9 Activities For Your 1 year old {and older kids too.}

They don’t want to be rocked , cuddled or nursed all day long anymore. They try to jump out of your arms in stores and you are amazed by how much mess such a wee person can make! Your baby is exploring the world in whole new ways, on two feet, with more gusto and you aren’t so sure all those prayers for the newborn stage to end were well thought out.  Activities with this age are short, but having a bunch of fun quick ones on hand will help keep your little one busy and having fun.

1. Pour some pasta.( or rice, or lentils, or quinoa.)

2. We love our water table , my daughter got this Step2 Sand & Water Table for her birthday and it’s been a huge hit not only with her but 2, 3 and even almost 5 year olds! We add bubbles, extra toys and have a blast. You can make your own too.

3. Sing silly songs!  I video taped her reaction to show you how much this age responds to music. She has been sticking out her tongue and grunting for a week as a way of asking for me to sing it again.

Um um! Went the little green frog one day,
Um um , went the little green frog.
Um um went the little green frog one day,
and they all went um um ahhh!

But we all know frogs go ,
la di da di da,
la di da di da
la di da di da
We all know frogs go la di da di da,
They don’t go um um ah!!!

3. We love our water table , my daughter got this Step2 Water Table for her birthday and it’s been a huge hit not only with her but 2, 3 and even almost 5 year olds! We add bubbles, extra toys and have a blast.  You can make your own too.

4. Dig in the dirt.

5. Turn bath time into a pretend day at the beach by adding swim suits, sun glasses , pails and shovels.

6. Read. Gather a pile of books and let your toddler choose which books to read.

7. Make a Firetruck ( or other vehicle) for them out of a diaper box and play pretend.

8. Paint with bugs.

9.Make a drum and beat it!

Alphabet Sensory Tub

Sensory tubs are great for all sorts of learning  and you don’t need fancy things to get your kids interested … but it’s so fun to give them a theme! This one is a great one for preschoolers who want to do a little more than scoop and pour. It’s easy enough to simplify using plain rice or beans ,  only the  larger letters and adding cups to fill and spill! Do not feel like you have to be directing your kids while they play with sensory tubs, some kids need it but most do not, just let them play. If they are older and looking for a game to play with it follow our instructions for the letter hunt .

  1. Gather your materials. For this sensory tub we used a handful of magnetic letters, some huge floor puzzle letters,small foam letters,  small letter beads, plain white beans a plastic dish tub ,  alphabet pasta. If you want to do the letter hunt game, you will also need an ice cube tray and some tongs.
  2. Start by putting the beans in the tub .
  3. Next the pasta.
  4. Now add the letter beads – my son was playing outside and came in to help.
  5. Next the foam, magnets and jumbo puzzle pieces.
  6. If you are doing a letter hunt place some letters in your ice tray for your child to find.
  7. Go for it!
  8. Found it!
  9. This was such a big hit that he pulled it back out later that evening.

More Fun with Letters

Fishing For Letters

Best Of 2010

# 3

Sensory Tubs

The jury was split on which sensory tub was the best , but many of you have emailed me saying you’d never expect your 5 and 6 years olds to still enjoy what seems like an activity for much younger kids. Sensory tubs are amazing, themed or simple with a single filling, kids love them. They spark imaginative play, they encourage cooperative with groups as well as a truck load of pre math skills too.

Which sensory tub was your favorite?

No Mess Color Mixers

This is a fast and fun activity that can be done with almost any age.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need one ziplock per child and a few colors of paint.
  2. Pour the paint into your bag , flatten as much air out as you can, and then seal it.
  3. If you want to make the lesson about color mixing you can wait and add in another color after playing with the first color for a while, asking your child if they know what color it will turn into.
  4. You can make letters, numbers and pictures too. Remember to ask your child how it feels, is it cold, soft? squishy?
  5. For added fun you can put different colored paper under your ziplock and the designs will be more colorful!

* You may be wondering why my little model isn’t doing this activity. I did let him play with it but all he wanted to do was chew the bag- trust me though the preschool classes I have done this with love it! You may just want to avoid doing it with toddlers who are cutting teeth! *


These two authors are childhood favorites of mine, as sentimental as these two books are to me they are also perfect for the theme at hand!

” A Rainbow Of My Own” by Don Freeman is a charming story about wanting a rainbow, you may notice that the colors are out of order but I have always used that as a teaching tool in my classes.

” Little Blue and Little Yellow”
by Leo Lioni is a profound book with underlying commentary about race relations while the surface story is about little blobs of color who when squished together turn into one green blob!