The exercises I learned for the preschooler, though, are still a bit advanced for an 18 month old. But, the idea of Practical Life is to use things and activities that are part of everyday life, and teach him how to do them so he can be a bit more independent. So I've been figuring out what kinds of things to set out for him to try. We're working on drinking from a cup instead of sippy cups. I'm about to order some small toddler-sized pitchers so he can also learn to pour water into his own cup, along with a toddler-sized broom to he can help "sweep" the patio.
Today I had a spur-of-the-moment idea-- why not let him help me unload the dishwasher? I wad a dishwasher full of clean dishes. He can only reach the bottom rack, so no glass for him to handle (though eventually we'll build up to that), and our plates are all the cheap-o (and easily replaceable) Ikea variety so even if he drops one it's not a big deal. I always found it so cool to watch 3 year olds at my old school use real glass plates and cups to set the tables for lunch, and figured D might just be up for a similar task.
He immediately loved it, of course. I showed him first how to grab one plate out of the rack, and then he walked a foot or 2 to hand it over to me so I could put it away. He then went on and brought me each plate, one by one, untill the only few left were ones he coudln't reach anymore, and then I helped him get them out and let him then hand them back to me. He remembered to hold the plates with both hands most of the time, and over time we'll work on stressing how to hold the plate (horizontal to the ground with one hand on each side, not hilding it by the top and letting the bottom droop) but for a first time he did awesome and didn't drop a thing. And, again, he loved it. He then kept wanting to load things into and out of the dishwasher. And this is perhaps my favorite part of Practical Life exercises, that you take things that most of us view as boring or dull and you give it to a child and they just think it's the coolest thing they've ever done. =)