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12-18 months old


Newly mobile and more vocal, your little explorer is full of enthusiasm and—sometimes—a very strong will. Find out about toys that lend support as first steps lead to confident walking. And there are toys and activities to help your child absorb ideas and learn to respond to others during play.

    Become a confident walker
    Be better at entertaining herself, and more deliberate in exploring
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How your 12 to 18-month-old might play now:

Your child may be walking—and very proud of it!

She's better at entertaining herself and more deliberate in her exploration

He can string together ideas to form a basic plan

She shows affection with hugs, kisses, smiles and pats

He can put objects in and out of a box

She starts to treat objects in an appropriate manner—for example, cuddling a teddy bear

He likes to imitate familiar household routines

Children develop at their own pace and reach milestones at different times. The highlights mentioned in this website are approximate guidelines only. If you have any questions about your child's development, consult your healthcare provider.

Toys and Playtips

Toys for new walkers

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Help your baby learn more:
  • Boost confidence. Help your new walker practice balancing and walking by encouraging her to bring a toy along on little excursions through the house. It will boost her confidence until she's more secure with her balance.
  • What’s different? For a lesson in action/reaction, point out how the sound and speed of the toy can change: “Push it along slowly…now faster! You’re making the music play!”

Battery-powered ride-on toys

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Help your baby learn more:
  • On and off. Until she develops confidence in her balance and coordination, your child may need help getting on and off. She's likely to spend a lot of time mastering that skill, so be sure to clear a path all around the vehicle.
  • Cause and effect. When your child is ready to ride, reinforce his understanding of cause and effect by saying the words “go” and “stop” as the vehicle responds to his actions.
  • Use words to describe “on and off” and “stop and go” and you'll be building her understanding of the concept that words are associated with things and actions.

Toys to encourage early learning

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Help your baby learn more:
  • Begin with basics. Toys like these expose your child to the basic building blocks of learning simple concepts like letters, numbers, shapes and colors. Talk about these when you play with your child, extending them to other parts of the day.
  • Counting time. As you walk up steps, count them as you go. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5—wow, you climbed 5 steps!” You’re extending learning, but you don’t need to be concerned about teaching actual numbers at this age.

Themed playsets

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Help your baby learn more:
  • Read picture books to your child about the playset’s theme—like farm life, animals and crops. Talk about what a farmer does and how farms provide us with food.
  • On the grow. If you have a garden, call on your "little farmer" to help with planting, weeding, or harvesting. Even if she's just sitting next to you digging, she'll feel important and this experience will help her understand what farmers do.
  • Sound practice. Reinforce your child's recognition skills by helping him practice sounds he hears—if you start, it's likely that your child will soon join in. Then challenge his memory and thinking skills by showing him an animal or a car and asking him to make that sound.
  • Field trip. It helps your child make connections when you can relate a learning concept to things within her own range of experience. Make an effort to show your child the real thing: visit a zoo or a farm. When you're in the car together, point out different vehicles.
  • Chore time. Prompt problem-solving and thinking skills by giving your child little chores to do. “Let's put the animals in their stalls for the night. Are they all in the right places?”