What are the best activities for 1 year olds at home?
Once your baby reaches the one-year mark, you’ll probably notice they’re not as easy to entertain as they once were.
While you used to be able to set your baby down on the floor to play with a few toys to entertain them for a stretch of time, your one-year old probably needs a little more stimulation than that.
But finding good ways to keep your one year old entertained at home is difficult!
The next time your baby seems bored, try one of these fun activities for a one year old baby.
Types of Activities for One Year Olds
There are a variety of fun activities you can do with your one year old baby, from activities that further their development to activities that simply entertain your toddler.
The types of activities your baby enjoys will probably depend a lot on their development and abilities, which means it may take a little bit of trial and error to find the best activities for your child.
These types of activities for one year olds are great for entertaining and engaging your baby:
- Developmental activities: Finding activities for your one year old that also help them develop new skills or learn new things is an educational way to keep your child entertained. That’s why developmental activities are a great option for indoor activities for your toddler.
- Outdoor activities: While most of these things to do with a one year old are indoors, it’s just as important to do outdoor activities. Your one year old needs to get fresh air and sunshine. Playing outdoors helps your one year old develop an appreciation for nature and the environment.
- Sensory activities: Toddlers also love exploring their different senses as they play. That means sensory activities are a great way to engage your one year old while playing indoors. Look for activities that let your child use all their senses – taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound to engage and entertain your baby.
- Noisy activities: Babies and toddlers love to make noise, so finding noisy activities for them to take part in will always be a hit with this age group. Grab some ear plugs and let your child get noisy to keep them entertained for a while.
- Messy activities: I’m sure you know how much your kids love getting messy. And while I’m sure you try to avoid messes at home as much as possible, there are some great benefits to letting your toddler get messy every once in a while. You can find ways to let them get messy while playing indoors to provide tons of fun for your one year old.
- Activities with household items: You don’t have to have special toys and games at home to keep your one year old entertained! Find household items in different colors, sizes, and textures and let your toddler play with them to provide them with an entertaining activity.
Here’s more information on each type below.
1 Year Old Baby Developmental Activities
Finding activities that help your child develop new skills and strengthen their abilities is a great opportunity for your toddler to learn as they play. And with these fun developmental activities, your child will have a blast practicing their new skills and playing at the same time.
1. Pipe cleaner lacing
For this activity, all you need is a kitchen colander and some pipe cleaners. Show your child how to thread the pipe cleaners through the holes on the colander, then let them practice their fine motor skills and pincer grasp as they play.
2. Stacking and nesting activities
Gather up items of different sizes and let your toddler stack or nest those items together to help them improve their fine motor skills as they play. Cups, bowls, and Tupperware are all great options for stacking and nesting.
Alternatively, you can purchase specially made toys that stack and nest for your one year old to play with.
A more complex stacking game for 1 year olds are these Lego-like pieces with different shapes and sizes.
If your child’s like mine, she’ll initially play with the blocks by biting them and taking the pieces a part. By 18 months, she’ll know how to put the blocks together and build structures. Right now she’s over 24 months and she still plays with them regularly.
These blocks are for ages 1-5 – excellent value for your money! They’re a great development tool for hand eye coordination and stimulate creativity.
I also like that they’re large and visible so you don’t step on them unlike other smaller toys. The blocks come with a storage bag for easy clean up!
These blocks go well with this blocks table. What I like about the blocks table is that it provides guidance for where the blocks can go. It helps with building tall structures. It’s portable so you can easily fold it and take it to grandma’s house!
It provides an area to contain blocks so they don’t end up everywhere! There’s also a small interior storage.
3. Sorting activities
Toddlers love sorting and organizing, which makes sorting activities a great option for any young child.
One year olds can begin by sorting their toys according to type or texture. And as they grow, you can encourage them to sort by size or color, too.
Here’s a fun sorting activity for 1 year olds that’s popular. It’s an educational way to learn colors, shapes, and basic numbers.
4. Counting activities
While your one year old probably isn’t ready to count on their own, listening to you count is the best way for them to learn.
