Your 1-year-old son, nephew or friend’s child has spent his first year learning many new tasks and types of play. You can encourage his continued development by buying toys and other gifts that will not only be fun for him but also help get his second year off to the right start with new challenges and learning opportunities.
Many boys love to build things, starting as early as they can hold a block. By 1 year old, they are ready to build tall structures like towers and horizontal structures like trains or roads. Old-fashioned wooden blocks, with or without letters on them, are always favourites, as are plastic blocks that stick together like Duplo or Lego blocks with large holes and pegs, or bristly blocks that stick together on all four sides.
Block-and-hammer benches or toys with balls the boy can knock through holes help develop motor skills of hitting one object with another. These building toys can also encourage the toddler to match colours and shapes.
Boys love toys with wheels, so large-wheeled cars and trains are always popular. They’re big and chunky in bright solid colours and durable enough to go from the sandbox or dirt pile to the bathtub for water play. Car-carrying trucks also enable a little boy to develop skills of putting smaller items into larger containers, while also being able to roll it along with him wherever he goes.
Wooden or plastic trains provide toddler boys with the opportunity to develop fine motor skills needed when linking things together, either with hook-and-eyes or magnets, while practicing with order and patterns as they line up the train cars.
At 1 year old, boys have generally just started walking or are on the brink of discovering this new skill. Giving 1-year-old boys any kind of toy they can walk behind as they follow Daddy, Mommy and siblings around the house or yard will help encourage walking while giving them the support they need as they learn balance. Bubble or “popcorn” mowers are favourites with boys who love anything that makes noises as they use it.
Ride-In and Ride-On Toys
Large toys boys can ride on or in are a good choice for a 1-year-old. As with push toys, these riding toys give little boys the support they need as they gain control of their legs and feet. Rocking toys fit into this category, too--toys like rocking horses provide a boy the opportunity to develop the muscles needed to push himself back and forth.
Books and Push-Button Reading Toys
Chunky board books help encourage an early love for language. Adults or older children can read the words while he turns the pages and looks at the colourful pictures. Board books that incorporate textures like fabric, plastic and rubber components on the pages spur the boy to manipulate the contents of the pages while he looks at them, helping to develop both the sight and touch senses as he learns about hard and soft or smooth and rough. Mechanical talking toys with push buttons that read to the child or announce the names of the items or buttons he pushes will help him develop language skills.
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