30+ Best Sensory Activities For 1 Year Olds

30+ Best Sensory Activities For 1 Year Olds

Congratulations on reaching this exciting milestone of parenting—a curious and active one year old! If you’re looking for ways to engage, stimulate, and entertain your little one, then sensory activities are your go-to solution. Keep reading to discover why these activities are so beneficial and some fantastic ideas to try at home.

What Are Sensory Play Activities?

Sensory play activities are interactive tasks designed to engage a child’s senses—sight, touch, taste, smell, and hearing. They not only entertain but also educate, laying the foundation for various cognitive and motor skills. From squishy mud pies to colorful sensory bottles, these activities open a world of joy and learning for your child.

Amazing Benefits Of Sensory Activities For One Year Old Babies

Sensory activities are more than just a way to keep your one year old busy; they serve as an essential tool for their overall development. Here are some of the incredible benefits of incorporating sensory activities for 1 year olds into your child’s daily routine.

  • Cognitive Development: By encouraging your child to explore various textures, colors, and sounds, sensory activities boost cognitive growth. They help improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills, laying the groundwork for later academic success.

  • Motor Skills Development: Fine and gross motor skills are honed when your one year old grasps, pinches, or stacks objects. Whether it’s picking up water beads or squishing playdough, these activities provide ample opportunity to refine motor abilities.

  • Enhanced Emotional Regulation: Sensory activities allow one year olds to experience a range of emotional responses in a controlled environment. They learn how to manage feelings of excitement, frustration, or joy, which contributes to better emotional regulation as they grow.

  • Improved Social Skills: When engaging in sensory activities like group painting or sharing a sensory bin, your child learns essential social skills. These can include sharing, taking turns, and effective communication—skills that are beneficial in nursery and beyond.

  • Increases Attention Span: The various sensory inputs maintain a child’s interest longer than other types of play, fostering an enhanced ability to concentrate. This can be particularly beneficial in preparing them for more structured learning environments in the future.

So, from emotional regulation to cognitive and motor skill development, sensory activities offer a host of invaluable benefits for one year olds. Why not start incorporating some into your child’s daily routine?

Best Sensory Activity Ideas For Your 1 Year Old

As your child hits the one year mark, you’ll be amazed at how quickly they’re growing and learning. This is the perfect time to introduce sensory activities for 12 month old toddlers to boost their cognitive and physical development. Here’s a roundup of ten fabulous activities you can easily set up at home.

1. Texture Walk

Lay down different textured materials like bubble wrap, carpet, and tin foil on the floor. Let your little one walk or crawl over them to feel the various textures.

2. Color Sorting

Use colored balls and matching colored containers for a simple sorting game. This helps in recognizing colors and honing fine motor skills.

3. Scented Playdough

Make your playdough with different scents using extracts like vanilla, lemon, or even spices like cinnamon. It’s a fun way for your 12 month old to explore different smells.

4. Animal Sounds Game

Create flashcards of different animals and make the corresponding sounds. This is an excellent activity for auditory discrimination.

5. Simple Musical Instruments

Gather household items like spoons, pots, and a shaker to create simple musical instruments. Allow your child to explore different sounds.

6. Edible Sand

Use crushed graham crackers or biscuits to make edible sand. Provide cups and spoons for scooping and pouring for tactile fun.

7. Feather Touch

Let your child feel the soft sensation of feathers by gently brushing them on their arms, legs, and face. It’s an easy and soothing tactile experience.

8. Peek-a-Boo Fabric Box

Place different fabrics in a box and play peek-a-boo. Encourage your child to feel each fabric and talk about its texture, making it a multi-sensory activity.

9. Mirror Play

Set up a safe mirror at your child’s level. Make faces or play peek-a-boo, encouraging self-recognition and emotional development.

10. Water Pouring Station

Set up a small station with cups and bowls filled with water. Show your child how to pour water from one container to another. It’s a great way to develop coordination and enjoy water play.

So there you have it! Ten easy-to-set-up sensory activities for 12 month old toddlers that not only engage but also contribute to their all-around development.

