Entertaining an 18-month-old: Mom Never Stops Moving

My oldest child is only five, so I don’t have a ton of experience, but with each of my three children I can safely say that the age of 18 months to two years is HARD. They are fearless, independent, reckless daredevils unaware of things like gravity, sharp edges, or hospital bills. Going to the park is a nonstop workout for me as I am pulling my daughter away from toddling happily behind a row of swinging big kids or the busy parking lot.

So, how do we do it? How do we entertain a child with a short attention span and no concept of danger?

  • Puzzles. Admittedly, this is something I forgot about, but my daughter is REALLY into them. She sits in my lap and they seem to hold her attention long enough.
  • Water Sensory Activities. I can let my daughter play in the kitchen sink with water and cups, bubbles, or measuring cups, and she’s happy for a good chunk of time. Spoiler alert: this is messy.
  • Flower dissection. I first discovered this, “activity” when I found myself pulling my daughter away from my flower beds on a daily basis. She just wanted to pluck all of the petals. So, I started keeping the flowers that we had trimmed or petals that had fallen off. I put them in a bucket and let her sit and pull them apart. Added bonus: It’s sort of a science lesson?
  • Stack ‘em up. Knock ‘em down. My daughter is still very much in this stage, much to her older brothers’ chagrin. Whether its wooden blocks or solo cups, as long as I can stay a step ahead of her in stacking, she is content to knock them down… over and over and over again.
  • Water painting. Cup of water. Paint brushes. Concrete. DONE.
  • Busy boards. I don’t actually own one of these, but our local library does and my daughter LOVES it.
  • Homemade musical instruments. Beans in plastic Easter eggs. Pots and pans for drums. These are a few of her favorite things.

What are some other activities you would add to this list? I’m always up for suggestions!

Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at karagaris.com.

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