How to Entertain a 1-Year-Old

Your 1-year-old is developing the motor skills, coordination and social abilities to show her curiosity about the world around her through interactive play activities 2. By 12 months, most babies can crawl or walk with assistance, use a pincer grasp, respond to a simple command, imitate other people's expressions and copy gestures, according to HealthyChildren.org 1. Providing your almost-toddler with stimulating activities won't just entertain her, but will also help her develop new skills and make her own discoveries.

Engage all of your child's senses. Encourage your 1-year-old to explore objects by touching them, listening to them, seeing them or smelling them. For example, give your child differently textured items such as a fluffy stuffed bear, a smooth board book, and a bumpy blanket to look at and touch.

Get scientific, and allow your baby to make basic discoveries about the physical world. Give her a shallow pan of water -- siting next to her -- and let her make waves or splashes with her finger, or take her outside so she can feel the soft grass under her feet.

Give your child choices when it comes to entertainment. Provide two or three different options, such as stacking cups, plastic blocks or a soft, cloth doll.

Entertain your 1-year-old with an art activity 2. Allow him to use different materials in different ways. Give him nontoxic finger paints and paper or a few crayons to make squiggles and scribbles with.

Speak in simple words, using gestures with your instructions. For example, point at a stack of plastic blocks and say "Pick up."

Engage in the activity with your infant. Move off of the sidelines and get in on the action. Finger paint together, sing songs, clap your hands with her, or build a two- or three-block tower as a team.

Tips

Schedule a play date. While your 12-month-old isn't ready to play with a friend, he will play next to or near another child. Although he won't act completely social, he may notice and copy the other infant's actions and gestures. Vary your entertainment strategies daily. Instead of spending every day entertaining your child by singing to him, trade that activity for finger painting with pudding or another equally engaging activity.

Warnings

Never leave your 12-month-old alone while she is playing. Always supervise her. Check for safety and choking hazards before giving your child anything to play with. Avoid passive activities, such as TV, as a method of entertainment. These won't engage your child's mind or allow her to make her own discoveries.

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