How To Play With Your Infant (13-15 months)
Welcome to toddlerhood! The first year of life is a whirlwind of growth, learning, and changes that come on so quickly you might swear your baby changed overnight. Those fast changes are especially exacerbated if you’re a first-time parent. But now that the candles from the first birthday are out, it’s time to focus on helping your toddler thrive at home with age-appropriate activities to keep them engaged, challenged, and happy.
Activities for 13-Month-Old Toddlers
Is your toddler’s personality really starting to shine? Around this time, many parents notice their kiddo being more expressive in letting others know what they want and perhaps even testing the boundaries of what is okay and not okay. It’s okay if this feels equal parts fun and exhausting. Here are a few games to keep everyone entertained.
To improve balance and gross motor skills, encourage your baby to kick a ball and gradually build up to kicking a rolling ball in motion. Who knows, this fun game might turn into a soccer scholarship one day!
A Budding Picasso
This is a great time to introduce coloring to your child. Find a non-toxic and easy-to-clean paint (in case your walls become their canvas!) and let them express themselves through color. If finger paints and mess aren’t your thing, encourage your kiddo to dip a paintbrush into water and “color” on construction paper.
In and Out
Grab a laundry basket, bucket, or bin and some of your kiddo’s toys, clean dish rags, or their shoes, and work on placing the items in the bin and out of the bin. Narrate what is happening as your child plays and watch as they learn how to grasp small objects.
We are Family
FaceTime is great for catching up with grandma and seeing cousins, but another way to help baby learn about their family members is to make a DIY a scrapbook or, if you’re looking for a keepsake, order a photo book online with tear-proof pages.
Stacking cups and blocks are perfect for little hands and curious minds. Spatial reasoning skills will develop as they build tall towers—and giggles will erupt as they knock them down.
Activities for 14-Month-Old Toddlers
Mama, dada, and a handful of other easy-to-say words have likely popped into your toddler’s vocabulary by 14 months. And if you find your days filled with your little shadow at your side, remember that’s totally normal. Separation anxiety and mimicking adults are common at this age.
Let it Rip
Excess tissue paper from packages is great for small hands and helps your little one work on improving their dexterity. Show them how to tear it into pieces and then let them have some fun. Stay nearby so you can take it away when the paper becomes too small.
Present your toddler with a dry, empty ice cube tray and colorful objects, like pom-poms or dried pasta. Help them sort the pom-poms by color or encourage them to use their pincers to pick up one item at a time and place it in an empty tray. Keep a very close eye on your kiddo, as pom-poms can be a choking hazard.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
Before recycling an empty cardboard box, consider turning it into a drum kit. Pass a wooden spoon to your child and see if they can mimic the rhythm you’re playing.
Keep bibs, cups, bowls, and other feeding supplies for baby in one spot. They’ll love discovering safely and their curious minds will be excited to explore. Invite your toddler to help you prep for mealtime by getting their bib and cup.
Activities for 15-month-old Toddlers
It’s important to remember that your babbling toddler understands more than they can communicate outward. So try swapping the baby talk for real conversations. Here are a few fun games and activities for a 15-month-old at home.
It’s a Date!
A fun 15-month-old activity is playing with other children, so consider setting up a playdate with another toddler. While play is primarily independent at this age, it’s a great step in helping kids feel comfortable with their peers and new people. And it’s never too early to practice lessons on sharing.
Refresh an Old Sock
Don’t toss that old sock with a hole or one that lost its mate. Instead, cut a hole in the toe and help or encourage baby to push a ball through the sock. It’s good for developing those all-important fine motor skills.
Is baby’s first haircut in your future? This adorable milestone can be a little frightening for some kiddos. One way to get them ready is to role-play a visit to the salon in the tub and shape their wet locks into funky styles. Show baby their fun new look in a mirror. This easy activity develops sensory skills.
Toddlers are exploring new foods and developing strong preferences for favorite dishes each day. One way to help promote self-feeding is to pretend to feed their favorite stuffed animals with a kids’ fork and knife. Does Mr. Bear like mac and cheese? Let’s find out!
That catchy kids’ song that you can’t stop humming in the shower or the aisles of the grocery store? Well, the rhyming patterns and simple rhythms of those earworms help your little one expand their vocabulary. So play it again, Mommy shark do, do, do, do….
As you play with your toddler and check their milestones, remember that each child is different and their skills may develop at a different pace and time than their siblings or peers. So be patient as you encourage them and help them in the learning process.
Up next, tips for dealing with separation anxiety.