Are you tired of seeing your 1-year-old glued to a screen all day? Why not switch things up with sensory play for 1 year olds? It will not only provide a respite from technology for your child, but it will also stimulate their senses and encourage brain growth, fine motor skills and more.
The options for physical play are limitless, from squishing jello to investigating cornmeal grit. Furthermore, who doesn’t enjoy seeing their kid coated in paint or rice? Get ready to let your little one’s imagination run wild with this list of fun and engaging sensory play for 1 year olds.
And you don’t need to break the bank either, many of these ideas include supplies that you can pick up for just a few bucks. You would be surprised how much you could do with just a few drops of food colouring, a few rubber bands, kids paint and some household ingredients.
Below are our favourite sensory activities for 1 year old baby play.
Why Should You Introduce Sensory Play for 1 Year Olds?
Introducing sensory play for 1 year olds can provide a variety of developmental advantages, making it a useful and pleasant experience for you and your child. It’s also so much fun to help your baby play with these sensory toys and activities!
Promotes Brain Development
Sensory play helps children learn about their surroundings and enhances their cognitive abilities. Children can develop their memory, attention, and problem-solving skills by engaging in sensory play.
Enhances Fine Motor Skill
Activities involving fine motor skills, such as manipulating small objects, can also help children develop hand strength and agility. This can be beneficial for tasks such as writing and drawing.
Encourages Language Development
Sensory play can help children learn new words and develop their understanding of language. By providing opportunities for children to describe their sensory experiences, they can expand their vocabulary and improve their communication skills.
Develops Creativity and Imagination
Sensory play encourages children to think creatively and develop new ways to use materials. This can help them develop their problem-solving skills and foster their imagination, which can be useful in many areas of life.
Sensory play can also help children develop empathy and understanding of others. Children can learn to take turns, share, and communicate effectively by engaging in sensory play with their peers. This can be beneficial for developing positive social relationships and emotional regulation.
What Is The Perfect Way to Introduce Your Child to Sensory Play?
Sensory play for 1 year olds can be an enjoyable and engaging in supporting your child’s cognitive, physical, and emotional growth.
Start With Simple and Small Materials
Sensory play can also help toddlers develop empathy and understanding of others. Children can learn to take turns, share, and communicate effectively by engaging in sensory play with their peers.
This can aid in the formation of positive social relationships as well as emotional regulation. You can add various smells or textures to the materials to improve your child’s sensory experience, such as cinnamon to playdough or different kinds of rice for sensory bins. Add a few different animals for your little one to play with.
Follow your Child’s Lead
Allow your child to lead the activity and explore the items at their own pace. This will stimulate their curiosity and creativity. To promote your child’s exploration and discovery, you can also provide prompts or ask open-ended inquiries such as “What does this feel like?” or “What can you make with these materials??
If you hand over a bathtub painting stick baby will be quick to get playing!
Offer a Variety of Sensory Experiences
Provide a range of objects and activities that engage different senses, such as water play, sand play, or outdoor walks. This will help your child better understand their surroundings and sensory encounters.
You can also integrate sensory materials into daily activities, such as adding bubbles to bath time or dressing up in various textiles.
Create a Safe and Supervised Environment
Ascertain that the play area is safe and well-supervised and that the things are age-appropriate and clear of potential hazards.
It is critical to ensure that the play space is clear of possible hazards, such as small objects that can be a choking threat, and that human supervision is always provided.
Encourage Open-Ended Play
Allow your child to investigate the resources and engage in open-ended play rather than directing them toward a specific outcome or goal. This will aid in the development of their thoughts and creativity.
To encourage your child’s ingenuity and fantasy, you can also provide various tools and objects for sensory play, such as cups, utensils, and cookie cutters.
Engage in Sensory Play Together
Participate in your child’s sensory play by showing interest and enthusiasm in the items. This can help you and your child’s connection while offering opportunities for learning and growth.
You can demonstrate problem-solving skills and urge your kid to pose questions and make predictions while engaging in sensory play.
Encourage Messy Play
Sensory play for 1 year olds can be messy, but allowing your child to investigate without fear of making a mess is critical. You can provide a designated dirty play area and bibs or smocks to protect clothing. This can give your child more freedom to explore and examine.
To simplify cleaning, use a plastic tablecloth or shower curtain divider as a secure barrier beneath the play area or an easy-to-clean marked area, such as an outdoor space. You can also include your kid in the cleanup process to teach accountability and life skills.
Handy Props Before You Start
We’ve gone out of our way to compile a fantastic list of DIY sensory activities that your little one will love, but that rely mainly on household items and ingredients. Here are a few items you might want to pick up if you are planning sensory play for one year olds.
