Monday, September 8, 2014

Purposeful Parenting: Play Ideas for 1-Year-Olds

Now that your baby has officially graduated to toddler status, you'll notice his or her developments are rapidly coming along. Your tot may have started to walk, is gibbering in his or her own language (with some actual words thrown in there for good measure) and is interested in far more than ever before. Here are some good ways to actively engage and play with your tot:

Swimming Time
Before, your child may have really only spent time in water in the tub. But now that baby is a tot, you can definitely take your tot swimming in an actual pool or lake. Our favorite ways to do this with Bug are to hold her in the water or we use a handy-dandy raft you can purchase at Target and other mass retailers. The raft is built for babies and has a sun shield for over their bodies.

Dance Party
One of Bug's favorite things is to dance with her papa. Jason will hold Bug in his arms and dance all around the living room. She giggles and giggles and giggles. It is the best thing ever. Take it one step further and put on music. Bug loved music as an infant and still loves it. We're happy to encourage her love of music.

Let's Play Ball
Bug's favorite toy by far is a ball. Any ball - big small, bouncy or not. The girl loves to roll them back and forth or just play fetch.

Building Blocks
Bug is great at putting blocks together, and we'll build a big tower for her to dissemble. Building blocks is one of the best ways to help with hand-eye coordination. I also use block time to teach colors.

Story Time
No child is ever at an age where reading isn't appropriate, but you can start graduating your baby from board books to real books. Bug is pretty good at turning real pages in books, and I credit her ability with our forethought to give her lots of practice at doing this at an early age. We also read her chapter books now. Even if Bug doesn't understand a word we say, by reading out loud to her, I know we're encouraging her imagination and she's learning the cadence of language.

Move Night
It is recommended that children under 2 do not watch any television. What you choose to do is up to you. We have decided to allow Bug to watch about a half hour of television each day and rarely is she actually watching television. Typically, we put in a movie at night while we cuddle, brush her hair and get ready for bed. I will say this: Bug is much more agreeable to grooming if a movie is on to distract her from me brushing her hair and clipping her nails. We do enjoy having a movie night once in a while and Bug is usually ready for bed before we're even halfway through the movie. I'm glad we're limiting her screen time and it's obvious in her interest (or lack thereof) in television that we're doing something right there.

Playtime at the Park
Bug loves nothing more than being pushed in a swing or just running around the park. Thankfully, we have several good parks right near our apartment. This is a favorite activity for all of us to enjoy.

Coloring, Writing, Drawing
Bug loves to color with crayons and pencils. We just give her plain paper and she will draw lines and dots. Surprisingly, she holds a pencil with pretty good accuracy and again, I credit this with the fact that we let her explore pencils very early in life. If Bug expresses an interest in something, we let her explore that to the fullest, so long as no one is being hurt.

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