Stages of Play: 13-18 Months Old

Want to know what to expect from your growing toddler? These guides share general timelines for developmental milestones and how to encourage new stages of play.

Before you get started, learn how to calculate your baby’s adjusted age based on their due date and birth date. Much of your baby’s development is tied to time in utero so babies born early may need time to reach full-term development.

What to expect at this stage

Cue the waterworks. Your baby is officially a toddler. How did this happen so fast? And speaking of fast, they’re starting to pick up speed. Welcome to the busy season. It’s face-paced but tons of fun.

By this age, you may have a walker. Your toddler is now quickly cruising along furniture and many have taken their first independent steps. Please don’t be concerned if your toddler is not walking until 18 months.

Remember, some babies meet their milestones at the early end of the range, while others follow a bit more slowly.

Your baby may actively explore their environment and move through positions with ease.

How to incorporate play at this stage

To help your toddler channel their energy, it’s good to get to know your local playground and indoor play gyms.

Mealtime will still be messy but your toddler will be eating and drinking more independently now. Mess is a good thing. It means they’re learning.

Toddlers learn through experience, and allowing them the opportunity to do it themselves may reduce some resistance to having things done for them.

You may also notice that your toddler enjoys pretend play and likes to feed, dress, and care for their dolls.

Toddlers at this age still enjoy the hiding aspects of peek-a-boo, but they’re ready to expand to indoor games like hide-and-seek. You’ll hear them giggle up a storm as you search endlessly for them (in the silliest of places).

Toddlers also enjoy quiet activities such as scribbling with crayons, playing with cars, building with blocks, and simple puzzles. Sensory play can offer hours of fun, too. Think Play-Doh, paints, shaving cream, sensory bins, and more.

Your toddler may also start to enjoy more complex cause-and-effect toys like wind-up toys (expect to wind them up over and over again). Their attention span is a bit longer, and they can usually play on their own for about five to ten minutes.

Toddlers start to become more social at this age and enjoy being around other children—but don’t expect them to “play” or interact just yet. This is the age of parallel (side-by-side) play.

Your toddler may also begin matching colors and simple objects, turn thinner pages in a book, point to a body part or specific objects, and also follow simple commands (i.e., “come here,” “sit on the chair,” etc.).

Though they are developing more language and sounds at this age, their words are likely approximations and often point to things they want.

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