One-year-olds are transitioning from being babies to full-fledged toddlers. This is a time of discovery, independence and play. The best toys for 1-year-olds are ones that can be shared between child and parent—such as books that can be read together or blocks that a parent can stack and the child can knock down. Look for toys that stimulate the imagination. In general, the simpler the toy, the better. One-year-olds like to explore, discover and enjoy life. Your soon-to-be toddler will enjoy and benefit from one of these toys.
One of the best things parents can do for children is to read to them. Reading familiarizes children with books and shapes their vocabulary. Pick out books with real pictures of objects baby sees in daily life, such as dogs, cars, people (baby faces are a favorite) and food. Point out these objects in the book and match them to the ones in real life. Babies also love to turn pages.
Teach your baby to stack blocks by saying, “Stack one block on top of the other.” This helps baby follow directions during play. Stacking blocks inevitably leads to knocking them over, a lesson in cause and effect.
Some babies are walking by their first birthday, and others are still engulfed in the learning process. Push/pull toys are fun for both the walker and the pre-walker. These toys help baby maintain her balance. They also allow baby to mimic adult activities, such as vacuuming or mowing the lawn.
Shape sorters allow baby to fine-tune his hand-eye coordination as he tries to fit the right shape in the correct hole. Start with round blocks that fit in round holes, because they’re the easiest to manipulate. After that, progress to squares and other shapes. Baby’s matching skills, decision-making skills and attention span will gradually increase the more he practices sorting shapes.
According to “The Baby Book” by Dr. Sears, graduated containers, such as measuring cups, teach baby the relationship between sizes of objects and how they relate to one another. Baby will learn how little containers fit into big containers, how to take them apart and how to put them back together.
Think of all the things you can do with a ball. Your baby will learn to throw it, kick it and roll it. Playing with a ball helps refine your baby’s cognitive development and teaches her to plan ahead and anticipate actions (the ball rolls, baby waits for it to reach her, then kicks it and the ball rolls away).
Large puzzles are mentally challenging for a little one and help with building an attention span and patience. Youngsters will learn how shapes fit together and the process of trial and error.