Inside: If you are looking for easy and fun activities for 1 year olds, you are in the right place. Read to the end to download The Best Activities for 1 Year Olds Activity Pack!
Once your child hits the one year mark, they have officially stepped into toddlerhood. Congratulations! Your life is about to get more active and amusing than ever before. Your newly minted toddler is probably learning to stand, cruise or even walk on her own. Mastering these important motor skills gives our active toddlers the confidence boost to explore the world around them with greater independence.
During these early years, they reach many developmental milestones and surprise (or shock) us with new-found skills every other day. I remember shortly after my youngest turned one, she was trying to climb up everything, the sofa, her older siblings’ bunk bed and the dining table. Two months later, she conquered everything and I wonder whether to be proud of her determination or worried about what she’s going to climb next.
Our 1 year olds are constantly keeping us on our toes, but don’t you agree that watching them grow is extremely rewarding and exciting?
Our 1 year olds are also becoming more interactive and are able to engage with people and their environments meaningfully. This makes now an ideal time to set up simple learning activities for your 1 year olds to nurture their curiosity and support their development through play.
Tips for Setting Up Learning Activities for 1 Year Olds
- Offer materials that are safe for your little one to explore with her mouth, since they are still in the oral exploration phase. To eliminate risk of choking, use only materials that are too big for young toddlers to swallow accidentally.
- Think twice before interrupting their activities. If you find yourself constantly saying no to your 1 year old in order to keep them safe, this is a strong indication that the activity they are engaged in is not a good fit for them. Once you have eliminated unnecessary risk, relax and let your 1 year old explore the activity freely.
- Present one new activity at a time. Toddlers are easily distracted so having too many options will scatter their attention. The result? They will jump from activity to activity without giving one enough attention to master the skills. To support their engagement, activities should focus on developing only one or two skills. This will keep them from quitting in frustration because the activity is overwhelming their physical, emotional, or mental capacities.
- Another way to work with a toddler’s attention is to find a time during the day for learning activities where there are not too many other things going on in your house. If you are vacuuming the floor, for example, your little one will likely follow you around the house, fascinated by the vacuum beast. Likewise, if older siblings are running about, younger siblings will want to join in the fun. For these reasons, I usually do learning activities with my 1 year old when her older siblings are in school or having their screen time.
- Keep in mind that because of the simplicity of toddler-friendly learning activities, they are not designed to keep your little ones busy for a long time. Children are motivated by the potential to learn, so how long they work on the activity is largely dependent on how much learning they are getting out of it. Once your little one acquires the new skill, she’ll be ready to move on. So don’t be discouraged when your 1 year old walk away and find another activity after only a few minutes. The typical attention span of a 1 year old is three to five minutes, so this is perfectly normal.
- To extend the learning experience, when your child is done with an activity, you can display it on the toy shelf. Your 1 year old may circle back to play with it later. Make sure that the toy shelf is not overcrowded with too many other toys so that the materials that are left on the toy shelf will get your toddler’s attention. If they don’t, keep it in the cupboard and bring it out again after a week or two. Doing an activity rotation is an effective way to reignite your child’s interest in an activity because the activity seems brand new again.
- Finally, before introducing new activities to your little ones, make sure their basic needs like food and rest are met. A well fed and well rested toddler is more likely to focus on playing and learning.
Related: Find out why repetition is so good for our kids!
Sensorimotor Stage of Development
Based on famous Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development, children between 0 to 2 years old go through a sensorimotor stage of development. During this period, children learn about the world primarily through their senses and motor abilities. When they move about and interact with the environment using their five senses, they gain understanding of their world and develop cognitive growth.
How can we support their intense needs for movement and physical interactions using their senses, both of which are crucial for their learning and brain development?
In the next half of this post, I will be sharing 10 easy learning activities for 1 year olds to 1) encourage and hone their motor skills and 2) explore with their senses.
If you are looking for more activities for your One-Year-Old, be sure to scroll all the way to the end of this post to grab this freebie: The Best Activities for 1 Year Old Activity Pack.
Related: Not sure what activities are suitable? Check out this quick guide on how to choose learning activities for your child.
Easy and Fun Activities for 1 Year Olds
- Tape Obstacle Course: Peeling off washi tape is a great fine motor skill activity for young children to practice their pincer grasp.
- Mystery Tissue Box: Tap on young toddlers’ curiosity and make this fun activity with a tissue box!
- Grab the Spoons: This quick and easy game is wonderful for toddlers to develop their motor skills.
- Stacking Paper Rolls: Why buy stacking toys when you can make one with TP rolls?
Related: This Flower Paper Roll Stacker is great for stacking when kids are little, and useful for teaching sceince when they are a little bigger!
- Balance the Balls: Watch your one-year-olds focus on balancing the balls on the TP rolls.
- Family Lift-the-flap: An entertaining lift-the-flap activity for your one-year-olds to recognize their family members.
- Fruit Sensory Bin: Who knew fruits and water could be so much fun?
- Water Painting: A mess free painting experience for one-year-olds.
Related: Try these Cool Ice Activities to kick off the summer!
- Kitchen Discovery Wall: This activity will keep little ones occupied while we get busy in the kitchen. Use an empty wall or simply hang the utensils over the baby high chair.
- Wash Cloth Sensory Bin: Who knew wringing wet cloth can be so beneficial for young children to strengthen their hand muscles?
Related: Looking for more things to do with your baby? Try these easy activities for babies to develop early literacy skills.
Want More Activities For Your 1 Year Old?
I hope your little ones will love these ten activities. For more easy and fun activities for 1 year olds, be sure to grab The Best Activities for 1 Year Olds Activity Pack. This is a free resource with over 35 activities for 1 year olds that I put together for my mailing list subscribers.
To grab a copy, sign up for Happy Tot Shelf mailing list and receive this activity pack as a bonus.
Download The Best Activities for 1 Year Olds Activity Pack below!
Happy learning and playing at home!