Storytime Supports Developmental Milestones


The majority of the children who attend my storytime at the moment span the ages of about 9 months to 3 years. It’s amazing to me how, each week, each child changes so much. From starting to crawl, to making sounds, to giving hugs, to starting to walk, the children at storytime encourage each other to grow and develop, even if the children have no siblings at home.

One of my storytime parents started bringing her daughter (we’ll call her Sophia) to storytime when she was about 9 months old. Sophia, an only child, was crawling, but was only crawling backwards. Also, because she was growing up bilingually in an English and Spanish-speaking household, her speech recognition was somewhat delayed. Storytime served to be both a respite for her mother, a stay-at-home mom, and also an inspiration for Sophia to start performing developmentally appropriate activities. While among other children who were older and more developmentally advanced than she was, Sophia quickly learned how to crawl forwards, interact in a storytime setting, and exhibit more of the developmentally appropriate skills that her age suggests.

So, what are the developmental milestones that one would expect to see in a 1-year-old? With the understanding that every child develops slightly differently, here are some of the typical milestones to look for in children of this age. As a person without children of my own, it is helpful for me to know these milestones in order to (A) know approximately how old the children are in my storytimes and (B) be able to create developmentally appropriate programs for them. I hope this is helpful for you, as well!

Social and Emotional

  • Is shy or nervous with strangers

  • Cries when mom or dad leaves

  • Has favorite things and people

  • Shows fear in some situations

  • Hands you a book when he wants to hear a story

  • Repeats sounds or actions to get attention

  • Puts out arm or leg to help with dressing

  • Plays games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”


  • Responds to simple spoken requests

  • Uses simple gestures, like shaking head “no” or waving “bye-bye”

  • Makes sounds with changes in tone (sounds more like speech)

  • Says “mama” and “dada” and exclamations like “uh-oh!”

  • Tries to say words you say

Cognitive (learning, thinking, problem-solving)

  • Explores things in different ways, like shaking, banging, throwing

  • Finds hidden things easily

  • Looks at the right picture or thing when it’s named

  • Copies gestures

  • Starts to use things correctly; for example, drinks from a cup, brushes hair

  • Bangs two things together

  • Puts things in a container, takes things out of a container

  • Lets things go without help

  • Pokes with index (pointer) finger

  • Follows simple directions like “pick up the toy”

Movement/Physical Development

  • Gets to a sitting position without help

  • Pulls up to stand, walks holding on to furniture (“cruising”)

  • May take a few steps without holding on

  • May stand alone


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