11 Sensory Activities for 1-Year-Olds

11 Sensory Activities for 1-Year-Olds

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by
Tara Jones

Tara Jones is a renowned Child Development Professional with over 10 years of experience. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Child Psychology, Tara has made significant contributions as an early childhood educator and a respected writer in the field. She is known for her innovative teaching methods and has been instrumental in integrating play-based learning into child development practices. Tara's workshops and publications are highly sought after for their practical insights and evidence-based approach. As a recognized authority on child development, her work continues to shape educational practices and support healthy child growth.

Key points

  • Cut a corner of a Bubble Wrap Pouch, seal one side with dark tape, drop colors, spread, and seal the last side. Ideal for one-year-olds to enjoy watching paints smear and feeling bubbles pop.
  • Use small plastic bottles with colorful pony bead sequences and notches beads. Create bottles with pipe cleaners, pony beads, and liquid with food coloring and glitter. Engages visual and sound senses, appealing to 1-year-olds.
  • Place pipe cleaners in a small cardboard box with holes drilled randomly. Fold over ends to prevent exposure, allowing 1-year-olds to explore the sensations.
  • Use a reusable container with different colored fabrics stuffed inside. Allows 1-year-olds to unwrap fabrics, providing a sensory experience.
  • Place water beads in a plastic bag filled with water and hang it on the window. Offers a visually appealing and sensory experience for 1-year-olds.
  • Mix baby cereal and coconut oil to create edible kinetic sand. Provides a different texture for sensory exploration by 1-year-olds.

On this page:

BUBBLE WRAP PAINTING

SENSORY BOTTLES

PIPE CLEANER PULL BOX

FABRIC PULL BOX

WATER BEAD BAG

KINETIC SAND (EDIBLE)

METALLIC SHEET

 

Looking for some fun and simple sensory activities to do with your 1-year-old? Look no further! In this article, I will share with you 11 easy sensory activities that you can do at home with your little one. So, let's dive into our list of 11 sensory activities perfect for 1-year-olds!

BUBBLE WRAP PAINTINGBUBBLE WRAP PAINTING

The first activity is called Bubble Wrap Painting. First, I cut off a corner of a Bubble Wrap Pouch and seal one side with dark tape. Then, I drop some colors into the pouch, spread them out a little, and seal the last side with more dark tape. 
This activity is perfect for one-year-olds who can enjoy watching the paints smear out through the pouch and feel the bubbles pop if they understand what's happening. Personally, I love doing this sensory activity with my one-year-old boy. An expert shares here more insight on how you can make the best Bubble Wrap Painting Sensory Activity.

SENSORY BOTTLES

SENSORY BOTTLESNext up, we have Sensory Bottles, which are super easy and really fun to make. All you need are small, plastic, colorful pony bead sequences of different colors and some notches beads that you can put in water and they get big and bouncy. However, you need to be careful where you keep them because 1-year-olds can reach everywhere. 

To make the bottles, you will need to get some bottles - two filled with water and the other two empty (which you can get from Amazon). Then, get some food colors, pure vegetable glycerin, some pipe cleaners, and you're ready to go. 

For the first empty bottle, cut pipe cleaners into short sizes and place them in the bottle with no liquid and cover the bottle. Your 1-year-old can watch the different color cut pipe cleaners all around the bottle. 

In the second empty bottle, insert the pony beads and cover the top. This bottle acts as a sound sensory bottle when your 1-year-old shakes them around to produce some sound. Your 1-year-old will really love this based on the fact that it’s not only sound but colorful pony beads as well. 

In the third bottle, which is half-filled with liquid, add some food color of your choice and add in some more color sequences that match the color you’ve chosen. If you don't have the glittering sequences that match the color, then use some silver or golden glittering and pour in the liquid in the bottle. Then, get some vegetable glycerin and add a few drops to the mixture - this will help the objects in the mixture to move slowly. I would recommend gluing the tops of the bottle lids to stop your 1-year-old from opening the liquid bottles. Shake the mixture and watch the objects sparkle pretty good. Your one-year-old will really love this, or you could even see what your 1-year-old likes the most. Check out LITTLE LEARNING CLUB for more helpful information on your step by step best sensory bottle activity.

PIPE CLEANER PULL BOX

PIPE CLEANER PULL BOXNext, I am going to show you how to make a pipe cleaner pull box. Firstly, take a small cardboard box and spread some pipe cleaners inside it. Then, using a pair of scissors, drill random holes in the box and thread the pipe cleaners through the holes in different ways. Fold over the ends of the pipe cleaners so that the sharp points are not exposed and put some tape over the ends to prevent the pipes from being pulled out completely through the holes. Continue doing this in different ways until all the holes are filled. This activity is particularly enjoyable for one-year-olds as they enjoy exploring the various sensations of the pipe cleaners by using their thumbs and index fingers to pull and grab smaller items. Check out BABY VINE for Simple Pipe Cleaner Activity for toddlers.

