18-24 Months

18-24 Months: Outdoor

18-24 months: Outdoor and Travel

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The great outdoors has much to offer the 18-24 month old.  Start with a daily walk at your child's pace, and bring your explorer's kit.  There's always something new, if you look close enough! 

Time outside encourages movement, listening, observation, a love of nature, and a deep sense of place.  And best of all, it requires minimal planning and set-up! 

If you have a yard or small balcony, you can keep a few outdoor activities (like these below) available for your child. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Outdoor Materials for 18-24 months

Child-sized Backpack 

A child sized backpack with pockets for treasures is a must for daily walks.  This one is from Herschel and at 10 inches square, it should fit many 18-24 month olds. The magnetic closures and one zippered pouch are manageable skills to master  but any smaller backpack with a zipper, Velcro, or fold over flap would work for this age.  I recommend a smaller pocket on the back or side, and a pocket for a water bottle is always welcome.

The Wild City Book

Think you can't find nature if you live in the city? This book is full of ideas for fun, exploration, and discovery of the great outdoors in the concrete jungle.   This is a great book to spark your creativity for nature inspired art, learning, and adventures.   

Chalk

Chalk is another winner for 18-24 month olds.  This triangular chalk encourages a tripod pencil grip AND it won't roll away.  I stick with 2-3 pieces of chalk at this age, any more and your child will just spend her time switching chalk instead of drawing.  

Sand box

A sand-box offers open-ended play that can keep toddlers interested for hours.   This box is my favourite as the lid folds up to make two sturdy benches and completely closes (no surprise visitors!).  Or, take the DIY route and fill a small tent with sand

Garden Tool Set

This three piece garden hand tool set is perfectly sized for small hands, AND they actually work.  I'd probably bought 7 sets myself for my classrooms and young friends I've worked with.  Start with the green rectangular trowel for scooping soil, and over time your child can help rake and dig too.  

Check out this gardening post for ideas. 

image from  Zerlina Crafts

image from Zerlina Crafts

Snack Pouch 

Sturdy legs means longer walks and the need for snacks.  I always carried a tiny fabric bag for my toddler friends on our daily walks, and the flat bottom ones were always the most successful.  This super cute snack pouch is from Zerlina Crafts, and is washable, and water-resistant. Plus, the little tab on the side is perfect for clipping to a backpack for easy access. 

Walking Trike

This is a good introduction to the world of wheeled toys, and learning how to steer.  This trike is difficult to tip over and is low enough to the ground for most 18 month olds to climb on by themselves.  I've tied a string to the handlebars and helped with steering as a child got the hang of this trike.  

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Paintbrush and Bucket

Paint with water is my go-to outdoor activity with young toddlers.  Endless fun, no clean-up, and you can paint almost anything.  I'd suggest using the larger paintbrush in this set for outdoor, and save the others for indoor art projects.  This bucket from Toysmith is made from metal and holds up well to repeated outdoor use.  


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18-24 Months: Bed and Bath

18-24 months: Bed and Bath

TPE toileting

This is the age to practice self-care activities like getting dressed, washing your face, hair and body, using the toilet, and brushing teeth.  Until your child has mastered these skills, you'll still need to help keep her clean and clothed. 

These items below offer your 18-24 month old independence and a greater chance of success in learning these skills. 

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Self-Care Materials for 18-24 months

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

Cloth Training Underwear

When you notice that your child is starting to make the connection between "I need to relieve myself" and "I AM relieving myself", you can begin toilet learning.  This happens around 18 months, sometimes as young as 12 months, and sometimes not until 30 months.  Get a stash of cotton training underwear like these tiny trainers from Tiny Undies to help your child connect the feelings of urgency with the resulting wetness.  (A Pull-up prevents this, and will slow down the process)  I like these underwear because they are thick, plain, and uninteresting (making it less likely your child chooses to have an accident purely to wear different underwear), plus it's a mama-run small business!  The trainers have extra padding for toilet learning, and the tiny undies are unpadded.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout. 

Hair and Body Washing

A small pitcher and mini squeeze bottles are key to mastering bath time skills.  The pitcher allows a child to fully control a small amount of water, dumping on their hair or body.  Smaller travel size squeeze bottles allow a toddler to "dump" ALL the soap or practice those strong squeezing muscles with just a small amount of soap.  

image from  Tiny Undies

image from Tiny Undies

LEARN Underwear

Oh. My. These are amazing.  Andrea from Tiny Undies has designed self-correcting underwear for toddlers to aid in independent dressing.   Two different colored leg holes makes it easy to match left with left and right with right, the orange tabs show your thumbs where to pull up, and the bear shows you which way to put your legs through first, ensuring you put these on right-side up. These are available as padded trainers and as regular unpadded underwear.  Make sure to use the code TPETINYUNDIE for $5 off your order at checkout.

