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How Babies Learn Through Play – From 12-24 Months

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At 12-24 months, toddlers are now starting to move about and get on their feet and they will love toys that they can push and pull up on. At this age they are learning how objects are used through trial and error. Offer toys to your toddler and just watch and see what they do with them. Let them try to figure out how they work. As their language starts developing they will start to interact and play with adults, but they will also be very happy to play on their own.

In this blog post, our Head of Paediatric Physiotherapy Victoria Healey lists the best activities to encourage your child to develop key skills.

baby in tunnel

Games to Encourage Movement

  • Start rolling a ball back and forth. This will encourage your toddler to move to get it and it will also help them learn about turn taking.
  • Push toys.
  • Toys that can be pulled whilst walking (for instance, a toy dog on a string or a wagon)
  • Tunnels
  • Child-size stool (toilet step) to climb onto and jump off of (with supervision!)
  • Create a toddler obstacle course where your child has a chance to crawl (through a moving box), climb (over a cushion), bounce (on a pile of blankets), and roll towards you for a kiss.

Games to Encourage Finger Dexterity

  • Pop-beads or chunky interlocking plastic blocks. Encourage your child to push them together and pull them apart.
  • Stacking smaller blocks
  • Nesting cups/rings
  • Shape-sorters
  • A busy box with a button to push, switch, and a dial to turn
  • Chunky wooden puzzles

Activity centre

Develop Early Social Skills

  • Singing songs that require children to engage with peers e.g. Ring Around the Rosie
  • Turn-taking games
  • Pretend play e.g. feeding the baby or teddybear

Develop Sensory Development

  • Musical instruments – these can be home made such as beans in a bottle
  • Sand/water play
  • Art activities, such as painting or chalk
  • Play dough for the older toddlers – be aware they may try to eat it!

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