I did a search for 18 mo, to see what sort of things I should be doing with my dd and for my dd, and also what sort of stages she should be at and have come away white with fear.
First of all there are people agreeing that their children talked in TWELVE word sentences at 18 mo. TWELVE! I've counted on my fingers, that's like, 'Mummy, I went to the park today and picked some white daisies.' Just daisies is just 11! Then there are posts where people are painting and clay modelling and glueing with their 18 mos. Mine has just about learned to hold a crayon, if I introduce her to paint she's just going to stick her hand in it. Or eat it. In fact, she eats the crayons.
Rationally, I suppose this site is going to attract the entire spectrum of abilities, so the top are going to be here as well as wherever my dd finds herself. But it really is scary.
I don't know about all this painting and sticking at mother and toddler groups. It must have changed since I was there. I thought they were invented so you could sit on a chair at the edge of the room and fall asleep while your toddler achieved highly precocious milestones in the middle of the room on their own!
Don't be scared, they all learn at different rates. Mine happens to be towards the forward end but not because I treat her like mini einstien! I CM so I did with her all the things I did with older children. This did include sticking, painting with hands and brush but only marks on a page, lots of help etc. Any child over 1 can have a go under close supervision, but its not a parental duty. They will have plenty of opportunity for this at creche/pre-school.
DD1 hardly said anything at 18 months at 3 she hardly came up for breathe, we cannot shut her up.
DD2 who is 18 months younger than DD1 thinks she is DD1's twin and anything DD1 does she has to do. She was speaking in sentences really quickly, she drew a face at 2.2yo without ever being taught (benign neglect of second borns), she is already beginning to write letters all because DD1 has started to. I don't know if she is genuinely intelligent or is just very good at copying her sister.
DD2 also does all the crafty things DD1 does, plays with older toys and "read" older books so I think that plays a part in it as well.
DD3 is nearly 18 months and her version of a two word sentence is "gone gone" (about her dinner. That's about it. Oh, and her counting is VERY advanced. She can count one (nnnn), two(dooo), three(neeeee), three, two, two, three. Great stuff. Absolutely normal. (I think....tell me it's normal?)