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Clean-Up Kit

A critical step in learning to use the toilet is cleaning up.  When I'm working with a young friend, I will first clean any unsafe or unmanageable mess (like feces or large amounts of urine) with a pet enzyme disinfectant spray, and then encourage her to clean with her clean-up kit (remember this is about practice, not getting things actually clean).  I suggest a smaller spray bottle filled with a vinegar solution, a washcloth, and a small bucket.   You can also use a non-toxic spray like Mrs. Meyers. 

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Chair for dressing

The Me-do-it chair from Community Playthings is my favourite chair for infants and toddlers.  It has a low-to the ground seat that is easy to get in and out of, and arm rests for leverage.  This is a difficult chair to tip over, and scoots quite nicely as a make-shift push cart.  The chair comes in two sizes: 5" and 6.5".  Keep a chair like this near your toileting area and/or in your dressing area.   

image from  IKEA

image from IKEA

Child Dressing Area

Around this age your child can begin making simple clothing decisions.  Design your space for success with a lower hanging bar, shelves, or baskets.  Only offer choices that you can YES to (no swimsuits in winter), and keep all extras out of reach.  Use a child-sized wardrobe like this one from IKEA, or adapt your bedroom closet with this Closet Maid system.  

Training Potty

Sure, you can do toilet learning without a tiny toilet, but it will make your life so much easier if you do.  This one from Baby Bjorn has a simple plain design, small size, non-skid ring, and a removable insert which is easy to clean and dump.  The LOCKIG potty from IKEA has similar features and is also a good choice. 

Andrea from Tiny Undies tells me she is designing a super-small training potty for those of you following EC or with tinier children!  Get on her email list for the announcement. 


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18-24 Months: Kitchen

18-24 months: Kitchen and Eating

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With newfound balance and strength, your child can really start participating in preparing food, setting the table, and cleaning up. 

This is an excellent time to introduce a few simple (practice) practical life activities with 2-3 steps, and designate a drawer, shelf or box for your child's kitchen tools.  

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


kitchen Materials for 18-24 months

Crinkle Knife and Cutting Board

This is my favorite first knife.  It's a real tool and can cut most foods, but is blunt to the touch and won't cut your child's fingers.  A great tool to learn the habits of safe knife use.  Make sure you get a smaller cutting board too! 

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands

Whisk 

This bouncy spring-style whisk is easier to use than a traditional whisk, and is a great introduction to learning the skill is whisking.  I start with an inch or two of water in a stainless steel basin and 3 drops of dish soap, then progress to whisking food.  Find this whisk and other smaller kitchen tools on  For Small Hands.    

image from  For Small Hands

image from For Small Hands

Child-sized utensils

Real silverware and real plates demonstrate trust, encourage care and responsibility, and offer your child a sense of prideful ownership.  This toddler-sized set of utensils are from For Small Hands, and feature blunt tines and a slightly smaller size than their child utensil set.  

Dustpan and Brush

This smaller set from OXO is my favorite first dustpan and brush. The bucket style dustpan helps keep dirt in place all the way to the trash can, and the side handle on the brush is easier for toddlers' hands.   

image from  Duralex

image from Duralex

Child-sized Place Setting

Yes, these are glass, and yes you can expect your child to break something.  Offering real glassware to your child demonstrates trust and encourages care and responsibility.  

When your child breaks one of HER glasses, it will have a bigger impact than you saying "be careful!" ever will.   I like this glass set from Duralex for this age because it is truly durable and quite forgiving.  They have a handful of other styles if this one doesn't suit your taste.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Place Mat

This washable place mat from Handmade Montessori offers a clear model of exactly how to set your place, all without you saying a word!  These are used in the Montessori Young Child communities to offer independence and teach placesetting.  Use this placemat with child-sized utensils and tableware to help your child learn this same skill.  

image from  Handmade Montessori

Toddler-sized Apron

There are thankfully lots of places to buy a child-sized apron now, but finding one that a toddler can independently use is still a challenge.  This is my favourite design; a full front and half-back secured by elastic on the sides.  Easy to pull over your own head, and no snaps, ties, buttons, to strings to get in the way.  This apron from Handmade Montessori has the bonus of vinyl-coated cotton fabric which makes it easy to wipe clean.  


