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Easy and Exciting Activities For One-Year-Olds

Activities For One Year Old

Are you looking for activities for your one-year-old to create moments that not only keep your little one entertained but also foster their growth and development. 

 

How do you keep those tiny minds engaged?

 

Well, you’re in luck! 

 

As a former preschool teacher, keeping little ones engaged and entertained while teaching them skills and encouraging their development was my main goal.

 

My absolute favorite thing was watching my little class full of toddlers learn and grow skills that I was helping them discover!

 

Now as a stay at home mom, I am implementing things from my preschool class into my sons everyday engagement, growth and development.

 

These activities are some of the best things to do with a one-year-old, and make great activities for one-year-olds at daycare!

 

Here are fan-favorite activities for one-year-olds that are engaging and easy to do! 

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you purchase through a link.

 

Sensory Playtime

Sensory play isn’t just fun and games, its a crucial part of your one-year-old’s development.

 

By nurturing their senses, you’re opening doors to a world of discovery and laying the foundation for a lifetime of learning!

 

Sensory Play encourages brain development, motor skills, language acquisition, emotional regulation, and creativity.

 

So embrace sensory play and all the potential messes it may bring with these activities for your one-year-old!

 

Texture Exploration

Supplies needed:

Various textured materials (e.g., soft fabrics, sandpaper, feathers)

How-to guide:

Set up a sensory station for hands-on exploration. Collect different materials with varying textures and place them in a box. Let your one-year-old dig around and explore the different textures! 

 

Edible Finger Painting

Supplies needed:

Hot water, flour, food coloring, paper

How-to guide:

Combine hot water and flour until you have your desired consistency. Add a few drops of food coloring to make different colors. After the mixture has cooled, let your one-year-old paint with their fingers! Watch as they explore the texture, and maybe taste the paint as they create art! 

 

Sensory Bins With Textured Objects

Supplies needed:

Bin, varying textured objects (i.e. bumpy legos, soft plushie, rough rocks, hard measuring cup, smooth ball, etc.) 

How-to guide:

Fill a bin with different textured objects you have around the house. Let your child explore the different objects! Explain the different textures that they are feeling. 

 

Sensory Bottles

Supplies needed:

Sturdy plastic bottle, rice, glitter, beads, marbles, beans, etc.

How-to guide:

Use any empty disposable bottle for this activity (preferably something made from sturdier plastic). You can fill the bottles with all sorts of different materials: toys, dirt, water, oil, rice, glitter, marbles, sequins, beads, etc. Make sure to secure the lid of the bottle well by using hot glue. 

 

Suncatchers 

Supplies needed:

Tissue paper, contact paper

How-to guide:

Have your child rip up several sheets of different colored tissue paper (this is a fun activity in and of itself). Then, stick the ripped pieces onto the sticky side of contact paper. You can cut the contact paper out in different shapes, or I like to have a template that the children stick the tissue paper around. After the tissue paper has been applied, you can stick the contact paper to a window to reveal your homemade suncatcher!

 

Bubble Wrap Bonanza

Supplies needed:

Bubble wrap, large cardboard, washable paint

How-to guide:

Have your child paint the bubble side of the bubble wrap. After they have finished, lay the painted bubbles down onto cardboard. Let your child jump and stomp on the wrap to pop the bubbles. Listen to the different sounds that they make! Once the jumping has ended, remove the bubble wrap to reveal your artwork!

 

Sensory Rice

Supplies needed:

Bag of painted rice, bin, measuring cups, toys

How-to guide:

*You may want to do the Painted Rice activity below before this activity* Open the bag of colored rice that your child previously made and let it dry. After the rice is thoroughly dried, pour out the rice into a bin. Let your child enjoy running their hands through the colored rice that they made. Add shovels, measuring cups, small toys, blocks, and cars, and let your child dig around for the objects.

 

Homemade Moon Sand

Supplies needed:

Baby Oil, flour 

How-to guide:

Combine ¼ cup of baby oil for every 2 cups of four. Mix well and break up any clumps. This is a fun, easy activity that will keep your child quite engaged! Add shovels, playdough molds, or other toys to add to the fun! 

 

Slime

Supplies needed:

White glue, water, baking soda, saline solution, food coloring, cup, spoon

How-to guide:

Follow my recipe here to make your slime!

 

Cloud Dough

Supplies needed:

Cornstarch, conditioner

How-to guide:

Have your child help you measure out 1 cup of cornstarch and ½ cup of conditioner. Mix together and you have some fluffy cloud dough!

 

Sea Foam

Supplies needed:

Warm water, dish soap, cornstarch, food coloring, blender

How-to guide:

Add ¼ cup of warm water, 2 tablespoons of dish soap, 2 tablespoons of cornstarch, and blue food coloring into a blender. Blend on high until there are stiff peaks. Pour out the foam into a bin and add different toys, whisks, scoops, etc.