Messy Play Sensory Activities For Your 1 Year Old

Embrace the mess and let your child dive into the wonders of sensory play! Messy play is a cornerstone of sensory exploration and provides endless opportunities for tactile experiences. Below are ten DIY sensory activities that are as easy to set up as they are fun to explore.

1. Finger Painting

Lay out some non-toxic paint and paper, and let your little one go to town with their fingers. This activity enhances creativity while being a sensory delight.

2. Oobleck Exploration

Create oobleck with just cornstarch and water for a fascinating lesson in fluid dynamics. This easy sensory activity is safe and fun to poke, stir, and even walk on!

3. Cloud Dough

Mix flour and baby oil to make soft, moldable cloud dough. This is great for squishing and molding and makes for a wonderful tactile experience.

4. Spaghetti Worms

Cook spaghetti noodles and let them cool. Add a bit of food coloring, and you’ve got yourself some squishy worms for your child to play with.

5. Whipped Cream Play

Spread a plastic sheet and spray some whipped cream on it. Let your child swirl, dab, and even taste this delightful treat.

6. Mud Play

Take some garden soil and water, and you’ve got yourself a natural mud pit. Perfect for digging, scooping, and generally getting messy.

7. Rice Sensory Bin

Colored rice in a bin with some scoops and small toys makes for hours of sensory fun. It’s an easy sensory activity that can be set up in no time.

8. Ice Cube Painting

Freeze colored water in an ice tray and let your child paint with the melting cubes. It’s a beautiful mess that’s incredibly engaging.

9. Jelly Dig

Fill a small container with jelly and hide some small toys within. Your little one can dig them out, experiencing the strange and compelling texture of jelly.

10. Scented Shaving Foam

Add some food coloring and essential oils to shaving foam for a fragrant and colorful sensory experience.

Indulging in these DIY sensory activities with your child not only makes for an engaging playtime but also stimulates their sensory development in a multitude of ways. The best part is that these are easy sensory activities that you can set up with everyday household items. So, why not roll up your sleeves and get messy?

Sensory Bottle Activities For One Year Olds

Sensory Bottle Activities For One Year Olds

If you’re looking for mess-free options that still engage your little one’s senses, sensory bottles are the way to go. These fun sensory activities are perfect for tiny hands to shake, roll, and observe. Here are some ideas for sensory bottles that are specially designed for one year olds.

1. Glitter Swirl Bottle

Fill a bottle with water and add some glitter and a drop of food coloring. Seal the bottle tightly and let your child shake it to see the swirling glitter.

2. Ocean in a Bottle

Combine water and blue food coloring in a bottle, adding small sea creature toys or shells. Watch your child’s amazement as they hold the ocean in their hands.

3. Rainbow Rice Bottle

Take colored rice and layer it in different colors in a clear bottle. It’s a visual treat as well as a noisemaker when shaken, providing multi-sensory stimulation.

4. Nature Bottle

Collect twigs, leaves, and flowers to place in a bottle filled with water. This allows your child to explore natural textures and colors safely.

5. Pom-Pom Bottle

Fill a bottle with colorful pom-poms and tiny beads. Your child can roll or shake the bottle to move the pom-poms around, providing both visual and auditory stimulation.

These sensory bottle activities are not just fun sensory activities; they are also incredibly versatile and educational. You’ll love watching your one year old explore, shake, and become fascinated with the world in a bottle!

Sensory Bag Activities For 1 Year Olds

Sensory bags offer a squishy and safe avenue for little explorers to experience various textures and materials. These zip-lock wonders are perfect for tactile fun without the mess, providing an ideal sensory playground for your 1 year old.

1. Gel and Bead Sensory Bag

Fill a zip-lock bag with hair gel and add some water beads or marbles. Seal the bag and tape it to a window or table. Your child will have a blast pushing the beads around through the gel.

2. Paint Swirl Sensory Bag

Put different colors of non-toxic paint in a zip-lock bag and seal it tight. Your child can then squish the colors together, creating new shades and patterns in a mess-free way.

3. Alphabet Soup Sensory Bag

Fill a bag with water and add foam letters or numbers. Your little one can push the letters around in the water, making it a fun and educational sensory activity.

