How to Play with a 1 Year Old: 4 Steps - MakeSureHow
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Toddlers can turn any time into playtime.

By the time a child is turning 1, she's becoming more mobile and aware of her surroundings. Even young uncles and childless friends are less afraid of a child by the time she's a young toddler, as 1-year-olds seem far less fragile than infants. Still, people who don't have a ton of experience with children may not be sure how to play with a kid this age. Luckily, most 1-year-olds will lead you in the way they feel like playing.


  1. 1
    Break the ice with songs or finger play. Even if it's just the alphabet song and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," babies love to hear adults singing and being silly. Finger play is basically just songs that have hand motions with them, like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" or patty-cake.
  2. 2
    Make dolls or stuffed animals talk to entertain the child, or follow his lead and watch him play with them himself, complimenting him on how well he cares for the stuffed toy and asking him questions like "What's the doll's name?" and "Where did you get it?"
  3. 3
    Pretend to talk into a play phone. Have made-up conversations with people and encourage the child to play along. Hand her the phone and ask her to talk to the person on the other end of the line. Kids are great at this -- they pick up on the game right away and will usually babble for quite some time to Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, or friends both real and imaginary.
  4. 4
    Race cars along the floor, showing her how the car can roll over and under furniture. Then give her one of the cars and have a toy car "race" with her. And please, let her win! She's only a baby, for goodness sake.


  • Picture books are a great way to entertain kids of all ages, including 1-year-olds. In addition to fostering a love of books and early literacy skills, reading to a child is a nice way to bond and pass the time, even if that time seems a good deal longer after reading a book about a caterpillar for the fourteenth time. If it's almost time for a nap, reading can be a nice way to settle kids down before resting.

Things You'll Need

  • Storybooks
  • Stackable blocks
  • Dolls or stuffed animals
  • Toy cars
  • Toy telephone

Article Info

Categories: Education and Communications

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