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  • Writer's pictureMeg Grimm

Ultimate List of Activities for 18-24 Month-Old Toddlers


A toddler holding crayons

WHEN ARI WAS AROUND 18 MONTHS OLD, I started scouring the internet for activities that might hold his attention for longer than a minute. Ideally, I want to avoid electronics and TV, especially at his age, and when he dropped that second nap, the days became looong. I would run out of ideas quickly!


As usual, I saw the same few things over and over online, so I sat down and brainstormed my own list. I wanted to have a plethora of great ideas to choose from for any kind of weather.


So, now I am putting my activities for toddlers list out there for other mommas who might be grasping for new things to try with their little one!


God bless!


Outside Activities for 18-24 Month Old – Warm and Sunny

A girl playing with bubbles

  1. “To Market” - Move the play stove and plastic food outside for a change of scenery. (Real water can now be used.)

  2. Play Sink (Ari got a play sink for Easter, but plastic dishware can be “washed” in any sort of tub. This is a fun water activity to cool down. They will get wet!)

  3. Collect nature items on walk (Small rocks, pine cones, leaves, etc. can later be used for crafts)

  4. Water plants with squirt toys/watering can

  5. Swing and Sing (If you run out of ways to keep little ones entertained while they’re being pushed on the swing, it’s a good time for singing through your repertoire of nursery rhymes and Bible songs that you want them to learn.)

  6. Stroll and Sing (Same as above.)

  7. Bubble Fun (Blowing bubbles is obvious. Make a game out of it to extend the activity: catch, stomp, blow bubbles onto body parts. Read a bubble book like this one.)

  8. Pick flowers for a vase, bouquets to share, or pressing

  9. Bike/Wagon/Things with Wheels (I usually leave the activities with wheels to Daddy, who can push and lug around our big boy easier. We received a hand-me-down Little Tikes 4 in 1 bike that is Ari's favorite - it's like this one.)

  10. Sidewalk Chalk (Switch it up by drawing on other outside surfaces, like trees, the block foundation, garage floor, etc.)

  11. Chalk Games (“Jump” to shapes; put stones/toys/etc. inside circles; point to the drawn letters/numbers/colors; wash away chalk pictures with watering can)

  12. Wash Vehicles (Ari loves helping wash the vehicle, and playing inside it!)

  13. Car Wash for Toy Cars and Trucks (and other toys that need a scrub)

  14. Plastic toys in bin of water with shovels/net to scoop in and out

  15. Ice Cube Fun (Let baby help put treasures, flowers or fruit pieces in ice cube trays, and once the cubes freeze, present them with bowls of warm water and spoons for play - letting him eat the fruit as the ice melts; Make cool, summer drinks with special ice cubes, such as colorful ice cubes made of juice. Closely monitor ice cube activities though. Ari did try to swallow a whole one.)

  16. Leaf and Bark Rubbing with Crayon and Paper

  17. Garden Maintenance (Ari loves digging in the garden and looking for strawberries.)

  18. Fly a Kite (This will only work in large, open, treeless areas.)

Needs Prepped Ahead

19. Kiddie Pool and Water Toys (I keep a swim bag made up that has everything we might need so I’m not running in and out of the house a million times – “oh! You need sunscreen.” “oh! Where’s your drink?”)

20. Painting (Painting with an 18-month-old can go better outside. Ari likes to paint but only for about 5-10 minutes. I let him use 1-2 colors at a time and he has a little apron for painting and cooking.)

A toddler painting with hands
  • Pinecones/leaves/rocks/flowers/sticks

  • Paper towel rolls/empty plastic containers/paper/baby food jars/cardboard boxes

  • Handprints/Footprints paintings

21. Picnic Lunch (Ari loves picnics! It’s a more challenging meal because he isn’t strapped into his booster seat, but the change of scenery is nice for everybody.)

22. Snacks and Storytime Outside (Find a shady spot and relax on a blanket. I add a few toys into the bag for when we are done with the stories.)

23. Tunnels made out of cardboard boxes

24. Vegetable Garden/Flower/Tree and Bush Planting (After everything was planted that we had planned for the year, I still let Ari dig in the dirt on the outskirts of the yard and plant cheap wildflower seeds from the dollar store.)


Outside Activities for 18-24 Month Old – Warm and Rainy

A toddler experiencing the rain under a clear umbrella

  1. Collect rain water in various things

  2. Jump in puddles

  3. Play with an umbrella and experience how it works

  4. Run from shelter to shelter (We have a tree house with a roof.)

  5. Mud Pies with Play Dishes (Wash in play sink after.)

  6. Snack Outside in Shelter (It’s fun watching the rain come down all around.)

Don’t forget to sing rain songs!


