What type of play activities should I be doing for a one year old? I'm after a few play ideas that stimulates my little one's creative mind and is fun for me as well.

I love the one year old age!  Life is busy and they are trying to find out how the world works.  They do this in a few different ways with their play – investigative, interactive, and pretend play.  Pretend play starts at around one year and literally takes off – this is the start of their creative imagination and is just so easy to watch and be involved with.  Add in that he is learning from everything like, what is rough or smooth, what is big or small.  He certainly needs time to play on his own to work things out himself, however he also loves to play with you and needs an adult showing him how he could use this & that, and the language that goes with it.

Einstein once said “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”  He will start to act out the familiar and what he sees like his teddy pretending to drink from a toy cup, pretending to feed you from a tea set.  When you start to think about toys for pretend play make sure they represent reality eg. Avoid the talking trains, flying cars, stick to what really happens, it is less confusing.   Use your imagination and even better make your own toys at home, this in turns spurns imagination, ie. a face washing can be bedding, an old tissue box a mailbox…  Okay now for some ideas… (if your stuck creatively, watch play school)

A toy telephone, a large doll / teddy with bedding and clothes, a train, plane, cooking items, saucepans, tea set (yes for boys too), a dustpan and brush, broom.

For investigative play: a toy he can push, pull toys, thick wax crayons that he can hold onto, simple shape sorter, peg men in a boat, musical instruments that make noise… drum, maracas, xylophone etc, a mailbox, a hammer and peg toy.  He will love matching objects, fitting things together, stacking, putting objects in and out of containers (they can do this forever), a toy hammer, and water activity – have a range of items from your cupboards in the bath or kitchen sink.

Then there’s Books, books and more books. Favourites at this age are, the Very Hungry Caterpillar and Dear Zoo to start with.  Visit your library.

Lastly interactive play: sing, sing, and sing, nursery rhymes are hugely popular.  Games that involve taking turns – use buckets, blocks, rolling balls, throwing games, mailboxes, rings on a stick; you get the idea.  Above all talk to him.  He is learning a language and talk about all the activities you are doing, talk about in and out, above and under, drinking from a cup, say the words to go with the actions – this is essential. Babies who are not talked to and played with at this time are unlikely to fulfil their potential in the future.


Nicole Pierotti

Written by Nicole Pierotti

© Copyright 2012. No reprinting or publishing without permission from writer. For permission or further information contact nicole@babysmiles.com.au.

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