Looking for fun and easy activities for 1 year olds? In this post you’ll find loads of creative and educational activities to entertain your baby.
If you’ve been asking yourself, what activities can you do with a 1 year old, then you’re in luck. Below you’ll find a list of ideas for what to do with baby all day to keep them entertained.
If you’re wondering what should a one year old be learning then we’ve got you covered. Babies learn through play and each of these activity explains the skills your baby will develop while playing them.
Babies are magical creatures who have the ability to soak in all that you want to teach them very quickly. The more exposure they get to the world around them the faster their minds and bodies will learn and grow.
Keep in mind that all children learn and grow at their own pace and have different strengths and weaknesses. You should adapt these activities to your babies own capabilities.
Remember it isn’t about getting the activity right, but more so about giving your little one the exposure to the activity while having fun. They are seeing what your doing, hearing what you’re saying, and attempting to mimic you. This is how they learn.
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Indoor Activities For 1 Year Olds
Window Letter Grab
Those foam letters are fun in the tub but don’t let the fun stop there. Spray some water on a window or glass door and the letters stick just the same.
Now you can bring one of your baby’s favorite activities to any room of the house. This can make it easier to get things done while your baby develops their fine motor skills.
Paint In The Tub
There is no fun like bath time fun. Grab some bath paint markers and let your little Picasso paint while they get clean.
Use fun toy instruments to make music together. Your baby will delight in banging them together to make different sounds.
Signing along will expose them to more words and help with speech development.
Paint With Water
Painting is fun, but super messy for babies.
Try taping a piece of construction paper to your baby’s highchair and give them a wet paint brush to experiment making water marks.
Creating Pasta Necklaces
This classic but fun craft allows your little ones to practice their hand-eye coordination. He or she will love creating necklaces and giving them to loved ones. All you need is some colored pasta and string.
Demonstrate how to string the pasta and then hold the string for your baby to try. Watch as your baby makes the connection of the task you’re asking them to complete.
For more learning fun you can talk about the colors of the pasta and the texture. You can also count the pasta as you add them to the string.
Busy boards are fun boards that, well, keep baby BUSY. They’re essentially a board with activities attached, like zippers, buckles and bells for your baby to explore.
When it comes to imagination, the use of puppets not only allows your little ones to let their imagination roam free, but it also gives you a mode of communication that allows you to teach your child about emotions and social norms.
This can be done by simply having two puppets communicate with each other. Allow your baby to play a part in the fun if they want to hold a puppet.
If you’re having trouble coming up with things for the puppet to say you can try having the puppet read a book to your baby.
Scooping Cotton Balls
In order to accomplish this, all you need is a big bowl of cotton balls, a big spoon, and some containers. Have your baby move the cotton balls from the big bowl to the other containers.
This will not only help with their hand-eye coordination, but also give them sensory stimulation.
Rhyme and Dance
Crank up the nursery rhymes and dance with your little one!
Being able to recognize rhyme is a skill that children do not acquire until they’re in Kindergarten.
However, being able to enjoy music with rhyme through dancing will allow your baby to have fun moving, enjoy sounds, and start to recognize patterns in songs.
Color Activities For 1 Year Olds
Pipe Cleaners + Colander
String some colorful pipe cleaners through a colander for baby to explore the different colors and the fuzzy texture while they try to pull them out.
Encourage baby to try to put the pipe cleaners through the holes as well to work on hand eye coordination
Rainbow Spaghetti Sort
This is one of the fun activities for one year olds that takes a little work but is so worth it.
First you need to cook some spaghetti. Next you’ll want to divide the spaghetti into a few bags, one for each color you want to make. Add a little water to the bags and a few drops of food coloring then close the bag and shake.
Empty all the bags of spaghetti into one big bowl and mix. Lastly you’ll need a few small bowls, one for each color of spaghetti you made.
Not only is this a crazy fun sensory activity for your one year old but you can also help them learn colors by sort the spaghetti colors into bowls.
Paper Towel Roll Ball Track
You’ll need a few empty paper towel rolls, some construction paper in different colors and some ball pit balls.
Cut your paper towel rolls in half long ways then cut your construction paper to fit and glue it on.
Now tape one end to a wall and the other end to a bowl. Do this for each roll for as many colors as you’d like to do.
Show your baby how to drop the corresponding colored ball pit ball down the tracks into the bowls to work on coordination, fine motor skills and color recognition.
Colored Cereal Sorting
For this activity all you need are Fruit Loops Cereal, construction paper, and tape! Tape a piece of paper for each fruit loop color and allow your child to sort the colors.
Start by showing them how. You can name the colors as you set them down and count them out to work on numbers too.
