Cognitive Development

Cognitive development at this stage has advanced to the point where your child exercises his problem solving abilities to find a hidden toy (12 – 18 months). He may do something over and over to find out how it works. Also, he is developing a facility for stacking blocks or putting objects into a container (18 months) and most likely derives great pleasure from doing so. Encourage him to explore with his hands and fingers with activities such as scribbling (18 months) with a crayon or playing with a bubble wand.
Support your child to reach his goals and teach him to ask for help. When you see that he is getting frustrated when not able to solve a problem, offer to assist or demonstrate an alternate approach to the problem and work through it together. Help, but do not do it for him; the more he does on his own, the more he will learn.

Activities to Stimulate Toddler Development

Playing with your child is the best way to encourage your child's positive cognitive development. Provide lots of positive reinforcement for every success, and patience and understanding for any mistakes. Here are some fun activities for you to enjoy together:

Promote memory skills.

  • Watch videos of family events or looking at photographs to recognize familiar faces.
  • Introduce the ABCs: try a new letter every week. Cut out each letter or make them out of food shapes.
  • Try guiding his hand to draw each letter with finger paint.

Reading aloud every day.

  • Even if you only read for 5 or 10 minutes, your child will learn words by hearing you say them.
  • Make it an interactive experience - name objects in the books and let him point to them.

Explain things as they're happening.

  • Make it a conversation, and listen actively when he talks.
  • Play peek-a-boo. He truly believes he's invisible when he holds his hands over his eyes.

Ask him to find things.

  • You'll be surprised how much he knows.

Expand on his words.

  • If he says “car,” make it into a sentence.

Put faces to voices to stimulate memory.

  • When friends and family call on the phone, put pictures near the phone so he can see who's talking to him.


  • Introduce nursery rhymes, finger plays and counting rhymes.
  • Listen to recordings.

Use the mirror.

  • Let him make faces and name his body parts.

Play with blocks to explore cause-and-effect.

Introduce new environments.

  • New playgrounds, the grocery store, or the children's room at the library are all exciting places to explore.

Play with writing.

  • Experiment with chunky crayons.
  • Help him colour on paper with them, and learn NOT to eat them.

Provide him with the opportunity to make appropriate choices.

  • Let him choose his shirt or what kind of fruit he would like to eat.

Why is Nutrition Important?

Evidence supports that children who enjoy high-quality nutrition early in life have greater visual acuity, language skills and developmental outcomes. Encourage your child’s success with a balanced diet of nutrient-rich foods.

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