A 1,5 years old boy rolling around in pillows and working on his gross motor skills.

Developmental stages 1-2 years

A lot happens in a child’s development between the ages of 1 and 2. They start to walk, talk, and share feelings and experiences with others. However, it’s common for one ability to develop at a time while the others wait, and then later the opposite might be true. They learn by repeating things over and over again. Their memory develops and they remember where things are: their shoes in the hall, their teddy bear in their bed.

A 1-year-old boy sitting in a wooden rocking horse for and developing his gross motor skills

Shop toys for the 1-year old

The child needs to move a lot. They practise controlling their body and they use up some energy. They climb on chairs, get up on benches and sofas, and open drawers and cupboards. They like walking and running, standing on their toes, walking up and downstairs, trying to kick a ball, and taking off their hats and socks. A baby walker is fun and useful. A sandbox, too.

At this age, the child begins to play pretend games, such as eating food from a plate and pretending that a building block is a car. The child imitates their surroundings and what’s done at home or at preschool. They want to “help” with cooking. Touching things that they’re not allowed to can be a way of fooling around or getting contact and attention from an adult. They start to tell right from wrong. They start developing their own will at around 18 months.

At this age, children often enjoy being around other children. They usually play side by side, but we can also see that they play with the same things in the same environment. Give the child the opportunity to play make-believe with pretend phones, toy stoves, pretend food, and the like. Let the child help with everyday chores like cleaning, washing, and cooking. It’s fun to give and take or to build towers together before knocking them down.

The child’s language develops a lot when you read and look at books together. The child often likes to hear the same thing over and over again. Familiarity is a comfort. The child also appreciates songs and rhymes that they recognise.

The child is now increasingly exploring by using their fingers rather than their mouth. They build with blocks and knock them down. They like to draw lines and hold a pen using their whole hand. They get better at eating by themselves, but they usually take the food with their hands.

See all stages here

Author: Benita Hammarström
Specialist nurse in health care for children and young people.