12 Things To Do With A 12 Month Old

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12 Things To Do With A 12-Month-Old

Your little one is one, congrats! Here are 12 things to do with a 12-month-old that will keep them entertained and foster their development in a fun and safe way.

things to do with a 12 month old

At 12 months old our little ones suddenly don’t seem so little anymore.
Their curiosity is growing, they finally see clearly, they might be reaching for objects more, and they might be on their way to becoming confident walkers too. Those (and many more) are such great milestones to witness, yet they come with new challenges, of course.


Now you need to keep your eyes on them even more, make sure the house is kids proof, if you haven’t fully done that until this point, and well, you need to find new ways to entertain them and hopefully foster their development.


Obviously, there is a lot you can do with your little one at this point, your imagination is the limit. But don’t be too hard on yourself and try to create new games for them daily.


I know, these days, with all the online mom accounts showing arts and crafts, toys, and projects for little ones it’s easy to compare yourself and feel like you’re not offering your kiddos enough. I’m sure that’s not true. Every family is different, everyone does their best.

And keep in mind, more toys or more expensive toys, for that matter, don’t equal a “better” childhood. All your kids need, like they did from day one, is your presence, attention, and love.

They need you more than anything. So include them in your daily tasks, put your phone away while sitting with them on a playmat, even if they seem to be entertaining themselves pretty well, talk and sing to them as much as possible, and don’t forget the cuddles. Give them lots of cuddles!
With all that being said, you do you, but if you’re looking for some ideas, here are 12 things to do with a 12-month-old.

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12 Things To Do With A 12 Month Old

1. Sensory Play

Sensory play is great for kids of all ages. Just a few months ago you might have used sensory bags or bottles for your baby during tummy time. Now, that your child can confidently sit and stand and likes to grab and hold objects more than ever, you can take the sensory play to the next level. You can create sensory binds, buckets, bottles, or bags. You can add water, rice, cereal, yogurt, jelly, beans, pasta etc. to the bins along with for instance toy cars, animals, little cups as well as tools for your little one to use such as a scoop or a strainer.

2. Read books

You might have noticed your little one babbling more and more, forming their own words or even being able to say mama or dada. Reading is very beneficial for the language development of kids of all ages.

I’m sure your little one loved to look at board books in the past few months and well, the reading journey is just beginning. I doubt that you can keep their focus at this age and actually read a book to them, however, there are a bunch of amazing, age-appropriate books that will help you keep your little one engaged for longer. Those could be finger puppet books, flap books, or ones that make sounds.
Yet, even if you don’t own such books, your child will benefit greatly from you flipping through the pages of any given book with them, telling them what’s in the pictures. This will of course foster their language development.

3. Make music

All kids love making noise, so let them.

Use shakers, a xylophone, a triangle, or pots. I’m sure your kiddo can turn as good as anything into a musical instrument. So use objects from around the house, such as a bucket or pots. If you do have an actual piano, violin, guitar, or whatever it might be that you’re playing don’t hesitate to introduce your little one to it.

Playing instruments will improve your child’s hand-to-eye coordination, perception of rhythm, as well as musical sensitivity and it will also sharpen their concentration. And most importantly, it sure is fun and will keep them occupied for a while.

4. Reaching for objects

To encourage your little one to stand and walk while having lots of fun let them reach for objects. Place fun, toy magnets on your fridge at a level where your child can reach them when they stand up. You can also tape ribbons along the furniture or put colorful post-its on the wall and let your child pull them off one by one.

5. Go for walks

I hope you’re already doing plenty of that and it’s just a reminder that a, you and your child need fresh air, and b, nature has so much to offer.

From practicing walking on different surfaces to smelling flowers, to collecting leaves, your kiddo will love going for a walk with you.

It also gives you plenty of opportunities to talk to your little one, point to things, explain, tell stories, ask questions, and so on. In that way, you don’t have to come up with random things to tell your child about.

6. Paint

Let your kiddo paint with yogurt, mud, or even just water. Let them use their hands and feet and of course, you can offer a paintbrush as well.

7. Singing & Nursery Rhymes

If you haven’t already make sure to introduce nursery rhymes. This will help with their language development. Other than that, just sing to them. Even if you’re not the greatest singer, your kiddo will love it. Kids love their parents’ voices, it can help them relax, have fun, and bond with you. Singing also prepares children for their language development, even more than reading does. Read more about the benefits here.

8. Listen to music

Children love music and they can benefit greatly from being exposed to it from an early age.

Incorporating music into routines and play in the early years has a positive influence on your child’s early development. It can get them moving, thinking and inspire creativity.

Did you know music is one of the few activities that use both sides of the brain (logical and creative)? This means it helps build important brain connections, and the more connections we have, the faster we are able to think. Most importantly though, music is fun and if your child is having fun, their brain is open to learning.
(source: earlychildhood.qld.gov.au)

9. 1-2 Piece Wooden Puzzles

You can introduce 1-2 piece, preferably wooden, puzzles to your child at this age. There are endless ones to choose from online or you can even make your own using a cardboard box!

10. Introduce practical life activities

As your child’s hand-eye coordination improves daily and they’re able to sit, stand, and maybe even walk already, you can let them take part in daily chores and have them practice simple tasks. Those could be inter alia steering with a spoon, drinking from a cup, wiping the table with a cloth, throwing out trash, loading the washing machine, putting toys away, and so on.

11. Bubbles

Playing with bubbles is an easy, affordable, and super fun activity for kids. Catching bubbles is great for your kiddo’s hand-eye coordination, gross motor skills, visual tracking skills, and much more!

12. Free play

Just let them be!

Free play fosters creativity, curiosity, imagination, problem-solving, and confidence.

As parents who want to offer our kids the best environment for healthy development, we keep looking for the best toys, tools, and activities to guide our kids and help them learn more, better, and faster.

However, we shouldn’t forget nor underestimate the importance of simply letting our kids be kids.
Yes, make sure they’re safe, but let them explore their surroundings in their own way, at their own pace.

This post was all about things to do with a 12 month old.