How much of an attention span does your 20-month-old have?
My MIL (who's not my model for parenting -- she preaches CIO -- but who does early childhood education, works in preschools and has her special-needs training) commented that DS, 20 mos, seemed uninterested in the toys she'd left out for him, and might be developing some attention span issues.
Among my MIL's toy selection:
* foam stacking blocks, which he played with for 30 seconds (I think he likes his wooden stacking blocks more)
* wooden jigsaw puzzles but not the easier peg kind, but the kind where you have to put the whole picture together, which is much too advanced for him
* wooden musical instruments, rattles and a washboard (which again I think are both too basic, in terms of skillset, and too advanced, in terms of actually making music/rhythms)
* a book with magnetic pieces, which he liked a lot, especially the part where he got to put the magnets on the fridge
* a book with 35 mini-board books in it, for all the letters and numbers
She thought that the number of toys there should have kept him amused for a few hours, but he was much more interested in playing with her and getting outside to run around. She also commented that perhaps he has too many toys at home, so that he doesn't actually get into exploring any one toy in-depth. I think he just doesn't like her toys. His favourite toy at her place is a giant foam bat and ball that he can whack around.
But here are some samples of what he does do:
* loves the aquadoodle drawing mat. Will draw circles, and I think what is a smiley-face. Will "draw" independently for up to 5 minutes at a time, longer if someone's there and drawing with him. (He's not big on too much independent play.)
* Will read books for a long time if sitting on someone's lap. Again, he's not big on flipping through books by himself. He wants someone to tell him the words that go with the pictures.
* Will sit through us reading 6-8 books to him at bedtime. Will sometimes make us read "The Little Engine that Could" board book 2-3 times.
* Will do his jigsaw puzzles by himself. He's got a big ABC puzzle, with all the letters shaped like animals. He'll put all the pieces into place, and then clap for himself, and then take them all out and put them away into the carrying-box. (Again, this is about 10 minutes of independent play, and then he needs someone to interact with him)
* likes the tupperware shapesorter, and will work at the pieces to fit them in
* Will play independently with his wooden trains and "choo choo" to them, for 5-10 minutes at a time.
* will play in his sandbox for 20 minutes at a time, moving sand into various receptacles. Doesn't need me to do more than be there, but I can't leave or put down my little plastic rake. (If I pick up another sand-tool, he takes it away from me and gives me the rake.)
* Is now fascinated by the alphabet. When I read his I-Spy Alphabet book with him this morning, he named about half the letters before I did. I'm impressed that he can do that at 20 months!
So, what's your 18-24 mo's attention span like? Do they play by themselves for long periods of time, or need you close by all of the time?
I realize that there's a huge range in kids and abilities at this age, but I think she got him when he wanted active running-around play, not floor time with musical instruments and stacking blocks or books.
Although I will confess that I do have waaaay too many toys and books for him, so my MIL is right on that count. But I get bored easily, and since I'm also playing with the toys, I like having the variety.