Guiding Preschoolers

One Year Olds: PLAY is Their WORK


One year olds are in full speed; mobility, improving coordination, talking, observing and experimenting with everything in their sight. The year could be called the WOW Year (Watch Out World, here they come). They are discovering and investigating their world; they want to know why and how things are put together. Ones will do all of this through PLAY; it’s their WORK.

Teachers, look for ways to talk about God, Jesus, the Church, or the Bible as you play with ones on Sunday morning. Planned activities may seem like play, but as teachers know, it is play with a purpose.

  • Sing to ones and use their names in familiar songs: “Jesus loves Sam, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” You can use Scripture by incorporating their name, too. “Sally is wonderfully made.”
  • Model the way you play with new activities/games. Ones will observe how you look under a blanket and find a book, the Bible. Their natural curiosity will want to find it again and possibly a few new items as well.
  • Find ways to discover things God made. Place an apple in a paper bag and entice them to discover something inside. Who wouldn’t want to look in an open paper bag? Say: “The apple is cool and round and red. God made the apple for you.”
  • Play music and move to the rhythm of the beat. Say, “Thank You, God, for hands and feet that move to music.”
  • Provide items such as cardboard blocks, plastic containers, and empty boxes (oatmeal box, cereal box, butter tubs, or plastic peanut butter or mayonnaise jars) that can be stacked.

Parents, you will want to add variety to the exploration by providing simple items around the house that will inspire learning. Here are a few ideas if your one year old is:

  • learning to walk, provide larger items (boxes, etc.) to push.
  • walking well, encourage them to pull items (pull toys or small wagons, etc.).
  • searching for something to make music, use a plastic container with a few Snap Lock Beads and stir with a small handled wooden spoon.

It doesn’t take much to keep ones busy if the play items are new and unfamiliar. They will make it work somehow.

You can literally chart the growth of ones weekly. Change happens fast. They learn to express themselves because of the positive experiences they have with you.

Enjoy the One Year Olds and take a few pictures along the way

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