Creating engaging and developmentally appropriate activities for a 15-month-old child is an exciting journey that fosters growth and exploration. As they grow, these little explorers become more curious about the world around them, and it’s our job to guide and encourage this curiosity in a fun and safe way.
What Activities Are Best Suited for a 15-Month-Old?
At 15 months, children are developing motor skills, language, and cognitive abilities. Activities should cater to these developmental milestones.
Simple and safe activities like stacking blocks, playing with soft balls, or engaging in interactive picture books are excellent. These activities not only enhance fine motor skills but also encourage cognitive development through problem-solving and understanding cause and effect.
How Can I Encourage Language Development?
Language development is crucial at this stage. The best approach is through constant verbal interaction. Narrate your actions, sing songs, and read stories.
Simple picture books with large, colorful illustrations and minimal text are great for this age. They help in recognizing objects and associating words with images. Also, encourage your child to mimic sounds and simple words.
What About Outdoor Activities?
Outdoor play is equally important. Walking in a safe, open space helps develop their physical abilities and balance. Simple games like chasing bubbles or playing with a ball can also be delightful.
Remember, at this age, supervision is key to ensure safety during outdoor activities.
Are There Activities to Boost Social Skills?
Social interaction is beneficial, even at this young age. Playdates with children of a similar age can be organized. This not only helps in developing social skills but also in learning to share and interact in a group.
Ensure these playdates are in a safe and controlled environment to avoid overwhelming the children.
What Should I Keep in Mind While Planning These Activities?
Safety is paramount. Ensure all activities are age-appropriate and free from choking hazards or sharp edges. Also, every child develops at their own pace, so it’s important to observe their interests and comfort level with each activity. Encouragement without pressure is the best approach.
How Do I Ensure a Balance of Activities?
Balance is key. Mix physical activities with quieter ones like reading or puzzle-solving. This not only keeps the day varied and interesting but also helps in overall development – physical, cognitive, and emotional. Remember, the goal is to have fun and learn through play.
Our Favorite Activities for 15 Month Olds
Below you will find over 100 activities to enjoy with your 15 month old, keep in mind some of the activities are similar, but I wanted to put each activity under the skills that you may be focusing on, to keep it easy and fun!
Fine Motor Activities for 15 Month Olds
Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscles in movements, usually involving the synchronization of hands and fingers with the eyes. For 15-month-olds, it’s crucial to engage them in activities that enhance these skills.
Here’s a list of activities specifically designed to boost fine motor skills in 15-month-olds:
Benefit: This activity enhances hand-eye coordination and develops an understanding of sizes and shapes.
Description: Introduce large-piece puzzles that are easy to handle. Puzzles with knobs or large pieces are ideal.
Benefit: Solving puzzles helps in problem-solving and enhances dexterity.
Description: Set up a safe, mess-free space for your child to use their fingers to paint on paper.
Benefit: Finger painting boosts creativity and helps in developing finger and hand strength.
Description: Non-toxic, soft modeling clay can be used for them to roll, squeeze, and shape.
Benefit: Manipulating clay strengthens hand muscles and enhances coordination.
Description: Provide large beads or blocks of different colors for sorting into separate containers.
Benefit: Sorting objects by color and size develops cognitive skills alongside fine motor skills.
Description: Encourage your child to turn the pages of a sturdy board book.
Benefit: Turning pages helps to develop finger strength and coordination.
Putting Objects into Slots
Description: Use a homemade or store-bought posting box where children can put shaped blocks or coins through slots.
Benefit: This activity enhances hand-eye coordination and teaches cause and effect.
Simple Stringing Activities
Description: Large, wooden beads and a thick string or shoelace can be used for stringing activities.
Benefit: Stringing beads improves dexterity and concentration.
Description: Offer your child stickers to peel off and stick onto paper.
Benefit: Peeling and sticking stickers enhances finger strength and precision.
Description: Lightweight plastic cups can be used for stacking and unstacking or fitting into each other.
Benefit: This simple activity improves hand-eye coordination and understanding of sizes.
