Learning through play at 1 year

When you first brought Baby home, it probably took a while for her to even start to focus her eyes in on her toys, never mind actually start playing with them. By now, though, she is starting to toddle into toddlerhood, and the age of play is upon you. It may be a few more months before you find yourself having to turn literally every part of your and Baby’s routine into a game or a race just to keep her interested, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a bit of a head start by playing some games just for fun, before “let’s play ‘how many things can we count standing in line at the post office?’” kicks in as a defense mechanism.

  1. Sing a little song, do a little dance
    Songs in general are a hit with many 1-year olds. It’s also one of the only times when you’re the one with the biggest impact on Baby‘s musical taste, so enjoy it while it lasts! Also, adding a little bit of motion to the mix can only make it more fun. Ring-around-the-rosie is an obvious one, but whether you’ve got a stuffed animal following Baby around the room through “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” twinkling jazz-hands through “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” or you’ve got her learning the macarena, adding movement to music is always a fun next step.
  2. Believe in make-believe:
    Baby is getting old enough to start to understand imaginative play, which is great, because imaginative play can be an important way to learn about the world. Talking about Baby’s favorite stuffed animals’ feelings can be a way to give her a frame of reference for thinking about her own. And as Baby gets older, getting into the habit of imaginative play can help you get some insight into what’s going on in her mysterious little developing brain.
  3. Roll on by
    Playing pass with Baby could be the beginning of an inspiring career in any number of sports – or it could just be a good way to help her build up her muscles and coordination. It’s also a good place to start in teaching Baby how to play with others, instead of just near them. Passing a ball back and forth is one of those games that isn’t much fun for either player if they don’t take turns, which can be a good concept to start establishing in Baby’s mind early on.

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