Here are my top 5 easy ideas for 1 year old play!
Toddlers are a whole new level of business. They are relentless and unforgiving. They can go from 0 to 100 in 2 seconds flat. My 1 year old tips everything out of the bucket and then moves on to the next box he can empty.
This is just a stage, but during this chaos I’ve create my top 5 easy play ideas that are quick and budget-friendly for 1 year old activities.
1. Magnet tray
Most of us have baking tray around the house so I used these with magnetic letters and shapes.
If you’re one year old plays with it for 10 seconds and leaves (like mine did) just leave it out. They will come back and play with it again and again. Short periods of play can be good for building their memory.
Magnet’s help develop cause and effect brain connections in the frontal lobe. It also develops higher order thinking strategies. Using magnetic letters subliminally develops the alphabet for preliteracy and using magnet shapes develops prenumeracy skills.
2. Spaghetti play
I’ll admit it! – I always cook too much spaghetti on pasta nights. Instead of throwing out the leftovers I’ve been adding food colouring to the water as it cools. I put it in the fridge for my 1 year old to play with the next day. It can last up to 3 days in the fridge and makes a great snack.
Spaghetti play is great for developing brain connections in the sensory cortex.
3. Muddy play
It’s literally FREE play! It’s a great way of getting microbes and easiest sensory play created by rain and dirt. I’ll usually let my kids play in the mud right before bath time for convenience.
4. Dry sensory mess
I used split peas for dry sensory play and I usually place a towel underneath so I can shake it off outside. Other dry sensory ideas include: puffed rice, lentils, soup mix, coloured rice or shredded coconut.
This activity also develops brain connections is the sensory cortex.
5. Sea foam
Sea foam is a wet sensory play idea, but it took 1 minute to make and it was probably one of the longest activities my 1 year old has played with. It cost $1.50 (aus) which makes it budget friendly. For the recipe click on this link: Sea foam.
6. Bath time painting
I have a lot of parents tell me that they hate painting with their kids. There’s the preparation time, the messy, the clean up and making sure not only your kids clothes but your clothes aren’t ruined with stains.
Here’s my solution! Bath time painting. Just before bath time, add a couple of sheets of paper, a paint brush for fine motor skills and paint. I have a washer ready for wiping the bath down and put painted pictures onto tiles that I can wipe clean. After bath time play I usually shut the bathroom door with the heat lamps on to dry the painted pictures faster.
In this bath time play idea, I added bubble wrap that was recycled from a package in the mail.
I always try and use descriptive words when trying activities with my kids. I’ll usually repeat the adjective that describes the activity three times to develop preliteracy language skills.
These activities have worn my 1 year old out easily ready for rest time. I hope these ideas are a lifesaver for you too.
By Sarah Courtney