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Give-and-Take Games

Hand your 1-year-old his favorite toy and he may offer it back to you in seconds. Has he already mastered the art of sharing? Probably not. "Passing things back and forth is one of the first ways toddlers interact with others," says Judith Myers-Walls, Ph.D., associate professor of Child Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. Your child can't hold a conversation yet, so to interact with you, he engages in give-and-take games that help him understand how exchanges work. To play along:

Say thank you when she gives you something  -- even if it's a rock he found on the ground. He'll start to see that "thank you" is how to respond when receiving gifts.

Show him how to use the object he hands over. During bathtime, for instance, offer him a plastic cup. When he returns it, have him watch you fill it with water. Eventually, he'll begin to mimic you.

Try other back-and-forth games, like rolling a ball. His rolls might not be quite on target, but he'll love sending the ball toward you and watching it come back to him.