Developmental Milestones: 18 to 24 Months

Developmental milestones are skills or behaviors that most children will start or master by a certain age. Children reach milestones in many ways:  speaking, learning, moving, and playing. There are things you can do with your child to help them reach these milestones.

Cognitive, Play, and Communication Skills

Look for your child to show these signs at 18- to 24-months-old:

  • Does a 3-piece puzzle
  • Takes the lid off a jar or box
  • Plays pretend games
  • Names common objects in their world
  • Starts to put 2 words together like, “More cookie,” or, “Want book”
  • Matches and sorts colors
  • Pays attention when you read a book  
  • Uses words more than gestures
  • Names pictures in a book
  • Uses words to tell you what they want

Motor Skills

Your child will do more as they grow. Look for these small and large body movements:

  • Scribbles on paper
  • Stacks more than 3 blocks  
  • Helps dress themselves
  • Climbs stairs while holding the rail
  • Uses feet to move on a riding toy
  • Pulls apart connecting blocks
  • Kicks a ball forward
  • Starts to feed self using a fork and spoon
  • Begins to look coordinated when running
  • Jumps in place or jumps forward (2- years-old)

How You Can Help

You can help with your child’s developmental milestones by:

  • Reading books.
    • Talk about the pictures.
    • Let them turn pages.
    • Point to things in the story.
    • Point to animals in the book and asking them to make that sound.
  • Practicing naming body part using dolls and people.
  • Having them repeat your words.
  • Singing and dancing with them.
  • Pointing out colors, shapes, and sizes. Grouping like colors and sizes.
  • Playing blocks or Legos® by having them build, not just stack.
  • Doing puzzles with 9 to 12 pieces.
  • Having play food items for pretend play.
  • Helping them mimic activities like feeding a baby.
  • Exploring art by using crayons and paper, sidewalk chalk, and finger paint.
  • Stringing Cheerios® or dried tube pasta on a string or a pipe cleaner.
  • Using toddler-size plastic forks and spoons when eating.
  • Helping your child practice jumping and jumping in and out of a hula hoop.
  • Having your child try to kick blown with their feet.
  • Walking on surfaces that are not flat like hills and grass to help with their balance.

If you have any questions about your baby’s development, call their doctor or health care providers.


Developmental Milestones: 18 to 24 Months (PDF)Somali (PDF)Spanish (PDF)

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