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18-24 Months: Play

18-24 months: Play and Toys

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Once toddlers can stand and really move, a whole new world opens up which needs exploring!   Toys still need to be relatively simple and inviting.  There is no need for toddlers to have electronic toys.  Look for realistic, relatable themes that aren't too visually busy or overly complicated.  

Keep a small number of play items available at once (about 5-10 max)  where your child can easily see everything and put things back.  Make sure there are plenty of opportunities for movement, both inside and outside.  Look for items to climb over, in, on top of, stand on, push, etc. 

Play objects for 18-24 months should still be checked for small pieces and loose parts that could get swallowed.  Toys for this age should hold up to rigorous throwing, dropping, crushing, banging, and pulling, and be made from sturdy materials like thick cardboard, wood, or metal. 

Help your toddler explore the world in a safe, independent way.  Provide simple demonstrations of what to do in a situation and how to do it.  Be mindful of over-helping or over-suggesting how to use something. This stunts creativity and problem solving.

This page contains affiliate links.  We only link to items we love and would recommend. By clicking on the link, you are offered the same (or lower) price, and a small percentage of any purchase you make goes to us at TPE. We use these funds to help offset our costs and provide more value to you. Thanks in advance! 


Play Materials for 18-24 months

Jumbo Piece Puzzles

These large wood puzzles are perfect for young toddlers.  The larger rounded knob encourages a strong fingertip grip (writing muscles), and with only three shapes to choose from, it's possible to complete the whole puzzle before losing interest or getting frustrated. 

Picture Dominoes

These thicker domino cards offer an opportunity to match by shape, color, and number.  Use just a handful of these as a matching activity to start, or play a simple domino game with the whole family.   

image from  Wiwiurka

image from Wiwiurka

Climbing Triangle

As your child gets stronger (and braver), she will want to climb everything.  Give her an appropriate place to practice with an indoor climbing structure, like this Pikler triangle.  I used one of these in my Parent-child toddler classes, and I love it.  There's graduated difficulty and multiple ways to climb, so it can grow with your child.  It folds up, and it's beautiful.  And most importantly, the triangle allows your child to test her own skills and learn how to move safely.  This one is from Wiwiurka, and is handmade in Mexico.   

Push Along Duck

I personally think this duck is super cute, but more importantly it's been super popular with many toddlers I've worked with.  The added complexity of walking behind a toy while steering and balancing is a welcome challenge for this age.  I find the wood stick to be more manageable than string pull toys, and more challenging than the push-cart I suggested for 12 month olds. 

image from  Heirloom Kids USA

Color Disc Sorter and Stacker

This is a classic Montessori Aid to Infancy material designed to build fine-motor and coordination skills.  The smaller size of the dowel and discs encourages the tripod finger grip later used in writing, but are still large enough to avoid choking hazards.   The simple colors and design help your child focus and make connections faster.  This material is mama-handmade from Heirloom Kids USA.

image from  Margaritkadolls

image from Margaritkadolls

Soft, Simple Doll

Dolls aren't just for girls.  This handmade Waldorf-style doll is perfect for any 18-24 month old, and will stand up to strong love and use for years.  A doll is perfect for caring role play, learning body parts and gentle, kind touch, and general companionship.  This doll is from Margaritkadolls and is handmade in Poland.   

Wooden Memory Game

Here's another game that offers a few ways to play together, or on your own!  These wood tiles from Hape Toys with sweet, simple animal pictures can be matched together, used in a memory game, hidden for a lost-partner treasure hunt, or whatever else you can think of! 

Bowling Set

Here's an active activity your child can do indoor or out!  I prefer softer pins for this age to help with noise and for safety reasons.  There's a handful of plush or plastic bowling sets from Melissa and Doug, but this handmade set is from CrochetFanaticDesign is my favorite by far.  


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18-24 Months: About this Age

Eighteen to Twenty-four months

What happens when I do this?

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This age child is determined, and in full exploration mode.  We're entering full toddler-hood here.  Around 18-24 months, your child is learning to control events and mentally organize the world around her.  She has little sense of real danger, and is mostly incapable of sharing.  This age child wants to imitate you and be nearby while remaining fiercely independent.  

This is the time to introduce toilet learning (if you haven't already), and offer a handful of simple practical life activities, focusing on personal and home care.

Go outside and keep a consistent routine everyday if possible.  External order and routine is translated to logical thought processes, and will help your child feel more secure.

Toddlers are explorers.  They test everything- words, strength, gravity, your patience, power, control, limits, etc.  Expect this, and know that it's helpful for your child to make these discoveries now.  


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