Gross Motor Activities for 15 Month Old
Gross motor skills involve the larger muscles in the body and are crucial for activities like walking, running, jumping, and maintaining balance.
For 15-month-olds, developing these skills is essential as they become more mobile and explore the world around them.
Here are some engaging gross motor activities tailored for this age group, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Ball Rolling and Kicking
Description: Encourage your child to roll, throw, and kick soft, lightweight balls.
Benefit: This activity develops coordination, balance, and understanding of cause and effect.
Walking on Different Textures
Description: Create a safe path with different textures like grass, carpet, or a foam mat for your child to walk on.
Benefit: Walking on varied surfaces improves balance and sensory processing.
Description: Set up a simple obstacle course with cushions, tunnels, and safe objects to crawl over and around.
Benefit: Navigating through obstacles enhances spatial awareness, coordination, and problem-solving skills.
Dancing to Music
Description: Play some lively music and encourage your child to dance and move to the rhythm.
Benefit: Dancing boosts coordination, rhythm, and is a fun way to express emotions.
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Description: Blow bubbles and let your child chase and try to pop them.
Benefit: This joyful activity encourages running, jumping, and improves eye-hand coordination.
Description: Supervised climbing on safe, child-appropriate climbing equipment or furniture.
Benefit: Climbing strengthens the arms and legs and develops coordination.
Playing with a Push Toy
Description: Provide a stable push toy to encourage walking.
Benefit: Push toys help improve balance and walking skills.
Simple Yoga Poses
Description: Guide your child through simple yoga poses like ‘tree pose’ or ‘downward dog’.
Benefit: Yoga enhances flexibility, balance, and focus.
Hopping and Jumping
Description: Encourage your child to hop on one foot or jump with both feet.
Benefit: These activities improve leg strength, balance, and coordination.
Riding a Toy
Description: Use ride-on toys that are low to the ground and stable.
Benefit: Riding toys develop leg strength and coordination.
Language Activities for 15 Month Old
Language development is a critical aspect of a child’s growth at 15 months, as they are rapidly acquiring new words and beginning to understand more complex forms of communication.
Here are some effective language activities tailored for 15-month-olds, each with a description and its specific benefit:
Description: Choose age-appropriate books with large pictures and minimal text. Read aloud, pointing to and naming objects and characters.
Benefit: This activity introduces new vocabulary, enhances listening skills, and fosters an early love for books.
Singing Simple Songs
Description: Sing nursery rhymes or simple songs with actions. Encourage your child to mimic the actions and sounds.
Benefit: Singing improves language rhythm, memory, and can aid in learning new words.
Naming Body Parts
Description: Play a game where you name body parts and point to them, either on yourself, your child, or a doll.
Benefit: This helps in vocabulary development and understanding of the body.
Description: Use picture cards or a picture book to show your child different objects. Name each object and talk about it.
Benefit: Picture cards are great for building vocabulary and concept development.
Description: During playtime, describe what you or your child is doing. Use descriptive words and encourage your child to imitate them.
Benefit: This enhances understanding of verbs and adjectives and helps in sentence building.
Description: Give your child simple, one-step instructions during play or daily routines, like “Please give me the ball” or “Put the toy in the box.”
Benefit: Following instructions enhances comprehension and language processing skills.
Description: Introduce your child to different animal toys or pictures and mimic the sounds they make.
Benefit: Associating animals with their sounds aids in auditory discrimination and memory.
Description: Say a word or a simple sound and encourage your child to repeat after you.
Benefit: Echo games help in the development of speech sounds and early word imitation.
Interactive Talking Toys
Description: Use toys that produce sounds or words when buttons are pressed.
Benefit: These toys can stimulate interest in sounds and words and promote interactive play.
Storytelling with Gestures
Description: Tell simple stories using hand gestures and different voice tones.
Benefit: Gestural and vocal variations capture attention and enhance comprehension and listening skills.
Related Post: 18 Month Old Not Talking but Understands
Social Emotional Activities for 15 Month Old
Social-emotional development is crucial for 15-month-olds as they start to understand emotions, develop relationships, and gain a sense of self.
