A 1 year old isn’t exactly a baby or infant, but they don’t qualify for big kid status either. That is why toddler activities are so unique. Harness your child’s innate curiosity and play along with these crafts, educational games, sensory activities activities for daycare, quiet activities and things to teach a 1 year old.
These play ideas for 1 year olds will keep keep your baby…I mean, your toddler…busy all day long! For best results, engage with your child with the following techniques:
- Be present – put away both your & their screens!
- Establish boundaries – 1 year olds like to know how far they can push both physically and emotionally.
- Make eye contact – this is the time kids learn how & when to make eye contact. Establish a good example.
- Praise often, smile and laugh!
- Above all, listen.
Easy Toddler Sensory Activity
This practical sensory activity will have your baby exploring food, hot/cold, smell, and more!
Edible Finger Paint
This edible finger paint is made from applesauce! How fun!
Via Hands On As We Grow
Play with Toys
Pull out your little one’s favorite toys…but only one at a time. One of the secrets to keeping kids engaged with their toys is to limit their exposure over time to them. Many families have a system of toy rotation which can help keep toys fresh upon their return!
This may naturally happen by toys migrating to the bottom of the toy bin! But if you need help, then consider having a covered box of toys that rotate through the garage or a closet shelf.
First Letter Activity
This super simple letter activity will help your one year old get familiar with letters!
Time for Snacks
Everything is new and wondrous to a one year old! And snack time is no exception. Try including new types of food, new textures and new tastes to your snack rotation. Toddlers are naturally adventurous when it comes to eating and snack time might be the perfect time to try something that might be a little out of the ordinary when it comes to toddler food.
Little & Big Hands
This engaging activity for baby is simple- all you’ll need is your fingers!
Via Little Moments
Getting outside and exploring your neighborhood from the vantage point of a stroller can be a really big toddler adventure. Whether you jog or walk, the view is changing all the time and with the seasons so is the sensory experience. 1 year olds enjoy repetition so taking the same route daily and pointing out the changes can be an excellent educational game.
Muffin Tin Game
This simple muffin tin activity makes a fun game out of items you already have around the house!
Trip to the Park
Going to the park can be the highlight of a toddlers day. Quite honestly, it can be the highlight of mom/dad’s day too! If you live in a warm climate like I do, going early in the day can be really helpful in keeping everyone cool. Exploring what adventures the park has to offer is so much fun. Finding new parks in your town can be fun for the entire family.
Play with Food
If they’re going to play with food anyway, you might as well make a fun activity out of it!
Via No Time For Flash Cards
Play in the Backyard
No matter how engaging your backyard MAY seem to adults, remember that 1 year olds are on a whole different level of sight…and adventure. Simple activities such as finding rocks, sticks and treasures can fill their day with wonder. I Spy games boost cognitive, physical and emotional skills. Playtime is educational!
So much sticky fun for baby with this simple contact paper idea!
Via Child Central Station
Bathtime is fun. It is as simple as that. Yes, you can have toys in the bath, but really sometimes just a cup is all you need. Seeing how water moves, feels, smells, tastes (no!) and reacts to motion is a huge sensory education.
When your baby is too young for small manipulatives, try these fun ideas instead!
Via This Reading Mama
Play with Play-Doh
If you have a toddler who likes to place things in his/her mouth then traditional play-doh may not be the best idea for play. Try an edible play dough recipe instead and keep a supervising eye!
Play doh is a great sensory experience from start to end. Kids learn cause-effect when they create shapes and attempt to create what is in their head. They also see how the texture changes, softens, hardens, flattens and so much more.
Baby Can Read!
It’s never too early to start reading with your baby! Here are some ways to make it fun!
Via The Pleasantest Thing
A toddlers first competition can be with a sibling, parent or care-giver because the playing field is leveled when you race while crawling. Set up a starting and finish line and then make a big deal about the race.
You may never finish because you are laughing so hard.
Introduce this simple game during toddlerhood. It can be a ton of fun while boosting cognitive and emotional skills…not to mention physical ones as well.
The entire family can get involved and you never know who will win!
Books for Toddlers
These fun books for babies turn reading into an activity they’ll enjoy!
Via The Educators Spin On It
Finding common objects is a really fun activity that 1 year olds will embrace. You can do a simple verbal list or hand them a picture list. Either way, they will be hunting for the objects and laughing along the way.
This is a great outdoor activity at the park or in the backyard, but my favorite way to play is indoor — especially on those rainy days when toddlers need to work out the wiggles.
Set up a course using things around the house like chairs, books, toys, pillows, ropes, sheets and whatever else you can find. It is amazing how much exercise you can get while running through your own indoor obstacle course.
Singing Rhymes Together
Your little ones will love listening to you singing rhymes to them! Soon they’ll be singing on their own!
Via Rainy Day Mum
Hide and Seek
This childhood tradition is perfect to begin while one year old. Object permanence is something that toddlers are still exploring and to figure out HOW and WHERE to hide boosts cognitive, physical and emotional skills.
Peek-a-Boo – the Advanced Version
Like hide and seek, toddlers still are tickled by the idea of hiding. But they are too advanced just to fall for hands over face. But look for other ways to have fun with this concept like covering a toy or a body part. Or let them lead the game.
Snow Drop Game – Fine Motor Skills
Your baby will love hearing the sound these snowflakes make as they drop into the jar! They’ll be honing their fine motor skills at the same time!
Stacking is exhilarating! Building something that didn’t exist and then pushing the boundaries of how tall it can go is a learning experience that can be fun and exciting. What will happen if you add just one more block?
Spatial relationships and how things move is a big part of exploring being a 1 year old. Age-appropriate puzzles can help boost these skills and challenge toddlers knowledge without being too frustrating.
DIY Shaking Bottle
What a fun visual activity for baby! How many items can you find?
This is the perfect time to visit the library’s section of board books that include lift-the-flap. It is like the hide and seek version of a book.
Finger painting is a great sensory art activity for one year olds. Cover the area so you won’t have a big mess since most toddlers aren’t very coordinated at painting…yet.
DIY Fastener Game
Does your toddler love playing with clips and fasteners? If so they’ll love this homemade dexterity toy to increase coodination.