Playing with Purpose: One Year!

Holy Moly! We have hit the one-year mark. It is crazy and wonderful and I love watching miss Mae learn and grow. Lately, she LOVES being outside, learning how to walk on the grass, going for a “ride” in her toy car and anything to do with water. She is beginning to play pretend, carrying her baby doll with her everywhere she goes, and is learning words faster than I can keep track of.

Here are some important milestones to remember for this age:

  • Follows your point or gaze to look at an item, and may follow or point to an item you have named
  • Participates in “filling and dumping” play: filling a cup with water and dumping out, putting an object in and out of a box, pulling all the tissues out of the container!!
  • Looks for items you have hidden
  • Shows an interest in play and engages more actively: they may bring an item or toy to you and look expectantly
  • They learn through repetition: listening to us sing the same song over and over, repeating the same play sequence and having favorite play activities are great for learning!
  • They like to “help” with household activities, such as cleaning and dressing
  • Beginning pretend play: play routines consist of imitating familiar scenarios, such as saying “hello” into telephone or feeding a baby doll

So, how do you play with a one year old?

  • Hide and Seek Games: Hide objects under a blanket or in a box, hide a toy someone easily seen around a room or hide yourself somewhere (i.e. on the other side of the coffee table, like in our house). Become animated as you “peek” at the item, or yell “peek a boo!” and laugh as they find you
  • Movement/Naming songs: Sing songs that involve movement, such as “If you’re happy and you know it” and make up all kinds of movements, imitating them as you play. Maely’s favorite is “if you’re happy and you know it rub your belly!”. She also likes any songs that have her clapping, or pointing to her eyes, ears, nose, etc.
  • Playing with baby doll: again, modeling here is a great way to promote play, and your little one is likely to think you are hilarious. I take Maely’s baby doll and give her hugs, lay her down with a blanket for nuh-night and feed her some pretend food. She often then imitates my actions, and recently I saw her act them out on her own.
  • Building towers and knocking them down: So much fun! We building with some soft plastic blocks we have, and other times we use wooden ones that make a loud bang when they fall. We have also played together with pots and pans or storage containers, to see what we can build and knock down.
  • Collecting and filling buckets: A current favorite in our household is to collect rocks outside and put them inside an empty water gallon jug (all her idea one day!). I have also saved old oatmeal containers and cut slits in the top to put popsicle sticks in, and putting poms poms in and out of one of her snack containers have also been a hit.

What are some recommended products and toys for this age? Some favorites in our household lately have been:

 Baby Doll: We have a Corolle baby doll, which I have found to work really well. It is the perfect size for Maely to carry around, has a soft body but sturdy arms, legs and head (its needed! Haha!).

Water Table: Now that she has preference for standing up, Maely is able to take her love for water to a new level. She splashes in, fills and dumps cups and throws rocks into the water. We were able to snag this one for free at a yard sale (score!) and have really enjoyed it.

Dimple Duo: What seems like such a simple toy keeps Maely entertained for quite some time, especially in the car. For a while, I was modeling “pop…pop..” but now she will say this on her own. I am beginning to pair it with other words, such as “pop blue…pop red”. It is a perfect balance of challenge and success as she uses her pointer to pop each section.

Spin Again: This is a simple, yet engaging activity. Maely is determined to put the spinner on the stick, which is great for her hand-eye coordination. It is a simple cause and effect toy that can be played over and over again!

If you would like some individualized, one-on-one support for tips, tricks and ideas of how to be present, play with and support your child in their current stage of development, email me here to sign up for a free 20 minute call to discuss which of my programs may be best for you!

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