Help Me Grow | United Way of Utah County

Choosing Age-Appropriate Fun for Your Wiggly Little One Part 1

I don’t know about you, but my almost two-year-old is always looking for something new to do. Compiled below is a list of safety tips as you introduce new toys to your child. You can also find ideas we have learned in our house for affordable, age-appropriate fun as your little one develops from newborn to two-year-old.

Safety First

  1. When looking for a toy for your child, look at the age recommendations on the back of the package. This is just a starting point. Take into account whether or not your child is developmentally ready for that toy.
  2. Watch out for toys that have small parts that could pose a choking hazard. If a toy can fit through the opening of a toilet roll, it is too small for your young child.
  3. Be vigilant about scanning for hazardous toys in other people’s homes.
  4. Explain to older children that the toys with small parts can be played with when the younger sibling is sleeping or away.
  5. Be cautious of toys with long strings. Anything with a string longer than 7 inches poses a risk for strangulation.
  6. Be cautious of magnets.

Choosing Age-Appropriate Fun

Newborn- This is a great time for infant massage, skin-to-skin time, and talking and singing quietly with your baby. Add some finger puppets to your little conversations!

2 months- Increase tummy time by offering objects just out of reach. Overhead toys are also fun as your baby can try and swat at the objects hanging above.

6 months- Banging on pots and pans is fun at any age, but will begin to be interesting around 6 months. Pull out the pots, Tupperware, and a spatula. Let your baby sit in your lap as you tap on the different instruments. Involve your baby as much as they are able.

9 months- Use a cardboard box or similar object to show your baby inside versus outside. When your little one pops out, say, “Peek-a-boo!” Introduce sorting objects and give your little one opportunities to grab snacks out of containers.

1 year- If you’re looking for a safe and fun way to give those fine motor skills some extra practice, grab a “painting with water” book. These allow your child to increase in confidence as their painting comes to life one stroke at a time. Look for one of these books at your local grocery store or online. Sing together songs like the Hokey Pokey, You are my Sunshine, and your holiday favorites!

1 ½ – 2 years – Pretend play is beginning to be a big deal at this age. Consider a small “dress up” box. Fill the box with pretend food, dress-ups for different occupations, and even used items around the house such as old spatulas, measuring cups, and more. You can turn the outside of the container you use to store these items into a kids stove!

Pull out the play dough and a couple of tools like cookie cutters, a rolling pin, and a stamp. This activity doesn’t get old because each time you sit down to create, you make something different. Celebrate the awesome things your little one can make!

Never underestimate the power of reading at all ages. Make reading a positive experience. You can do this by choosing to read at certain times of the day such as part of your bedtime routine. Consider having a comfy reading corner that you go to when it’s book time! As your child grows, you can introduce it as “campfire tales.” Include a large sheet or blanket, a flashlight, and camp chairs. Read, read, read!

For more age-appropriate activities that focus on 5 areas of development: Communication, Gross Motor, Fine Motor, Problem Solving, and Personal-Social, contact Help Me Grow Utah to speak to a member of our Parent Support Team at 801-691-5322.

We hope that as your little one ages, you two can find simple ways to make memories for life. Just remember to take one day at a time. You’ve got this!

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