Keeping a 1 year old one busy is quite a task! Mothers have been known to have lost weight and patience, running around with and after the toddler the whole day. Toddlers, who have just skilled the art of walking and running, are best known for their ‘restlessness’. Parents often find themselves exhausted just keeping the young one busy with a suitable toy. A particular toy may become boring after a while. So parents end up emptying their wallets in keeping the toy-room full at home.
While there are many toys available in the market for this age group, there are many things you can do at home, without really draining out your salary into toy shop’s account.
You should try with a rough routine to follow for your young one. You need not wait for the child to go to school for a routine to start. A little bit of routine helps the child to expect ‘what next’. This reduced restlessness. You may make a pictorial time table on a piece of paper and stick it on wall/fridge at a height where your toddler can see. It shouldn’t be very complicated. Just the time for major activities like brush teeth, bath, eat, nap, play, sleep. Pictures should be simple enough for your little one to understand. It may seem very daunting in the beginning, but a little bit of organized playtime definitely goes a long way in channelizing the toddler’s energy along with enhancing his cognitive skills. Not to mention, it also goes a long way in restoring the sanity of a frazzled mom!
Activities for your 1 year old one!
- Reading stories to the child (the content of the story doesn’t matter as much as your intention to read)
- Looking at board books/ cloth books/ pop-up books together
- Singing rhymes to the child
- Scribbling with big crayons or chalks (the size of adult-male thumb). You may use papers, or a lap-slate or an easel for the same.
- Catching-throwing-kicking a soft large ball (a soft-plastic or cloth ball should do)
- Traditional active-rhymes like “Simon says”, “now I see a”, “mulberry bush”, “ring-a-ring-o-roses” (initially while you sing and perform, the child may ‘perform’ with you. Later you may sing or put the CD and the child can dance to the songs)
- Walking together in park (It’s a great source of information for your toddler, who is observing many things around as you are explaining. It’s a great source of bonding too.)
- Digging sand/soil in the garden or sand-area with plastic shovels
- Playing with play-dough or natural-dough with food colors
- Playing with shapes/size/color puzzles
- Throwing soft balls into a basket kept at a distance.
- Painting the walls of the shower area with old shampoo mixed with food color
- Making towers- of cushions, building blocks, empty DVD boxes, light-weight empty cartons (breaking the pile is more fun! This building, breaking, re-building can sufficiently engage him to give relaxed-cuppa-coffee-time to you)
- Playing with water-balloons ( lightly filled, so that they don’t burst easily)
- Playing traditional outdoor games indoor, like catch-me, hide and seek
- Matching cap-bottle (have lots of bottles and their caps. Mix them up. Have your toddler figure out which cap will fit which bottle)
- Thumb printing, vegetable dabbing on a sheet (make sure to spread lots of newspaper on floor for easy cleaning)
- Collecting all coins in a box ( you give few thick plastic coins/ small balls and ask the child to put all of them in an empty metal box. The ‘clink’ sound is very gratifying. Emptying the box out on floor is even more satisfying.)
- Stacking spoons in a Styrofoam/thermocol slab (it should be thick enough to hold spoons. You get plenty of such pieces in the packing material when you buy some furniture or electronic item. Store them!)
- Pouring water from one glass into another (if the weather permits). As children love to play with water, this can engage them for quite some time!
Toys(useful but not mandatory) for your 1 year old one!
- Push-along or pull-along toys
- Large truck-toys that can carry smaller toys too
- Stacking cups
- Interlocking rings
- 2-4 piece(large) puzzles
- Light-weight balls
- Shape sorter with large pegs for easy grip
- Alphabet boards, where you press the alphabet and the sound comes
- Musical toys (drums, 1 button-touch keyboard)
- Board books/ cloth books/ Pop-up books
- Activity tables
- Rocking horse
- Soft toys/ Hand puppets
- Pretend-play toys like telephone, tea-set, dolls