Count your toddler’s fingers and toes, count the stairs as you go up and down, count the number of toys on the floor. Before you know it, your toddler will be counting along with you!
This toy phone is another great way to teach counting.
There are fun songs and a green screen with animation that teaches babies how to count. Although this is an educational toy, it does have “screen time”. Experts say to limit screen time for kids under 2 years old.
It’s still a great toy to have in your mix! When we are in the car or on a plane, this toy is a handy distraction!
It’s small so it fits well in the diaper bag. She can easily grab it with one hand. There are different volume settings so you can adjust it if you’re in a quiet environment. It’s also a great price.
5. Drawing and coloring
Although your toddler probably won’t draw anything recognizable, letting them experiment with coloring and drawing is a great way to keep them entertained.
They’ll love using colored pencils, watching the colors appear on the page and have fun creating their own works of art with their crayons.
If you’re looking for a more environmentally friendly option, these reusable activity pads are a favorite! The pen uses water! When the pen (with water) hits the paper, a color appears. When it’s dry, the color disappears and it can be reused!
As the ink is water, you don’t have to worry about messy hands! If the pen gets misplaced, you can also use a paint brush dipped in water!
This 3 pack builds language skills through the alphabet, animals and numbers. The pages are a thick cardboard material so they’re not easily ripped or chewed!
These pads are meant for ages 3-5, but both my niece and daughter started using this at 1-1.5 years old.
Your toddler won’t recognize the words on the page yet, but that doesn’t mean reading won’t benefit them.
From listening to the story to looking at the pictures, reading provides you with plenty of opportunities to entertain and engage your one year old.
Here were some of my daughter’s favorites at one year:
- This Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? book is a classic for 1 year olds with simple, informative words and beautiful illustrations. Here’s a read-aloud so you know what the book’s about:
- From Head to Toe is interactive in that you are asked to copy the animal’s actions e.g. thumping your chest like a gorilla. It’s a lot of fun! Here’s a read-aloud so you know what the book’s about:
- Ocean Life is an informative and colorful book about ocean animals. I first heard about these Hello World! books from a reader. These books were handpicked by an Amazon kids’ books editor for the Prime Book Box. They’re simple and clear – perfect for new readers! Here’s a read-aloud so you know what the book’s about:
7. Throwing and catching balls
Throwing and catching this oball was a regular, fun activity with our 1 year old. I like the oball because it’s soft, light and bendable. The large holes make it easy for my baby to grip.
At 1, she couldn’t throw far or catch well. We actually got our 1 year old to clap when catching so she would get used to the motion. Eventually it started clicking that she had to catch the ball.
Another ball our 1 year old loved was the beach ball! She would play with it inside the living room and in the backyard.
I like how you can also take it camping. It’s a space saver toy in that you can inflate it when you get to the camp site.
8. Rolling balls
Bowling is a fun activity for the whole family! With a kid’s bowling set, you can start playing with your 1 year old! Like throwing and catching, rolling balls and aiming at a target is an important developmental skill to nurture.
If your 1 year old hasn’t quite learned how to walk yet, using a walker will be fun and helpful in mastering this essential gross motor skill.
The one we have is a Fisher Price Walker. It does take off fast so you should closely supervise your 1 year old baby while he or she is learning how to control the walker (took my baby a few days).
There are a lot of activities like piano keys, rollers and 75+ songs! Even if your one year old isn’t interested in walking yet, this is a toy your kid can have fun with sitting down.
Outdoor Activities for 1-2 Year Olds
Here are outdoor activities you can do in your backyard, front lawn or on the way to the nearest park.
10. Riding in a wagon
This is a fun way to bring your 1 year old to the local park or just for a ride around the block. Some children get easily tired from walking around and won’t go into a stroller anymore. Having a wagon will save your back from carrying your one year old back home.
If you’re bringing the wagon to the beach or on a road trip, having a folding wagon is a space saver. There are 2 folding wagons that have many great reviews on Amazon. I’ve included both so you can assess what’s most important to you as a parent.