Here are some targeted activities to foster social-emotional skills in toddlers at this age, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Facial Expression Games
Description: Make different facial expressions and encourage your child to imitate them. You can also use pictures of faces showing different emotions.
Benefit: Helps in recognizing and understanding different emotions.
Description: Use puppets to act out simple scenarios. You can demonstrate emotions like happiness, sadness, or frustration through the puppets.
Benefit: Encourages empathy and understanding of various emotions and social situations.
Description: Engage in simple games that require taking turns, like rolling a ball back and forth or building a tower with blocks together.
Benefit: Teaches the concept of sharing and turn-taking, essential for social interaction.
Emotion Story Time
Description: Read stories that involve characters experiencing different emotions. Discuss the emotions and actions of these characters.
Benefit: Enhances emotional literacy and empathy.
Description: Show an emotion and ask your child to guess what you are feeling. Alternatively, you can mirror the emotion your child is showing.
Benefit: Develops emotional awareness and recognition skills.
Description: Arrange playdates with children of a similar age. Supervise and guide interactions to ensure they are positive and safe.
Benefit: Promotes social interaction skills and helps in learning appropriate social behaviors.
Music and Movement
Description: Play music and encourage your child to express themselves through dance and movement.
Benefit: Aids in self-expression and emotional release.
Description: Engage in role-playing activities, like pretending to cook, clean, or shop. Use dolls or toy figures for more complex scenarios.
Benefit: Helps in understanding different perspectives and roles.
Description: Encourage your child to comfort a doll or stuffed animal when it’s ‘upset.’ Show them how to pat the toy gently or give it a hug.
Benefit: Develops empathy and nurturing skills.
Description: Model saying ‘thank you’ for small things, like when your child hands you a toy. Encourage them to do the same.
Benefit: Fosters a sense of gratitude and polite social interaction.
STEAM Activities for 15 Month Olds
Introducing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) activities to 15-month-olds is a fantastic way to stimulate curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking skills from an early age.
At this stage, the focus is on simple, playful activities that introduce basic concepts in a fun and engaging way.
Here are some STEAM-oriented activities suitable for 15-month-olds:
Water Play (Science)
Description: Fill a basin with water and provide cups, spoons, and safe floating objects. Let your child explore pouring, splashing, and the concept of floating versus sinking.
Benefit: Introduces basic principles of physics like buoyancy and volume.
Simple Sorting (Mathematics)
Description: Provide a set of objects in different shapes or colors (like blocks or soft toys) and encourage your child to sort them into groups.
Benefit: Develops early math skills like categorization and pattern recognition.
Building with Blocks (Engineering)
Description: Use large, safe building blocks to build simple structures. Show your child how to stack them and create different shapes.
Benefit: Enhances spatial awareness, problem-solving skills, and introduces basic engineering concepts.
Texture Exploration (Arts)
Description: Create a sensory board or provide materials with different textures (like fabric swatches, fluffy toys, smooth plastic) for your child to feel.
Benefit: Stimulates sensory development and encourages artistic exploration.
Simple Cause and Effect Toys (Technology)
Description: Provide toys where an action leads to a reaction, like pressing a button to play music or a pop-up toy.
Benefit: Introduces basic technology concepts and cause and effect relationships.
Nature Walks (Science)
Description: Take your child on a walk in a park or garden. Point out different plants, animals, and natural elements.
Benefit: Encourages observation and curiosity about the natural world.
Playing with Shadows (Science/Arts)
Description: In a well-lit room or in sunlight, use your hands or toys to create shadows on the wall. Show how moving objects closer or farther from the light changes the shadow size.
Benefit: Introduces light and shadow concepts, blending science with creative play.
Basic Rhythm and Music (Arts/Mathematics)
Description: Use simple instruments like drums or homemade shakers. Play with rhythms and encourage your child to replicate them.
Benefit: Develops an understanding of patterns and rhythm, combining mathematical concepts with art.
