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5 learning activities for your one year old

Our daughter is one year old (one & a half) and she is so much fun!  I wanted to share 5 learning activities for a one-year-old because
our little Allie loves these activities so much!

1- Ready, Set, Go…   I will sit on the other side of the room and say “ready, set…”  When she says “GO!”  I will open my arms and she will run towards me!  She laughs SO hard when we play this game.

This game is great for:
1. repetition
2. Cause & effect
3. Speech
4. Gross Motor skills (running or crawling to you)

2-  Itsy Bitsy Spider tickle:   I will sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider song, but when I sing “up the water spout” and “washed the spider out” and “dried up all the sun” … I will tickle her.     She sings along, but when she knows that these phrases are coming up, she will stop singing and put her hands on her belly to try to shield it from the tickles.   She laughs hysterically, even before I tickle her.
This game is great for:
1. Cause & effect
2. Awareness of body parts
3. Bonding with your child
4. anticipating what is coming next (prediction)

3. Changing her clothes & even her diaper can be a great learning game for her.  Yes, a daughter has brought many dresses, hair bows, and pretty outfits into our home!   I like to try on her many outfits (thanks to my friends for passing on so many beautiful outfits!) and our daughter has fun trying them on, too.
My Mom said that I was the same way when I was her age.   Allie will let me put her in a new outfit and then she will walk to each one of her three big brothers and point to her dress and hair bow, just to show them her outfit and hear their reaction (“Oh, you look so pretty!”  “You are the prettiest sister!”   “I love your pink shirt!”)  She smiles at each compliment and then she will come back to me and let me change her again.
I encourage her to help get herself dressed (pushing her arms through her sleeves, etc…)
Changing their clothes teaches:
1- Awareness of body parts (we talk about her hands, legs, arms, head… when she is getting changed)
2- Understanding what comes next (first the head, then the arms, then your hands come out of the sleeves… You need socks BEFORE shoes…)
3- Seeing how others react is important to children- another cause & effect.  (when she shows them, they say something nice to her)

4.  Play “cooking in the kitchen”   – we will play with the bowls, spoons, pots, and pans in our kitchen.  We pretend to mix things (I will throw a few blocks into a bowl and we will mix them with a spoon).
This teaches:
1. Sound (how to make sounds with the spoon, blocks…)
2. Cause & effect
3. Fine motor skills
4. Counting (count the blocks in the bowl)
5. Taking turns (you mix, now I mix)

5.  Water play.   Give them a bath or build this easy DIY water table and let them play in the water (even a bowl of water will be a blast for a one-year-old!)   Remember- DO NOT LEAVE A CHILD UNSUPERVISED IN WATER.  They can drown in even one inch of water, so don’t even leave them alone with even a little bit of water!
We use the water table almost every day in the spring and summer.   I fill it with Cups, toys, spoons, slotted spoons, toy cars & boats, straws (they blow bubbles in the water).  Just be sure to clean the water tub & change the water often.   I change our water several times a day because they use it SO much!
This teaches:
1. Problem-solving (“Ok, the water is going through the slotted spoon… I better use this one instead”)
2- Fine motor skills (squeezing, pouring)
3- math (before/after and more/less – for example, there is less water in the container when it splashes out or when it is dumped it out)
4. Speech (blowing bubbles into water is great for oral muscle development.  See more ideas for increasing your toddler’s speech here)


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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. Simple ideas and so true about the fun to be had…passing onto my almost Mommy daughter…4 weeks!

  2. I love singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider to my little sister. She has a black spider hand puppet that I crawl around and tickle her as I sing the song, which she loves. Sometimes I even make up new verses about how the Itsy Bitsy Spider is going to tickle her belly. Or I’ll say “the Itsy Bitsy Spider is coming to get you.” She loves it when I crawl the spider puppet up and down her arm or her side and tickle her as I sing the song. She always asks me to sing it to her over and over again. It’s fun, so I don’t mind.🕷️