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  /    /  Developmental Milestones: 12 – 18 Months

Developmental Milestones: 12 – 18 Months

Children are understanding their surroundings more and getting used to routines and object permanence. Playing games involving hiding and finding objects can be fun and develop their memory and concentration. Independent play is starting to feature more as they grow in confidence and ability.

In order to keep strengthening muscles, any activities that use the legs and arms are ideal. Drawing and mark-making are also key to enhancing their fine motor skills.

Songs, books, and visuals are all great at this age to stimulate language and creativity. Singing together also encourages speech development.

Please keep in mind that these milestones are guidelines only, as all children are different and develop at their own pace. Do not be concerned if your child does not perfectly ‘tick all the boxes’ and avoid comparing your child to other children of a similar age. If you are worried that your child’s development is particularly delayed, visit your GP.

  • As a child’s awareness of their surrounding environment develops, an understanding of object permanence is also developing. Children learn to look for things that are hidden, however, they will still enjoy a game of peek-a-boo
  • Children at this age are really making sense of their world and will understand and benefit from their routines
  • They will be beginning to predict activities based on familiar prompts and may start to explore further afield depending on their physical abilities
  • Children often need encouragement at this age to play with other children, they seem to be more inclined to play in parallel and often resist sharing and interacting with their peers
  • Children will begin to model the behaviour of both the adults and children they are associating with
  • The need for emotional support or the comfort of a cuddle toy or cloth may still be evident, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings
  • Signs of independent play may start to show as confidence and self assurance grows
  • Children are quickly becoming mobile and this is opening up plenty of opportunities for exploration and exercise in a safe environment
  • Gross muscle development is important and still relied on much more than fine motor control at this age. Babies need to strengthen leg and arm muscles and develop control before fine motor skills can be honed
  • By the age of 2 a child’s core stability will be relatively matured and he/she will be increasingly mobile, which in turn facilitates further core muscle development
  • The pincer grip is maturing and children can pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger although most will still prefer to hold things with their whole hand
  • Short stories can encourage listening, but visual aids will enhance their comprehension and keep a child’s attention much more
  • Simple repetitive songs are popular as children’s language is growing sufficiently and they can have a go at some of the simple lyrics. Singing along to a favourite rhyme or song encourages language development and can be a great tool for communication, creativity and expressing themselves
  • At this point children will start to understand what some words or simple instructions are or mean. They may be able to follow simple instructions such as “wave goodbye to Granny” or “smile at Daddy”
  • Games that involve language encourage speech – for example, playing with a pretend phone or interactive talking toys will get children to practice speaking
  • Whole hand grasping is pretty secure now and the muscles are strengthening rapidly to enable more control over movements
  • Children will be able to express themselves in a creative and artistic way, including being able to draw marks using colourful chunky crayons or paintbrushes
  • They may be able to choose different colours to use
  • Introducing a variety of materials like paint, pens or chalk highlights the different effects they can create and keeps them focused for longer periods
  • As they become more mobile, babies can explore more of the world around them
  • Objects they can interact with, such as building and knocking down wooden blocks, or lifting flaps are popular ways to experiment with cause and effect
  • They enjoy daily routines, such as meal time and bed time
  • Being outdoors and observing different people, animals and vehicles is fascinating to them
  • They recognise familiar people including family and family friends and show an interest in social life around them

Toddlers love to play and this is a great way to support their development and learning. See below for our independently tested and approved toys and apps to support your 12-18 month old’s understanding of the world.


More Child Development Milestones by Age