What’s the per­fect gift for your lit­tle one? DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON of­fers some sug­ges­tions.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

What’s the per­fect Christ­mas gift for your lit­tle one? Con­sider these age-ap­pro­pri­ate toys.

It’s hard to fig­ure out the best Christ­mas toy for your oneyear-old. She is usu­ally more in­ter­ested in the empty box and wrap­ping pa­per than she is in the toy it­self. You re­alise that she also has a very short at­ten­tion span.

Safety must al­ways be your pri­or­ity. She still likes to put ob­jects straight into her mouth, so make sure her toys don’t have any small parts that could be swal­lowed.

Like­wise, her toys should not have sharp cor­ners.

Be­fore buy­ing, check that the toys have an “ap­proved” child-safe mark on the pack­ag­ing and that you buy them from a rep­utable toy shop.

Here are some of the play skills as­so­ci­ated with this age group and toys to en­cour­age these skills:

Hand con­trol

Your tod­dler can con­trol her hand move­ments in a co­or­di­nated way. For in­stance, she can stack small wooden blocks.

Her pen­cil grip is bet­ter, too, although she is still not at the stage where she can draw a clear out­line.

She likes a toy that re­acts when she moves it. She en­joys point­ing at ob­jects and pic­tures. WHAT TO BUY Toys that have sec­tions which com­bine. For ex­am­ple, a ba­sic puz­zle board in which the parts fit snug­gly into a flat frame, or a shape sorter, which al­lows her to push dif­fer­ent shapes into the re­spec­tive holes.

She en­joys play­ing with tra­di­tional wooden blocks that can be stacked to make a tower. Give her a se­lec­tion of child-sized crayons and pen­cils, along with plenty of pa­per to scrib­ble on.

Body move­ment

Your one-year-old learns to walk on her own, with­out sup­port from you. She en­joys play ex­pe­ri­ences that give her the op­por­tu­nity to move around. She can also climb onto a low chair.

If she ac­ci­den­tally drops a toy on to the floor, she may be able to bend down and pick it up with­out fall­ing over. By the end of the sec­ond year, some chil­dren can kick a ball with­out fall­ing over.

WHAT TO BUY She likes en­er­getic play that in­volves rush­ing all over the place. A pull-along toy on a length of string will give her lots of fun and en­cour­age her to walk steadily.

Ac­cess to pedal toys also helps, although she may not be able to pro­pel the toy and her­self across the floor with­out your help – but she will try hard.

Let her play with a large ball and a small ball, us­ing her hands and her feet. With your en­cour­age­ment, she’ll start to push them to­wards you.


Your tod­dler is in­trigued by how things work, and she likes to ex­plore any­thing that she doesn’t im­me­di­ately un­der­stand. That’s why she tries to poke her fin­ger in the elec­tric sock­ets.

She en­joys toy puz­zles, although she may be­come frus­trated if she can’t solve them quickly.

Your tod­dler be­gins to use her imag­i­na­tion to­wards the end of this sec­ond year, which stim­u­lates her in­ter­est in dolls. WHAT TO BUY Jig­saw puz­zles – small ones with only a few pieces – and “nest­ing” toys.

The lat­ter are play­things where the pieces stack in­side each other in a spe­cial order, such as a se­ries of small plas­tic bar­rels that fit in­side each other, or plas­tic rings of dif­fer­ent sizes that stack on top of each other.

She may be ready to play with a doll house that comes with toy fur­ni­ture and fig­urines.

Safety must al­ways the pri­or­ity. Make sure her toys don’t have any sharp cor­ners or small parts that could be swal­lowed.

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