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!).
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!)
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!
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!
- Have friends over
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!
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!