Award Winning Toys for 12 to 24 Month Olds
The Toddler Ten:
The ten most important milestones in the second year of your child’s life.
The period of life from 12 to 24 months is one which sees unprecedented growth, unique learning, and an overall collection of astounding developments in a child’s life. These are the ten most noticeable and most important changes that a toddler may go through.
A Stair-ing Contest
An infant will take his/her first steps at around a year old. After this, walking will become a second nature, and many important developments will take place. One of these developments is the ability to ascend and descend stairs. This requires a high level of muscular coordination and a solid sense of balance. The sense of balance comes from development of the spinal cord and back muscles that takes place at the start of the second year of life. Climbing the stairs will suit toddlers well until they discover the true way to go down the stairs - sliding down the bannister.
Tiptoeing Through the Tulips
Your child will learn how to tiptoe around 14 months of age. This ability, which is made possible due to the development of the extensor muscles in the foot, makes many wonderful activities possible. The toddler becomes a much more apt hide-and-seek player. Not to mention, the ability to tiptoe around the house and over to the cookie jar. While standing on tiptoes may not seem like a big deal, it further displays the rapid development of the toddler’s locomotive skills and balancing abilities. Not to mention, the toddler’s knowledge of when he/she should tiptoe shows an awareness of movement abilities.
A Life Sentence
Your child learned to say monosyllabic, partially babbly words like “mama” and “papa” by the end of year one. By 18 months of age, he/she will start saying actual words such as “fire truck” and “dog”. This will give the toddler more freedom to express intentions and desires. He/she will go from “mama ma mama” to “I Hungry”. In another 6 months, the child’s linguistic abilities will develop to a whole new level. By the end of his/her second year, a toddler will start producing complete sentences. “I hungry” will transform into “Mom, I’m hungry.” It is a true pleasure to see your child begin expressing him/herself through such eloquent and complex dialogue. These abilities all stem from the development of Wernicke’s Area, Broca's Area, and the Arcuate Fasciculus, the 3 main language areas in the brain. In addition to speaking his own words, your child may also begin imitating words he hears from you or from books that are read aloud to him (so be careful what you say!).
Toddlers are not necessarily the best at following directions. However, this is usually because of a choice to not follow directions. Around 18 months, your child will develop the capacity to obey 2 part complex commands. Such commands include “pick up the toy and bring it to me” or “stop riding the dog and pet it instead”. This capability is due largely to developments in the neural pathways of the brain. These pathways transmit input from the outside to signals that cause the brain to make certain decisions and certain action to be taken. Now, whether or not your child will actually choose to follow directions is a different story.
The Color and the Shape
At around 16 months, your child will begin to identify colors and shapes. This is a huge step because it opens multiple doors and gives your child different opportunities for development and self-expression. With the transition to a color world, your child will have a lot more fun playing with colorful toys. The toddler will also start showing artistic prowess by drawing with chalk or crayons. It’s fascinating to see what kinds of ideas and thoughts your child can convey through art. The concept of shapes is also a new one that your toddler will pick up. This new skill will allow him/her to construct towers of 2-4 blocks.
With an increased affinity for recognizing shapes and a better ability to control movement comes the development of the combination of the two - hand-eye coordination. The brain’s input and output sensors start to work in sync with the spinal cord to give your toddler the ability to react to approaching objects more smoothly. One activity that he/she will be able to do is throw a ball. While you may not be able to enjoy full out sporting events and intense games of catch, the foundation for numerous catch sessions will develop at around 18 months in the form of the capability to throw a ball for the first time.
Dress Up Day
With an increase in your toddler’s ability to coordinate movements and function comes an increased sense of independence and pride in doing things on his/her own. This doesn’t mean that your child is ready to move into college at 24 months. However, small tasks that you used to do for your child may become independent activities. One such activity is dressing up and undressing. Prepare yourself to judge copious amounts of fashion shows and costume parties, as your child will realize that he/she can make decisions about what to wear on his/her own. This skill combines hand-eye coordination with a growing ability to think logically and make decision. Fair warning, however: the ability to think logically may not be too evident from your child’s self selected outfits.
Your child will also gain independence in the dining arena. It will all start with the toddler’s ability to wash their own hands. Then the ability to choose foods will commence to develop. He/she may start to develop preferences for certain types of foods and not be inclined to eat other types. This, combined with the toddler’s increased capacity for conveying ideas through words may lead to some enticing conversations such as “Mom, give cookie” or “No broccoli, I want ice cream!” Watching the scope of your toddler’s diet increase can be a rewarding and funny experience. However, it is also at this age that many food allergies become evident because of the new foods tried. It is important to keep an eye on the toddler when he/she is trying new foods.
Your child may start to develop a vivid imagination around the age of 20 months. When paired with a grasp of muscular movement and an ever-growing vocabulary, this can give your child hours of pretend play fun. The toddler will, at first, try and emulate the biggest role model in his/her - parents. You can watch in awe as your child pretend plays through your various daily activities - from driving a car, to talking on the phone, to feeding a doll. It will be impressive to see this growing sense of independence and imitation. Your child may also be more inclined to attempt other “grown-up” activities, such as using a toilet. This is actually a big helper during the potty training years.
Someone Your Own Age
Through the first two years of life, your child will only interact with a handful of people - family friends, nurses, relatives, et cetera. At 2 years old, he/she will gain an affection for other people, particularly ones his/her own age. After all, the toddler can only have so much fun playing with non-toddlers. It’s a lot more fun to spend time with kids that are going through what your child is going through. You child may be drawn to other kids more than ever. This is the start of a new, fascinating phase of development - the social phase. Now that your child has developed skills for his/her own benefit, it’s time to see what skills he/she develops when interacting with others. Social interaction will help the brain grow and new connections to form. It will truly be exciting to see your child start to gain independence and associate him/herself with others socially.