Best indoor activities for a 1-year-old

Your 1-year-old is on the go like never before and curious about the world around them. Their sense of self is developing, and can begin to recognize themselves, animals, and other favorite objects. They can carry out basic instructions, and will soon master the skill of mimicking sounds and basic actions.

Children between 1-2 are also developing their fine motor skills, and mastering skills like drinking from a cup and using utensils to self-feed. They love exploring new textures and get extra enjoyment out of exploring “cause and effect”.

Here are some quick and easy indoor activities to try at home with your rapidly developing little “ones”

Paper towel rolls

Paper towel rolls can be used in a variety of ways to entertain your children. Tape them on the walls and let them drop balls through. Or use them as a megaphone to make funny sounds in.

Cut them in shorter pieces, and poke several holes through the sides. Then stick pencils, straws, or shoelaces through the holes. Your little one will enjoy pulling and pushing things out of the holes.

Sensory bins and bottles

Choose either bins or bottles to create experiences with feeling and sound. Fill empty bottles with a variety of hard and soft objects like pompom balls, rocks, rice, beans, or even create your own lava lamp water bottle. Just make sure to hot glue the lids on, so your littles can’t open the bottles.

Next level story telling

Little kids love looking through books. Reading together is an excellent way to strengthen the bond with your child. Take story time to the next level by using dolls, toys, costumes, and other props to bring the story to life. Adding sound effects and using a beloved toy as a puppet will bring a smile to little faces.

The go get game

Want to work on verbal instructions? Ask your child to please bring you things from around the house. For added movement, create a soft play obstacle course in your home and have your child navigate the course to get the object.

You can also instruct them to do things like put a toy away, or put away clothes. Chances are, they’ll make more of a mess than actual “helping”, but that’s no big deal. It’s the little lessons that build great foundations for teamwork the future.

Unwrap toys

Children love ripping paper and unwrapping things. Try wrapping a toy in aluminum foil and let them work it off. You can also use old newspaper or paper bags.

Find the body parts

Teach body parts by asking your little love to identify theirs. Here’s our favorite book for helping 1-year-olds learn about the body. Asking them to point to body part, or teaching them to jump, dance or clap are all super fun activities that get them moving.

Color sorting

Gather several white and black items (or colors of your choice), position two boxes next to each other, and place the items in boxes according to color. Ask your child to do the same, helping to guide them until they get the hang of it.


Want to know if your child recognizes themselves in the mirror? Try the dot test… carefully put a sticker or dab of lipstick on their face, and let them look in a mirror. If the child reaches out to the mirror, then they don’t realize it’s them. If they reach up and touch their face, then they understand who they’re looking at!


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