At that age, it was play doh, finger painting, stickers, some colouring in, a bit of craft (colour in, put on stickers - to da, a xmas tree!), some PE, running around the garden like a loon, music and chanting. Actually, it's pretty much the same now he's 2.4. Definitely no baking; no.water play, either. We do that at home. He does come home with stones in the pockets of his smock
They should be doing arts and crafts and baking...
As well as structured activities, child led mostly, but also afew adult led... Activities should be based on individual needs and the children's next steps of learning, this should include mark making, water play, sand play, imaginative play.
The nursery should be working to EYFS guidelines so all these things should be covered... Talk to the nursery
Yes they should have activities covering all areas of learning - for example they should have sand, water, dough & mark making available every day plus role play, small world, arts &crafts such as junk modelling, baking, messy play, outside play, storytime & singing. Most of it will be on a free play basis tho - they should be able to choose whether to do it or not.
My 20 month old has a mixture - different role play, small world and messy play (play dough, sand play etc) for free activities. Then some craft, some singing and outdoor play (which might be free play or gardening or 'obstacle course') each day as well. Not to say they all choose to do it all though!
My nearly 2 year old has experienced a variety of directed activities and free play since starting at the nursery when she was 8 months old.
We get an update every day on at least 3 of the activities that she's done that day and it all gets recorded in her wee nursery book.
She has taken part in activities including making sensory objects, water play, sand, playing in shaving foam! (one of her favourites), icing biscuits, making displays, making and decorating cards for various things, painting, chalk boards, play dough etc. They also get free play time and enjoy playing with lots of different types of toys and every day they get stories and sing songs.
Even though 18 months is still very young the nursery should be aware of the benefits of everything that your child is doing from developing fine motor skills, language development and social skills.
If you are concerned then ask for time to sit with a member of staff and discuss your child's development at the nursery. If her day at nursery consists entirely of "free play" then the staff should still be observing and have a rough picture of the skills she has and how she is developing overall.
Does your child have a key worker within the nursery or someone that you can speak to in the first instance to ask about the daily routine in the nursery? It may just be that all of the directed activities take place after the parents leave and before the kids are collected.
My DC have done baking since they started, so 6 months and 1yr. Obviously involvement grows as they get older!
Same for water play, painting, craft etc.
They get plenty of free play, but are encouraged to participate in organised activities. And the results of baking is on the menu as a lunchtime pudding once every 4 weeks, each age group taking it in turns.