Sensory bags are fantastic for on-the-go or at-home play. Easy to make and easier to clean up, they’re the perfect choice for busy parents and curious one year olds alike.

Water Sensory Activities For Your One Year Olds

Water activities are a splash hit with one year olds for a reason! Not only do they offer endless opportunities for sensory exploration, but they’re also perfect for hot summer days or indoor fun. Here’s a list of refreshing water-based sensory activities to get those little hands splashing and learning.

1. Floating Objects

Fill a tub with water and add various objects that float and sink. Let your child explore what stays on top and what goes under.

2. Ice Melting Experiment

Put small toys in an ice tray, fill it with water, and freeze. Let your child use warm water to melt the ice and free the toys.

3. Rubber Duck Race

Create a small water channel and let rubber ducks float down. Your child will love to watch and even try to race them.

4. Water Painting

Give your child a brush and a cup of water to “paint” on a sidewalk or fence. As the water dries, the painting will disappear, ready for another masterpiece.

5. Sponges and Buckets

Provide different sizes of sponges and buckets. Show how to squeeze water out of the sponge into the buckets and transfer it back and forth.

6. Fish Netting

Add some small toy fish to a water tub and give your child a small net to catch them with.

7. Water Bead Play

Non-toxic water beads provide a wonderful sensory experience. Add them to water and let your child scoop, pour, and feel them.

8. Soap Foam Bin

Whip up some soap foam and fill a bin. Add spoons and cups for endless scooping and molding fun.

9. Rainy Day Drip

If it’s raining, set up a bucket to catch the rainwater. Your child will be fascinated by the dripping sound and the slowly filling bucket.

10. Waterfall Wall

Create a waterfall using a pegboard, funnels, and tubes. Your child can pour water at the top and watch it make its way down.

Water sensory activities are not only enjoyable but also offer a multitude of learning experiences for your one year old. So, roll up those sleeves and dive into some water-filled fun!

Tips to Follow While Doing Sensory Activities With Your 1 Year Old

Sensory activities are a fantastic way to stimulate your child’s development, but it’s important to approach them in the right way. Here are some tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable sensory play experience for your 1 year old.

1. Supervise at All Times

Especially with activities involving small objects or water, constant supervision is crucial. Never leave your child unattended during sensory playtime.

2. Test for Allergies

Before introducing a new material, especially food-based items like dough or edible paint, test for allergies by applying a small amount on your child’s skin.

3. Set Boundaries

Make sure to establish some ground rules to keep the play safe. For example, food used in sensory bins should not be eaten, and water activities should stay within a designated area.

4. Clean Up Safely

After messy play, ensure that the area is thoroughly cleaned to avoid any slipping hazards or ingestion of materials.

By following these tips, you’ll make sensory play a positive and enriching experience for both you and your little one. Happy playing!


1. When to Start Sensory Activities for Your Infant?

You can start as early as a few months old, but tailor the activities to your child’s developmental stage.

2. What Are Some Early Indications Of Sensory Issues?

Aversion to certain textures, extreme reactions to sounds, and difficulty with balance can be early indicators.

3. Are Sensory Issues a Sign Of Autism?

While sensory issues can be a symptom of autism, they are not a definitive sign.

4. Can Sensory Issues Lead To Speech Delay?

In some cases, sensory issues may contribute to speech delays, but they are not a direct cause.

Sensory play is more than just a fun pastime—it’s a vital aspect of your child’s development. Through various textures, sounds, and interactive experiences, your one year old learns about their world and their place within it. From messy play to water activities, and from sensory bags to sensory bottles, there are endless ways to engage your child’s senses. As a parent, embracing these moments not only provides your child with valuable learning experiences but also allows you to bond and create cherished memories. So roll up your sleeves, prepare to get a little messy, and most importantly, have fun exploring the world of sensory activities with your little one. Happy playing!

Also Read:

Activities for a 1-Year-Old
Five Senses Activities for Children

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Rama is a proud Delhiite with three years of content writing experience in her pocket. She is a commerce graduate with an advanced degree in the German language, but writing feels like home to her. When she is not writing,, you can probably find her researching on environment sustainability, devouring a novel, or exploring hidden nooks for delicious food around the city.