One-year-olds are so busy exploring their new abilities to move that it’s hard to know if the toys you’re offering them are the right ones. Frequently, they just crawl away to find an opportunity to pull up to a stand!
We are excited about sharing these brain-building toys for one-year-olds with you, but also want to acknowledge that the baby who was recently content to sit and explore an item with their hands might want to spend most of their time on their belly slithering away from you!
The desire to use maximum effort is a normal part of a child’s development. If your child is walking, you’ll notice that as soon as they can walk, they want to walk while carrying something. If your child can pull up to a stand, you might find them doing that instead of sleeping.
Providing one-year-olds with opportunities and materials to explore using their entire bodies supports their learning. You may have heard the suggestion to follow your child’s lead. This might mean placing toys on a shelf or coffee table so that they can use their mobility skills to access them.
What Activities Fully Engage One-Year-Olds?
Thinking about these categories of activities and examples will help you come up with ways to engage your almost-toddler and allow them to practice the skills they are excited to master: Memory, Spatial Reasoning, and Movement.
Montessori Toys for 12-Month-Olds
A low shelf from which your child can select from a small number of toys on their own will empower them. Model placing the items back on the shelf when they are done. Over time, they will imitate your action, especially once they are able to walk and carry at the same time.
Classic Montessori materials for one-year-olds require skills they will master over time. When you first introduce these items, your child will not be able to perform all the tasks, but will take great satisfaction in practicing and getting closer. This is a wonderful habit to support. Observe and give your child time and silence to focus on the toys.
Watch: The toys in the Monti Kids Level 4 Box for ages 11-14 months are examples of Montessori toys for one-year-olds that invite focus because they are designed to meet children’s abilities at exactly the level of work they enjoy.
Coordinating their two hands together, for example, engages their brain and enables them to accomplish more.
Other examples of Montessori toys for one-year-olds
Based on significant research, the Monti Kids learning team put together an assortment of toys for a box for 14-17-month olds.
Materials we recommend for one-year olds:
- The Duck Pull Toy, supporting their excitement about walking, challenges balance and coordination.
- The Multi-Shape Puzzles, which provide a spatial reasoning challenge.
- The Curved Dowel, which develops wrist strength and dexterity.
- The Box with Bins, which builds working memory, and fine and gross motor skills.
- The Coin Box, which offers hands-on experience with geometry.
- The Mailbox, which teaches early geometric concepts and new vocabulary.
Watch: Unboxing of Monti Kids Program for 14-17 Months
More Activities for One-Year-Olds
Keeping in mind that your child may go through phases during which they are less interested in sitting down and focusing on a toy, consider other ways to follow your child’s interests.
- Offer tubs or bowls of water to explore. Include a measuring cup and show your child how to scoop and pour water back into the bowl.
- Sit on the floor near your child and roll a ball a short distance away so that they can use their whole bodies to pursue it.
- Use a small blanket to cover a toy and reveal it in a peek-a-boo-style game. Then offer the blanket to your child so they can imitate you and cover the toy themselves.
- Set pillows on the floor and invite your child to crawl over the pillows. Make a game out of stacking more pillows and tipping them over.
- Create a dedicated drawer or cabinet that is accessible to your child to open and close. Show them how to put things inside and close it. If they cannot open it by themselves, introduce a baby sign for “help”. Use the sign and ask if they need help. Soon, they will use the sign to ask you to open the cabinet.