Outside Activities for 18-24 Month Old – Cold and Snowy

  1. Gather fresh, clean snow to make Snow Ice Cream.

  2. Snow in a Bowl (Put some snow in a big mixing bowl on the porch (or sheltered/enclosed area) and give baby some big spoons to dig in and play. This surprisingly entertained Ari for a long time. Mittens required.)

  3. Paint the Snow – with colored water in squirt bottles (by adding a few drops of food coloring)

  4. Hide little plastic toys in snowballs that must be “rescued,” such as by throwing them against something.

  5. Of course, the traditional – Sledding/Snowman/Snow balls/Snow angels, etc. (They are too little to stay outside in the cold very long anyway.)


Inside Activities for 18-24 Month Old

Green play dough on a child's placemat

  1. Sidewalk Chalk/Chalk Games in Garage (Stuck indoors in cold weather, the garage can be an option for a needed change of scenery.)

  2. Flash Cards and Rewards (Work on letters, shapes, numbers and colors. My son is a late talker, so when I realized he was recognizing and pointing to these things, I tried to start familiarizing him with a different letter every day and purposefully incorporating learning using his letter and shape toys. He loves flash cards and stacking them, but he does not handle with care, so this activity doesn’t last too long yet.)

  3. Sticker Fun (Make a sticker picture; decorate previous artwork; place stickers on body parts and name them, “Put it on your---”)

  4. Find the Pieces (Toys get mixed up over time. Do a find-all-pieces day: Go through all the toys, counting and making sure you have all the pieces - the piggy’s coins, the jar’s cookies, the blocks for the shape sorter, etc.)

  5. Puzzles (Ari gets more skilled at puzzles every time we do them, and he can stay entertained by this activity longer if there has been enough time in between doing it.)

  6. Hunt for Toys (Hide one, or hide several while baby watches. Ari loves this. We do it with his favorite stuffed animals. "Where's Caterpillar?")

  7. Play with Magnets on Refrigerator (Big enough ones to not fit in baby's mouth!)

  8. Match Farm Animal Toys to Animals in Farm Books

  9. Gather animal toys and look at/listen to the real animals on YouTube. Have the toys make the animal sounds for extra giggles. (Ari loves doing this. It’s interactive with me, so I make an electronics exception for it. I never knew how many different sounds a turtle can make!)

  10. Hide and Seek with Daddy/Friend to Help (Ari is 22 months now. He caught on to seeking right away, but he has yet to catch on to hiding, even if he’s hiding with someone.)

  11. Bubble Wrap Stomp (Save your bubble wrap for oh, about 90 seconds of fun.)

  12. Foam Letters to Glass with Water (I wanted to work with Ari on recognizing letters and numbers, so I did order some for the bath, but he can also play with them with water on glass of the porch or garage door for a daytime activity.)

  13. Stack Hair Ties/Scrunchies on Rods (This is a little odd, but Ari does like my colorful hair ties. Other bloggers suggested that little ones put hair ties on stuffed animal arms and legs for fine motor skills, but Ari wasn’t interested. However, he was entertained for a little while loading them onto his squirt gun nozzle. So, anything like a paper towel holder, broom handle, etc. could work, too – kinda like the doughnut stacking toy but for slightly more advanced skills. You can say, “let’s do all the red ones” “now the blue ones”...)

  14. Glow in the Dark Fun - Look at and play with baby’s safe night light and toys that glow or light up in a dark room; Use flash lights to find favorite toys. (Ari has a nightlight that projects stars and plays sounds and music.)

  15. Look through Photo Album/Go around House and Point to Family Photos and have little one identify family members.

  16. Pillow Fight/Rumble Play

  17. Play Dough Fun (Hide objects in it, poke, pull, roll, pinch, cut with play knife. Ari likes to tear it into little tiny pieces, and I can ask him to put them on items pictured on his placemat, “put this one on the dog.”)

  18. Do a Puppet Show (Overall, Ari loves when his stuffed animals talk to him.)

  19. Play with Balloons

  20. Explore Musical Instruments (Baby's toy instruments or your own instruments – drums, keyboard, harmonica, etc.)

  21. Sink Play (Ari loves scooping and dumping water from one side of the sink to the other with his play cups. Be warned though, he gets completely soaked.)

Child washing play dishes in a sink

Needs Minimal Prep

22. Coloring with Different Utensils (Crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc. Ari especially loves putting markers in and out of the box, taking lids off and putting them back on. It’s surprisingly not messy.)