Top Sensory Plays for Helping Your Child Learn
Sensory activities for 1 year olds can help them learn and develop a wide range of abilities. Here are some top sensory play recommendations to get you started.
Digging for Jello
Digging for jello can provide an enjoyable and distinct sensory experience for children who enjoy investigating various materials. This exercise can help children improve their fine motor skills as they explore with utensils or their fingertips, as well as their language development as they explain the texture and color of the gelatin.
Adding tiny toys or items to the jello allows children to play an enjoyable and difficult game of finding and exploring.
One of the activities to do with one-year olds is mess-free painting.
Painting is a wonderful visual experience, but the debris can be overpowering. Using a sealed plastic bag or drawing with water on a blackboard can provide the same sensory experience without the cleaning.
As children explore various hues and patterns, this exercise can also help them develop their creativity and imagination. Including various materials in the artwork, such as cotton balls or bubble paper, can add to the visual experience.
Making a bottle shaker out of rice or legumes can provide an enjoyable sensory experience while helping children with fine motor skills as they grasp and jiggle the container. This exercise can also help children improve their speaking skills as they explain the sound and action of the shaker.
Using stickers or paint to decorate the outside of the container can add creativity and personalization to the exercise. Sensory bottles are an excellent, cheap way to create a few toys for your child.
Baby Music Instruments
Simple melodic devices, such as chimes or shakers, can promote sensory discovery and the development of fine motor skills as children handle them.
This exercise can foster social and emotional growth as children learn to take turns and play together. A simple cardboard paper towel roll can be useful for this, along with dried peas or grains of rice.
Cornmeal Sand Doodle with Food Coloring
When cornmeal and sand are combined, they form a distinct sensory substance that children can use to create patterns and sketches. This exercise can help children develop fine motor skills while encouraging ingenuity and imagination as they explore various designs.
Food coloring can be added to the cornmeal and sand combination- and to many sensory play activities- to make a more aesthetically exciting and colorful sensory substance.
Colored Muffin Sorting
Arranging colored muffins into corresponding cups or receptacles can provide an enjoyable and vibrant sensory experience while also improving color identification and arranging skills.
This exercise can also promote language development as children explain the hues and forms of the muffins. Incorporating various forms and sizes of muffins can increase the complexity and challenge of the categorizing exercise.
Making sock puppets is one of the many DIY sensory activities for 1 year olds. It provides children with a tactile sensory experience as they handle the materials and promote ingenuity and fantasy as they create their puppet characters and tales.
And all you need is a few old socks and some craft bits from sensory bags!
This exercise can foster language development as children use puppets to converse and interact with others. Creating dolls with various textures and materials, such as felt or yarn, can provide extra tactile sensory experiences.
Creating peek-a-boo images with materials like fabric or tissue paper can provide an enjoyable and interesting sensory experience while helping children develop fine motor skills as they handle the materials.
This exercise can also help children improve their language skills as they explain pictures and movements. Using a scented cloth or adding various fragrances to the peek-a-boo images can add a sensory aspect to the game.
As children handle the substance, playing with rice can provide a soothing sensory experience while improving fine motor skills.
This exercise can foster ingenuity and imagination as children construct designs and patterns with the rice. Adding small toys or objects to the rice can turn it into a scavenger hunt for children to explore and discover. A simple but very fun activity.
What’s In The Box
Placing various items in a box and asking children to predict what’s inside can provide an enjoyable tactile sensory experience while encouraging language development as children explain the objects and make estimates.
As children manipulate the items in the box, this exercise can also help them build fine motor skills. Using various shaped and sized receptacles, such as tiny boxes or bags, can increase the degree of astonishment and challenge in the activity. You can also add in foil, bubble wrap, a tissue box and more.
Pretend Animal Story
Using stuffed animals or dolls to play out a fake animal tale can provide an enjoyable and creative physical experience while encouraging language development as children explain the animals and their actions. Use a few different animals and types of toys- figures, soft toys and fidget toys- to introduce different textures.
As children learn to play together and cooperate in the story, this activity can promote social and emotional development. Using various voices and accents for each animal character can add a fun and creative element to the tale.
Non-Newtonian Fluid Play
By combining ingredients like cornstarch and water, you can make a sensory substance that changes consistency based on how it is handled. This exercise can provide a stimulating sensory experience while encouraging fine motor skills and science inquiry.
Experimenting with different cornstarch and water ratios can produce various consistencies and textures for children to explore. Old leftover plastic easter eggs can be handy for this, as well as pouring or using as paint trays.