travel process, so don’t spend too much money, just in case.

fun sticker learning activities for 18 month old 

49. Reusable Stickers

Reusable stickers are a great travel option. You can use them in a sticker book or on a cheap dry-erase board so your 18 month old can take them off and put them back on again. 

You can also invest in some large puffy stickers, and play with them off and on the tray table of the airplane. Paper stickers won’t come off as easily, so puffy/plastic stickers will work much better for this.

50. Gel Window Clings

You can use gel window clings on airplane windows or tray tables. They are an interesting texture and they can be used multiple times. 

If your child isn’t in a window seat, these clings can also stick to the airplane tray table, or a cheap small dry erase board. They are easy to find at the dollar store, dollar spot, or craft store.

51. Activity Baby Book

soft activity book to help toddlers read and talk 

Activity books are a great way to keep little hands busy on an airplane. This Melissa & Doug Soft Activity Book is ideal for 18 month olds.  It has 5 different peekaboo animals for a fun exploratory experience and a sweet little story alongside. 

It’s also machine washable, so you don’t have to worry about it getting dirty on your travels.  Overall, a great airplane activity for 18 month olds.

52. Magnetic Doodle Pad

Magnetic doodle pads are a no-mess travel activity that your child can explore in an open-ended way by creating their own scribbles and drawings. 

These doodle pads will be enjoyed for many years to come – my 4 year old still enjoys her.  They’re not expensive and a worthwhile investment.  

53. Travel Flashcards

cloth flashcard airplane activities for 18 month old 

Flashcards can be either homemade or store-bought. These cloth flashcards are ideal for toddlers and looking at all the pictures will make a fun airplane activity for an 18 month old.  

If you make the flashcards yourself, you could include images relating to the travel destination. You can also attach the flashcards to a ring, for ease on your travels. 

Bonus: you could even have your child help make the flashcards. It will increase their confidence and self-esteem to see their own creations within their activity.

54. Indestructible Books 

Indestructible books are an easy, efficient way to travel with books! They’re inexpensive, they don’t take up a lot of space in a backpack/bag, they span multiple topics, and won’t easily rip or retain signs of excess wear. 

Your child will be able to expand their language skills and imagination even while traveling.

Ready to get started with some easy activities with your 18 month old?

We hope that these activities for 18 month olds have sparked some inspiration within you.  You should now feel better equipped to facilitate intentional play with your toddler and provide easy ways to entertain them.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be purposeful. 

FAQS on activities for toddlers 18 months old

What games can you play with an 18 month old?

Most games you can play with your 18 month old baby involve using their body.  Forget thoughts of board games, concentrate on playing and open-ended activities which often turn into games!

Putting on some music and playing “dance party” is so simple and fun. This age also loves to play the Freeze Dance game.

A simple matching/memory game for toddlers can also engage them, but at 18 months, focus on more open-ended activities.  There are a huge selection in the list of toddler activities below.  

Do you let your 18 month old watch TV?

If you’re wanting to put the TV on sometimes, 18 months is an acceptable age to introduce it in small quantities. 

The overall recommendation is no screen time during the first year, but by 18 months, small increments of screen time to watch educational shows or songs is acceptable if you feel you want to try it!

In most areas of parenthood and life in general, my motto tends to be, “Everything in moderation.” Life is best lived with balance. Are treats yummy and fun? Absolutely! However, they must be balanced out with nutrient-dense foods as well. 

This philosophy applies well to screen time and TV exposure, too. Balancing out screen time with enriching, educational activities is a recipe for well-rounded success.

Is playdough good for an 18 month old toddler?

15-18 months is a good time to introduce playdough, but they won’t be able to play with it completely independently until age 2 or 3 depending on the child. 

Having your 18 month old child explore playdough with you is a good way for them to experiment with it!

 

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Need more inspiration to keep your toddler or preschooler busy? Check out the following posts:

For Fall & Halloween:

For Christmas:

Other seasonal activity posts:

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Hi, I'm Sarah

Mum of two outrageously gorgeous and ridiculously energetic toddlers – A.K.A. not so little, Littllees.  I’m determined to give them the best without losing my mind.  I reckon it’s possible.  Most days.  

I love a challenge and have to find out they ‘why’, ‘what’ or ‘how to’  –  there are rather a lot of these when it comes to kids… 

I also love, love, love things to be neat and tidy and just so.   The Littlees normally have other ideas!  

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