Sensory play activities are all about exploring new surroundings since this is the finest method where a 1-year-old learns best through play. Sensory play engages your child’s senses to investigate, explore and learn about new things each time they try to do different things. The pattern of sensory play usually follows with your baby genuinely chewing on toys, shaking objects, crashing, and throwing each item so they may observe their falling paths.
In this article, we are going to discuss the 10 best sensory play activities for 1-year-olds as well as cover a few sensory toys designed to stimulate your baby’s senses.
But before that, let’s have a look at the benefits of sensory play, and why it is essential for a young child.
Benefits of Sensory Play for 1-Year-old
When your child reaches the age of one year, they go through an incredible developmental stage and show such impressive growth. At this stage, your dependent infant tries to grasp new sensations to explore their surroundings independently.
There are several benefits that you will observe in your child when you introduce them to sensory play activities.
- Sensory play activities aid babies in cognitive growth – Such activities facilitate the building of new neural connections in the brain that benefits children throughout their maturity. