Mother and Baby

Fun activities for 1-year-olds you can do at home

Section: Play
activities for 1-year-olds

One is such an exciting age for your little one. They're certainly not babies anymore at one, and their brains and bodies are ready to explore anything and everything (cue the baby proofing!). 

At this age, their brains need stimulating, and they're developing a very strong will for how they want to spend their time exploring the world. 

If you're looking for some different activities to entertain your little one, we've rounded up the best things for your tot to do at home for free. Not only can you probably find a lot of the things needed for these activities around the house, but they'll also help with your baby's development as well as providing hours of fun for them. 

It goes without saying that you should always supervise your toddler while they're playing. From having to stop them from putting everything in their mouths to making sure they're safe around water, it's always essential to make sure you keep an eye on them at all times. 

The best activities for 1-year-olds

Play dough

A classic go to for any baby and toddler, play dough is a fun and safe way to let your baby explore their pincer grasp and also help develop their hand muscles. It's also pretty relaxing for us parents too if you ask us! 

If you don't want to buy your own play dough, it's super easy to make at home. Just follow this simple tutorial which requires five ingredients we all have in our kitchen for a safe and cheap play dough for your toddler. 

Toddler busy board

You'll have no doubt come across these toddler busy boards before. If you're wondering what on Earth is this, it's basically a board full of all the little fiddly things your child's hands usually aren't allowed near (but always get to), such as door locks, keys, chains and any other fiddly thing they gravitate towards in the home. 

Learn how to build your own or buy your own with our simple tutorial. 

Messy play

Not only is messy play great for getting those little hands working, it's also great for sensory play, even though it might be a little stressful for parents to watch. Top tips for keeping mess to a minimum? Take everything outside if it's summer or get yourself a huge disposable mat or table cloth for the kitchen floor to scoop everything up with afterwards. 

From finger painting to making slime, we've rounded up some of the best messy play ideas for your tot to have a go at here. 

Ball scoop

Water is so much fun for little ones, especially when the weather is warm. For this simple yet fun water play idea, all you'll need is a storage box, water, a sieve and some ball pit balls. You can challenge your tot to only fish out the one colour of the bballs, then see how many they can fish out at a time to improve their gross motor skills.

Sensory play

We've rounded up our favourite sensory play ideas to boost your little one’s learning, development and creativity. From marshmallow fun to rainbow noodles, here are the best sensory play ideas for your tot. 

Colour sorting activities

Matching skills are brilliant for your tot to learn at this stage, and there's no easier way to learn this than sorting colours into groups. 

From sorting pom poms, pieces of lego, paper or anything you can find around the house, getting your baby to sort these into piles makes for hours of simple fun and learning. 

DIY Shakers

How many loo rolls do you get through a week? Why not put those little cardboard rolls to use by turning them into shakers? Simply use a milk bottle lid to seal one end using duct tape to secure, and pop some rice inside before sealing the other end. Then you and your little one can decorate with colours and stickers to finish off your DIY instrument. 

Washing up

Another fun activity for water, pop some of their water proof toys into a big storage box, fill with warm water and some gentle washing up liquid and give your tot a sponge or brush for a fun washing up game. Just remember to lay down plenty of towels for this one! 

Colander fun

Colander's can provide so much fun - not only are they great when it comes to playing in the water, they're also excellent for threading things like pipe cleaners through them, weaving them in and out. 

Pasta necklace

Ask them to make a nice necklace for a loved one with a simple penne pasta necklace and string. Take this fun activity to the next level by painting each pasta shape in bright colours. Threading the string through each piece of pasta is brilliant for developing that pincer grip. 

  • Author: Lorna White Lorna White
  • Job Title: Digital Writer

Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!

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