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NYS Parent Guide

12-24 Months: Growth and Development

You and Your Wonderful One-Year-Old

Supporting Learning and Curiosity

Supporting Learning and Curiosity

Your little one is learning about the world. When you are there, by her side, interested, it helps her stay focused and think about what she is seeing, doing and learning. Encourage her to explore without taking over. Let her try to figure things out (problem solve) but be ready to step in to assist if she appears to be in any kind of danger or getting too frustrated.

Here are some things you can do:

  • Give your toddler time to explore and experiment—every day. Be her partner as she stacks plastic measuring cups, pours and dumps water in the tub, digs in sand and climbs in and out of a cardboard box.
  • Use the outdoors as a learning lab. Look for ants. Smell a flower. Walk in a puddle. Listen to the chirping of birds.
  • Let her move and be active. Hold her hand as needed when she climbs up and down steps. Let her straddle simple riding toys she can move by using her feet. Blow bubbles that she can chase and pop. Raining so hard you can’t go out? Make an obstacle course with pillows and pots to walk over and furniture to crawl over. Make a tent by covering a table with a sheet. Dance away.
  • Take her to the supermarket. Name fruits and vegetables. Point out different colors, sizes and shapes of items on the shelves. Talk about what you are buying for dinner. (Your local bookstore, library, park, and pet store are also great learning places.)
  • Turn off the TV. Interacting with you is better than any children’s show, when it comes to learning.
  • Enjoy using your fingers to act out songs and actions. Bringing “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider” to life using your fingers will help your child learn to use her fingers and hands—a skill she needs to write. The songs also give you the chance to teach your child new vocabulary words and to enjoy playing and singing together.
  • Encourage her to feed her favorite stuffed animal or doll with a spoon. It is the beginning of pretend play that will let her explore aspects of everyday life and at the same time stretch her imagination about what other people might do and feel.
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Did you know

Research has shown that one-, two-, and three-year-olds’ play and attention spans are shorter in length in the presence of background television and parent-child interactions are also less frequent. To learn more, go to