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activities to encourage independant play for 18 month old

(21 Posts)
boredbuthappy Mon 17-Sep-12 23:31:50

Any suggestions? Or is this an impossible thing for a child this age? We've got blocks, puzzles, books, chalkboard, crayons, markers, dolls, cars... And countless other types of toys and activities. Nothing seems to keeps his attention for more than 8 seconds, not even the TV!. Would really like for him to be interested in something so that I don't always have to be doing it with him. At the moment, it's invisible unless one if us (dp or I) express interest in it ourselves. Too early for this? Or is there something we could be doin? Or not doing?

crackcrackcrak Mon 17-Sep-12 23:38:27

Hmmmm have to think hard about what dd. was like then. I don't think she played much independently but I did have a lightbulb moment once. I waited ages until ate showed nap signs because I wanted to assemble a drawer unit. She did some yawning and thumb sucking so I spent ages trying to get her to nap and failing! In the end she sat in the floor in her gro bag happily twirling a screwdriver next to us whilst we built the drawers - I remember thinking why didn't I just let her 'help' to begin with it was much easier!
After she was 1 she would watch cbeebies for longer and play with toys long enough for me to do things. Now at 3 she will manage alone for ages grin

omfgkillmenow Mon 17-Sep-12 23:41:47

sand pit, totally engrosses little ones especially if you have construction vehicles like dozers and diggers.

UmmOfUmbridge Mon 17-Sep-12 23:45:24

My 16m old likes those big duplo type plastic blocks. She can put a few together then break them up repeatedly. She likes stacking cups. They're great, she also has a toddler type car garage and she can make the cars slide down it.
Nothing keeps her amused for long though. Especially since her 2 year old sister fights her for everything!! They tend to amuse each other best by hiding under the table and giggling. smile

TwinkleReturns Mon 17-Sep-12 23:48:45

argh DDs the opposite. Shes quite happy trundling about playing but she WONT play with me if Im trying to get her to focus on a new skill - like introducing the idea of colours, or building something, or imaginative play with her animals and cars etc Shes quite happy to throw things at me and giggle or to chase me or hide until I find her, and she dances a lot. Im hoping she'll get there with the other stuff when shes ready!!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 17-Sep-12 23:55:02

Sandpit is a good one.

MegaBloks, Duplo, toy laptop that has songs, numbers etc on it.

It is hard at that age if they aren't naturally inclined that way. DS1 would amuse himself from very young, around 12 months, but DS2 needs more attention.

boredbuthappy Tue 18-Sep-12 02:08:31

He has the duplo too! Alas, a sandpit soubds like a great idea but we don't have a garden or anywhere to make that kind if mess. Guess we'll have to resign to pkaying until he learns to pkay on his own.

stargirl1701 Tue 18-Sep-12 03:12:49

Have fewer toys out rather than overwhelm dc with too many choices.

Ozziegirly Tue 18-Sep-12 06:23:56

It's hard, even at 2 my DS would prefer that I play with him - although I have adapted my role to "sitting on the sofa narrating what he is doing".

The only time that he plays wonderfully by himself is when he is in the bath and I am keen to get him dried and into bed. Then he has super elaborate and time consuming games....

LeBFG Tue 18-Sep-12 07:35:01

Third vote for sand pit (though sometimes he insists I sit and watch him). I have quite a bit of space inside and out, so I've always got a range of toys out (very annoying for adults), but he will do 'circuits'. Play with one for 5 mins then move on.

Things he likes in particular is piling things in and out (like lots of 18mo): a farm with animals he posts in windows and doors is a favorite, stones on driveway he collects in pots and brings indoors (! oops, not really a game). He likes the plastic rocking horse and will spend not an inconsiderable amount of time climbing up and down the stairs and pursuing the dog, so I let him do this.

My DSis swears by a water table. Her DC are 4 and 5 and they still play with it. She pours in warm water in winter, so it's used all year round. I would love one but can't get my hands on one where I live sad

diyqueen Tue 18-Sep-12 12:49:07

No real suggestions, just I feel your pain as 18mo dd is the same. She is most interested in having books read to her at the moment, and will sit still for that, but not much else. Left to her own devices (e.g. if I'm trying to cook dinner) she will follow me around whinging and shouting 'mama! mama!' (or thrusting books at me and shouting in a ploy to get me to sit down again).

Interestingly the only time dd will really play independently with toys is at toddler groups - I don't know if it's the example of the other children, or the novelty?

Ozziegirly Wed 19-Sep-12 07:02:38

I second the water table - one of the best buys we made. DS has had good use out of it for a year and I will be bringing it out again this summer.

boredbuthappy Thu 20-Sep-12 17:33:28

Sounds like it is the super messy activities that are doing it...unfortunately we live in a flat with a balcony and as the weater is getting colder, a water activity is definitely out of the question, maybe will try it next summer, byt that doesn't help us out right now!

MoelFammau Thu 20-Sep-12 22:38:44

Water here too. A washing up bowl on a large bath towel in the bathroom or kitchen, and some scoops, an old plant pot with lots of holes in the bottom, a tube for blowing bubbles... In a flat without a balcony and it's possible to do it.