Neither come with a canopy, but you could always put a hat on your 1 year old. I also like putting on long sleeve UPF 50+ shirts because they provide sun protection and you don’t have to constantly reapply sunscreen.
This Mac Sports Folding Outdoor Utility Wagon has great material and construction (e.g. heavy duty frame, durable fabric, rubber wheels), but it’s not constructed to transport kids (i.e. no safety belt). That said, parents like this wagon because it’s sturdy and you can put a foam pad down to make it more comfortable for children.
The Radio Flyer Folding Wagon is a popular kids’ wagon. It has thick padded seats, seatbelts, a bench mode, and an area to haul a cooler. The material is not as durable as the Mac Sports wagon. For example, the Radio Flyer has high density foam wheels, which is better than plastic, but not as good as rubber.
11. Camping in the Backyard
Going camping in your backyard gets your 1 year old kid outside, but still close to all of the comforts of home when you need it.
To make it feel like less of a picnic, you can use a pop-up tent, which provides shade and a play area free from bugs!
12. Riding in a Carrier
If you live near a trail, you can bring your 1 year old on a hike. I usually just put my baby in an Ergobaby Carrier for walks. If you’re going hiking for over an hour, you might want to get an actual hiking baby carrier for a more comfortable experience.
13. Riding in a Tricycle
Radio Flyer has a 4-in-1 tricycle that can be used from 9 months to 5 years old. It can be used for 4 stages. It’s expensive, but lots of fun for kids.
Sensory Activities for 1-2 Year Olds
Let your toddler experience all their senses as they play with the help of some fun sensory activities for your one year old. These activities are a great way to let your little one explore their senses as they play indoors.
14. Sensory bins
One popular way to help your young child explore their senses is with a sensory bin.
Sensory bins are small boxes filled with a variety of objects that let your child explore each of their senses through free play. When finding objects to place in the sensory bin, try to find items that encompass each of the five senses — taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound.
Put together themed sensory bins for your toddler for even more creative fun!
You can use a plain, clear bin and fill it with the theme of your choice.
You could also get a pre-made sensory bin like this dinosaur themed one with sand, 34 pieces and a bin with a lid.
Playdough is a classic, fun sensory activity for your toddlers to play with at home. The texture and smell will provide your toddler with plenty of fun ways to engage their senses as they play.
16. Texture walk (or crawl)
Let your baby experience a variety of different textures as they walk or crawl along the floor by laying out different materials for them to walk on. You could use tissue paper, bubble wrap, a furry rug, or a soft blanket to demonstrate different textures for your baby to experience.
17. Water bottle rattles
Fill empty water bottles with different items, like popcorn or rice, and give them to your toddler to play with. They’ll love hearing the different sounds each of the bottles make! It’s a great sensory activity and noisy activity all rolled into one!
Noisy Activities for Toddlers
Letting your toddler get noisy is one of the best ways to ensure they have a blast as they play. With these fun noisy activities for one year olds, your little one is sure to have fun while being loud.
18. Singing and dancing
One of the best ways to get your toddler to be noisy is to turn up some music. Play kid-friendly music with easy to follow lyrics. Then, encourage them to dance to the tunes and sing along as loud as they want to their favorite songs.
19. Musical instruments
Did you know you have access to a variety of fun musical instruments right in your home? Encourage your toddler to get noisy by giving them some kitchen instruments to play, like a drum made out of a large pot and wooden spoons.
You could also give your 1 year old kid musical instruments.
This musical set includes a large variety of instruments including a xylophone, shaker, tambourine, hand bell etc. – enough to jam together as a family!
It’s a great price for the amount of instruments you get!
20. Make noise with your body
Your one year old doesn’t need any special equipment to be noisy! Show them different ways to make noise using just their body. Clapping your hands, stomping your feet, and making funny noises with your mouth are all great ways to have some noisy fun with your one year old.
Messy Activities for One Year Olds
Kids love getting messy, which makes messy activities a favorite of many little kids – no matter how young or old they are.
