I am loving the stage my son is at right now!
One-year-olds are so much fun. They’re pretty easy to entertain, and they soak up so much new information it’s incredible.
They learn so fast, and there are lots of great activities you can do with them to help them learn and have fun!
Even so, being cooped up inside with a one year old (with any kids) isn’t always easy breezy. Thank goodness my son is still at an age where he naps.
But when he’s not, these are some of the things I do to fill up our day!
RELATED: 100 First Foods by One Year Old
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This Bubble Machine has been one of the best things my husband has bought for our son.
He absolutely loves it and is completely mesmerized when it’s on. It makes a quiet little humming noise, almost like a quiet sound machine, that really calms him as well.
It also makes music and has cool lights, but we tend not to use them as much.
If he’s having a fussy moment, I just have to turn this bubble machine on, and he watches the bubbles. He’s instantly calm and even just likes it on in the background if he goes back to playing.
You can also buy entire ball pit sets, but it’s really not necessary on a budget!
Cloud dough feels so cool and I’m often playing right along side my son when I decide to make this.
It’s relatively easy to clean up. You can plop your little one in their high chair or in a large container on the floor to contain the mess.
We use 2 cups of flour and 1/3 cup of baby oil. You can also do it with baby lotion and it comes out so soft!
Baby play dough
You can buy baby safe play dough, but you can just as easily make it at home.
Play dough is great for all ages of kids (including the kid-like adults!)
To make Playdough this is the recipe we use.
Baby safe paint or crayons
Just like the play dough, you can buy baby safe paint. I actually have these ones and my son loves to paint the bathtub with them.
But you can make some with flour, water, and food coloring (just mix until it’s the consistency you want), or yogurt and food coloring.
I also bought these bathtub crayons for my son. They’re great for those, don’t-know-what-else-to-do-with-you middle of the afternoon bath times.
These ones are all natural, non toxic!
My amazing, handy husband made our son a sensory table and I am almost as in love with it as our son is.
You can also buy awesome ones like these or literally just get a big, cheap bin, plop it on the floor and let your toddler go wild.
We keep ours in the middle of the kitchen with a mat under it and fill it with random things throughout the week.
Usually if I don’t have anything specific I want to put in it, I just fill it with water. Water play is an amazing sensory activity for toddlers!
Some of the other things we’ve put in and he’s loved:
- Jello – Fill the jello with random toys and items before it sets so they can dig for them.
- Water and soap – Include bath toys and pouring utensils.
- Cotton balls
- Random craft objects – Pom poms, q tips, pieces of felt, sandpaper.
- Oatmeal – Dry or cooked.
- Colored rice
- Colored pasta – Dry or cooked.
Go for a walk
This is not only good for your toddler, it’s good for you too.
Exercise releases endorphins that make you happy.
It’s also just good for your mental health to leave the confines of your home and get some good old vitamin sunshine.
It can be easy in these times for moms in particular, but anyone, to get bored, anxious, sad, even depressed.
There are lots of numbers you can call or even text if you need to talk to someone (I’m not a doctor, but if you need to – talk to someone).
I’m not saying a walk will cure you if you, like me, have anxiety or depression, but I know for me, it’s important I keep up with my mental health before it overcomes me and it’s even harder to come back.
Walking is a big help!
Have a picnic outside
Now that the weather is a little nicer, this is one thing I plan on doing lots more of!
Eat some good food, breath in the fresh air, and get a change of scenery all in one. Your kids will love it!
Video Chat with Family
We have family who live across the country anyway, but in times like these it’s so easy to stay in contact with people.
Facetime, Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are all possible ways to video chat your family members and friends. Even if you’re not super tech savvy, all you have to do is download the app onto your phone, tablet, or computer and it’ll tell you what to do!
Odds are whoever you are video chatting with will be able to help you too.
My son has been really into magnets on the fridge lately, so I bought him some of his own magnetic numbers and letters.
You can easily buy magnetic strips that will stick to anything and use those.
These stacking cups have been a favorite with my son since he could sit up, and it still is to this day.
Now he’s a lot better at actually attempting to stack them rather than watching me stack them and then knocking them down.
Pots and Pans
When all else fails, bring out the pots and pans!
My son loves to make noise, bang things, make a mess – you know, all the usual toddler stuff.
You can always find some kind of toy that’s not really a toy, that your kid will probably love even more than their toys.
Pots and pans are one of these.
Honestly, why do I ever even bother buying my son toys… boxes and kitchen items are the way to go.
I hope this list of simple activities for your one year old helps you keep you and your child busy!