Your Baby from 19 to 21 Months: Curiosity and Independence

Exciting Developments in Toddler Play

Between 19 and 21 months, "toddlers can't name colors or shapes, but many can tell the difference," says Blanche Benenson, MD, a pediatrician at Montefiore Medical Center, in the Bronx, "and they love sorting things." If you watch your child playing on her own, you may notice that she sorts the red blocks from the blue ones or her dolls from her stuffed animals. It's exciting for toddlers to identify differences between objects, especially because their hands are dexterous enough to arrange them in satisfying stacks and piles. Further evidence of improving hand skills: When your child stacks plastic rings on a stick, she'll try putting them in order, from largest to smallest, instead of stacking them randomly, as she might have done in the past.

This sorting behavior lays the groundwork for more sophisticated problem solving later in life, since so much of abstract thinking depends on our ability to compare and organize things to help make sense of the world.

Fun Facts about Baby's Development

What Baby's Doing:
Month 19: Enjoys imitating animal sounds, scribbles with a crayon, and views herself as the center of the world
Month 20: Experiences rapid mood shifts, names familiar objects and people, and combines two or more words to form basic sentences
Month 21: Sorts and organizes objects by common attributes, includes a second person in pretend play, and can walk backward and climb up a staircase

Holly Robinson lives with her five children outside of Boston.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, April 2006.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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