25 Fun Activities to Do with a 1-Year-Old

It doesn’t take a lot to entertain your 1-year-old, but finding fun activities for them can be challenging. It’s important to keep them stimulated so they don’t become bored and frustrated. It also helps with their cognitive and motor development.

By providing them with different activities, you’ll provide them with many development opportunities. Here are 25 activities that I have done with my own babies.

1. Fun with alphabet play dough.
Your child will have fun while learning their ABCs with alphabet cookie cutters and some play dough. Use the cookie cutters to create play dough letters, and use the letters to spell words—a great one to start with is their name.

2. Play with stickers.
Kids love playing with stickers. You can make it a fun learning experience by purchasing alphabet or numerical stickers (if you can’t find them, buy plain ones and write letters or numbers on them. Help your child put the stickers in alphabetical or numerical order. As your child applies the sticker, sound out the letter or number.

3. Read books.
This is of course something to do on a regular basis. If you’re having a challenging time thinking of fun activities for your baby, you can always encourage a love of reading.

4. Letter and number magnets on a cookie sheet.
This a fun way to start teaching ABCs and numbers to your child. Use plastic letters and numbers and let your child place them on a metal cookie sheet.

5. Create a sensory bin.
Fill a bin with sand, cotton balls, drinking straws cut in small pieces, string, colored rice or pasta, bowls or cups and something to scoop up with. You can also create nature bins with flowers, leaves, twigs, pine cones and acorns.

6. Create a water sensory bottle.
Fill a bottle 2/3 full of water, and the rest with baby oil, leaving a couple of inches of air. Add in food coloring and shake it up a little. You can add items such as glitter, buttons, pony beads, twisted pipe cleaners, sea shells, etc.

7. Play pretend grocery store.
A great way for your child to learn about different food groups. You can use items you already have in your home, such as fruits and vegetables and pantry items. Place them on a low table and give them a basket or box and let them go shopping. Ask your child about the colors, textures and shapes of the items.

8. Point out body parts.
Babies love finding their eyes, nose, mouth and ears. Let them point out yours too.

9. Have a puppet show.
Use stuffed animals and dolls to entertain your child. Make funny voices to tell a cute story.

10. Play with fabric scraps.
A fun activity that uses recycled items—scraps of fabric and an empty wipes container. Place fabric scraps in the container and let your child pull them out, experiencing the different textures and colors of the fabrics.

11. Sing together.
Take your child’s favorite nursery rhyme or song and sing them together. Encourage your child to sing the words.

12. Have a dance party.
Play some dance music and dance with your baby. Either carry your child around, or if they have started to walk, lead them in some moves.

13. Play music with pots and pans.
Use pots, pans and wooden spoons as musical instruments. I let my child do this while I’m making dinner.

14. Go for a walk.
Go for a walk with your child, let them experience nature and get some exercise.

15. Obstacle course for crawlers.
You can simply use whatever you already have at home. Use pillows, couch cushions, etc. to create an obstacle course that your child has to crawl around and help develop his motor skills.

16. Build a fort.
Place some chairs next to each other, leaving room for you and your child to sit in between them, drape a sheet over the chairs, place some pillows on the floor and you’ll have a fort. You can bring a flashlight and a book to read to your baby.

17. Create a “pull-along” toy from an empty box.
Take an empty box, such as a diaper box, place some toys in it and attach some string. Place your baby inside and pull him around in it. Babies love this. You can also give your child some crayons to use the box as a canvas.

18. Create a ball pit in your home.
For the hours of entertainment that it can provide for your child, it’s quite inexpensive. All you’ll need is a pit (You can find one for $10 or higher, depending on the size) and balls (you can purchase 50 for under $15).

19. Play counting games.
Thee are a variety of ways to play. Count his fingers and toes. Count the cars on the street. Count the toys in the room.

20. Stack plastic containers.
Wash and save small plastic containers, such as yogurt or applesauce containers and have your child stack them. When they’re done, they can enjoy knocking the whole thing down.

21. Play with sidewalk chalk.
This is a great way to get your baby to play outside. Give your child some chalk and let him draw on the ground.

22. Practice walking by cruising from object to object.
If your child is starting to walk, they are probably already doing this (cruising). You can help reinforce this by setting up objects like setting up chairs in a row for your child to cruise from one to another.

23. Playful chores.
Toddlers not only have fun doing chores, it can help them start to develop good habits. Here are a few ideas:

• Put toys away
After playing with their toys, make a game out of putting them away. 

• Dust surfaces
Give your child a small duster or small cloth and have them wipe surfaces that they can easily reach.

• Clean messes
Since they’re most likely to make them, have your toddler wipe them up. Kids actually enjoy this chore.

24. Finger painting
A classic activity—put some finger paint and paper out and let your child create a masterpiece.

25. Go to a kids play area.
There are several fast food restaurants that have play areas for kids and they also offer healthy food options. This will provide you with some downtime. I enjoy being able to sit and relax and watch my child enjoy playing with other kids her age.


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