Baby's Second Year -- Your 20-Month-Old

Make nontoxic colorful homemade dough

Make a plaster casting of your child's hand. Press her hand into wet plaster, pull it straight out and allow the mold to dry thoroughly. You can then decorate the form with paint. Add a ribbon bow and -- presto! -- you'll have a keepsake to treasure for many years to come.

Create simple "toys". You can see your toddler is outgrowing some of her toys. Here are a few ways to keep her happy that don't require a trip to the toy store:

• A cardboard tube that's found inside a roll of paper towels, aluminum foil or waxed paper can be used as a megaphone.
• Use the tube as a telescope. Sit quietly and watch for birds or gaze at the stars.
• A plastic straw is great for blowing bubbles in the bathtub. (Be sure to supervise carefully to be sure your child doesn't accidentally drink the bathwater.)

There are lots of "toys" like these around your house. When you spy an object that looks like it could be fun -- and safe -- be creative. Invent a new use that will have your little one squealing in delight.


Avoid playing catch-up on chores during your weekend. Take simple steps all week long to ease weekend frustrations. Enlist the help of every family member, as everyone working together will be much more effective.

• Create a to-do list and have everyone tackle age-appropriate tasks.
• Put away items as they are used. This will keep the house neat, sparing a day's worth of picking up at the end of the week.

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