Ages 15-18 Months

Following are information, activities and resource links for the five main areas of development for children ages 15-18 months old.

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5 Areas of Development


Communication Skills

  • Points to pictures you name
  • Can point to basic body parts and clothing items
  • Finds familiar objects not in sight
  • Says 4-6 simple words
  • Uses words and gestures to meet needs/wants
  • Asks for “more”

Fine Motor Skills

  • Holds crayon with whole hand, thumb up
  • Turns knobs
  • Turns pages in a book, a few at a time
  • Carries objects in both hands, likes to try to carry
    large objects

Gross Motor Skills

  • Loves to climb stairs, on furniture, out of crib
  • Throws a ball forward
  • Can run a little and learning to walk backwards

Personal Social Skills

  • Likes lots of attention, easily entertained
  • Can be self-centered and often not friendly
  • Can recognize self in mirror or photograph
  • Expresses negative emotions (anger)
  • Is becoming more social with others

Problem Solving Skills

  • Likes to take things apart
  • Tries a number of things to activate toy; turns,
    bangs, pushes buttons
  • Completes simple 2-3 large piece puzzles
  • Attention span is short—child will stay with
    activities for brief periods of time
  • Helping with routine activities is increasing


Communication Activities

  • Repeat words your child says and add a little extra
  • Listen to what your child is trying to say, treat what
    he/she says as an attempt to communicate
  • Name items of clothing as you dress your child
  • Make a word book with pictures of familiar people/

Fine Motor Activities

  • Use empty food boxes as blocks to stack, you can fill
    with paper and tape shut to make sturdy
  • Provide blank drawing paper to explore with various
    sizes of crayons, pens, markers, and paints
  • Make instant pudding together, allowing child to
    dump and pour, can be eaten and used for finger
  • Teach blowing bubbles and popping with fingers
  • Use a wide paint brush and a bowl of water to “paint”
    house, fence, porch

Gross Motor Activities

  • Playground equipment is a great opportunity to
    practice and develop large muscles
  • With your help, practice walking up and down steps
  • Make your own bowling game using empty bottles
    and tennis balls
  • Practice jumping up, getting both feet off the floor
  • Provide laundry baskets and balls to throw ball into

Personal Social and Problem Solving Activities

  • Trips to parks are good ways to begin practicing
    interacting with other children
  • Playing “dress up” with clothes gives practice for
    dressing and undressing self
  • Provide a variety of toys that require child to cause
    an action
  • Encourage play with puzzles, may prefer the puzzles
    with knobs which are easier to grip
  • Play “pretend” with a stuffed animal or doll, take
    turns feeding, rocking