Melissa & Doug's Favorite Activities for 1-Year-Olds
We all remember our pre-teen and early teen years as an awkward stage in life. But what we don’t remember is how confusing and exciting being a 1-year-old was like. At 1, kids are curious, mobile, a little verbal, and ready to take life by the reins. The only caveat is that you’re not quite ready to be independent yet!
In this blog post, you’ll learn about activities for 1-year-olds that cater to the specific needs of this “in-between” stage. This in-between stage, recently coined the “taby” years, can be difficult to navigate as our kids are no longer babies but also aren’t toddlers either. “Tabies” can be difficult to entertain and are often frustrated little humans as they yearn to be wild and free like toddlers but just don’t have the abilities yet.
Some Considerations for Activities for 1-Year-Olds
We encourage parents to get creative when coming up with activities for 1-year-olds, but these are a few things to keep in mind:
- Is it safe? You can count on your child to lick, bite, or even attempt to eat the toys. So make sure to choose items that are taste safe.
- Is it age-appropriate? Your taby may be frustrated with life as it is (especially if there are older kids around that they can’t keep up with.) Pick activities that will make them feel successful.
- Will it take long? Remember that 1-year-olds don’t have the patience to sit still or be in one place for too long. We recommend bite-sized activities that become a part of your regular routine.
Develop Fine Motor Skills with Pull Toys
When your little one finally makes it up on two feet they’ll be excited to explore life from their new view! This bright green and polka-dot pull toy frog with big eyes and moving wooden parts encourage movement and sensory development. The best part: its bright colors, bold patterns, and whimsical designs spark their imagination too!
BONUS Countless Ways to Play: Put a pillow on the floor and have kids maneuver the pull toy around it.
Teach them Shapes and Numbers with Interactive Books
Learning the essentials like the name of simple objects and shapes can be a very rewarding activity for 1 year olds. Our sturdy 10-page interactive board books invite kids to pop irresistible buttons on each page as they explore full-color photographs of familiar objects and their shapes. Our Poke-a-Dot books help encourage language development, shape and color recognition, and fine motor skills.
Explore Textures and Sounds with This Turtle Ball Pit
This plush turtle unzips to reveal a ball pit inside! Kids will have a ball crinkling, jingling, and playing with their multi-textured toy. The friendly turtle comes with 60 squeezable multi-colored balls that are easy to grasp, toss, and roll. Features include holes to push and pull balls through, a non-slip bottom, crinkling feet, a squeaking button, a textured ring, a mirror, silky fabric tags, and an attached soft ball rattle.
BONUS Countless Ways to Play: Encourage your child to squeeze the feet of the turtle to hear the crinkling sounds and to explore the different textures on the turtle—the ridged corduroy, the soft head and tail, the slippery colored ribbon tags, the smooth mirror, the bumpy base, the rippled teething ring, etc.
Encourage Outdoor Play with Water Toys
Whether it’s at the beach or in the pool water toys are a great way to encourage 1-year-olds to explore outdoor play. Our Seaside Sidekicks Squirters are designed for little hands, each brightly colored sea creature is ready to turn any ordinary water moment into an extraordinary one. Challenge your child to hold and squeeze the squirters to help develop their motor skills!
BONUS Countless Ways to Play: Float a squirter in the tub or pool and fill another squirter with water. Try to move the floating friend to a finish line with a stream of water.
Curate Entertainment That Doesn’t Involve Screens
Part of raising kids in the 21st century is teaching them healthy boundaries around screen time. That’s why we love activity sets like the First Play Slide, Sort & Roll Activity Barn. This barn-shaped activity cube has it all—beads to spin and slide along two coated wire mazes, six removable play pieces to match and sort, flaps to open and close, and even hay bales to drop and roll down the chute!
BONUS Countless Ways to Play: Practice their numbers by counting aloud as kids open the numbered window flaps, and again as they close them, or practice colors by saying the color name as you point to them on the barn.