Updated on April 21, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Finding activities that will keep their focus and allow them the independence that they crave while still giving them some sort of mental stimulation can be challenging but the below list is a great place to start.
Additionally, we have free activities for 21-month-olds towards the end of the article that will help you find more things to do that won’t cost a penny.
19 Engaging Activities for 21-Month-Olds
Coloring and practicing holding markers or pens is a great learning activity for young toddlers. It allows them to learn how to properly hold a drawing utensil and it improves fine motor skills, which is an essential skill for toddlers to learn. However, if you’ve ever left a toddler alone with a crayon you know why magic markers are what we choose to let our little one practice with.
This in-between stage of toddlerhood is the perfect time to build a strong basis in colors. The best way for young children to learn is through play so these color sorters are the perfect tool to use. Your toddler can enjoy matching colors and recognizing different shades of the same color well before they reach preschool.
Stacking cups are a hugely underrated learning activity which helps your twenty-one-month-old to learn about space and size. They will feel like they’re playing as they stack the cups together in order, unknowingly building a strong basis in sizes. The best thing about stacking cups is that they’re simple and uncomplicated so they won’t overwhelm and frustrate a young toddler.
Music is a stimulating activity for kids of all ages and is a great way to entertain a busy toddler for a while. Kids love to make noise and play, and instruments are a great way to incorporate both things into a fun activity. Depending on the activity it can also help them to hone their fine motor skills, which is why we love the piano for this age group!
At twenty-one months, toddlers are learning how to use their imagination more than ever before. It is vital to their development that this is encouraged and dress up is a fun activity to help with this. There are an endless amount of costumes and opportunities to dress up with which means that this activity won’t get boring easily.
It’s easy and inexpensive to make a personal ball pit for your little one to play in at home. Not only is this a stimulating activity thanks to all the different textures and colors in the pit, but it is also a great way to occupy your little one’s attention for a while. All you need is a blow-up pool and some soft balls, and you have endless fun that won’t run out.
7. Build a Fort
Forts are a ton of fun for toddlers of all ages and at 21 months, it is a whole new experience. Not only is it fun to play or read inside a fort, building it and learning how the pieces fit together is a great learning activity for little ones! A bonus to this activity is that there are quite a few different ways to put a fort together so that it’s always a new experience.
Legos and building blocks are an excellent learning tool for young toddlers. It helps them with their dexterity and building skills while they just feel like they’re playing. There are hundreds of different ways to put blocks together which makes it a lasting activity that they can play for years to come.
9. Blow Bubbles
If your toddler is anything like mine, they probably love bubbles. Bubbles are a fun activity for toddlers and encourage active play as they jump and run around to pop them. However, we as parents don’t always have time to sit and blow bubbles for as long as they would like. That’s why I love using a small bubble machine to blow bubbles for my child so that I can supervise from a comfortable distance.
Busy boards are a great learning activity for 21-month-olds, and it helps them to perfect their fine motor skills by allowing them to practice with things like zippers, snaps, and buttons. It gives them the opportunity to do these things in a safe and controlled way so that they can get used to it before they reach the age when it’s time for them to dress themselves.
It’s never too early to begin building a strong basis in shapes and these bean bags are a great way to do that. Pulling them out and saying what shape they are is an awesome learning activity for young toddlers and there is the bonus of the shapes being soft which means they won’t hurt anyone or anything if they are thrown around.
Doing a scavenger hunt just using things around your home is a great way to keep your toddler busy for a while at a time. It’s also a fun way for your little one to learn the names for different objects around your home and practice identifying them by name.
Sensory bins are a wonderful developmental activity and there are so many different combinations that you can do to keep it fresh and interesting for your toddler. Rice, beans, or oatmeal are the best fillers and then you will just need some small, choking-safe toys that your little one can dig up and explore.
While twenty-one months old is a little young for puzzles that have more than two pieces, there are fun two-piece puzzles that can help your child to practice matching objects. This is a great learning activity because it allows them to improve their visual identification skills as they build up their way to puzzles with more pieces.
