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I’d Like Either a Pony or a Plastic Bowl MONTH 11 WEEK 2

Approved by the What’s Up Moms Medical Advisory Board

With baby’s first birthday around the corner, family and friends are asking for gift ideas. Perrrrfect, because these days baby is a fierce playing machine. She’s boldly and curiously exploring her ever-improving balance, motor skills and language – so steer folks towards gift ideas that play to all her new, shiny skills.

Baby’s pincer grasp (placing together index finger and thumb to grab objects) is getting stronger, so choose toys that’ll make use of it – like stacking rings, nesting cups/ bowls, and anything with dials to turn or switches to flip. Games that involve dropping objects into containers (and then pouring ‘em out, natch) are big, too. And while not in the “gift” category, think about all the everyday activities — like pulling tissues from a box — that are enthralling for baby and provide good pincer practice, too (sorry, Amazon). If you haven’t yet, introduce The Itsy Bitsy Spider, whose hand movements are some classic pincer-y practice.

Now that baby’s getting into imitative play, a toy phone, hairbrush, doll and accessories, or cooking items (like a mixing spoon and bowls) will get a lot of airtime. Prepare for your heart to burst when you catch your baby stroking the doll’s face.

In general, consider open-ended toys – i.e. no-tech objects that can be used in a variety of ways depending on the child, the day, and her mood and evolving interests. Some ideas for a one-year-old:

  • Balls of different sizes and textures and colors, for rolling and tossing
  • Blocks
  • Wooden food sets and toy dishes
  • Animal figurines
  • Plastic containers with tops

Play all day with breaks for napping and eating? Pretty nice life if you can swing it.