But finding messy activities your one year old can do indoors can be a little difficult. With these fun activities, your toddler can have a blast getting messy without destroying your house in the process.
21. Finger painting
One of the most popular ways for your one year old to get messy is with finger paints. Use child-safe paint and make sure to cover the area your toddler will be painting in with newspaper or a drop cloth to protect the furniture and floor. Then, let your little artist have some fun painting their own artwork with their hands.
You could also use a finger paint paper pad, which has a great size for finger painting and high quality paper ideal for showcasing the artwork for display.
To reduce the mess even further, place a piece of paper with some paint on it inside a plastic bag. Seal the bag, then let your one year old use their fingers to create a design with the paint without making a mess on their hands.
22. Fun with food
You probably don’t want to encourage your child to play with their food as they eat during meal time. But having a little messy fun with food shouldn’t always be out of the question.
Let your one year old experiment with taste and texture by letting them get a little messy with food. Put them in their high chair and place some messy food in front of them – like whipped cream or pudding – and let them have fun playing with the food as they eat.
Cooked pasta is another great way to provide your toddler with messy fun. Cook some spaghetti and allow it to cool completely. Then, pour the pasta into a bowl or their suction feeding mat and let your toddler play with it. They’ll love the sensation of putting their hands in the cooked pasta and squishing it between their fingers.
23. Digging activities
Fill a bin with diggable materials, like rice or beans, then let your one year old have fun digging through the bin with a small shovel or spoon. You can even hide items under the rice to make digging a little more fun.
You could also use sand toys. This beach toy set includes a dump truck, bucket, shovel etc. for hours of digging fun. It also comes with a bag for storage.
24. Making crumbs
We know how much your toddler loves putting things in their mouth! In fact, they probably love mouthing things almost as much as they love making a mess!
Satisfy both needs in one with an activity that allows them to make a mess and snack at the same time. Give your child some cereal or crackers while they’re sitting in their high chair and let them crush them into crumbs as they play.
These crunchy snacks are my 1 year old’s favorite! They’re a perfect snack for this type of activity!
25. Playing with bubbles
Bubbles are another popular way to keep a one year old entertained.
There are a few different methods for playing with bubbles that your toddler will love. Blow bubbles with a bubble wand and let your baby try to pop them (ideal for backyard fun).
Or add a small amount of water to a tub and add some bubble bath soap. Stir the soap in to form bubbles, then let your toddler splash and play in the bubbles.
26. Bath fun
Using water toys in the bath is another fun activity for 1 year olds. This fishing toy is perfect for the bath. It includes a fishing rod, 4 underwater toy fish, 10 foam numbers, 1 net and 1 cloud.
You can use the foam numbers to count how many you’ve caught, and assign points to different color fish.
You don’t need to use this toy just in the bath. Your 1 year old can easily play with it in your living room.
This toy is meant for 3+ year olds. I like that it’s more challenging for a one year old. It just means there will be more play out of it.
One thing you should know: The fishing pole is not an actual fishing pole. You can’t crank the reel to change the height of the string. I still think it’s fun!
There’s a 12 month guarantee. If anything happens within the first 12 months, they will replace it at no additional cost.
1 Year Old Activities with Household Items
There are many interesting household items your toddler can play with in your house! These fun activities will allow you to use items commonly found around your home to entertain your one year old indoors.
27. Kitchen activities
Keeping your one year old entertained as you cook is probably one of the most difficult tasks for a parent. But luckily, you have tons of toddler-friendly toys right in your kitchen!
Your one year old will have a blast banging pots and pans together, stacking bowls or cups, or playing drums with your wooden spoons.
If you don’t like the idea of your baby possibly damaging your kitchen supplies or making a lot of noise in the kitchen, you could get them their own play kitchen. This way they can focus on opening, closing and taking things in and out of their own kitchen’s drawers.
This is an activity that your baby might appreciate closer to 1.5-2 years old.
