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21 Fun Development Activities for 1-Year-Olds

Got a 1-year old? These fun development activities for 1-year-olds will give you very much-needed inspiration for keeping the toddlers busy.

The first few months of your baby’s life is the best opportunity for you to bond with them, to watch them grow and start to become an actual little being.

It’s a time in their lives when everything you do, every minute you spend with them is an opportunity to teach them some pretty vital skills.

Through fun and interactive activities, you can boost their growth and development, and you get to spend time watching them and loving them. Check out these 21 developmental activities for your one-year-old babies!

1 year old activities

1. Make Music

Make Music

Making music or just about any sound is one of those activities that ignites a ton of sensory nodes in a baby. It’s not just an auditory activity, it also involves movements, coordination, and quite often, rhythm.

Making music can lead to dancing to music, which can then lead to singing to music. So it’s a progressive activity that you and your child can work on over the years. It’s also a great opportunity to get them interested in music, which is a lovely skill and hobby in one.

Check out more engaging activities for 1-year-olds here.

2. Playhouse

Playhouse

A playhouse isn’t just a source of fun and toys, you know. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore a ton of developmental activities to entice your little ones with.

The mix of fun and learning, with a little additional help from play toys and games can be considered a wholesome experience for kids. Just remember to pick out the right toys for your kid’s playhouse, with a mind to the different avenues of developmental activities you’re planning to explore.

3. Fill a tub with water or sand

Sand play is a wonderfully messy activity for your toddler to indulge in. It’s also a terrific activity to enhance their motor skills.

There is also a ton of sensory input that goes into it. Playing with sand or water can build and strengthen some vital sensory areas in your child’s development.

4. Send your child to find objects around the house

Send your child to find objects around the house

Now, this particular activity has a twofold purpose. One, you get to help your little one develop some vital skills like identifying objects and retrieving them. This can also be an activity for them to learn how to follow commands and instructions.

Two, well, think of it as a way to get your little one to help clean up around the house, or at least after themselves.

5. Red dot challenge

This red dot challenge can be attempted with your little ones when they’re around 10 months old. Here’s how it works.

You put a red spot on your baby’s nose and then place them in front of a mirror and monitor their reactions. When your baby realizes that the baby they’re seeing in the mirror is actually themselves, they will try to rub off the red dot.

Check out more weekend activities for children.

6. Count fingers and toes

Count fingers and toes

You cannot get more elementary than this activity and that’s why it’s always a go-to for young moms and their babies to experiment with. Counting is a skill that you really need to inculcate as early as possible.

It’s as essential as teaching your kid how to walk, talk, potty train them…you get the picture. So grab those little wriggly toes and chubby fingers and get counting!

7. Crawl through tunnels

Crawling, scooting, and all movements involved in getting through that playhouse tunnel can help develop your baby’s gross motor skills. It’s also an opportunity to enhance their physical activity and encourage them to move around more.

Crawling through the tunnel will also help them understand and subsequently gain control over how their arms and legs move.

8. Sensory Bin

Sensory Bin

A sensory bin is not far away from a sandbox or a water box. Only, instead of just two textures, your baby gets a whole smorgasbord of them.

Do a little research about the different items you can include in this bin. They can vary in size, color, texture, the sounds they make, and more.

Try to not incorporate wet and dry ingredients and materials into one bin, though. While your baby might love the mess and mayhem, it can be a little counterproductive.

9. Fabric Mystery Box

Fabric Mystery Box

This is another opportunity to get your little ones involved in a little sensory playtime. A fabric mystery box provides you with everything you’ll need to carry out this activity.

You can even turn it into a little DIY activity and involve your older kids. They can help make this fabric mystery box for their younger siblings.

Grab some wrapping paper, tape, a pair of scissors, and any other craft essentials you need, and get started right away.

10. DIY Shakers

Don’t put away your craft supplies just yet; there are a couple of activities down below that involve a little DIY and creativity. This DIY shaker toy, for example, is super easy to make. It’s also an all-time favorite, don’t you think?

This is once again a pretty sensory developmental activity, so you’ll need to consider what you fill your shakers with. You can include sand, rice, cereals, lentils, little pebbles, bells, and more.

You can even create some music with these shakers, so think of it as a twofold developmental activity!

Need more inspiration? Here are 2-year-old baby activities!

11. DIY Coin Box

Making a DIY coin box is definitely one of the easiest DIYs on this list. All it calls for is a handful of coins to be placed into a box–metal or even a tin can would work fabulously.

Apart from the sensory addition to this activity, having a coin box can also be used to teach your little one his or her numbers. Besides, it’s never too early to get them into the habit of saving and recording their finances, right?

12. Ball Scoop

A scoop and drop activity like this ball scoop can be entertaining and effective developmental activity. It can keep your kids occupied while allowing them to learn certain movements and motor skills.

This can include ‘scooping’ the ball, balancing it inside the scoop, and transferring it into another container. You just need to grab a couple of trays or boxes, a few spoons(different sizes can increase the learning curve), and you’re set.

