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First of all, thank you Allison for asking me to post on Pre-Toddler Activities.  I thoroughly enjoy All For The Boys and look forward to more days of experiments, fort building, and LAUGH’s as my son grows up.

What age are your children?

If they are a toddler or beyond you probably have a fairly easy time finding/creating fun activities for them to do.

What if they are a Pre-Toddler–12 to 18 months old, like my little guy?

In my research, I yielded very little creative ways to generate play with my Pre-Toddler, so I put my thinking cap on, tweaked a few older “kid” activities, and came up with a few of my own.

So if you are looking for something to do with your 12-18 month old, here are a few ideas.

Activity Box: Fill a box with objects of various shapes, sizes, textures, and functions trying to avoid toys that your child typically uses for play.

This box included Mini Muffin Pan, foam peanuts, alphabet magnets, bottle basket, spoon, spatula, cup, drink cozy, rolling pin, measuring spoons, apron, etc. 


Caution–Watch your children at ALL times if including small objects that can be a choking hazard and never leave any of the small objects lying around when play is complete.

Turn the box over and allow them to explore.  Only demonstrate when your child is struggling to grasp the concept of various objects.

You can place different objects in the box each time you complete the activity.  This entertained my son for 30+ minutes.  That is SUCESS!!

Alphabet Box:  Fill a box or other container (I, typically use a shoe box) with items starting with the letter of your choice.  Action Alphabet is a great place to find lists of various objects, crafts, and printables corresponding with every letter.

Here is how I have been completing the activity:

  1. I include the plastic magnetic letter and the corresponding Eric Carle Flash Card
  2. We sit in the floor and I say the letter while showing him the flash card or the magnetic letter.  Then, I give him the box to explore.
  3. I make sure to repeat the name of each object several times while he is playing (but due to his age I primarily focused on allowing him to explore)
  4. I have also been singing the phonics of the individual letters (using the song Leap Frog uses).  For example, “A says Ah. A says Ah.  Every letter makes a sound, A says Ah.”
  5. Then, after he is finished playing we listen to a nursery rhyme that goes along with the letter.  Mama Lisa’s World of Children is an excellent resource for finding nursery rhyme’s that go along with the alphabet.  I also look on YouTube.


Here is an example of our A box:
Our B bucket:
And our D drum:
Lastly, what can a Pre-Toddler do with Play-Doh?
How about if you rolled it up into balls or other shapes and allowed them to attempt to sort them, tear them, place them in containers, and/or take them out?  All of those are developmental milestones for children ranging from 12-18 months. Of course, they do have a heavy oral fixation at this age, but I have learned once I told my son (and followed through with the consequences) not to put the Play-Doh in his mouth…..he stopped.  With that said, I still waited till my son was 15 months old to give him Play-Doh and I stay with him at all times.
A few ideas to encourage Play-Doh play: 
  • Provide a few plastic utensils, always demonstrating how to use them
  • Provide various containers to encourage sorting and putting objects in/out
  • Demonstrate how to flatten the dough, tear the dough, roll the dough ball.

I hope you’ll come over and pay me a visit.  I have several more Pre-Toddler Activities on my blog and more waiting to be written and photographed. 


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Allison Waken is a wife, mom of boys and Phoenix, AZ native. She has been creating inspiring content for All for the Boys since 2011. Allison loves travel, movies and spending as much time as possible with her family while she can!


  1. I LOVE the idea of the letter boxs! My baby is 16 months and I have been looking for wonderful ideas like this 🙂 Thank you so much!!

  2. Sorry my info was crazy in that lost comment I didn't know if it had worked! Thank you for posting this!

  3. This post is awesome!
    I love how you put it all well together! Your son is a cutie! My son is two and he still loves getting into all my Kitchen cabinets!


  4. Hi! I came across your post from Pinterest – I love all these ideas! I'd love to discover some new activities for my little man (he's 3y3m old).

  5. Thank you for these ideas!! I used an egg carton and multi-colored pom poms and it's still occupying my son after 30 minutes!!!

  6. These are fantastic. My little boy is only 11 months but even at this stage your first activity with the box full of goodies would be great and some of the others as he gets older. yay!!

  7. letter box idea also works great with colors, when colors are first being introduced (pre-pre-toddler!)

    i used a baby wipes box that had a rubber flap opening, my little one was already beginning to hide things in it and pull them out, so some nights when i'd clean up, i'd hide several small items of a color in it, then waited to see what my baby would do when she found that collection.

  8. Holy crow, this is wonderful! One of the kids I nanny is an incredibly active little toddler guy, and I was concerned about running out of ideas for things to play together.. Well you just solved all of my problems! Thanks!

  9. Cute ideas! I love the egg carton pics! I noticed that at this age when their language is really starting to develop it's also good to start singing "with" them. They won't know all the words ( or most) but you'll know they're learning the songs because they sing in the same rhythm and pitch. So cute! And you can sing in the car, while cooking, etc. There's a list of toddler songs at, not the music, not the lyrics, but it's a good refresher for us moms who know we know toddler songs, we just can't think of any besides the "ABC" song!

  10. I have two year old twin boys and a 4 month old boy. I've been trying to think of some ideas like this to do with them! We practice our alphabet everyday and I've been saying how I wanted to get a bunch of things that start with one letter so it could help them learn. I'm sorry if my comment makes no sense lol. I really enjoyed your idea and I'm going to try this for sure! I'm also trying to get my twins on a set schedule, having a difficult time because they don't like to go to sleep. Sorry again for my comment being crazy.

  11. Playing babies are really looking so nice and we like to see that. By playing different type of game with different instrument their brain function and growth of mental ability takes place. The images above on this blog gives a clear ides about the innovative ideas of that baby boy. All parents also want this as they want a proper growth of their baby.

  12. My toddler is 15 months and these are such great ideas! I’ve been hesitant with activities since he still tries to eat everything but I’m always on the look out for good ideas we can try 🙂

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