Developmental Activities for 16 Month Olds

by | Aug 7, 2023

Toddlerhood is such a fun age. Toddlers love to explore, experience and are interested in the world around them.

Making sure that you have plenty of activities on deck for your toddler is important so they don’t get bored. When toddlers are bored, they have a way of getting into everything!

The toddler phase is full of learning, growing and exploring. Here are some fun activities that you can do with toddlers to keep their wheels turning!

Related: What to Teach an 18 Month Old: 14 Skills to Develop

What are the best activities for 16 month olds?

There are lots of different beneficial activities for 16 month olds. I believe the best activities are those that are open ended.

What I mean by that is having a flashing and loud toy only has a few uses and doesn’t encourage imagination. On the other hand blocks, plastic food, etc have many uses and is a haven for creativity.

What games can you play with 16 month olds?

There are lots of different games that you can play with 16 month olds. Here are a few good ones:

  • Peek a boo
  • Catch the bubbles
  • Roll the ball
  • Color sort

Guidelines for supporting your 16 month old’s development

16 months old can be a challenging age. These toddlers are starting to develop a sense of independence and desire to push boundries.

This is the natural development for toddlers, and doesn’t make you a bad parent or them bad toddlers! Gentle guidelines can help to set expectations and support development.

Here are some ideas:

Set Boundries

Make sure to set clear boundaries with toddlers. If you want them to not do something, make sure to stand firm in that.

They will push their limits with you, but hold strong!

Follow Routines

My children thrive off of a routine and this started from a young age. When children know what to expect, they are often much more at ease.

I like to give 10,5 and 1 minute warnings before activity changes. This helps them to develop a good sense of time.

Set up “Yes” Spaces

Yes spaces are really nice for toddlers because they know that everything in that space they can play with.

Encourage Play with Others

Setting up play dates is a great way to get toddlers to play with one another. Going somewhere that is “neutral ground” like the park or a discovery museum is really great!

Avoid No

I know this is hard, but try to focus on redirection. Redirection is better than no because it helps to shift their focus to something else they can do rather than focusing on what they can’t do.

Teaching Little’s Favorite Activities for 16 Month Olds

Almost anything with a 16 month old can be fun! Here are Teaching Little’s favorite activities for 16 month olds!

Blow Bubbles

Blowing bubbles is something that all toddlers love! I like to use an automatic bubble blower so that I can focus on chasing and popping bubbles with my toddler.


Using stickers is a fun way to keep toddlers busy and work on their fine motor skills. They can use the stickers to make a picture or just stick them on a piece of paper.

Pro tip: peel off the sticker backing so that grabbing stickers is easier for your little one.

Puppet Show

Puppet shows are fun and engaging for little ones. Use hand puppets to have a conversation with your toddler and see if they will do the same!

Nursery Rhymes

Listening to nursery rhymes is so great for little ones. Memorizing is an important part of reading and helps to utilize the same parts of the brain.

Nursery rhymes help children to understand sentences, rhyming, and get familiar with different words.

Water Play

Little ones love water play! Whether it is a day at the river, splash pad, pool, water table or bathtub toddlers thrive in water.

Water play is a full body sensory experience for kiddos and well, tires them out too!

Sensory Activities for 16 month olds

Sensory activities are important in the development of 16 month olds. Sensory activities are important because they help to stimulate the nerves in the body and improve hand eye coordination.

Play with Bubble Wrap

Walking on bubble wrap is a dual purpose sensory activity. They are walking on the bubbles yes, but also hearing the pop which is so fun!

Noodle Play

Have you ever touched cooked noodles? They are s funky texture to our hands.

This is neat way to expose them to a different textures. You can use dry rice for a contrasting texture!

Pro tip: add food coloring to make it fun and different

Sensory Bin

Sensory bins are great for little ones to explore. Sensory bins are great busy activities and help toddlers to experience something new at their own pace.

Here are a few of my favorite sensory bins:

Pop Tubes

These bright colored pop tubes are so neat because they connect with one another. They make fun pop sound when stretched out and will create hours of fun for little learners.


Have you ever noticed that kids either really love swinging or really hate it? My sensory seekers love swinging!

Swinging helps promote spatial awareness, movement, body control and can help children to regulate!

Social/Emotional Activities for 16 month olds

Social and emotional development is a big part of toddlerhood. It is important to learn how to interact with others and play nicely.

