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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 18 to 24 Months > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 18 to 24 months

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Solve simple problems using tools
  • Begin to develop shape and size discrimination
  • Begin to understand that events can be sequenced
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your toddler, 18 to 24 months.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, toddlers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Be sensitive to their toddler's frustration as she explores and may feel challenged by objects or events
  • Child Will:
  • Trust that she can depend on you for comfort and support when needed
  • Feel safe and secure
  • Have her feelings validated

  • Parents Can:
  • Follow their toddler's lead when playing, allowing him to be the director of the activities
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to develop a sense of control about what he does
  • Begin to feel that you value his efforts
  • Feel confident enough to take risks while playing, and secure in the knowledge that you are there if a problem should arise

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, toddlers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide different size containers for sand play
  • Child Will:
  • Explore size relationships in objects
  • Explore how size and shape effect quantity
  • Experiment with concepts of full and empty

  • Parents Can:
  • Provide different objects for squeezing during bath time
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy squeezing sponges or old shampoo bottles, and watching how the water drips, pours or trickles
  • Begin to see how different objects produce different responses
  • Practice experimenting to find out what happens with certain actions

  • Parents Can:
  • Point out familiar sounds when walking or playing outside, such as car horns, fire truck sirens and dog barks
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to distinguish different sounds
  • Begin to group animal sounds as opposed to mechanical sounds

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, toddlers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Use routines as an opportunity to point out sequences of events, for example, "First we get dressed, and then we eat breakfast."
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand temporal relations, such as "first," "then" and "after"
  • Begin to have a sense about sequences of events and routines

  • Parents Can:
  • Provide simple form board or shape sorter (no more than 3 shapes)
  • Child Will:
  • Use trial and error experimentation in fitting the correct shape into the matching hole
  • Practice distinguishing differences among circle, square and triangle
  • Learn to match shapes

  • Social Development: 18 to 24 months
    Emotional Development: 18 to 24 months
    Intellectual Development - Language: 18 to 24 months
    Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 18 to 24 months

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