What does play look like in a 1-year-old child?

It is typical for a 1-year-old’s play to be solitary in nature. They often seek to explore objects and learn about their world through cause-and-effect manipulation of these objects (e.g. I fill up my bucket with sand- now it is heavy! I made a big stack of blocks and they fell!).

1-year-olds are generally highly focussed on what they are doing, and in a setting such as a playgroup are not aware of or interested in what other children are doing. It is important to note, however, that when a caregiver approaches a child to join their play, a 1-year-old would usually make eye contact, smile and laugh at appropriate moments during their interaction together. 

If you have any concerns about your child’s responsiveness or have noticed a lack of interest in other people or objects, a good starting point is your Maternal Child and Health Nurse or GP. If further support is required, the team at the Centre for Child Development is also here to help!

Olivia Smith is an endorsed Educational and Developmental Psychologist and is a strong believer in the importance of working collaboratively with families and other professionals to ensure a holistic approach to child wellbeing. She is passionate about advocating for and working with children presenting with anxiety and/or neurodiversity (e.g. ASD, ADHD and specific learning disorders) and their families. Olivia strives to make therapy sessions engaging, effective and applicable to everyday life, and views the relationship between child and therapist as key to success.

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