 

Playdough

Supplies needed:

Flour, salt, oil, cream of tartar, hot water, food coloring

How-to guide: 

Have your child help you measure out 3 cups of flour, 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of salt, 3-4 tablespoons of oil, 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar, 3 cups of hot water, and your favorite food coloring. Mix together and enjoy playing with your own homemade playdough! 

 

Resources for more fun:

Busy Board
Activities For One Year Old Busy Board

 

Pop Tubes
Activities For One Year Old Pop Tubes

 

Sensory Toy

Activities For One Year Old Sensory Toy

 

Messy Art Adventures

Getting involved and messy while doing art is a great way for your one-year-old to foster a sense of wonder, creativity, and self-expression!

 

Messy art activities for one-year-olds play a part in their sensory development, fine motor skills, creativity, emotional expression, and language development.

 

So don’t be afraid to let those little hands get messy – it’s all part of the exciting journey of your child’s creativity and growth.

 

Finger Painting

Supplies needed:

Non-toxic finger paints, large paper or canvas, aprons

How-to guide:

Encouraging artistic expression through finger painting. Let your child have fun and paint with their fingers and hands!

 

Edible Masterpieces

Supplies needed:

Edible materials (e.g., yogurt, food coloring, fruit slices)

How-to guide:

Create edible art that’s as delicious as it is colorful. Have an array of food materials for your child to create with! 

 

Fly Swatter Splat 

Supplies needed:

Fly swatter, paint, paper

How-to guide:

Dip a clean fly swatter into some paint. Hit the fly swatter against some paper several times for a fun-looking art display!

 

Frozen Paint

Supplies needed:

Muffin tin/ice cube tray, water, food coloring, craft sticks, paper

How-to guide:

Fill a muffin tin or ice cube tray with water. Drop some food coloring into each spot. Put a craft stick into each spot and then freeze. Once frozen, have your child use the frozen paint to paint on a piece of paper! 

 

Bubble Snake

Supplies needed:

Disposable water bottle, old sock, rubber bands, dish soap, water, food coloring

How-to guide:

Cut the bottom off of a disposable water bottle. Take an old sock and slip it over the bottom of the bottle, covering the cut-off portion (you may want to trim the sock if it is too long). Secure the sock with rubber bands. Squirt a lot of dish soap into a bowl of water and dip the sock portion into the water. Blow through the top of the bottle to make a bubble snake! You can add food coloring to the wet sock to get different colored bubbles! 

 

Color Mix-Up

Supplies needed:

Shaving cream, storage bag, paint, tape

How-to guide:

Spray some shaving cream into a Ziploc bag. Have your child pick out a couple of paint colors and pour some into the bag. Properly seal the bag (you can use masking tape to ensure it is sealed) and watch your child squish the bag to make new colors! Alternatively, you can let your child squish and smear the shaving cream and paint on a table or other surface with their hands and fingers for a fun sensory activity. 

 

Coffee Filter Butterflies  

Supplies needed:

Washable markers, coffee filters, spray bottle, pipe cleaners

How-to guide:

Using washable markers, have your child color several coffee filters. (This activity specifically works if your child colors on two coffee filters that are layered on top of each other.) Lay the colored coffee filters on a washable surface. Using a spray bottle, mist them with water. The more the filters are sprayed, the more the design runs and bleeds; the choice is yours!

After the coffee filters are dry, accordion fold the filters back and forth. Stack two folded filters (either two identical filters that were colored together or two different filters) on top of each other. Fold a pipe cleaner in half, and put the filters in between the folded pipe cleaner, having the middle of the filters secured against the pipe cleaner. Twist the pipe cleaner and curl the two open ends to look like butterfly antennas. Fan out the accordion pipe cleaners to reveal your beautiful watercolor butterfly!

 

Rock ‘n Roll Painting

Supplies needed:

Rocks/marbles, paper, paint, box

How-to guide:

Have your child go outside and find several small rocks (you can also use marbles). Then let them select their favorite colored piece of paper and place it in a wide, shallow box or container. Squirt some paint into the box. Drop several rocks into the box and let your child roll the rocks around through the paint along their paper! You can add a lid or cover to the box and let your child shake the rocks around in the box. Now you have a beautifully painted piece of paper, and some painted rocks that you can use to decorate outside!

 

Butterfly Symmetry Painting

Supplies needed:

Paper, pencil, paint

How-to guide:

Print out a butterfly outline on a piece of paper or draw one yourself. Carefully fold the paper in half along the butterfly’s body, making sure to have a wing on each side of the fold and in line with each other. Unfold the paper and have your child paint one side! After they have finished painting, fold the paper with the wet paint on the inside. Press the folded sides lightly together and then carefully unfold them to reveal your symmetrical painted butterfly!

