Your 1-Year-Old

Approaches to Play and Learning

Curiosity is your toddler’s best teacher. She’s interested in everything these days — from meeting other people to exploring new objects and experiences. And although she can still be easily distracted, her attention span is growing. Give her a book and see how long she’ll flip through the pages. Take her outside and watch her eyes light up with wonder at all the activity that surrounds her.

Your toddler enjoys solitary play, but she’s also exhibiting parallel play skills and enjoys being with others. She shows preference for certain playmates, although her preferences may change from day to day.

Family Field Trip: Grocery

My Curiosity Keeps Me Very Busy.

He likes to watch what you do. He likes to watch what others do. Your toddler’s curiosity is a driving force in his life right now, and it’s teaching him many things. Hand him a new toy and watch him explore. Introduce a new playmate and observe their interactions. Listen to his questions. He wants to know more about the people, places and things in his life. Keep answering.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Are the children free to explore their individual interests? Is their curiosity encouraged and supported? Make sure there are ample opportunities for exploration… without too much teacher control.

Playing Is My Job.

Flexible thinking is a job requirement for most everyone. Especially your toddler. Watch as she manipulates her toys during play. First her teddy bear may be…well, just a teddy bear and a beloved companion. But it could also become her superhero, flying through the air to save her stuffed frog from the evil dinosaur villains. This kind of varied play is an important part of your toddler’s development.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Look for pretend play in action. A toddler using a block of wood as a phone, another having a cow drive the tractor- using one item to stand in for another is imagination in action. Teachers support this by playing along, “Oh, the phone is for me?! Well, hello — yes, I do want to order a pizza.”

My Attention Span is Growing.

Have you noticed your toddler is a little more willing to sit through a longer book? That time ticks by as he gets lost in tasks he’s trying to master? Sure, he may be easily distracted by something more interesting, but his attention span grows a little each day. And so is his persistence — that ability to keep trying over and over.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Are children allowed to engage in activities for as long as their interest holds? And do the teachers encourage deeper exploration during these times?

I’m Ready to Make Friends.

Relationships are an important part of every human’s life. Your toddler is no exception. She’s beginning to figure out how to play with her peers, even though she sometimes prefers to play by herself. She may also show a preference for one friend over another, although those preferences may shift and change easily. She’s learning how to navigate her life with others in it.

Look for signs of learning at your child's care.

Child should have the chance both to explore independently and to engage in small-group activities. When in small groups, watch whether teachers model good ways to act. Modeling positive social behaviors such as sharing and actively communicating goes a long way!

All children learn and grow at their own pace and in their own way. For more information about the skills and milestones for your child's age check out our developmental milestones resource page. If you continue to have concerns or questions please give us a call at 1-800-299-1627.