Children at this age are like little scientists, constantly exploring. They tirelessly investigate every drawer, play with and spill liquids, tear and scribble on any paper they find, and disassemble toys in an effort to understand them better.
They continue to use trial-and-error to solve problems. They also begin to find solutions through symbolic thought, or manipulating mental images to anticipate an outcome without the need to experiment.
Mental representations also begin to manifest themselves through symbolic play. For example, cardboard boxes become cars and plastic bottles become rockets. Symbolic play will continue for years, each time with representations that more accurately reflect reality.
Their ability to walk and balance continues to improve, allowing them to carry larger and larger objects. Some children may run short distances and climb stairs by themselves, leaning only on the railing for support.
As they approach their second birthday, children experience more emotions and will need help putting their feelings into words. Their inability to do this can result in frustration, tantrums or other unwanted behavior.