While they won’t be reading on their own right now, toddlers love to play and emulate what they see their parents do. This is why board books make for a wonderful stimulating activity for this age group. The colors and pictures on each page will stimulate your toddler’s mind while it keeps them entertained and happy.
Finger painting is a great sensory activity for twenty-one-month-olds, but it can also be very messy. You can get the same benefits without the mess by placing a piece of paper and some dollops of paint into a large Ziploc bag and let your little one spread it around through the plastic. You’ll just want to make sure you’re using kid-friendly, non-toxic paint.
Creating art with different colors and shapes is incredibly fun for 21-month-olds at the same time as being a stimulating activity. Using a reusable sketch pad is a great way to do this without risking a mess or running out of supplies. This sketch pad can supply endless amounts of fun as your little one sketches, stamps, and erases.
On a warm day there’s nothing quite as fun as cooling off outdoors with a water activity. While most water activities require very close supervision, splash pads are unique in the fact that they give moms and dads a little more leniency because it only has about an inch of water in the bottom. This means that you can supervise from a comfortable distance while your little one splashes and plays.
Play tunnels have all the same benefits as forts without the setup time, so if you’re someone who just wants to be able to throw something together without a lot of effort, this activity is perfect. Your toddler can bring toys, books, or even blankets into the tunnel with them and enjoy exploring their little playhouse.
View on Amazon.com ➜
7 Free Activities For Twenty-One-Month-Olds
If you’re looking for something that you don’t need to buy supplies for, we have compiled a list of seven different, free activities you can do with your twenty-one-month-old just using objects around your house.
1. Build a Fort Using Blankets
If you don’t want to buy the fort kits, you can always create a fort in your living room using kitchen chairs and blankets or sheets or even just using the cushions off your couch. Young 21-month-old will have fun as long as they have a cozy little area all to themselves.
2. Make Music with Homemade Rattles
Homemade rattles are super easy to make and allow your child to have fun with music without spending money on a musical instrument set. All you will need is a container which can be an empty water bottle or a plastic container or cup with a lid and some rice, beans, or popcorn kernels. Then your little one can shake it to their hearts content along with music or on their own.
3. Make Your Own Scavenger Hunt
You can make a list, complete with pictures, of objects around your home for your toddler to find. If you are able to make it on strong, durable paper, this list can be used for scavenger hunts over and over again.
4. Explore a Homemade Obstacle Course
Twenty-one-month-olds are quickly learning how much they enjoy climbing all over furniture. While this is fun for them and can keep them happily occupied, it could be dangerous if they get up too high. A great way to get the benefits of this activity without the risk is to create your own obstacle course using couch cushions and other climb-safe objects. This will allow your little one to have a safe place to climb and enjoy being active.
5. Color Matching Activity
You can create a color matching activity just using things around your home by putting down a solid colored object and having your little one find objects around the house of the same color. If you have pieces of construction paper, those work great for the solid colored base. This is a great and free educational activity for young toddlers.
6. Play Dress Up with Old Clothing
You can play dress up with clothing that you have around the house and you definitely don’t need to buy expensive costumes to do this fun activity. My son loves to wear his dad’s clothing around the house and pretend that he’s going to work. Playing dress up is a wonderful activity to encourage imaginative play.
7. Make a Car Ramp
You can easily create a ramp for toy cars or balls by placing a large book or cutting board on a pillow or something similar. Your child can enjoy watching cars, balls, or other objects roll or slide down this ramp. The biggest bonus to this activity is that it requires very little setup and cleanup so it will be easy for busy parents to do!
Young toddlers seem to have endless supplies of energy and that can become exhausting for busy moms and dads who already have a lot going on throughout their day. It can seem like an impossible task to come up with activities that will not only occupy and entertain our little ones but also teach them invaluable skills and stimulate their little minds. The activities on this list can help to create a loving, entertaining, and educational environment for your twenty-one-month-old to thrive in and help them to build a strong basis in skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.