Sensory Activities for 1-year-Old

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Kids tend to learn faster and better if you engage all their senses. This is the reason why you have to keep on introducing your child to entertaining and engaging sensory activities. If you have a 1-year-old, then you can rest assured that there are plenty of choices for sensory activities for 1-year-old kids.

By introducing them to sensory play, their learning and development will become even more fast-paced. Fortunately, you have plenty of options when it comes to engaging your child through sensory play.

1-year-Old Developmental Milestones

Before moving on to the sensory activities you can do with your 1-year-old, it is important to be familiar with the common developmental milestones at this age. Starting at twelve months, specifically between the ages of one and two, you will notice your child acting less like an infant. You can see them behaving like a toddler now.

Expect to see this physical transformation once your one-year-old starts learning and mastering new motor skills that assist them in gaining more freedom and independence. It is also the time when you will most likely start witnessing your child’s unique personality.

To give you an idea, here are the usual milestones that you can see in your one-year-old kid:

  • Gives you a book anytime they wish to listen to a story from you
  • Puts out a leg or arm so they can help in getting dressed
  • May start crying when parents leave
  • Has their favorite toys
  • Tries getting your attention by repeating sounds
  • Uses basic gestures – They may start saying basic words, such as “dada” and “mama” or wave goodbye.
  • Starts babbling that sounds like a speech
  • Tries repeating what you say
  • Responds to and follow your simple requests
  • Copies gestures and movements
  • Look for hidden objects
  • Look at the correct items or objects when you name them
  • Capable of following simple instructions/directions
  • Puts some objects in their containers then take them out
  • Capable of taking several steps with no support
  • Can be in a seated position with no support
  • Capable of pulling up so they can stand – They may also be able to walk when they hold onto furniture.

Top Sensory Activities for 1 to 2-year-Old

As soon as your child hits one, you have to be more aggressive when it comes to giving them sensory activities. The reason is that this is also the time when their curiosity and love for learning are at their peak.

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    To start engaging and activating their senses, here are the top sensory activities perfect for one- to two-year-olds.

    Sensory bottles

    One of the things you can do to engage the senses of your one-year-old is to give them sensory bottles. You can put water, beads, oil, glitter, or any other object that moves inside the bottle whenever your baby holds or shakes it. This sensory bottle can help your child explore.

    What’s great about this sensory bottle is that you can make it on your own. Just find objects of different sizes and shapes that you can put in the bottle then securely seal the top.

    It can fascinate your child, especially once they see that they can control the objects inside. It also helps them learn about the different properties and elements of a certain object, like its size, texture, shape, and color.

    Plastic egg play

    Eggs made of plastic can’t only be used for Easter. It is also possible to give these objects to your child as a means to activate their senses. They can use it to form egg towers. All they have to do is use half of each plastic egg and then put them on top of each other.

    Your child can also play with the plastic eggs by scooping them up using kitchen utensils, sorting them based on color and hiding toys inside. In other words, this particular toy can provide them with endless opportunities for play and exploration. You can make rattles out of plastic eggs by using dry pasta or rice to fill them up.

    Mess-free canvas art

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    Does your one-year-old show interest in arts and crafts? Then this particular activity, which involves the use of mess-free canvas art is ideal for him. You only have to buy a canvas from a craft store and then put several different paint colors on it.

    Use plastic wrap to wrap the canvas and allow your child to use their fingers to push the paint color around the canvas. Since there is a plastic wrap, you can easily clean it up plus it is safe for your child to use. It can also delight your child since it allows them to make a new piece of art.

    Water table

    You can also use a water table to engage your one-year-old. All you have to do is fill up the table by adding tiny items, preferably those that sink and float. You can even do this activity with just one large tub filled with water. This would be enough to excite and fascinate your child.

    Avoid wetting his clothes by rolling up his sleeves or letting him wear tops with short sleeves. As much as possible, do this activity outside of the house so you won’t end up having to deal with a lot of mess due to the extra splashes of water. Ensure that there are ready towels, too.

    Finger paint

    At one year old, your child is also ready for finger painting. Use washable finger paint for this activity. Show him how he can dip his fingers into the paint and witness him finally developing his fine motor skills.

    The best way to do this is to let him sit in his high chair first. After that, put around two to three jars of finger paint. There should be a blank paper placed in a tray in front of him, too. This will give him the opportunity to explore various colors. Prepare several blank sheets of paper, so there will be replacements for finished paintings.

    Soap paint

    You can do this fun and exciting activity each time you are bathing your one-year-old child. In this case, you can use colored soap paints equally as a means of painting the tub’s side. The colors may be less bright and bold compared to the usual finger paints but your child will still enjoy making art and mixing colors with it.

    Textured fabric

    Textured fabric is also an effective means of familiarizing your kids with different textures. All it takes is to let them hold the textured fabrics scraps placed in a container or box. Make a game out of it by encouraging your child to pull out the textured fabric from the box then put it back in.

    Muffin tin for small toys

    Your one- to two-year old may also find this particular activity requiring the use of a muffin tin and small toys fascinating. You can use this activity to introduce him to sorting and counting early.

    Prepare a muffin tin, too. Just let your child move each small object or toy from one muffin tin compartment to another. With that, you will notice their fine motor skills, especially their pincer grasp, improving, as well as their cognitive skills becoming stronger.

    You can also do another version of this activity. What you should do is put balls into the muffin tins, allowing your one-year-old to play with it and experiment.


    There are indeed plenty of sensory activities for 1-year-olds that you can introduce to your child. Note, though, that even if it is the year when your child has a lot of exciting milestones, this time is also tough as it means they will be learning the basics of navigating newfound emotions, physical abilities, and independence.

    With that in mind, you should be able to give your child the love, support, guidance, and reassurance that they need during this period. You can do that by being of help in keeping their senses activated. Introduce them to sensory activities so you can help them learn and grow at the same time.