23. Drawing (Ari isn’t entertained enough to let me help him trace simple pictures as some suggest. But we have a big dry erase book and he really likes scribbling on the pages and erasing. We also have a little chalk board, and he loves trying to trace his feet.)

24. Introduce New Toy/Book (Kids sometimes play better for longer when only one or two toys are out, or when the toys are fresh. Make a big deal about introducing any new, simple, little items baby receives, or a toy that has been put away for a while. Ari will explore something new for some time.)

25. New Songs with Hand Motions (Ari can’t really do "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes," but he sure tries!)

26. Make up Games with Balls (A ball is the most versatile toy.)

27. Color Sorting (Baby to “jump” to colored construction paper, “jump to the red one!” (He can't really jump yet but he tries); sort items in muffin tin, bowls or buckets by color, “put the blue toys in the blue bucket!” Containers can be marked with colored construction paper.)

28. Pom Pom Drop (Multiple people suggest this. Check it out here. Ari liked this briefly, and he did eventually stop trying to eat the pom poms, but it mostly sparked other ideas for us, such as driving matchbox cars through paper towel roll "tunnels.")

29. Fix Broken Toys and Ripped Books (In as much as he can participate in or just observe repairs being made, I like Ari to see that we take care of our things.)


Needs a Lot of Prep

Toddler kneading dough

30. Cooking or Baking or Popsicle Making

31. Crafts (Look up "easy crafts with pinecones" or other items you collected on walks; or use simple items found around the house, like paper towel rolls.)

32. Make Gifts/Cards for People

33. Make Play Dough

34. Make Bubble Solution

35. Put Together Ice Cream Sundaes


Chores for Toddlers

Here are some aspects of my weekly chores that Ari is able do with me, will do, and even likes to do.

  1. Sort Laundry

  2. Switch Laundry

  3. Match Socks

  4. Dusting (vinegar and water)

  5. Vacuuming

  6. Swap out Toys (Rotate toys to keep them fresh and interesting.)

  7. Water Plants

  8. Tidy Up (Put away toys, shoe piles, laundry to bin, items to appropriate rooms, etc.)

  9. Broom Sweep the Kitchen/Porch/Basement

  10. Wipe Walls and Floor Boards


Simple and FREE Outings for Toddlers

  1. Pet Store (look at animals/touch puppies/pick out treats for the pets we know)

  2. Visit Family and Friends

  3. Play Dates

  4. Animal Rescue (Pet and walk dogs)

Needs Buddy System

Some activities are safer with more than one adult. I put these items under “Need Buddy System” to remind myself while planning to ask someone ahead of time to join us.

5. Walking Trails

6. Playgrounds

7. Picnics away from home

8. Festivals


Bigger but Still FREE Outings with Daddy or Friend

  1. Visit Lakes/State Parks

  2. Geocaching

  3. Camping in our yard

  4. Fire in fire pit and cooking over fire


Money Outings for Toddlers

  1. CHEAP: Thrift Store Toys and Books (wash at home)

  2. CHEAP: Dollar Store shop for new activities and crafts

  3. HEALTHY: Visit Farmer’s Market or Grocery Store and let baby pick out fresh fruits and vegetables.

  4. Go out for Ice Cream

  5. Visit Farms

  6. Check out a Children’s Book Store

  7. Go to a Zoo

  8. Watch for Fairs with Petting Zoos

  9. Visit a Children’s Activity Center or Museum

  10. Walk Through Botanic Gardens

  11. Camp at a Park Camp Site

  12. Go Fishing


Daily Routine with Our Now 22 Month Old (not always but we try!)

7am Wake and Morning Routine (wash face, brush teeth, get dressed, make beds)

Breakfast

Play and Activities

Chores

Abt. 12:00pm Lunch

12:30pm Read Stories and Nap

Abt. 2:30 pm Wake and Play

3:00 pm Snack and Begin Dinner Prep

3:30 pm Daddy comes home - Play with Daddy while dinner is getting ready

5:00 pm Dinner

Abt. 6:00 pm Family Time

7:30 pm Clean Up Toys and Prep for Bath and Bed

8:00 pm Bath

8:30 pm Read Stories and Prayer with Daddy

Abt. 9:00pm Bed/Ari finally goes to sleep after much fighting it!


 

Meg Grimm is a Christian writer on a mission to help women replace enemy lies, counterfeits and magic with God’s truth, beauty and wonder. She has authored several books on biblical wisdom for natural healthcare.

1 Comment


krista21263
Jul 17, 2023

A lot of research went into this post. Thank you for the valuable information gathered here with fun activities to try! You and Ari have been very busy!

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