DD used to be ace at entertaining herself for ages but now she needs a bit more from us (she's 16mo). Water is a guarantee but also she likes the tea-set, crayons and squares of cardboard (old cereal boxes) to make it easier to draw, and sorting objects from one box to another. Does any of this sound likely?

Yesterday I needed 20 mins and blew up a few balloons. The novelty did the trick!

IveNoIntentionOfMakingCupcakes Thu 20-Sep-12 22:48:50

bored my DD is 18 months and similar. I've got one of those baby baths that is far too small for DD to bathe in now but I put towels down on the kitchen floor, fill it with warm water and put some toys in and she messes about for a while whilst I cook etc -obviously I never leave the room. She always gets in and it is just the right size for her to sit in without my help. I make sure there's a dry towel to hand to wrap her in afterwards.

Beamur Thu 20-Sep-12 22:53:23

I was going to suggest water - I used to have a clean cat litter tray, half fill it with luke warm water and put it on the kitchen table with an old towel underneath. Add rocks/bubbles/bath toys/glitter/jugs/whisks, anything really and leave them to get on with it. My DD found this highly absorbing and would play be herself or with a little encouragement for ages.

IveNoIntentionOfMakingCupcakes Thu 20-Sep-12 22:57:09

Also, I put a limited number of activity toys like a magnetic drawing board, a shape sorter and a puzzle on DD's play mat and it seems to encourage her to play with them more attentively than when she goes to the toybox herself to get things out.

IveNoIntentionOfMakingCupcakes Thu 20-Sep-12 23:02:22

Also, I put a limited number of activity toys like a magnetic drawing board, a shape sorter and a puzzle on DD's play mat and it seems to encourage her to play with them more attentively than when she goes to the toybox herself to get things out.

Iris1 Sun 23-Sep-12 14:43:55

I understand its frustrating when your kids wont play with things for more than two minutes but here are some things i do with mine and having a flat shouldnt limit you just work around it!

- Water- kids love water and playing, splashing, pouring from one containerbto another fascinates children your dd's age. you can use a washing up bowl or old baby bath on an old towel on your kitchen floor. Bubbles and toys and clean cloth, warm water and funnels( make your own by cutting milk bottles/plastic bottles), make coloured water by adding a drop of food colouring, you could make another colour in a seperate bottle for her to add and she will start to learn about mixing colours.

- sensory play - clour cheap rice/ pasta with food colouring( let it dry overnight) again stick it in a washing up bowl/plastic tub with funnels/spoons/pots.
- you can have a small amount of sand indoors by using a lidded plastic tub and using it on top of a towel/plastic mat.
- we make cloud dough by using four cups of flour and a cup of oil, its mouldable but not as messy as sand.
- playdough!! make your own, be inventive, add glitter, sequins. Give googly eyes/ pipe cleaners/birthday candles/ coloured matchsticks/baby cutlery.
- discovery boxes - save old egg cartons, collect pine cones, cotton wool, large yoghurt pots, pom poms. Pipe cleaners and a colander. Just see what she does when given 'real' objects not toys.

Bathtime- if she likes the bath you can add a drop of food colouring to make it more interesting, put different toys in like the teaset or plastic animals or even duplo. You can do themed colour baths. We have a couple of spray bottles the kids love to use in the bath. You can make bath paint with shaving foam and food colouring.

Go outside- i try and go out every morning and it really help my kids focus later on. Playground, any woods nearby?? MY kids have wellies and all in one waterproof dungaree things, they learn so much outside.

Hope this helps mine are 4 and 2 and love all this stuff messy and creative is how they like things! my son was about your dauggters age when we started all this on a regular basis sadly, but my daughter has been loving these activities from about ten months on and its now pretty much a daily occurence.
I get most ideas for what i do from blogs my fave is theimaginationtree.com you should have a look!
Hopefully she will become more absorbed in activitys soon!

beela Sun 23-Sep-12 19:28:22

My DS was just like this until the last month or so, he is now 23 months and plays happily for 10-15 minutes with his duplo train set or his cars (and I feel guilty for not playing with him, even though I have spent the past 2 years wishing he would be a bit more independent confused).

So it may not be very long before he is happy playing on his own for short periods?

I sometimes get him to 'help' me cook by getting out some pots & pans for him and putting them on the kitchen floor with some spoons, cake sprinkles, dry pasta, dry lentils, whatever, and he mixed things together, pours from one container to another, generally makes a (dry) mess until I have finished the actual cooking, and then he helps me sweep it all up with a dustpan & brush.

cloudhands Sun 23-Sep-12 19:56:53

I've been following the hand in hand parenting approach, www.handinhandparenting.org/
and they have a great concept called special time, where you spend time doing exactly what the child wants to do,
I've been doing it with my 12 month old, and what I find interesting is that if I am trying to do stuff around the house like cook or clean she wants to be picked up constantly.
since she can't talk yet, when we do special time, i get down on the floor, follow her around and see what she wants to do. I don't direct the play, but just spend most of the time, talking a little, encouraging, smiling and making eye contact, what's interesting it's that she's happy to explore around being independent, when she knows I'm giving her my full attention. And I have found that if I can invest this time, maybe 30 mins one on one, intense attention as she plays independently, then when that time is up, she is more likely to be happy to play alone.

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