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Toddlers from 12 to 24 months

Toddlers make great strides in language and motor skill development.

It may seem like every time you turn around, your toddler has taken a spill.

These trips, staggers and falls may unsettle you, but they help toddlers master the basics of balance.

Now they are able to view the world from a whole new angle: standing upright. At the same time, they develop better fine motor control and can manipulate smaller objects. They also begin to learn spatial concepts, such as over, under, in and on.

Once they master these skills, toddlers are ready to take on even greater challenges, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

On the run

After they feel steady on their feet, toddlers' speed increases. Sometimes you may have to run to keep up. They also learn to stop walking to pick up toys and carry them as they continue on. Pushing or pulling a toy is a favorite activity.

Give them a hand

Toddlers enjoy activities that allow them to play with small objects. Make sure toys are too big to swallow. Your toddler may enjoy:

  • Putting raisins or dry cereal rings into a bottle, then dumping them out.
  • Building with blocks.
  • Turning knobs and pages.
  • Scribbling and painting.
  • Covering and uncovering objects with lids.
  • Putting pegs into holes.
  • Picking up balls or other objects that are rolled to them.
  • Pouring out the contents of containers.

The language detective

At this age, toddlers seem to understand almost everything you say. You may have to censor your conversations and spell out words you don't want them to hear. For example: "Should we go to the P-A-R-K?"

Most toddlers learn at least 50 spoken words and use two-word sentences by the end of their second year.

You can encourage language development by using simple words and short sentences. Continue to teach your toddler the correct names of familiar people, objects and body parts.

In the director's chair

Toddlers often have a clear idea of what they want you to do when you play with them. They may give you a toy, then decide they want it and pull it away. They may also wait for your praise when they accomplish something new or special. Give them a hug or a round of applause to reinforce their learning and make it fun.

Tricycle tots

Toddlers can enjoy more complex toys as their hand-eye coordination and imagination develop. Some favorite toddler toys include:

  • Beginner jigsaw puzzles.
  • Toys that encourage make-believe play (child lawn toys, kitchen sets, brooms).
  • Digging toys.
  • Cars, trucks, trains.
  • Nesting toys.
  • Beginner's tricycle.
  • Outdoor toys (slide, swings, sandbox).
  • Homemade drums, children's keyboard and other musical instruments.
  • Dress-up clothes.
  • Board books with large pictures and simple stories.

Reviewed 6/28/2022

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