Play activities for one-year-olds

Play is so important for your baby's development, explains Midwife Cath in this extract from her book After the First Six Weeks. Here are some great ideas for activities to play with your 10-12-month-old.

1. Bedtime stories

Bedtime stories are a must—babies love stories and often have a favourite book. Believe me, you will read it to him over and over and over again, and he will re-enact and remember parts of the story. Small books with just one object on a page—such as ‘A for Apple’, ‘B for Bottle’, ‘C for Cat’— are really good books to start with. They are simple. Remember that your child does not have a good concentration level at this age.

2. Building blocks

He will love blocks and building towers and knocking them down, because developmentally he’s crawling and sitting by himself by this stage. He also loves playing peekaboo and any games that provide fun.

3. Change the game

Remember that you don’t have to keep on playing the same game with your baby. It’s like tickling a baby. It can be very distressing for him to be tickled constantly. While a few tickles are cute, any more is annoying. If you see friends or family constantly tickling your baby and you feel uncomfortable about it, remember you are your baby’s voice and say, ‘How about just a few tickles, then change the game—that’s what the baby likes.’ You can go ‘kitchy, kitchy, koo’, but when you keep doing that to a baby he really does tire of it and will disengage with you. When he turns away or begins to whinge, that’s the sign he wants to stop that game. So keep games quick, short and varied.

4. Dancing

Babies at this age love dancing, which usually consists of them standing with you holding them under their armpits, then bending their knees and moving with the music. A safety warning here—never swing or pull your baby up by the hands. This applies to all children up to the age of five years. This can cause dislocation of the wrist and elbows very easily and causes severe pain to the baby. The baby would need to have the elbow or wrist popped back in by a doctor. It is really important you tell members of the family and talk up if you see the baby being swung around by his hands during playtime. Remember you are his voice.

5. Playing with boxes

Babies also love putting toys in boxes and taking them out again. But nothing is more exciting for them than extracting a thousand tissues from a tissue box. The problem with this game is that you have to pick up all the tissues! If you can be bothered, buy some cheap handkerchiefs and put them in an empty tissue box. Your baby can pull them out and you can put them back in again, rather than have tissues strewn all over the house.

Extracted from After the First Six Weeks by Midwife Cath, published by Allen & Unwin, RRP $32.99

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