Ahead: These easy at home activities are ideal for a one year old. When your little babe in arms changes into a toddler make the transition easier with these ultra simple (and completely free!) activities you can do at home.
I remember the day clearly when my little babies went from napping most of the day to active mini toddlers (they weren’t quite toddlers yet but they weren’t babies anymore either). My good friend Susie at Busy Toddler coined a term that fits this fun and crazy phase perfectly – Taby (pronounced tay-by).
Suddenly you realize that you have to “entertain” this little human. But how on earth do you entertain a being with the attention span of fruit fly?!? The key to staying sane during this period is keeping them BUSY!!
Link to download list is at the end of this post.
Entertaining your 1 Year Old
Congratulations you made it through the baby phase. Your reward? A toddler brimming with energy, a budding personality and new found abilities (like walking!!) But more importantly you will notice a massive leap in their cognitive abilities.
But despite all these new developments 1 year olds are still babies in the truest sense. They still put things in their mouths, they still nap 2-3 times a day and they still lots of love and comforting from you.
Below is a list of no-prep activities for 1 year olds. Very simple ideas to help break up your day. These are things to do when your mini-toddler is hanging on to you for dear life and you need a moment (because that all you get with a 1 year old).
Check out this great list of some of the things I did with my twins when they were 1 year old.
Everything on this list is easy to set up and uses stuff you already have at home! You can also do these activities with younger babies (10 -11 months) and even toddlers as well!
OK, ready to see the list? Let’s go!
30+ Easy Activities for 1 Year Olds
Laugh together for no reason. Yup. trust me this can be an instant mood changer. Just start giggling and don’t stop. Laughter is infectious. Just laughing for 5 minutes for no reason will make you and your 1 year old feel better!
Let them crawl around on your bed. Mommy and daddy’s bed is a special place. Let them roll around and jump on your bed. Snuggle up and read a story or sing a song while they jump. You can rest on your bed and they can get some energy out!
Fly around like an airplane. Pick them up and fly around like a plane. I call myself the mommy plane and randomly come in for a pick up and fly my twins around the room. Extend the play and pretend they are on a real play. Talk to them like they are passengers and you are pilot.
Look at pictures of family and friends. Grab some photo albums or pull out your phone and look at photos of them, their friends and family. Recall about favourite trip or parade and find photos to help remind them about that fun time.
Finger painting with water on cardboard.
Create a baby crawling obstacle course.
Eat snack out of a sensory bin or large container. Pour a bunch of cheerios or another dry snack into a larger than normal container or several different Tupperware containers and let them eat from it on the floor. Changing things up like this can go a long way to keeping them entertained so you can get a few things done.
Play in the freezer or fridge. Open up the fridge and let them explore in there for bit. If you have a freezer that is on the floor open it up and let them feel the cold air . Open the drawers and talk about what’s inside. (Adult supervision is required for this activity).
Draw on a mirror. Bring out a hand mirror and start to make funny faces in the mirror. Make sad and happy faces and identify them as you do. See if you 1 year old can copy you. If you have washable liquid markers or dry erase markers let the draw on their face in the mirror.
Turn your laundry basket into a spider web basket.
Play with a ball and more. Pass a ball back and forth on the floor. Set up paper towels and try to knock the rolls down with the ball. Use a large ball for this activity.
Play with blocks. Gather a few different types of blocks and see which ones your 1 year old gravitates toward. Starting building a tower with them. Count the blocks. Place an animal on top of your towers and let them knock them down.
Create a kids car wash tunnel.
Read their favourite story. But read the book in different accents or funny voices.
Take mattress off their crib and use it as a tumbling mat. For added protection, arrange pillows all around and set safety ground rules.
Learn a new a song or sing a favourite. Here are some of our favourites:
- Farmer Brown had a dog
- Wheels on the bus
- The Grand Old Duke of York
- Sitting in my highchair
Play a musical instrument (and sing a song!).
Cuddle on the kitchen floor or somewhere you don’t normally get down on the floor with them.
Play with water. Fill a Tupperware with a little water and let them play.
Play peek-a-boo with stuffed animals
Read a book lying down on the floor.
Play with a finger puppet, or regular puppet or stuffed animal. Create your own by drawing a face on an old white sock. Create a sock puppet for your child too.
Do a puzzle but cover the spots with post-its.
Stack a non-toy like paper towel rolls of toilet paper rolls.
Play or paint with safe kitchen utensils. Fill a large mixing bowl with water and hand them a few safe kitchen utensils like a spoon or spatula. Place a towel under the bowl and let them play.
Play with hats of different sizes. Pull out your winter clothing box and try on different winter hats.
Climb stairs. Practice climbing the stairs and counting the steps. Count the steps.
Go for a laundry basket ride. Put them inside the laundry basket and pull them along for a ride.
Throw balls down the stairs. Throw soft ball pit balls down the stairs. Place the ball pit at the bottom to catch the balls.
Cover a bowl with tin foil and use it as a drum until it breaks.
Paint with water and cotton balls. (Adult supervision is required).
Play dress up with funny head bands like bunny ears or sunglasses.
Stick Post-its on door or wall and show them how to pull them off.
RELATED… POST-IT GRAB & PUSH
Go for a ride on a blanket. Sit them up or lay them down on a blanket and drag the blanket slowly along the ground giving them a fun ride.
Play with spice containers. Seal them first with tape and place them in a basket or bowl for them to explore.
Place yarn into a sensory bin and let them play with it. Place balls of yarn inside a sensory bin or a large storage container and let them place with the yarn.
Look out the window. You probably already do this one. Well extend the activity by talking more about what they see. Count the trees, squirrels or dogs. Talk about the colours they see. Try and find a circle, square. You will be doing most of the talking but give them a chance to babble their response. Looking out the window can be a fun way to reconnect to your 1 year old.