Updated on April 22, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Educational activities are a great thing to focus on at this age to help your little one learn skills and information that will benefit them down the road at the same time as you’re teaching them how to play independently.
Be sure to look at our free activities for twenty-month-olds towards the end of the page for even more ideas that won’t cost a penny.
23 Engaging Activities For 20-Month-Olds
Lego Duplos are a great stimulating activity for 20-month-olds to help them to hone their dexterity and fine motor skills. It also teaches them about building structures and foundations while it simply feels like a fun activity. A bonus to this activity is that it’s something that requires only minimal supervision so you can have some hands-off time.
A fantastic way to get the benefits of arts and crafts without the mess is to let your little one go crazy with sidewalk chalk. On a warm day, your toddler can color to their heart’s content and soak up the sun at the same time. The only cleanup you’ll need to do is putting away the chalk and let rain do the rest.
3. Read a Book
Books are crucial for toddler’s development and letting them read and look at pictures on their own is a great way to encourage a love of reading and independence. Board books are great for the ages between one and two because they are much more durable and are easier to wipe clean when sticky fingers are done with them.
Balance bikes are awesome for the time right before kids learn how to ride a traditional pedal bike. It allows them to get comfortable being on a bicycle while still having the stability of their feet on the ground and it is a great way to encourage active play. Another option worth considering is a toddler trike.
Stuffed animals are an underrated children’s toy and can provide fun that is only limited by your little one’s imagination. Whether they choose to settle in with a book to snuggle with their furry friend or create their own personal zoo as a home for it, it can make for a great imaginative activity that will stimulate your toddler’s mind.
Imaginative play is extremely important for a twenty-month-olds development and there are many fun activities that incorporate it into your little one’s daily routine. My son loved to play with kitchen toys and enjoyed creating different combinations out of his plastic food and proudly bring them to present to me before running off to do it all over again. Your little one can play pretend to their heart’s content with this fun and colorful kitchen toy.
Regardless of gender, young toddlers can have tons of fun playing with baby dolls and pretending to be little parents. Letting your little one play pretend with their baby doll is a great way to teach responsibility in a fun and simple way and they will enjoy imitating what they see you do.
8. Build a Tent
Forts and tents are a ton of fun for young toddlers and it gives them a sense of privacy and adventure. You can let them bring their books, toys, and blankets into the tent with them and enjoy their little safe haven from the comfort of your own home.
Water tables are a fun and safe way to let your little one cool off on a warm day without having to supervise as closely as with other water activities. Your toddler can splash and play with toys while you relax at a comfortable distance. This is a great way to incorporate active play into your day at home.
Another great activity for 20-month-olds on warm days is to put a couple of inches of water in the bottom of a kiddie pool and let your little one sit in it and splash. Having a sunshade on top of the pool is a great way to prevent too much sun during this fun activity.
Twenty months is a perfect time to start building a strong basis in shapes. Shape sorters are a fun and pressure-free way to do this and your little one will feel like they’re just playing games. An added bonus to this learning activity is that it can be done with minimal supervision, so you don’t need to hover.
Whether they use their hands or a shovel, young toddlers will have a blast digging in the sand and building sandcastles. Having a lid for the sandbox will keep leaves and cats out of the box while your little one isn’t playing in it.
Introducing chores to your little one might have even more benefits than just distracting them for a little while. You can let your little one pick up a broom alone or right along with you and teach them how to maintain a house and how to take care of their responsibilities. Some unexpected benefits also include helping them with their fine motor skills as they learn how to maneuver the different cleaning instruments.
Coloring is a fun developmental activity that helps your 20-month-old perfect their fine motor skills as they have fun creating. A mess-free coloring activity that can be done in the house is letting your little one create art with magic markers. When your toddler can’t color on anything but the paper, it gives you the freedom to supervise from a comfortable distance.
Music is important for children’s development and it is a wonderful stimulating activity to keep your little one happy and entertained. Whether you turn on music and let them play along or encourage them to make sounds all on their own, it will be a great developmental activity that can last them for years.
