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The Best Learning Activities for Your One Year Old

Medically reviewed by Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Jul 17, 2020

The Best Learning Activities for Your One Year Old

Playtime is a great part of your toddler’s early childhood development. Children are never too young to learn! One-year-olds are continuously learning, playing, exploring. And at this age, every moment and interaction becomes a new experience. With this, you can engage your child in fun learning activities to help boost their brain and physical development.

Here are some ideas for fun learning that you can try out.

Toddler Growth and Development Assessment

Play Music

It is an excellent time for your child to play and experiment with music. Studies show that music can improve a toddler’s brain response to speech and music. However, they can do more than listen to music.

You can give your child percussion instruments, such as drums, cymbals, bells, pots and pans, spoons, and rattles. You can encourage them to get into music by letting them listen to music that has a rousing beat. Afterward, you can show them that the instruments can make those sounds.

At first, you can show them how to use the instruments and how they can make sounds out of it. Eventually, you can encourage and allow them to play the instruments alone. Playing musical instruments can help a child improve their listening skills and coordination.

Fetch Items

A simple activity that you and your one-year-old can do is to play a game of “fetch.” You can ask them to do simple errands around your house. For instance, you can say “bring me the ball” or tell them to “find your shoes.”

While this activity is very simple, it has numerous benefits. For instance, it helps your child get a bit more exercise by moving around. Additionally, it is an excellent way to enhance their receptive language skills because they need to follow directions.

It will help them with their memory as well, because they will be focusing on what you asked them to get or find. They will also be able to feel accomplished and feel a bit of independence since they did something by themselves.

Change Their Reflection

An interesting way for you to try early learning activities for babies is to use their reflection. You can use a bit of red lipstick to put a tiny dot on your child’s face like on their nose or forehead.

Try to distract them for several minutes then place them in front of a mirror. If your child tries to wipe off their mark or touch the dot, it shows that they are aware that something is unusual with their appearance.

Young children do not often have a sense of self-awareness, particularly when they are very young. However, some one-year-olds will be able to notice the small changes in their appearance and realize that it is their reflection.

Do not worry if your child does not respond yet during this phase of early childhood development. They will eventually develop a sense of self-awareness. This simple activity is a great way to help them learn more about their identity and self-awareness.

early childhood development

Counting Games

Counting out loud is a great activity that you and your toddler can do. Most toddlers like to announce what they are doing, so counting things together is a fantastic way for them to learn and have fun.

Toes and fingers. You can use their toes and fingers and count those together. Make sure you do it slowly and out loud so that your child can copy you and remember the order of numbers.

Steps and stairs. Another way you can turn counting into a game is by going up the stairs. While your child learns to go up the stairs, you can make it more enjoyable by counting each step as you go up. However, most toddlers cannot count up to 10, especially at one year old, so you can repeat the numbers, such as “1, 2, 3.”

If your one-year-old counts out of order, that is perfectly okay. They are still learning and remembering numbers. The more you play the game, the better they will get at remembering the order.

It is an excellent activity to give them a jump-start on their basic number skills. Plus, it helps sharpen their one-on-one correspondence skills.

Call a Friend

An easy activity that your child will love is “call a friend.” With this activity, they can start learning how to verbalize and to converse. These pretend phone calls will help develop their social and language development.

Try to make it fun by holding phone calls with “other people” and not just to you. For instance, you can create silly characters or pretend to call another family member.

Play House

You can get a playhouse or a play tunnel for this game. You can also get a cardboard box and turn it into a playhouse. Make sure that they have an entrance and exit.

Show your child that you are playing house and encourage them to enter and exit through the given doors. It may take some getting used to, but your child will get the hang of it quickly.

Try to make the activity mentally stimulating and fun with pretend play. For instance, you can ring the doorbell or knock on the door and ask them if anyone is at home. That way, they will be encouraged to “open the door.”

As part of early childhood development, playing house is an excellent way to teach your child gross motor skills and social skills. Plus, it can help them learn what chores are, like cooking and cleaning.

The Role of Family in Child Development and Wellbeing

Important Notes for Parents

When it comes to playtime, let your child explore their curiosity and creativity. Not every moment should be a “teaching’ moment, so sit back and let them discover how things are used and what they are for. For example, if your child offers you a cup while pretending that it is a phone, you do not need to correct them and say that the cup is for drinking. Jump in on the fun and just play and pretend.

Key Takeaways 

Just because your child is one year old does not mean that they are too young to learn! You can engage them in simple activities to help boost their brain as part of their early childhood development. Embrace this time, have fun, bond, and play!

Learn more about Parenting here. 


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jobelle Ann Dela Cruz Bigalbal, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Ruby Anne Hornillos · Updated Jul 17, 2020

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