Remember it’s not about getting the activity right at this point, but getting exposure to seeing the colors and hearing you say them.
Have building blocks laying around? You can create a fun way to “clean up” and sort by color. You can decorate a box with a colored monster printout that matches the blocks and see if your little one can sort them this way.
Not only will this give him or her more support and coordination, but they are practicing recognizing their colors as well.
Ball Pit Color Sorting
Take a few boxes and tape a piece of construction paper on each one in a different color. Show your baby how to throw the balls into the right box by color and encourage them to copy you.
This is not only great for learning colors, but they are getting used to using both hands to grab and throw.
If you would like your little one to learn what types of objects are a specific color, you can use a coloring sheet that focuses on one color at a time.
For those hands that are still learning how to use writing utensils, try using thick crayons for better control.
Colored Tape Matching
For an affordable way to play with colors, all you need is colored tape and construction paper.
Start by cutting little squares of tape and showing your baby how you stick the tape on the corresponding piece of paper. Now let them try.
An activity like this helps with hand-eye coordination, color recognition, and gross motor skills.
Sensory Activities For 1 Year Olds
Squishy Sensory Bags
Sensory bags are all the rage. All you need is hair gel, food coloring, and anything that you would like your little one to move around in the bag.
Some people put colorful pom poms or even some beads to add texture.This will get your child to begin to build pathways in the brain for better retention.
Grab a box or plastic container that you have laying around the house and fill it with anything you would like your baby to feel and play around with.
Add things that are soft, hard, rough, big, and small. You can let baby explore by themselves or play with them and describe these characteristics about the objects as you go.
Either way this is a fun way to get creative and allow your baby to explore their senses.
For this activity you have to fill a plastic bin with colored foam. Place their favorite toys (that can get rinsed and wiped down) in the bin so that they can rummage through the foam and find them.
For this activity it’s best to do it in the bath tub and then end with a bath to clean up.
Pom Pom Bath
This activity is interesting and can help you add some fun to bath time. Place pom poms in the tub full of water and allow them to play.
This will not only help them strengthen their hand-eye coordination, but they will enjoy water fun and getting clean without considering it a chore.
You might want to block the drain with a hair stopper in order to prevent the balls from going into your drain.
Rice Sensory Bin
Need a fun but very simple activity that allows you to use what you have in your home? Well this one is perfect for that.
All you need are a few containers (bowls, jars, ect.) pour rice into the biggest container you have and allow your baby to explore.
Give them a scoop, like a measuring cup and allow them to move the rice from the bigger container to the others. Hide small toys at the bottom for them to discover.
This activity will help your baby develop their hand-eye coordination and stimulate their brain to make connections to the objects around them.
Wet Sponge Fun
This is another fun activity to play in the bath tub. All you need are lots of sponges and water.
Allow your little one to squeeze and soak water to and from them. This allows them to make those important connections in their brain about textures.
Outdoor Activities For 1 Year Olds
Camping Pretend Fun
Although your one year old may not be ready to endure a night outdoors, you can set up a small tent and pretend you are camping.
This not only allows them to participate in dramatic play, but this increases their vocabulary and allows them to communicate with you in a different setting.
Let your one year old garden with you. This makes room for learning an invaluable skill, but they will also be able to have sensory stimulation while helping you garden.
You can add a multitude of new vocabulary for him or her to practice talking about what they see and feel. Let them try to dig and place the seeds in the hole or show them how to pull the weeds and let them try.
Then baby will have a blast using the watering can to water the garden!
Go for a Walk
Did you know that going for a walk not only allows your baby to connect with their body, but it is also a great way to allow them to explore their own environment.
In a safe place like a park or your own yard, you can follow your child and let them guide you through their own learning.
Create an Obstacle Course
Try creating an obstacle course for your baby. Make tunnels out of pool noodles to crawl through, use stepping stones, and make small ramps to climb over.
Keep it simple or go all out, either way your baby is sure to love this activity. While they are going through their obstacle course they’re working on problem solving skills, coordination and getting great exercise.
This may sound very silly if done in public, but wherever you choose, act like an animal that you see. Your child will be able to connect with their environment, learn the names of the animals they see, and practice walking or sounding like them.
This allows them to enhance their vocabulary in their animal recognition and show that they can connect what animal it is to what sound that animal makes.
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
For this activity all you need to do is print or show pictures of things that you can find in your backyard or neighborhood. Have your baby look for the objects you show them.
This may take some practice, but they will be able to make the connection of what they see on the page to what they see in their environment.
Physical Activities For 1 Year Olds
Simon says is a fun game to play with all ages, but your one year old will especially love this. You just have to adjust the rules to their capabilities.
