Developmental Milestones: 12-18 months of age

Written by Rhiannon Pilgrim (Director, Occupational Therapist)

As parents we often wonder:

  • is my baby doing all the things they “should” be?
  • are they developing at the right pace?
  • are they getting enough exposure to a range of opportunities to develop?
  • am I doing a good enough job?!

Then they reach toddler years and you think, gee I shouldn’t have stressed so much; they are walking and talking and doing all the right things. But now we are asking ourselves:

  • is their behaviour normal?
  • are they eating enough?
  • are they social enough?
  • am I doing a good enough job?!

And so on it goes throughout their life! So, in short – YES – you are doing a great job! But sometimes hearing that just isn’t enough to curb our concerns. So let’s have a look at some of the typical milestones and associated ages to put your mind at ease, but please remember it is normal for some babies and toddlers to take a bit longer to reach these.

Fine motor:

6-12 months

  • Uses accurate and direct reach for toys
  • Plays with toys in front of them and passes toys form one hand to the other
  • Bangs objects together to make sounds
  • Releases toys into a container
  • Grasps small objects with fingertips

12-18 months:

  • Holds a crayon and makes marks/scribble
  • Stacks blocks and uses toy shape sorters to insert shapes
  • Uses two hands in play (one to stabilize and one to manipulate) e.g. when putting an object into a box they may use one hand to stabilize the box and the other to place the toy
  • Points with index finger
  • Attempts puzzles

Gross motor:

6-12 months

  • Kicks with both legs at the same time when laying on their back
  • Sits propping with hand until able to sit independently
  • Rolls from place to place

12-18 months

  • Sits in small chair
  • Plays while standing
  • Walks well
  • Squats to pick up toys
  • Flings a ball
  • Pushes and pulls large toys or carts
  • Begins to run


6-12 months

  • Enjoys being held up in the air and moving through the air
  • Finger feeds self
  • Listens to speech
  • Explores different textures and objects

12-18 months

  • Enjoys messy activities
  • Reacts to extreme sensations such as warm, cold, sweet
  • Enjoys a range of different sensory experiences (movement, food, playing in water)


6-12 months

  • Responds to own name
  • Recognises others names and common words
  • Looks at picture books
  • Imitates simple gestures

12-18 months

  • Knows that things exist even if they can’t see them
  • Follows simple one-step instructions
  • Points to some body parts  
  • Expects basic routine events to occur


6-12 months

  • Attachment to parents and caregivers
  • Social play with parents and caregivers
  • Begins to use toys for their functional purpose (ball, blocks)
  • May show stranger anxiety
  • Lifts arms to be picked up

12-18 months

  • Symbolic play (drinks from toy cup, eats pretend food)
  • Playing alongside other children
  • Participates in simple hello and goodbye interactions

Check back in for our future blog post where we’ll describe the next phases of developmental milestones in children.

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