40+ Realistic Activities For 1-Year Olds

I know, I know – this is a subject very well discussed over the years (and since the beginning of Pinterest). Since I do things differently in Mom’s Den, I won’t focus on extra, high effort, mind-blowing, Instagram-worthy activities that you’ll do for you and your social media – rather than for your child, which is exactly the point.

I came up with a list of activities for kids that you’ll definitely want to come back to and do more than just the first thing you remember!

Activities that cost $$

  • Ball pit

As I previously mentioned, I am no fan of expensive, tryhard things that aren’t really meant for your baby to be having fun. However, I think a ball pit is a worthy investment. The only reason we haven’t got ours yet is because it got stuck at the customs (all foreign mail is very difficult to get into the country since the outbreak of COVID19), and they’re so expensive over in Serbia. I am definitely planning on getting this very soon – my son enjoys throwing balls and I believe this would be an amazing activity for him! It’s so multi-functional, you get to hide things in the pit, learn about colors, even use the balls in a baby pool!

  • Push toys

We actually ended up ordering a push truck for my LO’s first birthday (it’s coming up in a few days, so I really hope it gets here on time!) – it’s an amazing, stimulating toy that will help your LO transition from crawling and cruising to full-on walking (and riding, if you get a truck/car one!).

  • Swing

We got our swing as a gift from grandma – it’s the best thing ever! My son loves spending time in it outside – he’s not a great walker yet so this keeps him entertained without trying to run around the whole time!

Free (and next to nothing) activities

  • Water bowls

On a nice day, fill out a few bowls of water and place them on the ground. Watch what happens! (Also, make sure to always have your kids under supervision when playing with water in any way!)

  • Library

It’s a perfect age to teach your child how awesome books are! This may not be completely free since there may be a yearly fee for the membership, but it’s so worth it!

  • A walk in the park

There’s nothing more relaxing than spending a day outside with your little one, walking around, learning about nature and having some quality time together!

  • Sing songs

Babies love rhyme – sing nursery rhymes to your LO, or even some of your favorite songs. Your baby will hear them anyway at some point!

  • Build a fort

Chairs, blankets and pillows are all you need!

  • Make instruments

This is so easy to do with some rice/any seeds and some lids and jars. Here’s a great use for those baby food jars you’ve been storing for some reason!

  • Read baby books

This is excellent for developing speech and motor skills (have your baby turn the pages, too!).

  • Hide and seek

It teaches your little one that you’re there even if they can’t see you. Also, it’s super fun!

  • Blow bubbles

This can last hours. Trust me! Make your own little container or get one at the dollar store for almost nothing!

  • Play knock over

Build something that your baby can knock over!

  • Dance

Put on some good music and dance like nobody’s watching!

  • Play with pans

With supervision, of course – but kids love the sounds pans make!

Great for building those social skills and developing speech. Your LO listens to your every word!

  • Roll the ball

Your baby is old enough to learn how to roll a ball back to you. Have fun!

  • Crawl/chase tag

My son loves it when I chase him on my knees around the house. He laughs, screams and tries to run away. It’s a blast for both!

  • Play with cars

Babies love riding cars on the floor. Get some colorful ones and teach them how to roll it, talk about cars, or just roll with them and yell VRUMMM!

  • Bath time

There’s so much to do during bath time. The most important thing: make a huge splash!

  • Make shadow puppets in the light

Your baby will find her favorite ones in no time!

  • Pick flowers

Show your LO how to put them into a tiny bouquet and gift to someone!

  • Play in the mud

Let them get messy once in a while! It’s fun!

  • Water sensory play

Put some toys in a bowl filled with water!

  • Paint with water

Paint with water on a colored paper! It’s mess-free and super fun!

  • Play with bubble wrap

With supervision, of course! Babies love bubble wrap!

  • Color with baby-safe crayons

This teaches babies the basics about drawing!

  • Multi-colored water bottles

Fill a plastic bottle with some colored water in it, and close tightly!

  • Sock puppets

Grab some old socks, decorate them a bit and make a little show. Give your baby their little socks, too!

  • Stack cups

There’s no need to get a fancy stack toy – what you have in your home will do!

  • Sort toys in muffin tins

This is surprisingly fun to do!

  • Teach animal sounds

It’s so rewarding when you hear “meow” or “quack” coming from your baby!

  • Busy basket

Fill a small container with the most entertaining things your baby likes – watch her have fun for hours!

  • Describe what you’re doing

It could be anything! It helps them develop their own speech and learn new words!

  • Snuggle

It’s free. It’s beautiful. It’s bonding!

  • Water the plants / feed the animals

It teaches your LO they need to be cared for, too!

  • Cook together

You have a future little helper who can now participate in the kitchen fun! Let your LO watch, touch and play with the things you use (as long as they’re safe). Have the baby touch the fruit and veggies!

  • Orange peel

Give your baby an orange you started peeling and have them try finishing!

  • Color a box

Put your baby into a large box with some crayons and watch them paint the inside walls!

  • Play with blocks

Over time, your baby will be building, not just knocking over!

  • Sensory board

You can make your own with what you’ve got in your home. It’s tons of fun!

  • Go to the zoo

All you need to buy is a ticket! It’s so great for young children to see animals and learn about them!

What’s your favorite activity for a 1 year old? Let me know in the comments!

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5 thoughts on “40+ Realistic Activities For 1-Year Olds

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I have a younger brother, I’m 13 years older than him. I remember how tough it was back then to play with him when I knew nothing about babies. That inspired me to write this, to help all the moms, dads and big sisters and brothers out there who feel like the possibilities are limited! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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