Babies love to attempt to copy you so try doing simple movement like clapping, stomping, and waving and help them mimic your movements.
Minefield of Pillows
All you need to do for this activity is throw pillows on the ground for your baby to crawl over. This will help their mobility and help them understand their depth perception.
At this age you’ll want to use a bigger ball and stand very close to your baby.
When children are able to toss a ball back and forth they are able to practice their hand-eye coordination, along with their gross motor skills.
Grabbing, tossing, catching, throwing are all skills that we as adults see as simple, but they are very complex for your one year old.
For those wiggle worms in your house, try to build tunnels for them to crawl through. These can be made by moving furniture up from the wall, using pillows, or cardboard boxes.
Create your own tunnels for your little one to go through. This allows them to practice their motor skills and have so much fun doing it.
Winter Activities For 1 Year Olds
Make Snow Castles
Making castle isn’t just for the summer time. Use those sand castle kits to make snow castles for something fun to do with baby in winter.
This great activity is easy and so simple for your one year old to navigate. You can use it as a Christmas gift to grandma too.
All you need to do is have a picture of a snowman under sticky contact paper (sticky part up) cut pieces of blue and white construction paper and allow them to stick the pieces on.
This will help your baby practice grabbing and placing things where they want them.
Christmas Bow Hunt
Stick Christmas bows around the house and give your one year old a basket. Help them navigate the house and collect the bows.
It’s important for our one year olds to learn to grasp, pinch, and place things where they want them to go. This activity does all those things while baby has fun.
Winter Sensory Bag
You can create a simple winter sensory bag for one year olds by adding marshmallows, white and blue pom poms, and glitter.
Your baby can play with those stimulating textures and allow them to make connections of how they feel.
Spring Activities For 1 Year Olds
Plastic Egg Surprise
Get more use out of those plastic Easter eggs this Easter. Sit baby at their high chair and give them the Easter eggs but fill them with little surprises to explore or snacks to each.
This is an activity to work on fine motor skills for one year olds while they practice open the eggs and grabbing the contents.
Indoor Garden Sensory Bin
With a container of soil, small gardening pots, and vegetable toys your one year old can enjoy the touch and feeling of nature indoors.
They can enjoy digging and planting while encouraging sensory development.
Print a butterfly picture for them and tape it to their highchair. Put a light layer of glue over the wings and have your baby decorate them with colorful scraps of paper.
This will encourage creativity and allow them to practice their hand-eye coordination while also exploring textures.
Show your baby how to build sandcastles in a sand box. With simple tools like plastic castle kits and water, this can be made magical.
Scooping sand into buckets and dumping them out will help with the coordination and sensory development.
Summer Activities For 1 Year Olds
This is a fun outdoor sensory activity for one year olds. Just fill a kiddie pool with foam and toys like spoons, cups, buckets and shovels for them to play and explore.
Water Ball Pit
As you already know, being able to grab, toss, and catch is a great skill to help baby develop fine motor skills. Add water and the challenge changes.
The balls move and cause your one year old to prepare and react in order to grab them from the pool. This is such a fun activity to try in the summer because it is fun and engaging for your baby and also a great way to stay cool.
Water Balloon Roll
Heres a fun water game for one year olds this summer. Make water balloons and let your little one roll them down a slide to see if they pop.
You can also have your baby sit at the bottom of the slide and try to catch the balloon when it rolls down. Just be careful to dispose of popped balloon pieces that can be a choking hazard.
Create a map with simple steps and pictures from your backyard and explore together. You will be able to see your child light up when they find the treasure you hid.
This helps them connect pictures to their actual environment and allow them to develop their communication skills with you.
Fall Activities For 1 Year Olds
Catch The Leaves
The best activities for baby are the ones that get you outside and enjoying nature. During a windy fall day stand under a tree and try to catch leaves while they fall.
This is always fun when it is close to Thanksgiving time, because who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? Simply add food coloring to mash potatoes and allow your baby to play and eat at their highchair.
There is no need to worry about their hand going towards their mouth because it is edible. Working on hand-eye coordination and sensory stimulation never tasted so good!
When you want your home to be festive and also allow your one year old to help with the decorations, have him or her help you glue scraps onto the scarecrow’s overalls.
They will not only feel like their home is theirs, but they are able to work on their communication skills with you telling them where to put their scraps of fabric.
Whether you need to engage your one year old indoors or out, no matter the weather, it is important to realize that the bonding during these activities is an important component to their development.
Your baby learns so much by watching and imitating you, so get creative. Try these activities and let us know how they go for you.