Play Dates

Play dates are great ways to get toddlers to engage with other children their age. Play dates are great for all children, but especially those that do not go to daycare.

If your children have siblings, that is great but it is important for them to also learn to play with other children.

Mirror Emotions

In front of a mirror, show different emotions. Sadness, happiness, confused, etc.

Doing this can help children to improve their emotional intelligence and learn what emotions look like on their own faces.

Have Conversations

Talk to your 16 month old about different things like the weather, the taste of food, different things outside or even their favorite show.

This activity helps them to learn to respond when being talked to and also learn how to take turns when talking.

Take Turns

Play with your toddler and ask for something they are playing with and see how they respond.

If they respond well by giving you the object, praise them for their generosity. If they are upset, ask for them to play with it in a few minutes.

Let them know that when you are done that you will gladly give it back!

Fine Motor Activities for 16 month olds

Fine motor skills are important for things like drawing and writing a few years down the road. It is important to strengthen those muscles from a young age!


Coloring is a great way to develop fine motor skills! Don’t expect your toddler to hold a crayon perfectly at first.

They will likely hold the crayon with a fist grasp, and that’s okay!

Build with Blocks

Building with blocks helps to foster creativity, a knowledge of balance and fine motor skill development.

Moving PomPoms

The helping hands fine motor tool set is great for 16 month olds learning fine motor skills and having fun at the same time.

Pop Its

Pop Its are a great tool for teaching your little finger isolation. At this age, they are still struggling with only using one finger at a time. Helping them play with a Pop It provides the training they need to move their finger’s independently!

Drawing in Shaving Cream

Using the pointer finger and some shaving cream have your toddler make shapes, scribbles and drawings.

You can add some food dye and let them use a paint brush too!

Gross Motor Activities for 16 month olds

Get your little nugget moving and grooving with these fun and developmentally appropriate gross motor activities.


Dancing is a great way to get toddlers to be more aware of their bodies and what different movements feel like. Don’t be shocked if they take a tumble or two!

Playing at the Park

Playing at the park is a great way to get toddlers moving. They love to explore and have fun!

There are lots of things that they can do at the park. Try choosing a park that has a designated toddler area!

Balance Bike

Have you ever seen balance bikes? They are neat little bikes that toddlers can scoot themselves around on.


Swimming is so fun for toddlers and a valuable skill to learn! Swimming is fun for little ones and helps build their muscles!

Toddler Stretching

Toddler stretching has a calming effect on little ones. Stretching helps them learn about what their bodies can do and how to discover their stretching limits.

Reading Activities for 16 month olds

Reading is great for babies and toddlers. Listening to stories and looking at books teaches them about different words, sentence flow, word meaning and more!

Listen to Audio Stories

Audio stories help toddlers to work on their listening skills! I like to turn on audio stories in the car or during play time!

Read Outside

Reading stories outside is fantastic for a change of scenery! Take a few books outside, find some shade and read to your little one!

Read Before Bed

Reading before bed is something I love to do with my little ones! Let them pick a few books and read to them while snuggling.

This is a great way to strengthen your bond!

Recite Stories from Memory

Tell different stories from memory or even nursery rhymes. This helps children to memories stories without a book!

Montessori Based Activities for 16 month olds

Montessori activities are so beneficial for little ones because they are typically open ended and great for independent thinking.

Here are a few of my favorites:


Climbing is great for toddlers. I know it seems scary, but in a monitored environment, it’s amazing for their development.

Lots of children climb because they are sensory seeking. Take your toddler to a yes space and allow them to climb.

Scooping Objects

Scooping objects like rice or noodles with measuring spoons and cups helps children to learn how to effectively scoop and dump.


Pouring water from one bucket to another is a great skill to learn for little ones. Have them use different objects to transfer the water!

Simple Puzzles

These 4 puzzles are perfect for toddler learning! These simple puzzles encourage toddlers to play with them because of their bright colors and cute creatures!

Coin Box

This toy is perfect for children to develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and concentration skills. To use the baby coin ball box, baby needs to place a wooden ball or coin into the hole in the top of the box.

Having fun and engaging activities for 16 month olds in your back pocket is so important. 16 month olds have shorter attention spans, so having activities that cater to that need is important.

Do you have any must do activities with 16 month olds? Let me know in the comments below!