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Toddler's Cognitive Development From 18-24 Months


two toddlers playing



At this stage a toddler is likely using things the way they're intended - walking around with a telephone up to his ear or properly using a hairbrush.

Here's what else you can expect at this age.

Cognitive Milestones

A typical 18 to 24 month old is growing out of baby toys. They may be too simple to hold her attention. At this age, a child also:

  • Understands the passage of time and the meaning of phrases like "not now" or "when we go home." 
  • Recognizes and names familiar people in photos. 
  • Shows increased memory for details and routines. 

Play and Activity

Every day your toddler accomplishes so much - be sure to give lots of praise for each new achievement. Here are some more ways to support your toddler's cognitive development:

  • Continue to breastfeed. 
  • Watch your toddler to determine appropriate toys. He'll outgrow toys that are too simple. He might also ignore toys that are too challenging. 
  • Keep adding to the range of things you're providing for your toddler. 
  • Offer art supplies, such as crayons and washable markers for use on paper. 
  • Offer simple puzzles with two to four pieces. 
  • Point out familiar sounds, such as car horns, dogs barking, or fire truck sirens when walking or playing outside. 
  • Help challenge your toddler's skill levels when she is ready. If she can stack three blocks almost every time, give her a fourth to try. 
  • Talk about numbers: "There are two blocks in the pail." 
  • Talk about time: "We're going over to Grandma’s tomorrow." 
  • Talk about colours: "Here's your red ball." 
  • Read books with your toddler and encourage interaction with pictures.

Other Cognitive Milestones

Between 18 and 24 months your toddler may also:

  • Explore the concept of counting. 
  • Understand the idea of "more than one."
  • Show great interest in investigating any new person, thing, or sound. 
  • Understand two part requests, such as, "Please go to the shelf and bring back the blocks."

Resources and Links:
HealthLink BC: Cognitive Development, Ages 12 to 24 Months

Last Updated: April 10, 2013