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Did you know the average toddler takes 14,000 steps per day? That adds up to more than 2.5 miles your little one is walking!

toddler_taking_first_steps_with_momThese numbers might seem surprising, but walking is just one of the developmental milestones we see in children. We see toddlers taking awkward steps, stumbling, falling, and getting up all the time. Even the word, toddler, refers to the stage when a child practices walking.

Now think about all the other skills a child needs to practice as they develop. This could include developing hand and finger strength to write, having the ability to speak and form sentences, being able to describe objects or ask questions, climb and use stairs, listening to sounds, adapting to new tastes and sensations, and much more.

Just like walking, children need to practice these skills each and every day.

Here are just a few ideas for fun daily activities for baby under 2 years old that will also help their development:

 

0-6 Months: Warm and Cuddly Wonder

Diaper-time Fun – Helps Sensory and Communication Development
At this age baby loves to be touched, tickled, and cuddled. Take advantage of the time you spend changing baby’s diaper. Try giving baby a quick massage after changing her diaper. Sing a little song to baby as you change her diaper or play some music. Tickle her toes and smile at baby.

Little Explorer – Motor Development
If you’re sitting to fold laundry or to talk to friends in a living room, let baby lie down near you free of any equipment so she can explore. Baby will kick her feet and look at the world around her. Encourage her to try rolling over, reaching for things, and practicing tummy time.

6-12 Months: Curious Cutie

Food Play – Sensory Experience
Did you know that when your baby makes a mess while eating it helps them adapt to new sensations? Letting baby get food on their face and hands provides a friendly sensory experience. Your baby is curious about almost everything right now so encourage her to smell foods and touch them. Let foods get all over baby and don’t wipe them off immediately. Encourage different textures and tastes.

12-18 Months: Active Explorer

Spice Sniffs – Helps Develop Sense of Smell
This is the age when your baby can start to walk around and explore everything in her environment. If your taking a walk stop and let baby sniff a flower. If you’re cooking, pause let baby smell herbs and spices at a safe distance from their nose so they don’t inhale anything. Even though they won’t be able to try everything you’re eating, smelling still allows you to introduce new things to baby.

18-24 Months: Talking Tot

Kitchen Fun – Uses Motor Skills and Offers Sensory Experience
Your baby is chirping, chatting, and making so much noise. Let your child stir the mixing bowl when you bake treats. Let your child start their own band. You can also give them clean pots and pans and spoons to play music on while you’re in the kitchen.

Play-by-Play – Communication Skills
Describe household chores while you do them. Have lots of conversations with baby and point out to your baby different shapes you see, e.g. “Dad is cleaning the table. Look at how round the table is. The table is a big circle.”