Ride-on toys can be either an indoor or outdoor activity (as long as it’s a safe distance from stairs). Toddlers can enjoy walking themselves around and when they get tired of that, they can play with all of the bells and whistles included with the toy.
Puzzles are a great Montessori activity for teaching young toddlers about shapes and spatial awareness all the while being a fun game. Wooden puzzles have the added bonus of being much more durable than standard cardboard puzzles and easy to clean up after sticky little hands.
This is another fabulous activity that can be done indoors or outdoors to encourage active play in your little one’s daily routine. Your toddler can have fun with this timeless toy while you enjoy some hands-off time while they are happily distracted.
Activity cubes make for a fun and stimulating game for young toddlers. By the time they get bored of the activities on one side of the cube, another side is ready to keep them entertained for some time. Without choking-sized pieces, this is a great way to entertain your little one without much supervision necessary.
Shape stackers make for an excellent Montessori activity for twenty-month-old toddlers. It teaches shape recognition and it will help their fine motor skills as they place the shapes into their designated spot. As a bonus, the bright colors of these toys are a stimulating way to keep your little one’s attention while they play.
Small rolling toys are not only fun for kids but also a fun activity to encourage hand-eye coordination and creativity. With multiple moving parts, this is also a great way to practice fine motor skills and dexterity during play!
Imaginative play is important for young toddlers’ development and toy barns and houses are a great way to encourage creativity. Your little one can have fun imagining lives for their barnyard animals and exploring the different features of the barn while you can enjoy quiet time for a little while.
This brightly colored toy is a fun and stimulating activity for little ones. There are many bonuses to this toy including music and the opportunity to practice their fine motor skills as they work with the plastic tools. Young toddlers love to copy what they see adults do which is what makes this such a fun activity.
7 Free Activities for Twenty-Month-Olds at Home
We have included a couple of activities that you can do with items around your home just in case you didn’t want to wait for supplies to arrive in the mail.
1. Play Music with Pots and Pans
A simple way to entertain your 20-month-old is to overturn some pots and pans on your kitchen floor and give them a spoon (wooden works best) to bang on them with. You can play music and let them play along or just let them make noise to their heart’s content. This activity helps with fine motor skills and is a fun way to entertain your toddler.
2. Hold a Scavenger Hunt
You can make up an interactive list of items either indoors or outdoors for your little one to run around and find. It’s a great activity to teach your toddler how to follow instructions and stick to a task and they will have fun trying to locate everything on the list.
3. Paint with Water
All you will need for this activity is a piece of paper (any kind works but I prefer construction paper) and water and your little one can enjoy painting without the mess. You can give your toddler a paint brush to add the bonus of fine motor skills practice to this fun activity.
4. Build a Fort
While this activity requires more hands-on help in the beginning, it is just as much fun as the tent activity we mentioned above. You can let them take their blankets, stuffed animals, and books into their fort and leave them to enjoy their quiet time.
5. Make a Sensory Bag
If you have oatmeal, beans, or rice and small toys you can place them into a Ziploc bag and let your little one enjoy pushing the filler around and uncovering the hidden treasures within. This is a great stimulating activity that can be reused multiple times.
6. Play Dress Up in Old Clothes
Whether you use old clothes you haven’t taken to Goodwill yet, or simply let your twenty-month-old dig through your closet, they will have fun playing grown up. Dress up is a wonderful activity for fostering imagination and creativity and the clean up is usually minimal.
7. Make Flash Cards
If you have paper or index cards and some colorful markers you can make flashcards for your toddler to practice their letters and numbers. This is a great and stimulating activity to build a strong basis in both and if they are made out of durable paper, it can be an activity that lasts.
There are many activities that will not only keep your toddler happy and entertained, but also help them to expand their minds in the process. While it may seem a daunting task to try to come up with activities for your young toddler, the items on this list are a great place to start.