7 Hysterical Free Things to Do with 18 Month Olds

  1. Sort and Put Away Laundry

    My girls love putting anything in a box, basket, drawer, or any container.   Nothing gets folded for their room any more.  I just sort for the three drawers and let them put things up.  I would fold it, but they love this task so much that they pull out their laundry just to put it back.  You should see how proud they are! It’s free entertainment that helps you finish your chores 🙂
  2. Go on a Hike
    We took them on their first hike when they were about 17 months old.  They were recovering from a cold and we totally expected that they’d just ride in our backpacks for the majority of the time.  Not only did they insist on walking, but the instinctively followed the trail too!  We loved watching what they stopped to pick up (pine cones, rocks, sticks larger than they were).  Both girls squealed and sang the whole time.
    Now I will say that picking the trail is extremely important part of this activity.  Obviously, you don’t want anything too steep or with water features much wider/deeper than a creek.  But for our girls having a trail that isn’t filled with people (and their dogs) was very important as well.  Try not to pick the most popular trail in the area or you’ll end up carrying them as they follow strangers or cower in front of every dog.
  3. Go to Pet Smart or any local pet store. 
    It’s like a free zoo. Seriously.  Utterly hysterical. 
  4. Do Yard Work

    They love to “mow” with daddy, attempting to plant seeds with me (can be frustrating…), and love moving yard debris to a wheelbarrow.  And knowing my girls, spreading mulch would be the ultimate joy of all yard work!
  5. Give them some Boxes
    Disposable diaper boxes are the perfect size for my girls… but really anything you have will do.  We’ve made forts out of car seat boxes. We’ve put toys in toddler shoe boxes for instant noise making fun. We’ve hidden our music playing cell phones inside multiple boxes nested together and made them find the music.  We’ve filled diaper boxes with clothing or bags and watched them both climb in to play. They’ve pushed boxes around like toys.  They’ve turned boxes over their heads and walked around squealing.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boxes are the perfect toys.
  6. Let them Run Wild in the Toy Aisles
    You need one person per child, but the wonder and joy in their eyes is breath-taking.  They’re too young to understand that the toys could come home with them and think they’re at a playground.  They’ll shake one thing, and press buttons.  Then dig out bouncy balls.  Mine even just run shrieking up and down an aisle because they can.   Just a wise word of warning: don’t do this during a stores busy hours and don’t attempt it if your twinados can destroy the store in 20 seconds or climb shelves.  Otherwise, it’s actually pretty fun 🙂
  7. Let them Paint
    Make some finger paint; the odds are good that you have all these ingredients in the house.  Strip the babies down to diapers and bring old newspapers into the yard.  Let them be crazy.  One of mine was all about painting on the paper.  The other just loved running off with the paints and hiding them.
    Or grab a bucket filled with water and old grown-up paint brushes.  Let the babies ‘paint’ the neighbors fence, or the house, or their daddy.  The girls did this painting activity for over an hour while Derek and I recovered from a stomach bug on Sunday.  They loved it!