We put our toddler’s Step2 kitchen in her playroom, but I know some moms that place it right in their kitchen dining area so they can cook with their little one. I like the Step2 because it’s large (has lots of functions and 25 accessories), lightweight (easy to move) and less expensive. There are many other more stylish play kitchens.
28. Cleaning activities
Toddlers are natural helpers, which means your little one would love to help out while you clean. Give your one year old a microfiber cloth and let them follow you around dusting as you clean each room of your house. Microfiber cloths are scratch-free so you don’t have to worry about them wrecking any surfaces. They also absorb well.
You could also get your little one their own toy cleaning supplies. This was an activity my little one started loving closer to 18-24 months.
29. Mirror play
Your one year old loves checking themselves out in the mirror. Set them in front of a mirror and let them entertain themselves by watching their reflection’s movements and expressions. Or double the fun and play along with them by making funny faces for them to see reflected back in the mirror.
30. Laundry basket activities
From creating a fun baby-safe play area to dumping and filling the basket with different toys, your toddler can have tons of fun playing with a laundry basket!
31. Cardboard box activities
If you have kids at home, you know they can often have more fun with a box than the actual toy that came inside. The same goes for a one year old! A box can be a variety of fun things for a baby, from a tunnel to crawl through to a container to sit and play in.
32. Balloon fun
Balloons are fun for kids of any age, but your one year old will be especially excited to play with a balloon while at home. Toss the balloon to your toddler or simply let them chase the balloon around the room while they practice crawling or walking.
Activities to Avoid with a One Year Old
While there are tons of great ways to entertain your baby, there are also a few activities you should try to avoid when it comes to playing with your little one.
To keep your baby safe, make sure to be cautious of these indoor activities:
1. Playing unsupervised.
I’m sure you already know that your one year old shouldn’t be left to play unsupervised, but it is worth mentioning. Never leave your one year old alone while they’re playing to ensure they play safely and don’t get hurt.
That doesn’t mean you have to play with your baby all the time. You just want to ensure you keep an eye on your baby while they’re playing with their activity so they stay safe.
2. Toys and activities with small pieces
Babies put everything in their mouth, which means you need to ensure that the items they’re playing with don’t have small pieces that could choke your baby. Before giving your baby anything to play with, inspect the item to make sure there aren’t any loose pieces that may fall off and get put in your baby’s mouth.
3. Water activities
Keep your baby safe from drowning by limiting water activities with one year old babies. Young children can drown in a bucket or bin of water, making water activities that use more than a small amount of water a possible danger for kids this age.
4. Activities that aren’t within their capabilities
Toddlers and babies can easily get frustrated as they play – especially if they feel like they can’t master the task at hand.
To keep from frustrating your baby while they’re taking part in an activity, make sure it’s easy enough for them to do and be successful at.
Alternatively, you can break down the activity into smaller, easier activities so the toddler is challenged and with guidance, can quickly learn the activity and grow from it.
For example, if your toddler is playing with a puzzle that’s too difficult, you can focus on just 2 pieces first until they’ve mastered it and can move forward. Then focus on the next 2 pieces and so forth until the whole puzzle is built.
Final Thoughts on Activities for a 1 Year Old Baby
Whether you’re looking or developmental, sensory or other play activities for your 1 year old, this list provides you with a range of options to keep your toddler entertained throughout the day at home.
Related Articles about 1 Year Old Activities:
Recap of Activities for a 12 Month Old
- Pipe cleaner lacing
- Stacking and nesting activities
- Sorting activities
- Counting activities
- Drawing and coloring
- Throwing and catching
- Rolling balls
- Riding in a wagon
- Camping in the backyard
- Riding in a carrier
- Riding in a tricycle
- Sensory bins
- Texture walk (or crawl)
- Water bottle rattles
- Singing and dancing
- Musical instruments
- Make noise with your body
- Finger painting
- Fun with food
- Digging activities
- Making crumbs
- Playing with bubbles
- Bath fun
- Kitchen activities
- Cleaning activities
- Mirror play
- Laundry basket activities
- Cardboard box activities
- Balloon fun
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