Newborn babies aren’t too demanding in terms of providing information and guidance, as most of the time during the day a baby will need nourishment and rest. But things tend to change after baby’s first birthday. By then it’ll be able to express complex emotions with more than just a cry or call for attention.
Your baby will be able to crawl and produce a sound that resembles actual worlds. This is the time when the infant really starts developing physically and mentally.
That’s why it’s important to focus on interacting with her by completing activities that are beneficial to her overall progress. And the best way to do so I through playtime. Your baby will learn so much more if it finds the exercise interesting and you’re the person responsible for making it fun and entertaining.
It’s important that you’re present during this period being that the baby starts interacting with her surrounding, exploring it, learning about action and reaction and much more. This is what makes it such a fun period for them. Remember that for the baby, you’re the only source of information about the worlds surrounding her.
How the baby spends this period and how much it learns about socializing, self-awareness, cause, and effect (which are tied to taking responsibility) and other skills directly impact her further progress and development throughout life. It’ll learn everything by playing and interacting so you won’t need fancy toys to teach her about important lessons in life. Here are some fun activities to help your baby progress immensely.
For this activity, you’ll only need a couple of rattles, drums or any toys or objects that can produce sound. Introduce your baby to a world of music. Music describes emotions far better than words can. And being that your baby hasn’t learned how to speak properly yet, why not communicate through music.
Start by placing the toys in front of your little one and start playing a random tune. After you’re done trying to teach the baby to do the same. If it has difficulties understanding the task at hand, try to show your little one by placing a rattle in its hand and he/she will do the rest. By experiencing the sounds that baby made either by bashing one instrument into another or on a surface, the baby develops self-awareness as well as motor skills and muscles of the hand. At the same time, the infant will start having a great time doing it and that’s’ what’s most important.
2. Build an Improvised Castle
By now you already know a couple of activities for 1 year olds that don’t require any special toys or material as it’s all about improvising. This is where your creativity should stand out. Every kid loves building improvised castles and caves.
Although your baby girl or boy isn’t strong enough to build their own improvised castle, you can help her. Start by placing a couple of chairs or better yet pillows around one side of the bed. This way you won’t have any hard or object inside the castle.
Cover that construction with a couple of sheets, blankets or more pillows and cushions and voila, you’ve made a playground for your little one. Show your child how it’s done and try to act as if you’re entering the castle so the baby can crawl inside. Be sure to create a wide entrance and exit. This will make the activity that much fun as the baby will be able to repeat the process of entering and exiting their improvised castle.
3. Color Balloon Game
Your little one should be able to resemble one color from another by now. When a baby is born it sees the world differently than adults. Although baby’s hearing becomes fully functioning when it reaches one month, the sight still develops. This will last until its 8 or 9 months old.
This is why it’s important to work with your little one while the sight is perfecting. After her first birthday, your baby will have a stronger focus, the ability to distinguish most of the colors and will see the world almost as clear as we see it. To help her progress even faster, try playing color games with her. One of the best ways is to balloons or balls. By arranging multicolored balloons around her crib, next to baby’s play mat, or generally next to her, you’ll create an interesting challenge for her.
This activity is highly beneficial for the development of her cognitive abilities as well as social and motor skills. To pick the color you’ve called out, she’ll need to spot all the balloon, recognize the color, decide to go for it as she’s determined to get the right answer and raise her hand to grab it. This may sound like a simple and fairly short process but remember that our brain processes absurd amounts of information per second and that even the simplest actions depend on this process of turning electrical impulses into words and actions.
4. Mirror Game
When it comes to fun things to do with a 1 year old you can never run out of fun games and activities to teach your child about important life skills and to promote her development. Now is the perfect time for your little one to start developing a sense of self-awareness.
If she never encountered her reflection before she won’t know that the image she’s seeing in the mirror is her. This is what makes this activity that much more fun and entertaining for both parents and the baby. Start by getting a mirror that’s safe for baby’s use. Try getting either a fully framed mirror or an unbreakable one with soft edges. Look for baby toys and you’ll surely find one.
Once you have it in front of you and the baby, get a lipstick or an easy to remove pen. Draw a dot, a heart or any other shape on infant’s nose, cheek, chin or forehead. Place the mirror in front of her and let her touch the part of her face with a painted shape.
This will raise her self-awareness as she’ll be able to connect the feeling of touch with the image seen in front of her. By realizing that she’s touching her nose at the moment of looking at her reflection she’ll start to understand that the shape represents her. This is an important activity and is recommended by many child psychologists and professionals in that area of expertise.
5. A Game of Shape Recognition
For this game, you can use all of her favorite toy animals as your little one will have plenty of them by now. Get a bunch of different animal toys and place them in front of your child. Start by showing the animals yourself as you pronounce their names. It doesn’t have to be a precise name of the animal.
You can use cute nicknames like professor Giraffe or Miss Porky. Once you show her how it’s done and point the animals as you mention them she’ll be inclined to do the same. Be sure to make the choices easy in the beginning by placing only a couple of toy animals in front of her. As she progresses in the guessing game add a couple of more and try to let her chose by herself without helping or assisting.
If she finds it difficult to point the animal whose name you’ve called out try to rearrange them and assist by pointing in the right area. This way you’ll maintain a steady level of progression and you’re baby won’t lose interest in the game. By pointing the animals you pronounce she’ll develop her cognitive function even more as she’ll be practicing shape recognition which is important.
6. The Word Game
Although her speech isn’t impeccable, your baby is able to produce a sound that resembles words. She’s been listening to her parent for one year now and is starting to imitate the sound coming from your mouth. Speech and the ability to think, express emotions with words, gestures, and action, plan ahead and perform complex operations in our head is what makes us superior to animals.
So being that your baby will try to imitate speech instinctively, you should play a word game with her. Simply pronounce words that come to your mind and let her repeat them. Be sure to use simple words that can be pronounced easily. Also, it’s recommended that you pronounce each syllable before you pronounce the whole word. This way you’ll give her precise and clear instructions and she’ll be able to learn her first words before you know it.
This is the most joyful period for parent and the baby as well as she’ll be curious to explore her surrounding, learn new skills and will generally absorb every information like a sponge. Although she’s not able to express her emotions and though via words yet, you’ll find she’s quite capable of doing so in other ways. It’s important that you make this period fun and exciting as it’s the best way to learn and progress for your little one.