Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds First Play Blog Post Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart

Toy Guides

Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds

October 01, 2022

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.
Pull & Go Toys Help Kids Develop Fine Motor Skills 

Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1 Year Olds Blog Post Pull Back Toys

When your little one finally makes it up on two feet, they’ll be excited to explore new play patterns that take advantage of their new mobility, such as our awesome selection of pull-back vehicle toys! Wheel these Pull-Back Vehicles back to get new skills speeding ahead! The "rev up" mechanism inside each of these four cars and trucks makes it easy for babies and toddlers to get big acceleration with just a little input: Pull back one of the soft vehicles--then release to see it zoom off across the floor! 

Curate Entertainment That Doesn’t Involve Screens 

Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1 Year Olds Blog Post Wooden Shape Sorting Grocery Cart

This cheery and sturdy wooden grocery cart is filled with fun skill-building activities! Very young kids can sort colorful chunky wooden food shapes through holes in the sides of the cart, and place them in two wooden puzzle boards that store in the cart. Spin the built-in roller drum for sensory stimulation and matching games, and enhance imitative pretend play with a realistic coffee cup with removable lid that fits in a cup holder in the cart! As kids grow, using the cart as a push toy helps build motor skills and inspire imaginative play. 

Teach them Shapes and Numbers with Interactive Books

 Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds Poke-A-Dot First Words

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 

 Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds 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 

 Melissa & Doug Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds Seaside Sidekicks Squirters 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.