Oh, Those Babies, Ones, and Twos! Part 2

Toddler

How would I describe a one-year-old? On the go! During this year one-year-olds literally take off with their newfound large muscle skills. We call them “toddlers” because of the way they bump and wobble around as they learn to step, walk, and then run. This is when they begin to climb too. They not only develop in the use of their legs, but their arms also. This is known as the “dump and fill” stage as they use their arm muscles to dump everything out of a container and then refill it. While this is a year to gain in large muscle development, ones also gain ground in their speech and vocabulary. Those ones are such fun, and we can help them use these new skills to learn about missions and Jesus’ love.

  • Use the Bible with ones by saying Bible thoughts as they turn the pages. Say a short statement about a picture in the Bible, such as “The four friends helped their friend to see Jesus.”

  • Provide plastic containers with items related to the missions area for ones to dump and fill. This month, Mission Friends Leader suggests using toy animals or clean socks. Be sure items are large enough so they are not a choking hazard.

  • Use large cardboard blocks or big foam blocks for stacking and building, as these help ones use their large muscles to lift, push, and stack. They could build a skyscraper from Los Angeles or a school in Guatemala.

  • Provide space for ones to practice walking. Sing a song about the missions area or Jesus’ love as you hold onto their hands while learning to walk.

  • Give opportunities to use large muscles by providing push and pull toys. Ones even like to push around a cardboard box.

  • Read with ones. Use books with simple phrases. Their short attention span may let them listen to only one phrase at a time.

  • Talk with ones, as they need to hear and say words. Point to people or items in pictures from the Mission Friends Leader Picture Set. Ask a one-year-old to identify items, such as “Where is the baby in the picture?”

  • Let ones repeat actions over and over. Repetition is how they experiment. Repeat a song or Bible thought at different times during a session.

  • Provide what is known as “soft spaces” in your classroom. Ones expend their energy quickly, and need places where they can energize again. This may be a blanket with books and a pillow. Provide a baby doll that they can wrap in a blanket. Talk about how God cares for us.

  • Provide a warm atmosphere that lets ones know they are loved. Use the names of God and Jesus often. Help ones to associate that church is a happy place where they know God’s love and care.

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