As you’re counting down the days until your tiny tot’s birthday, take a moment to reflect on just how much has changed over the past 11 months. It’s almost been a year. This is big! You and your little one have gotten so good at communicating and responding to each other’s needs—growing together in so many ways.
These days, your busy babe likes to use their hands to explore whatever catches their eye. Rotating out a few of their toys can help them feel fresh—and believe it or not, too many toys can be overwhelming. It’s also smart to encourage (supervised) independent play, which can mean more moments of downtime for you, mama.
Here’s what else you can expect this month.
Related: 11-month-old baby milestones
Sensory activities for 11-month-olds
Keeping up with your baby these days can mean you’re constantly on your toes. Here are a few fun ways to keep them busy.
1. Tunnel time
Set up a play tunnel or create one under your dining table with blankets and pillows or even a large cardboard box opened on both ends.
Encourage your tot to get cozy with a few board books or loveys—or try to coax them to push a ball from one end to another.
2. Kitchen playdough
Whether you make your own or opt for store-bought, your almost-toddler will love sinking their fingers into some playdough. Break out the kitchen tools, like whisks, a rolling pin and cookie cutters and help them craft their own kitchen creations.
3. Bath sorting
Bath time can be playtime, too. With a set of colorful stacking cups and other bright bath toys, encourage your babe to help sort the cups and toys by color and pour water from one object to another.
Related: How much sleep does an 11-month-old baby need?
Developmental activities for 11-month-olds
1. Stack it
Your kiddo has been hard at work over the past couple of months learning how to stack blocks and other objects. Keep it going! Challenge them to stack stuff that’s not so square—all in the name of helping them learn about balance and cause and effect while finessing those fine motor skills.
2. The big dig
It’s time to let your lovebug get a little dirty. Hand them a shovel and model for them how to use it to dig up dirt or sand or mulch in the backyard (just a little, don’t worry!). They’ll love the sensory experience and the opportunity to get a little messy while mimicking what they see you doing. (They’re in a big copycat phase right now!)
3. Stuffy storytime
Set up a few favorite stuffies for a storytime session with your baby in an example of dramatic play. This type of play will become more common in toddlerhood, and it’s sweet to start it now by showing your little one the ropes.
Related: Why isn’t my baby talking yet? 7 ways to encourage speech from a speech-language pathologist
Things to do with an 11-month-old
Week 1: Dance party
At 11 months, moving and grooving is your baby’s favorite thing to do, so why not celebrate with a dance party? Help your little one find the beat and dance, spin or sway along together to a few fun songs—don’t be afraid to pick your faves, mama. Watch as they try to mimic your movements!
Week 2: Library storytime
Head out into the wide world for a baby storytime event near you. Your local library or community center is a good place to check. Baby-and-caregiver classes are a great way for baby to start learning a few social skills while in the safety of your arms—and a great way for you to meet some other parents, too.
Week 3: Playground playdate
Your little one loves to people-watch at this age, especially peers and older kids, and might get a kick out of tossing around a ball or trying out the baby swings on the playground with a fellow tot or toddler.
Related: Montessori at home: Why toddlers crave routines
Week 4: Balancing act
To encourage your tot to start taking their first steps, help them find their balance by coaxing them into reaching for a favorite toy. Once they’re standing and leaning against a piece of furniture or wall, hold out a beloved lovie in the hand they’re relying on to see if they’ll grab it. You might catch them standing and balancing for a few seconds!
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