Shape Exploration (Mathematics)
Description: Introduce toys and puzzles with different shapes. Talk about the shapes as your child plays with them.
Benefit: Aids in recognizing and understanding different geometric shapes.
Description: Using non-toxic, washable paints or food coloring in peri bottles, show your child how mixing two colors creates a new color.
Benefit: Teaches basic color theory and encourages experimentation, blending art with scientific exploration.
Cognitive Activities for 15 Month Olds
Cognitive development in 15-month-olds is all about exploring, problem-solving, and beginning to understand the world around them. Engaging them in activities that stimulate their thinking, memory, and reasoning skills is essential. Here are some cognitive activities suitable for this age, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Hide and Seek with Toys
Description: Hide a toy under a blanket or behind a cushion and encourage your child to find it.
Benefit: Enhances object permanence understanding and problem-solving skills.
Description: Use large-piece puzzles that are easy to handle. Encourage your child to fit pieces into the correct spots.
Benefit: Develops spatial awareness, shape recognition, and hand-eye coordination.
Description: Create or buy simple matching games where your child matches objects or pictures based on shape, color, or size.
Benefit: Improves memory and recognition skills.
Description: Engage in activities where your child can mimic simple actions, like talking on a toy phone or stirring in a toy pot.
Benefit: Encourages imaginative play and understanding of everyday activities.
Exploring Cause and Effect
Description: Provide toys that react when manipulated, like a ball that lights up when bounced or a toy that makes noise when buttons are pressed.
Benefit: Teaches the concept of cause and effect.
Naming and Pointing
Description: Point to and name objects around the house or in books. Ask your child to point to named objects.
Benefit: Enhances vocabulary and object recognition.
Description: Count objects like toys or snacks aloud with your child. Encourage them to join in.
Benefit: Introduces basic math and number recognition.
Description: Provide objects in different colors and ask your child to sort them by color.
Benefit: Helps with color recognition and categorization.
Simple Rhythmic Clapping
Description: Clap a simple rhythm and encourage your child to mimic it.
Benefit: Develops auditory processing and memory.
Description: Fill a bin with safe, tactile materials like rice, beans, or water beads. Add toys or objects for your child to find and explore.
Benefit: Stimulates sensory exploration and fine motor skills.
Executive Function Activities for 15 Month Olds
Executive functioning skills in 15-month-olds are in the early stages of development. These skills include self-regulation, attention, memory, problem-solving, and planning.
Activities for toddlers at this age should focus on simple tasks that encourage these foundational abilities.
Here are some appropriate activities, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Simple Instructions Following
Description: Give your child simple, one-step instructions to follow, such as “Please give me the ball” or “Put the toy in the box.”
Benefit: Enhances listening and comprehension skills, fostering the ability to follow directions.
Basic Sorting Games
Description: Encourage your child to sort objects by color, size, or shape. Use large, safe objects like blocks or soft toys.
Benefit: Develops categorization skills, a fundamental aspect of cognitive processing.
Hide and Seek (Simple Version)
Description: Hide a toy under a blanket and ask your child to find it. Start with obvious hiding places and gradually increase complexity.
Benefit: Enhances memory and problem-solving skills.
Description: Perform a simple action, like clapping hands or making a face, and encourage your child to imitate you.
Benefit: Improves attention, memory, and the ability to mimic and learn from observation.
Description: Engage in activities that require taking turns, such as rolling a ball back and forth.
Benefit: Teaches patience and self-control, key components of self-regulation.
Rhythm and Music Play
Description: Clap or tap a simple rhythm and encourage your child to replicate it. Use instruments if available.
Benefit: Enhances auditory processing, memory, and attention.
Stacking and Building
Description: Use blocks or stacking cups to build towers. Let your child figure out how to stack them without them toppling over.
Benefit: Encourages problem-solving and fine motor skills.
Description: Offer two options for a simple choice, like picking a snack or choosing a toy to play with.
Benefit: Fosters decision-making skills and a sense of autonomy.
Sensory Activities for 15 Month Olds
Sensory activities for 15-month-olds are vital as they encourage exploration and learning through touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell.
