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Toddler Activities: Twelve Months and Up

Toddler Activities for the First Year




Here are a list of toddler activities appropriate for one year and up. Again some children may not be ready for all the activities but you will be surprised just how quickly they are learning at this age.
Also keep in mind at this age your child may be engaged for only 5 minutes! This will continue to increase if you are consistent with how you set up, and how often you engage in an any structured activity.


Activities 12 months and Up

first activity with markers

  • Washable Crayons and Markers
  • See Setting Up for some tips. Before one year of age my twins were interested in crayons, markers, chalk. So I let them have one color at a time. Easiest method was to use a clipboard and to hold them on my lap to prevent it from marking other things and from going in their mouth.

    Don't worry yet about how they hold it, that will come later when they develop more strength. At first they will have very light marks with the crayon but it their fine motor skills will noticeably improve with regular coloring. Markers are a nice alternative if they are washable.

    Normally you might consider getting different brands of crayons but I would recommend Crayola because their crayons are more vivid and they have washable ones. It is hard enough getting a stroke of color at 12 months!

  • Fingerpainting
  • Another great tactile toddler activity great for introducing color...but yes it is messy. Play with it right before bath time. Edible finger paint is fun but I didn't want to confuse them with being able to eat "paint". I decided that can wait till later when they understand the difference.

    When we started painting activities, I first used an old table and pushed the girls strapped in their 5 point harness high chairs right up to it. We taped paper to the table. I had them wear the washable bumpkins bibs and could easily wash the high chair covers.

    Note: At this age you need to have everything prepared before you begin if your toddler is to be focused on the event. Remember at this age a toddler activity may consist of only 5 minutes duration.

    Selections from Our Books and Toys for Young Toddlers

    First Books

    Learning Toys



    Other Great Learning Toys

  • Puzzles: Puzzles with knobs are great for building hand eye coordination and starts developing problem solving skills. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Classic Peg Puzzle Bundle

  • Stacking or Nesting Cups like The First Years Stack N Count Cups in different colors which stack from large to small: Great bath tub toy or water table! Great for learning colors.

  • Foam Bath Letters (We liked the Alex Bath letters because there are two multi color sets of each letter and number 0-9)

  • ABC Blocks: Find a set that are at least 1.75" so it can't fit little mouths. I found a set at WalMart for about $10 and relatively lightweight. They are in great condition after 3 years! Toddler Activities with blocks: Alphabet Train, Spell Name, Simple Three letter words, Counting, Stacking.

  • Incrediblock had an alphabet set that was really cute with an object inside that corresponded with the letter. I had a page on the Incrediblock but I am not seeing it on Fisher Price's website. That was another toy that the children enjoyed for over two years. I did see a few on eBay and Craigslist.

  • Stride To Ride Fisher Price - Laugh & Learn™ Stride-to-Ride Learning Walker™ Ride-Ons are always popular and will be till they ride their first trike!

  • Measuring Cups/Wooden Spoons: Don't forget the plastic measuring cups or wooden spoon (short handled with no rough edges) and plastic containers. Sometimes the simplest, most inexpensive object will capture their attention for a longer time than an actual toy. Just be careful vigilant when your child is playing with items that are not toys.

  • Mega Bloks in sets like this MEGA Bloks Building Imagination Bag (80 pcs)Classic are another great hands on toy with sets appropriate from 0-3 years of age. Great for building and a perfect opportunity to build color recognition.

  • Engaged Toddlers

  • Music: Another great toddler activity! Definitely helps build fine motor skills. They have little sets like Bee Bop Band with various hand held instruments or if you happen to have a Casio around this was first a favorite tummy time activity! This pic was at 10 months.

  • Homemade Shakers with non leaking secure tops are also fun. I used plastic baby bottles with tightly sealed covers. These need to be ensured that the items are secure in them and checked periodically if they are filled with small items like beans, rice or beads.





  • Another Way to Reinforce Concepts

    Another way to reinforce basic concepts is by having a bulletin board where your child can see colors, numbers and letters you post on a daily basis. Great way to show you are proud of their work!

    Your Child Is An Individual
    my toddlers reading

    Keep in mind that each child is an individual and there will varied abilities among children, siblings and even twins.

    At about twelve months your toddler will be going through many changes. Many are beginning to walk and even run. Hand-eye coordination is improving where your child can grasp most items he or she reaches for. Your child is beginning to understand many words although articulation is probably not clear at this point. Finger foods are often introduced at about this time. Cheerios and goldfish will soon be a staple at your home.

    Note: When interacting with your child, use a lot of descriptive language such as color words, numbers, shapes, letters. Even though they may not understand all the vocabulary, by frequently hearing it in context they will start to attach meaning to the words.

    A trip to the grocery store is a great toddler activity and a perfect opportunity to talk with your toddler. I did the weekly grocery shopping with the twins and in my efforts to complete a shopping trip, I had to keep them entertained while I gathered all the groceries so I found myself constantly talking to them and showing them fruit and boxes of food even at 4 months. At the time I wondered if I just looked silly...but it became quite apparent before age two just how much they absorbed by being able to identify fruits such as kiwi and pineapple by pointing to the fruit when I asked, even if they couldn't say the name yet.





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