Playing games with your 1-year-old can be a fun way to bond and help them develop socially. At this age, children are learning about the world around them and how to interact with others, so it's a good idea to create fruitful interactions that will allow them to learn about and practice these skills. Think any activity that encourages sharing, turn-taking, talking, or stretching the imagination. Looking for some fun, easy ways to bond with your little one in a way that's conducive to their social development? Try out the games below!
- Simple hide & seek - Hide and seek is great for social development because it relies on cooperation between the hiders and the seekers. Plus, all the anticipation of the hiding and seeking and the delight in the finding provides plenty of positive reinforcement with laughing and smiles. At this age, keep your game simple. Stay in one room and hide in places where your child will be able to find you without too much stress. Remember, they're still mastering their mobility!
- Pretend telephone - Use your hand or a toy phone and pretend to have a back and forth conversation. This simple activity not only stretches their imagination, but reinforces sharing and the social cooperation necessary to have a real conversation. Plus, all this talking is wonderful for their language development!
- Turn-taking with pouring - At this age, children are discovering cause and effect. That's why you'll notice your 1-year-old overturning boxes, throwing items, and knocking things over. They want to see what will happen! In the bath, take turns pouring water from different containers. Use your container to pour water into your child's chosen container and then see if they can pour it back into yours. Play around and switch containers with one another. This game provides practice for sharing, turn-taking, and gives your child positive reinforcement for experimenting. It's also great for hand-eye coordination!
- Racetrack play - Stretch the imagination by making a racetrack (use a toy track, cardboard, a dirt path, or anything from around the home) and use toy cars to play make-believe with your child. Talk through everything that you guys are doing, as this communication is wonderful for their language development. Queue turn-taking and cooperation skills by saying things like, "Let's drive our cars over here! Do you want to go first? You go and then I go!" Tell them to follow your car and then give them a turn to be the leader.