These activities help in developing neural connections as they process new sensory information.
Here are some appropriate sensory activities, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Description: Create a sensory box or bag with objects of various textures like soft fabric, rough sponges, and smooth plastic toys. Let your child explore these different textures.
Benefit: Enhances tactile exploration and helps in differentiating between various textures.
Description: Use non-toxic, scented playdough for your child to mold and shape. You can make homemade dough with safe, natural scents like vanilla or cinnamon.
Benefit: Stimulates the sense of smell and touch, and encourages creativity.
Description: Fill bottles with different items like rice, beans, or bells. Seal them tightly and let your child shake them to explore the different sounds they make.
Benefit: Stimulates auditory senses and helps in differentiating sounds.
Description: Use brightly colored toys or objects and move them slowly in front of your child, encouraging them to visually track the objects with their eyes.
Benefit: Enhances visual tracking and concentration.
Edible Finger Painting
Description: Create edible paint with food coloring mixed into yogurt or pudding. Let your child paint on a large tray or sheet of paper with their fingers.
Benefit: Encourages tactile and taste exploration, and promotes creativity.
Description: Create a path with different textures such as a grass mat, a fluffy rug, and a smooth surface. Let your child walk barefoot over these textures.
Benefit: Stimulates the soles of the feet and enhances sensory awareness.
Description: Take your child outside to explore nature. Let them touch leaves, grass, or sand, under supervision.
Benefit: Encourages natural sensory exploration and appreciation for the outdoors.
Description: Introduce simple musical instruments like drums, shakers, or a xylophone. Encourage your child to create sounds.
Benefit: Develops auditory and tactile senses and introduces musical concepts.
Description: Blow bubbles and let your child try to catch or pop them.
Benefit: Enhances visual tracking, motor skills, and provides a unique tactile experience.
Outdoor Activities for 15 Month Olds
Outdoor activities are great for 15-month-olds as they provide fresh air, a change of scenery, and a wide range of sensory experiences.
These activities should be safe, supervised, and suitable for their developmental stage.
Here’s a list of outdoor activities, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Playing in the Sandbox
Description: Allow your child to play in a sandbox with age-appropriate toys like buckets, shovels, and molds.
Benefit: Enhances fine motor skills and encourages creative play.
Simple Ball Games
Description: Roll a soft ball back and forth or encourage your child to throw and catch it with assistance.
Benefit: Develops gross motor skills and coordination.
Description: Let your child walk, sit, and play on a safe, grassy area. This can be an opportunity for them to feel different textures.
Benefit: Provides sensory experiences and is gentle for early walkers.
Description: Introduce your child to gardening by letting them help with simple tasks like watering plants or digging in the dirt with a small shovel.
Benefit: Fosters an interest in plants and nature, and encourages responsibility.
Description: Have a picnic in a safe outdoor area. Include easy-to-eat snacks and a comfortable blanket to sit on.
Benefit: Provides a change of scenery and encourages family bonding.
Description: Visit a local playground with age-appropriate equipment. Supervise your child on swings or small slides.
Benefit: Encourages physical activity and social interaction with other children.
Description: If possible, visit a farm or a zoo where your child can see animals. Talk about the animals and their sounds.
Benefit: Enhances animal recognition and provides an educational experience.
Leaf Pile Play
Description: In a safe outdoor area, especially during autumn, gather a pile of fallen leaves. Allow your child to touch, play with, and even toss the leaves gently. Supervise closely to ensure they don’t put leaves in their mouth.
Benefit: This activity offers tactile sensory experiences and encourages exploration of natural textures. It’s also a fun way for toddlers to experience the different sounds and colors of nature.
Arts & Craft Activities for 15 Month Olds
Arts and crafts are wonderful for developing creativity, fine motor skills, and sensory processing in 15-month-olds.
At this age, activities should be safe, non-toxic, and closely supervised.
Here are some arts and crafts activities suitable for this age group, along with their descriptions and benefits:
Description: Provide large, chunky, non-toxic crayons and large sheets of paper. Encourage your child to scribble and draw.
