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Toddler development

Stages of Play: 19 to 24 Months Old

Start crafting and reading with your almost two-year-old.

Stages of Play: 19 to 24 Months Old
Want to know what to expect from your growing baby? These guides share general timelines for developmental milestones and how to encourage new stages of play. Before you start, learn how to calculate your baby's adjusted age based on their due date and birth date. Much of your baby's development is tied to time in utero, so babies born early may need time to reach full-term development.

What to expect at this stage

Your toddler is picking up speed (and never seems to slow down). Grab your running shoes as they explore how fast those little legs can go. They are growing their spatial awareness and can navigate obstacles more effectively—unfortunately, this doesn’t mean fewer bumps and bruises. They will also explore their body parts and try walking on their tiptoes or heels. Want to make them laugh? Try walking backward; they may even follow suit. Around this age, toddlers become more skilled in using the smaller muscles of their hands. You may notice a greater ability to interact with toys requiring fine motor skills such as unscrewing caps or knobs, nesting cups, more extensive puzzles, and placing the correct shape into the shape sorter.
  • Your toddler will likely still hold their crayon with a fisted grasp instead of our more mature tripod grasp as adults.
  • Shorter and thicker crayons and markers will be the easiest for your toddler to use at this age.
  • Sensory play is still a fan favorite, including Play-Doh, sand, Jell-O, and other items.
child playing doctor with her doll

How to incorporate play into this stage

Pretend play is important and continues to mature during this age, especially around everyday activities like caring for a doll, cooking in the kitchen and playing house, cleaning, and grocery shopping.

Rainy day activities like puppet play can be fun to mix things up. Being just like you is the most fun. And your child will likely want to help you do daily activities like cooking, cleaning, and the laundry—allow them to participate.

Not only are you spending some quality time together while getting necessary chores done, but you are also encouraging their development and learning of those things.

Encouraging reading habits is a great developmental activity for toddlers, but don’t expect them to sit still for an entire book. You can read to them while they climb over you or on the couch.

Be flexible in where you start the book and how much you read (they may want to start in the middle and not sit through it from start to finish). Let them guide you, even if you only read one to two pages at a time.

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This is also the age when your toddler will start to test boundaries and want to experiment more with their newfound independence.

You will often hear them say, “me do.” Go ahead and let them try. Make sure to plan extra time into your day to allow the many attempts.

Has your little one passed the two-year stage? Check out the rest of our stages of play guide covering two to three years old and up to four years old.

Author:

Kaili Ets is lovingly known as the Holistic Baby Guru. She is passionate about normalizing and bringing clarity around baby sleep, development, reflux, and more.

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Wife and mom of two, Kaili understands the importance of trusting your mama instincts. She is on a mission to help mamas tune into their intuition and feel like the confident super moms they are.

Her wit and humour make her an approachable authority on all things baby-related, as she provides down-to-earth advice that makes everyone feel like they can do this parenting thing! You can find her at kailiets.com or on IG/FB @theholisticbabyguru

This article was originally published on Mar 31, 2023

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