Playing and Learning with Your 21 Month Old Toddler

Little G is 21 months old and VERY active… Which is made tricky by the fact that I’m nine months pregnant. Ha! So for us, having quick, go-to learning activities makes all the difference. Here’s are some activities you can try when you are playing and learning with your 21 month old:

playing with your 21 month old
I have this small metal colander and paired it with pipe cleaners that I’d snipped short (the longer they are, the harder the activity becomes!). He loves putting the pieces through all the different holes. It’s a fun way to strengthen hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
playing with your 21 month old
Santa brought him this Color Wonder Paint and while he starts out with a ton of zeal, the activity only holds his interest for about five minutes. Still, he likes fingerprinting in his own way and the mess is very minimal in his high chair!
playing with your 21 month old
He LOVES dropping chips through the narrow slit of a plastic box. It’s great for his fine motor development and a fun activity for busy toddlers.
playing with your 21 month old
And for gross motor skills, there’s nothing like moving the basketball hoop inside! We have a huge basket of balls and he loves to see which ones fit and which ones are too big. It’s great for vocabulary development and language skills, as we say, “Too BIG!” or, “Just right!”
playing with your 21 month old

If you’re nervous about tiny pieces, this one may not be for you but G loves ANYTHING tiny. So I dumped out some sea animal beads and gave him an ice cube tray. We sat together (ALWAYS monitor with small pieces!) and he transferred, played, and examined all the beads. I would also ask him to find a certain bead (“Can you find Mama a dolphin?”) and have him search and find! This is a great activity for new words, different colors, and even counting.


playing with your 21 month old
This is one of G’s faves. He dumps the pom poms out and then puts one in each well. The size is perfect for the pompom and only one fits, which helps build his knowledge of one-to-one correspondence.
playing with your 21 month old
Coloring is always a fun, quick activity. He DOES enjoy markers more but when Mama is resting, crayons are a less messy option! I get the large construction paper from the teacher supply store so he has a ton of space to create.
playing with your 21 month old

With a new baby coming in a month (eek!), we’ve been doing a lot of role playing with big sister’s dolls (yes, we totally promote him playing with dolls). It’s such a great way to demonstrate being gentle and kind and loving!

playing with your 21 month old

I picked these little paint books for a dollar each at Michaels and both M and G love them! I love them because all you need is water and a paint brush, as the paint is built into the page. G loves dipping into the water and painting. So easy, quick, and fun!

More Learning Activities for Your 21 Month Old

  • Sensory Play – Rice, beans, shaving cream, pasta, etc. with small objects, spoons, cups, and funnels.
  • Say Nursery Rhymes together (over and over again!)
  • Chant a finger play with hand movements
  • Drive toy cars on a road made of blue painters tape (great for an older sibling to make for your toddler).
  • Make an obstacle course with things to jump over, climb through, and go under.
  • Let your child create with building blocks.
  • Water Activity – Use a turkey baster to squirt different things in the bath tub.
  • Curl up with your favorite picture book (again and again).
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1 Comment

  • Reply Ann Harquail

    Great list of activities. I did some similar ones with my son when he was that age (he’s now 33 months).
    I’m going to share this on my Facebook page.
    Congrats on the new baby!
    -Ann @ My Nearest and Dearest

    February 25, 2013 at 6:12 pm
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