 

Fingerprint Bugs

Supplies needed:

Paint, paper, marker

How-to guide:

Have your child dip their finger into different washable paint colors or a stamp pad and then dot their finger across a piece of paper. After the paint has dried, draw little eyes, legs, wings, antennae, etc on the fingerprints to resemble little bugs! Draw a large jar outline on your paper and fingerpaint your little bugs inside the jar for added fun! 

 

Painted Rice

Supplies needed:

Rice, gallon storage bag, paint.

How-to guide: 

Pour some rice into a gallon Ziploc bag. Have your child pick out a couple of different colors of paint to squirt into the bag, along with the rice. After sealing the bag (you can reinforce the opening with masking tape if needed) let your child squish the rice and paint to create different colors! Afterwards, use your finger and draw different shapes, letters, or pictures in the rice.

 

Resources for more fun:

Paint Set
Activities For One Year Old Paint Set
Palm-Grasp Crayons
Activities For One Year Old Palm-Grasp Crayons
Dot Markers

Activities For One Year Old Dot Markers

 

Fine Motor Play

Fine motor skills aren’t just about mastering small movements; they’re about unlocking a world of possibilities for children.

 

They are the building blocks for essential life skills! 

 

These small finger and hand movements help with school readiness, self-care, cognitive growth, emotional development, and social interaction. 

 

Here are activities for one-year-olds to develop their fine motor skills! 

 

Shape Sorting Challenge

Supplies needed:

Shape sorter toy, cardboard cutouts

How-to guide:

Have your one-year-old help you look for objects around the house that resemble different shapes. Cut out different shaped holes in a piece of cardboard and let your child insert the different shaped objects in each corresponding hole!

 

Sticky Sensory Garden 

Supplies needed:

Contact paper, nature elements

How-to guide:

Go outside and collect small nature elements such as flowers, grass, leaves, or sticks. Back inside, stick the collected nature elements to the sticky side of clear contact paper. After you have finished, attach the contact paper to a window to view your sensory garden! 

 

Drawing with Cars

Supplies needed:

Tape, marker, toy car, paper

How-to guide:

Tape a vertical, uncapped marker upside down to a toy car so the marker tip is level with the wheels. Get out some paper and have your child drive the car around while making art with the marker! 

 

Sticky Spider Webs

Supplies needed:

Painter’s tape, toys

How-to guide:

Use painter’s tape to make a large spiderweb on the wall or floor, sticky side out. Now stick different toys, sticks, leaves, etc to the sticky side of the tape. Let your child have fun retrieving the stuck objects!

 

Color Sort

Supplies needed:

Cardboard box, markers, box cutter, colored toys

How-to guide: 

Take a cardboard box and cut out several holes that a ball could fit through. Use a marker, and color different colored rings around each hole. Let your child sort their balls, toys, blocks by putting them into the corresponding colored hole! 

 

Resources for more fun:

Stacking Buttons
 Stacking Buttons
Wooden Play Food
Activities For One Year Old Wooden Play Food
Nuts and Bolts

 Nuts And Bolts

 

Musical Adventures

Music is a powerful force for child development.

 

It enhances cognitive skills, language, emotional and social growth, physical development, creativity, cultural awareness, and social expression!

 

Music is a valuable tool for nurturing your child’s development.

 

Here are some activities for your one-year-old to help shape their young mind with music! 

 

Homemade Shakers

Supplies needed:

Disposable plastic bottle, rice, dried beans, lentils, corn kernels 

How-to guide:

Fill a plastic bottle with rice, dried beans, lentils, corn kernels, etc. and secure the lid with hot glue. Have your child shake their shaker and listen to the sounds they are making!

 

Dance Parties

Supplies needed:

Music, scarves, flash lights, bubble machine

How-to guide:

Turn on some music and get dancing! Adding scarves, flash lights, bubbles, and other elements to make your dance party all the more fun!

 

Playful Percussion 

Supplies needed:

Sticks, hands

How-to guide:

Using sticks, wooden spoons, or your hands, see what fun beats you can come up with while tapping away!

 

Rain Sticks

Supplies needed:

Tin foil, wood spoon, paper towel roll, paper, tape, rice/dry beans

How-to guide:

Start by crumpling and rolling some tin foil around a wooden spoon. Take the coiled tin foil and insert it into a toilet paper or paper towel roll. You can have your child color and decorate a piece of paper that you can wrap around the toilet paper roll, or directly decorate the roll. Make sure to seal the bottom of the roll with some of the decorated paper and some tape. Add your desired amount of rice or dry beans to the roll. Seal the top and you are all done! 

