18 Month Old Activities at the Playground

Milestones at 18 months: Start here

Curious what milestones at 18 months looks like? Many parents know that toddlers develop at different rates. Truthfully, I oftentimes felt unsure as to what I should be doing with my toddlers to help them reach their developmental milestones. Checklists gave me ideasđź’ˇon what I could be working on with my toddlers at home, in a fun and engaging environment.

According to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed a list of milestones by age that help track your child’s early development. These include cognition (thinking/problem solving), motor coordination (walking, catching, drawing), social interactions (peer contact, group play) and physical development (eating, dressing, bathing). These milestones at 18 months form the sequential building blocks for continued growth.

Here are some suggestions for what you can try out with your 18 month old toddler while at a playground. Remember, you are your toddler’s best (and favorite) teacherđź’•

How low can they go

Can your toddler squat to the ground to get a toy and return to standing without arm support or losing balance? Next time you go to the playground, bring a small toy with you and see if they can do it!

You can also roll a ball down a slide and see if your toddler can pick it up down below without tipping over. If they can, they’ve met some of the milestones at 18 months!

Grass, sand, tile, gravel

Can your toddler walk on a variety of surfaces, with infrequent falls? The playground is a great place to test this out, as many have wood chips, sand, concrete or artificial turf with a little bounce to it! Also, many playgrounds are nestled within parks with a grassy surface so there are multiple opportunities for your toddler to practice!

Keep count

Does your toddler use approximately 10-20 words? While you’re at the playground, blow some bubbles. What word do they use when they see bubbles? What word do they use when they see a ball? What word do they use to get your attention? That’s potentially 3 words right there. Only 7 more words to meet those developmental milestones at 18 months!

I audio record my toddlers when they learn a new word, because it’s usually pronounced incorrectly and it sounds so cute when they say it!


Do they pair words with gestures to indicate wants? If you’re not sure, sit down on a park bench so your toddler can have a snack. What actions do they take while they wait?

Art time

Do they scribble without going off of paper? Give it a try! Bring some sidewalk chalk with you the next time you go to a playground. Draw a large rectangle to represent ‘paper’ and see if they can draw within the box!

We’ve also got some great suggestions for toddler art activities you can do at home or on the road. That will help them reach those milestones at 18 months!

Give them the spoon

Can they use it to eat with little spilling? Next time you find yourself at an indoor playground, look around to see if they have a play kitchen. Give your toddler a baby doll and a spoon and ask them to feed the baby. Observe the steadiness of their hands as they move it towards the baby’s mouth.

Play ball

Throw a ball forward. Can they do it too? Pack a lightweight ball in your diaper bag so you can have some fun passing the ball back and forth at the playground. You’re helping them build their motor coordination milestones at 18 months!

This content was provided by the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children

Developmental milestones for babies

Have younger children? Here are the developmental milestones for 1 month; 6 months; 9 months; 1 year

Developmental milestones for older toddlers

Have older children? Here are the developmental milestones for 2 years; 3 years

Strengthen your toddler’s social interactions

Group play is important for your toddler’s development. Wishing your toddler had more friends so they could have a playground playdate? Click here and here

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