Next in our Life hacks for parents series aims at playing with your child. Around the time when your child is one year old, they will be able to pull themselves together to their feet and stumble forward. Parenting a toddler is filled with numerous opportunities to enjoy new moments with your baby, including those first shaky steps of your 1-2 year old as they express their determination, independence, and enthusiasm for life. While this can be entertaining, it is also exhausting for your baby, so you should find some fun-filled activities to do with your toddler. This will not only enrich your role in their development, but also aid their growth, learning, and full potential.
Playing with your One-year Old
Playing with your child in the first year of their life allows you to discover your own sense of wonder and fun, while creating a positive relationship with your toddle that will place you in a unique position of parent, teacher, and mentor. Some fun activities at different stages include:
12 – 16 months
Push me, pull you: At this point, your child is trying to stand and walk around, so you can help him practice with a pushing and pulling game using a plastic stacking box filled with soft toys, child-size chair, or other moveable object. Your baby will hold one of the edges for support while you hold the other side to stabilise it, and then pull the object slowly towards you to encourage him to step forward. After a while, he will start pushing as you pull gently. This activity will build his confidence for when he starts to walk on his own.
Clap Happy: while your baby can hold his hands open, he can still not clap independently. So, you can clap together with him, or let him hold your hands and pat them. Your baby can sit on your lap facing you, or on the floor, as you sing clapping songs together. Doing this will boost your baby’s hand-eye coordination as well as his language skills.
Roll it to me: soft, foam balls are good for indoor use, while the bouncy ones are used outdoors. The best game for your toddle at this age involves rolling a soft ball on the floor as you encourage him to catch it. Sit on the ground facing each other – legs apart and toes touching, and roll the ball to each other. This activity builds hand-eye coordination and builds arm strength.
Brick Patterns: as this activity requires a bit of concentration, you should play it when your toddler is feeling refreshed. Use his building blocks to make simple shapes or patterns and encourage him to copy them with other blocks. Then, let him make his own patterns and you copy them. Playing around with shapes encourages your baby to develop problem-solving skills.
20 – 24 months
At this age, you can add a bit of vigour to your games. For instance, your child can chase balloons, or dance to music with a loud beat, or chase him around the house.
Such activities help to stimulate emotional development, facilitate fine motor-skill development, and discover the baby’s speech and communication.