 

Musical Statues

Supplies needed:

Music

How-to guide:

Turn on some music. Enhance your one-year-olds listening skills and self-control by pausing the music while they dance and have them freeze! Resume the music and let them keep dancing. Pause the music again and make sure your child becomes a statue!

 

Sound Hunt Adventure

Supplies needed:

The great outdoors, walking shoes

How-to guide:

Go outside and find what different things you can hear. Encourage your child’s curiosity and active listening by letting them lead you to different sounds!

 

Rhyme and Sing-Along

Supplies needed:

Your singing voice

How-to guide:

Sing popular nursery rhymes with your child. Encourage them to sing or hum along! Encourage their language development through song. 

 

Musical Storybooks

Supplies needed:

Musical/Rhyming Books

How-to guide: 

Select age-appropriate books with musical and/or rhyming elements. Sing/Read the books with your child and participate in rhyming.

 

Resources for more fun:

Musical Instruments Set

Activities For One Year Old Musical Instruments Set

 

Musical Mat
 Musical Mat

 

Lovevery Music Set

Activities For One Year Old Lovevery music set

Drum Set

 Drum Set

Outdoor Exploration

Get away from those screens and watch your child thrive through the wonders of being outside! 

 

Outdoor play is extremely beneficial for your one-year-old’s physical health, sensory development, emotional well-being, social interaction, and curiosity! 

 

Consider outdoor play as an essential part of your child’s daily routine.

 

Lets get outside with these engaging outdoor activities for one-yeaer-olds!

 

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Supplies needed:

List of nature items to find, a small bag or basket

How-to guide:

Organize a scavenger hunt in your backyard or local park. Search for and collect different nature elements!

 

Water Play 

Supplies needed:

Water, swim suit, water toys

How-to guide:

Have fun in the sun with water! Turn on the sprinklers, fill up the kiddie pool, get out the water toys, and enjoy being outside. 

 

Bubbles and Beyond 

Supplies needed:

Bubble wands, bubble solution, dish soap, water, whisk

How-to guide:

Crafting giant bubbles for endless outdoor fun. Mix dish soap and water to create lots of bubbles! My preschool kids especially enjoyed playing with the bubbles using a whisk! Add some food coloring to make different colors!

 

Wheelbarrow Tape Walk 

Supplies needed:

Tape

How-to guide:

Tape a line along the floor, it doesn’t have to be straight! Hold your childs legs so that they are on their hands, and have them “walk” along the line! 

 

Sidewalk Chalk 

Supplies needed:

Chalk

How-to guide:

Have some fun with chalk and see what different pictures you can draw! 

 

Teddy Bear Picnic

Supplies needed:

Teddy bear, picnic blanket, lunch

How-to guide:

Have a picnic outside and invite your one-year-olds stuffed animals! Engage in the joy of pretend play and social interaction while being outside. 

 

Blanket Storytime

Supplies needed:

Blanket, books

How-to guide:

Encourage language development through reading stories while being outside! 

 

Miniature Gardening

Supplies needed:

Shoe box, dirt, seeds, water

How-to guide:

Poke a few holes in the bottom of a shoe box. Pour some dirt into the box. Add some seeds and water. Put the box on a window sill with plenty of sun. Keep watering every so often and wath your little garden grow! This teaches responsibility and nurturing skills while giving your child the satisfaction of accomplishing something!

 

Mud Kitchen Fun

Supplies needed:

Water, dirt, kitchen tools

How-to guide:

Mix some water and dirt together to create some mud! Let your child get messy and play in the mud! Add scoops, cups, bowls, funnels, toys for different ways to play!

 

Nature Walks

Supplies needed:

Your walking shoes

How-to guide: 

Enjoy a walk with your one-year-old. See what different nature elements you come across! 

 

Resources for more fun:

Bubble Lawn Mower
Bubble Lawn Mower
Balance Bike
Balance Bike
Water Table

 Water Table

 

Your one-year-old is at a remarkable stage of discovery and growth.

 

These easy and exciting activities for one-year-olds provide not only entertainment but also invaluable opportunities for learning and bonding.

 

Experience the joy of watching your child grow and learn through these activities.

 

From sensory play to outdoor adventures, you’ve got engaging activities to keep your little one happily occupied.

 

So, embrace the mess, and create cherished memories with your little buddy. 

 

You may also like:

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Easy and Exciting Activities For One-Year-Olds

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Tess Moulton

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Hello! I’m Tess, a preschool teacher turned mom, and I love discovering and creating fun ways to keep kids engaged and learning! Welcome!

Tess Moulton

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