At 18 months, children are developing mentally and physically and are interested in discovering and exploring the world around them. One way to encourage development and allow for discovery and exploration is with supervised craft activities. Crafts promote fine motor skill development, enrich vocabulary, encourage creativity and serve as a bonding activity for parents and children.
Cover the workspace with newspaper and spread out sheets of blank paper. Fill bowls with nontoxic, washable finger paint and allow your 1 1/2-year-old to go to town, pressing his hands into the paint and spreading it onto the paper. Point out the different colors and draw pictures of shapes, letters or other simple objects yourself and name them for your child. As an alternative to paint, dip fingers into pudding or yogurt, which may work better for children who like to put their fingers in their mouth.
Cut a piece of contact paper and place it on a flat surface with the stick side facing up; tape down edges to prevent the paper from moving. Cut pieces of crepe paper and construction paper and place them in bowls. Put other objects, such as cotton balls, cut pieces of fabric and foam shapes in bowls as well. Encourage your 18-month-old to pick up the objects and place them on the contact paper. While doing so, talk about the items -- how they feel and what they're called. When she's finished, cover the back of the collage with butcher or construction paper to frame it.
An activity as simple as stamping can serve as a craft project for children 1 1/2 years old. Lay out pieces of paper and provide your child with different types of stamps: letters, numbers, animals and shapes. Invite him to press the stamps into nontoxic ink pads and press the stamps onto the paper. Turn it into a learning opportunity by talking about the colors and objects of the stamps.
Help your 1 1/2-year-old string beads for a craft project. Cut lengths of yarn and tape one end of the yarn to a tabletop. Provide your child with different types of large beads and uncooked pasta noodles. Help her string the beads and noodles onto the yarn, discussing the shapes and colors as she does. When the yarn is filled with beads, noodles or a combination of the two, remove the tape and tie the ends together. Use the finished craft as a necklace, bracelet, key chain or decoration.