Benefit: Helps in developing grip and coordination, and it’s an early form of self-expression.
Description: Offer a variety of large, easy-to-peel stickers. Let your child stick them onto paper to create a collage.
Benefit: Improves fine motor skills and is a fun way for toddlers to create patterns and designs.
Description: Use non-toxic, homemade or store-bought playdough. Allow your child to squash, roll, and mold the dough.
Benefit: Encourages creativity and enhances hand strength and dexterity.
Description: Use large pasta shapes with holes, like penne, and a thick string or yarn. Show your child how to thread the pasta onto the string.
Benefit: Develops fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
Edible Finger Paint
Description: Create edible paint using yogurt mixed with food coloring. This is safe for children who tend to put everything in their mouths.
Benefit: Offers a sensory experience and a safe way to explore colors and textures.
Collage with Fabric Scraps
Description: Provide various textures and colors of fabric scraps. Help your child glue them onto paper to create a tactile collage.
Benefit: Enhances sensory exploration and creativity.
Description: Use child-safe ink pads and large stamps, or create your own stamps from potatoes or sponges.
Benefit: Fun way to create patterns and explore different shapes and colors.
Description: Use large, non-toxic sidewalk chalk to draw on a driveway, sidewalk, or large paper.
Benefit: Encourages creativity and gross motor skill development as they move around to draw.
Description: Collect safe, natural items like leaves or flowers and glue them onto paper to create nature art.
Benefit: Integrates art with nature exploration and sensory experiences.
In the Car Activities for 15 Month Olds
Keeping a 15-month-old entertained and engaged during car rides can be challenging, but with some creative activities, you can make the journey enjoyable for both of you.
Here are some in-car activity ideas that are suitable for this age group, along with their benefits:
Description: Provide cloth or soft plastic books with bright colors and textures. These can include books with simple stories or interactive elements like flaps and different textures.
Benefit: Encourages visual and tactile exploration and can be a soothing activity during the ride.
Description: Use safe, non-toxic window clings that your child can stick and remove from the window next to their car seat.
Benefit: Enhances fine motor skills and provides a sensory experience.
Portable Musical Toys
Description: Bring along small, portable musical toys that make sounds when pressed or shaken.
Benefit: Stimulates auditory senses and keeps the child entertained with familiar sounds.
Car Seat Steering Wheel
Description: Attach a toy steering wheel to the car seat for your child to hold and ‘drive’ along with you.
Benefit: Encourages imaginative play and gives a sense of participation in the driving.
Description: If your child is teething, have a variety of safe teething toys within their reach.
Benefit: Provides comfort and relief from teething discomfort, while also being a distraction.
Simple Hand Puppets
Description: Bring along soft hand puppets to entertain your child. You can make the puppet talk, sing, or play peek-a-boo.
Benefit: Enhances visual attention and provides entertainment through interaction.
Interactive Voice Toys
Description: Toys that respond with sounds, music, or lights when buttons are pressed can be engaging for toddlers.
Benefit: Keeps the child’s attention and encourages cause-and-effect learning.
Description: Attach a safe, unbreakable mirror to the backseat so your child can see themselves or you.
Benefit: Provides visual stimulation and a sense of connection with the parent driving.
Description: Create safe sensory bottles filled with colorful liquids, glitter, beads, etc., that the child can shake and roll.
Benefit: Visually stimulating and can have a calming effect.
Soft, Squeezable Toys
Description: Provide a variety of soft, squeezable toys that are safe and easy to handle.
Benefit: Good for tactile exploration and can serve as a comforting item during the journey.
Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one may not necessarily work for another. The key is to be patient, observant, and flexible. Don’t hesitate to modify activities to better suit your child’s interests and developmental stage. Safety should always be a top priority, so ensure that all activities are age-appropriate and supervised.
Above all, these activities are opportunities to bond with your child, to witness their little triumphs and discoveries, and to guide them through their early years with love and encouragement. Enjoy these precious moments, and cherish the joy and learning they bring to both you and your child.