Here’s what you can do to kick it up a notch: use plenty of colored balls. Why? Well, you can use this opportunity to also incorporate some lesson time and teach your kids their primary colors.

13. Playdough

Playdough

Playdough is the king of playtime. It’s what kids, young moms, and bored adults in need of mindless fun, all turn to when they’re looking for something to occupy themselves. But when you give your little one some playdough, there’s more to it than just a recreational activity.

The sensory aspect of this activity aside, playing with playdough can really boost your child’s creativity. They are effectively conjuring an image in their head and then recreating that image into something tangible by molding the playdough.

If you think of it, it’s kind of mind-blowing what playing with playdough can do for your one-year-old.

Find more indoor activities for kids here.

14. Finger Painting

Finger Painting

Right up there next to playing and learning with playdough is finger painting. If you ask me, you just can’t go wrong with getting your kids to paint with their fingers.

Find me a kid who doesn’t enjoy getting his hands into a blob of paint and then smearing it onto some surface, and I’ll eat my hat. It isn’t just a creative way to express their thoughts and what they see, it’s also a sensory deal.

They get to squish their fingers in paint and experiment with colors, patterns, designs, and more.

15. Rainbow Rice

Rainbow Rice

Rainbow rice is yet another addition you can make to your ever-growing sensory bi. It’s super textured, colorful, and very easy to make.

Grab some white rice. If you want bigger grains, then you can use risotto rice, as well. Or, you can switch out the rice entirely and just use oats–you get the picture.

Next, grab some vinegar, and multiple bottles of colored food dye. Combine all these ingredients in a ziplock and give it a good shake to mix the colors into the rice.

When you’ve colored the rice into their respective rainbow shades, go ahead and add them to your bin.

16. Rainbow Spaghetti

Rainbow Spaghetti

When you’ve colored rice and oats, then there’s only one thing left to do: grab some pasta and color it, too! Now here’s the part that your baby is going to love: the spaghetti? It’s cooked!

That means all that gluten is going to make it squishy and slimy–which I bet your kids are going to get a kick out of. There’s also the colored dye you’ll be adding to your pot of spaghetti as it cooks that will turn your plain old spaghetti into rainbow spaghetti.

This sensory activity will also help your kids identify, recollect, and even retain primary colors. So use all these to your advantage to make the most out of playtime and lesson time.

17. Stacking

Stacking

Stacking activities can be super fun for kids, but there’s also a lot of thought, understanding, and technique that goes into the process. When your baby stacks his toys, woodblocks, or anything stackable, that right there is an opportunity to develop some pretty important skills.

Just by sitting on the floor to stack the blocks, your baby is learning how to balance not just the blocks, but even his own body and core. Just think of the coordination he uses to move his limbs about to grab and balance the blocks while also balancing his body.

18. Interactive Storytime

Interactive Storytime

I think bedtime stories are where dreams begin to take root. It’s the last thing your child will hear before they sleep and delve into dreamland.

It’s also a fabulous bonding activity that all kids and moms should definitely engage in for the simple joy of spending time together. So why don’t you make it even better? Switch out your regular bedtime stories with interactive stories.

In fact, why wait for bedtime? When your kids are in the mood for some interactive play time, sit them down with an interactive storybook to help them unwind.

You can use this as an opportunity to teach them new things like numbers, colors, shapes, and more, depending on the books you pick.

Find more engaging activities for 1-year-olds here.

19. Sock Puppets

Sock Puppets

I think that sock puppets are such an intrinsic part of every person’s childhood. I remember making them during art class, but I’m pretty sure you can introduce them to your toddlers, too.

When you’re trying to impart knowledge, especially to a little one who’s attention span is very erratic, you need to incorporate fun elements. You can use sock puppets to make learning and lesson time interactive and fun for your child.

20. Touch and Feel Board

We’ve already established that sensory movements can help cultivate and hone motor skills. These are super important and can manifest into so many skills–from basic hand-eye coordination to developing writing skills.

So here is yet another sensory activity for you to try with your little one. A sensory board allows you to pin up a multitude of different textures for your kids to feel and explore. This can include anything from a bunch of straws stuck together, to scrap fabric, to even sandpaper.

21. Edible Slime

Edible Slime

Have you had trouble stopping your child from popping everything into their mouths? Well, I’d like to tell you they grow out of it but…

Here’s something that might help you and your child: edible slime. Now, just hear me out. Playing with slime is fun, and you know it. But you definitely don’t want your kid to gobble Flubber, do you?

Check out this recipe for edible slime!

Yield: activities for 1-year-olds

21 Fun Development Activities for 1-Year-Olds

1 year old activities

Engage your little ones with these fun development activities for 1-year-olds. Easy, fun, and creative!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Difficulty Easy

Materials

  • Find the perfect development activities for 1-year-olds.

Instructions

  1. Find the activity that suits you!
  2. Have fun with the kids!
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