How to Entertain a 1-Year-Old

Activities for Your 1-Year-Old

There's no stopping your 1-year-old. Even if she hasn't yet taken her first unassisted steps, she's still finding plenty of ways to keep herself mobile. She's learning so much about the world around her. Help her learn even more and keep her busy with age-appropriate activities and entertainment options.

Visit Zoos, Museums and Other Local Attractions

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Your curious 1-year-old gets a kick out of seeing new things, so it's the perfect time to start exploring local attractions. The zoo is a favorite stop for little ones. They get to see their favorite animals right in front of them. It's the perfect way to expand what your little one knows about animals.

Children's museums also work well for this age group. Your tot can be as loud as he wants and touch everything at the museum. Many children's museums have special areas for babies and toddlers with age-appropriate activities in an area that's safe for younger kids. Buy season passes to nearby attractions to save money. The passes let you go for an hour or two to match your 1-year-old's short attention span without feeling as if you're wasting money.

Make Music

It may not sound like music to your ears, but letting your little one pound on pots, pans and bowls is an inexpensive and fun way for her to play. She learns about cause and effect by seeing and hearing what happens when she hits a pan with a wooden spoon or bangs two pans together. If you're not a fan of banging pots and pans, you can make simple instruments by filling a container with little jingle bells or beans. Glue the lid to the container, so your baby can't put one of the filler items in her mouth.

Play Make-Believe

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Now is the perfect time to encourage your little one to start using his imagination. Toys such as play kitchens, playhouses and dolls fuel the make-believe play. You can also build a blanket fort or get a large box for your child to play in. Read a story together, or take turns caring for the baby while sitting inside the fort. Pretend play is fairly basic at age 1, but it's a good start toward getting your child to think creatively. Just remember to monitor your child carefully as he plays.

Splash in the Water

Water play is fun for 1-year-olds, but constant supervision is a must. Babies can easily topple into the water and not be able to get out, even if it's only a few inches of water. A small plastic pool set up in the backyard is an ideal summer play option, or fill a water table for play without your child getting submerged. Even playtime in the bathtub is fun during the winter months. Grab lots of little toys to take into the bath, so he has plenty of play options.

Do Pick-Up Activities

Help your little one develop her motor skills with activities that let her pick up objects and put them in a container. Place a laundry basket in the middle of the floor. Grab stuffed animals or balls, and encourage her to toss them in the basket. Dump out the toys, and let her start over. If your little one can walk, a toddler-size basketball hoop is a similar option to keep her busy.