Play through the ages: Ages 18 to 24 months
Children develop at their own pace with expectations for each age range. Let’s look at the development for ages 18 to 24 months.
As we look at the developmental age range of 18 to 24 months, it is important to know that it is a range typically centered in language and social development. This is a time where children typically have a great increase in vocabulary, as well as the beginnings of using some consistent words to make their wants and needs known.
We will now discuss some important developmental milestones and appropriate activities associated with children ages 18 to 24 months. The discussion will revolve around five specific areas of development and fun activities associated with increasing a child’s skills within these areas. The expectations are listed in appropriate developmental order below.
Gross motor development is the large muscle movements of the body. For children ages 18 to 24 months, the developmental expectations include walking upstairs with assistance, kicking a large ball after watching someone demonstrate, beginning to run well and jumping off the floor getting both feet up at the same time.
Activities for the 18-to-24-month age range include walking up a small flight of stairs (2-3 steps) while holding onto a hand or railing, trying to hop in and out of a hula hoop (or place masking tape on the floor for them to hop over), playing “head, shoulders, knees and toes,” practicing climbing onto adult-sized chairs and practicing kicking a ball with each foot (show them how to do it first).
Fine motor development is the small muscle movements of the body. For children ages 18 to 24 months, the developmental expectations include stacking small blocks up to 6 high, holding a crayon and imitating a circular motion after watching an adult draw a circle, using a refined grasp to pick up small objects with the thumb and forefinger and beginning to practice holding a crayon with their fingers.
Activities for the 18-to-24-month age range include practice picking up small objects like cheerios, stacking any safe object that a child can hold in one hand (1-inch blocks, CD cases, small books), practicing coloring at least three times a day, rolling a small ball back and forth and introducing them to play dough (try to make some of your own following PBS’ play dough recipe).
Language development is a child’s ability to communicate with others verbally and nonverbally. For children ages 18 to 24 months, the developmental expectations include being able to name up to five different pictures, developing a vocabulary over 20 consistent words, using five to 10 consistent words to make their wants known and being able to combine two words together.
Activities for the 18-to-24-month age range include holding objects up to your mouth and making eye contact with your child while you name the object (this way they can watch the mouth movements as you say the objects name), routinely reading at least two books twice a day, talking out loud throughout the day (be their background sound) and saying a word out loud correctly when they say a word incorrectly.
Social development refers to a child’s ability to interact with their environment and other people. For children ages 18 to 24 months, the developmental expectations include imitating the actions of others, using five to 10 consistent words to tell you what they want (more, ball, cookie, etc.), showing a lot of pride when learning new things (clap for themselves) and beginning to show interest in other children.
Activities for the 18-to-24-month age range include sharing or passing objects back and forth, initiating and setting up playtimes with other children outside of the family, imitating their activities and having them imitate yours, and modeling words such as “thank you,” “please” and “more.”
Emotional development refers to a child’s ability to express their feelings to others and notice how others are feeling. For children ages 18 to 24 months, the developmental expectations include doing many things for themselves, using words to ask for help or to let you know they don’t want something, showing a range of feelings and having appropriate emotional expressions.
Activities for the 18-to-24-month age range include allow them to do as much on their own as possible, placing things they are allowed to get on their own in easy-to-reach spots, saying out loud their feelings as you see them happen, imitating their facial expressions back to them while naming the feeling, and above all, just be very patient with them.
To learn about the positive impact children and families are experience due to MSU Extension programs, read our 2016 Impact Reports: “Preparing young children to success” and “Preparing the future generation for success.” Additional impact reports, highlighting even more ways Michigan 4-H and MSU Extension positively impacted individuals and communities in 2016, can be downloaded from the Michigan 4-H website.