Infants and Toddlers

Both the indoor and outdoor play areas for infants and toddlers need to be designed to focus on developmental, individual, and cultural needs. Think about what the children in your program

can do. What developmental challenges are they working on? What are their special interests

home languages, and cultural influences? How can your environment support their growth and


Designing Infant and Toddler Environments to Meet Developmental Needs

Because Children think and behave like this:Arrange the space to do this:
Young Infants (birth to 8 Months of age) are attached to their family members-Welcome family engagement
-Include a space for nursing mothers
-Display family photos at infants’ eye level.
-Provide greeting areas and furniture that invites adults to comfortably sit while interacting with children.
Young infants learn by moving their bodies and using all of their senses.– Offer soft, protected spaces where babies can move safely.
– Provide safe, appropriate toys that infants can reach and explore.
– Lift and carry babies so they can see, smell, touch, and feel items in indoor and outdoor settings.
Mobile Infants (8-17 Months) move from place to place.-Provide protected spaces where children can creep,
crawl, and walk out of the way of infants who are not yet mobile.
-Have sturdy furniture and railings that infants can use to pull themselves up.
Mobile Infants find comfort in familiar adults-Incorporate photos, tape recordings, and verbal
reminders of family members.
-Use low room dividers so children can see adults
whenever they need reassurance, and so adults can
supervise all children at all times.
Young toddlers (18-24 Months) often eat and sleep at scheduled times.-Have tables and chairs where small groups can eat
-Set up cots or mats at nap time and remove them
when children are awake.
Young toddlers like to play close to another friend.-Provide play spaces where two or three children can work together on activities of their choosing.
Older toddlers (24-36 months) can climb, run, jump, and hop.-Offer open spaces and equipment where children can move freely and safely.
Like younger toddlers, older toddlers have a difficult time sharing.-Provide duplicates of favorite toys and materials.