Home   From 16 to 20 Months

From 16 to 20 Months

Super Sorter
Your little one is starting to pick out colours, shapes and sizes. Sorting objects into piles will help him to improve this skill and it's good fun! There's something satisfying about organising things and because your toddler's memory is still developing, repeating the same sorting tasks again and again provides a source of continuing delight.

Good for age: 16 months (but older and younger kids might enjoy it, too!)
Skills developed: sorting skills, fine motor skills, recognition of colours, shapes and sizes
What you'll need: just about anything from around the house. Food, socks, books, towels, blocks... the possibilities are endless
What to do: Depending on what you're sorting, use different sizes, shapes, or colours as your theme. For example, if you're sorting socks, suggest to your toddler that the two of you put all of Mummy and Daddy's "big socks" in one pile and all your child's "little socks" in another. Then switch things around and put all the brown socks in one pile, white socks in another, and so on.

Or, when sorting packaged foods, show your toddler how to put all the boxes in one group and tins in another. This will actually help you when you put away the shopping. Then move on to sorting the fruits and vegetables by colour (which probably isn't something you normally do, but it's good for your toddler's development).

You'll be surprised at how many things can be sorted and the different ways they can be divided up. With this kind of practice, who knows? One day, your child may think it's fun to sort all the laundry for you.
Sew Your Ribbons
Your little one will get a kick out of this basic sewing activity, which requires grasping and pulling. A paper plate and some ribbons don't sound like much, but you'll be surprised at how much fun they can be!

Good for age: 16 months (but older and younger kids might enjoy it, too!)
Skills developed: fine motor skills, language, teamwork, taking turns
What you'll need: a paper plate, scissors, various ribbons
What to do: Cut a small hole in the centre of the paper plate. Thread a ribbon a short way through the hole so that just the tip is poking out. Show your toddler how to pull the ribbon all the way through the plate. Once he gets it out, give him some enthusiastic congratulations, and start another ribbon. Describe the ribbons as you work. For example, "Let's try the purple (or long, thick, thin, green, shiny, or polka-dot) ribbon this time".

After you've done this for a while, try tying several ribbons together to make one long ribbon and hold the plate for him as he pulls it (he may need to walk or crawl to get the ribbon all the way out). Work on turn-taking by suggesting, "Now it's Sam's turn to hold the plate and Mummy's turn to pull," and see if he'll hold the plate for you while you pull the ribbon through.

Sometimes it's the simplest things in life that are the most fun.

Note: remember that ribbons pose a strangulation hazard and young children shouldn't be left alone with scissors, so watch your child constantly during this activity and put the ribbons out of reach afterwards.
Paw Prints
It will be a while before your child can manipulate a paintbrush, but don't let that suppress her inner artist as she can do some lovely printing with her hands. The prints are great mementos, too. Use them to make cards for friends and relatives, who'll consider them priceless!

Good for age: 17 months (but older and younger kids might enjoy it, too!)
Skills developed: fine motor skills, sensory skills, colour identification
What you'll need: children's paint (non-toxic), paper, a plate or paint palette, newspaper
What to do: Spread newspaper over your table and floor to protect them from paint drippings, then pour some paint into a palette or plate. Talk to your toddler about the paint's colour.

Help your little one to put the palm of her hand into the paint and gently press it onto the paper. Explain to your toddler that this is a print of her very own hand, and enjoy the delight in her expression. You might want to do your hand, too; then you and your toddler can marvel together at how different the prints are in size.

You can also try this with your toddler's feet, but be ready to whisk her off to the bath as soon as you've finished. Unless, that is, you wouldn't mind a trail of cute little footprints across your floor, some might even call that art!
Coming to Life
Pretend your child's favourite teddy or doll is real—make him walk, go to bed, or dance around the room. Include him in everyday activities—sitting him at the table for dinner, for example, and putting a bib on him. Talking about what you're doing helps your toddler with her language skills. Act out happy and sad times so she can learn about feelings and emotions as she's developing her imagination.
Young Collector
Go for a walk together and take a bucket with you. Collect small objects that interest your toddler, like stones, leaves, and pinecones. Your toddler will want to carry the bucket, but don't be surprised if she also dumps its contents and starts again. Toddlers this age love to fill containers just so they can empty them again. Meanwhile, she's practicing her hand movements and developing dexterity.
Balloon Fun
Balloons are great for indoor play—they move slowly enough to be chased and are relatively easy to catch. Blow one up and tap it gently into the air. Count how long it takes to float to the ground or let your toddler try to catch it. A good game for introducing numbers and counting and strengthening hand-eye coordination.

Note of caution: Uninflated latex balloons are a serious choking hazard for children. So are balloons in broken pieces. Inflated balloons are okay, but supervise your toddler closely and take away broken pieces immediately if the balloon pops.
Make a House
Arrange four or more dining room chairs back to back with a small space in between, then drape with a blanket and hey presto, you have a house for your toddler to play/hide in!
Pretend Cooking
A fun, but somewhat messy alternative to water play! Place ingredients like flour, pasta, rice, sugar and water in small containers, and then give them to her, along with a couple of larger bowls, some spoons, and perhaps even a patty pan. Guide her in mixing things together and then apportioning the mixture into the patty pan. You can also add a few spices with distinct colours and smells, to add some further interest.

arrow