FABRIC PULL BOX

Fabric Pull Box

The next sensory activity for 1-year-olds involves getting a fabric pull box. You can order this reusable container from Amazon. To set it up, simply stuff different colored fabrics into the container and leave a little opening so your child can see them and pull them out. They'll enjoy unwrapping the fabrics in the air and it's sure to keep them happy. FRENCH FAMILY MONTESSORI shares more helpful information on how you can make a fabric pull box look more fun for your 1-Year-Olds.

WATER BEAD BAG

Water Bead Bag

The next activity is very simple. You only need to place some water beads in a plastic bag filled with water, and then hang it on the window for your 1-year-olds to touch and feel. They will love it because it is visually appealing and provides an excellent sensory experience for them. It's a great sensory activity that your little ones will surely enjoy.

KINETIC SAND (EDIBLE)

Kinetic Sand Edible

Next, we have an activity that involves edible kinetic sand. This activity is really fun and easy to do, as you only need two ingredients: baby cereal and coconut oil. To make the sand, you will need one cup of baby cereal and three spoonful's of coconut oil. Mix the two ingredients together until the mixture has a sandy consistency. Use your hands to mash it up all together. 

This activity is great for 1-year-olds who are exploring their senses. They will love to touch and feel the sand, and may even try to eat it - but they may end up spitting it out. I recommend doing this activity outside, as it can get quite messy. However, the texture of the sand is really different for them, and it's a great sensory experience. An expert shares here more helpful information about Kinetic Sand for toddlers, how to use it and whether it’s safe or not.

SENSORY WINDOWS

SENSORY WINDOWSIf your one-year-old loves flipping a flap box, then they will definitely enjoy playing with sensory windows. To create these windows, you just need some wide lids from packages to use as the window frames. Cut out a piece of cardboard and cover it with white cardstock. Then, mark where you need to place each window and cut the materials to the correct sizes before gluing them down. You can choose different textures to place on the little flaps, such as fine gray sandpaper or orange or dark tape. One-year-olds are often fascinated by lifting the flap box open, and this activity is a fun and secret sensory activity that can help them learn colors and develop their fine motor skills as they open and close the flaps.

JELLO PLAYDOUGH

Jello PlayDough

The next activity we have is an edible Jello PlayDough recipe. The ingredients you will need are sugar-free Jello, salt, flour, cooking oil, and boiling water. It's super easy to make and has a fruity smell of Jello. One-year-olds love this sensory activity, and to make it more interesting, you need to make sure it's edible when it lands in their mouths. Some children may be unsure of what to do with it as they stick their fingers in, play around with it, and this is why you need to ensure it's edible just in case it lands in their mouth. FAMLY shares 10 easy recipes for making homemade playdough.

EDIBLE FINGER PAINT

Edible Finger Paint

I would like to share a sensory activity with you, which is called edible finger paint. It's a fun and easy activity to do, but I recommend doing it outside. You'll need half a cup of baby cereal and half a cup of water, which you should mix together. Then add three drops of food coloring of your choice and adjust the measurements to get the desired consistency. This is a great sensory activity that 1-year-olds enjoy as they love to smear the paint all around the surface, mixing the colors on their little fingers. Jen ten Wolde shares her  recipe for Edible Finger Paint.

SMELL JARSSMELL JARSHow about trying a sensory activity that involves smell jars? To make these, you will need some jars with metal lids. Use a nail, screwdriver, hammer, or hole puncher to make holes in the lids, but make sure to smooth out any rough edges with sandpaper.

After that, fill the jars with items that have a strong smell, such as coffee or peppermint. Close the jars and let your one-year-old smell them to see how they react. You can also use different jars with different items to find out which ones your child likes best and which ones they don't like at all. PARENTING CHAOS explains the sensory systems and the sense of smell in a child's development.

METALLIC SHEET

METALLIC SHEETThe final sensory activity involves using a metallic sheet. All you need is a sheet or fabric made of metal that doesn't tear, rip, or have any sharp edges. Then, place your 1-year-old on the sheet and let them play with it. They will be thrilled by the noise it makes and will enjoy figuring out where the sound is coming from. This activity is a favorite among 1-year-olds.

PENN FOSTER shares the Importance of Sensory Activities in Early Childhood Development.

Those are 11 sensory activities that are perfect for 1-year-olds. If there is a sensory activity that you think I've missed and that works well with your 1-year-olds, please let me know in the comments below. I will make sure to cover it in my upcoming articles. Thank you for reading and I'll see you in my next article.

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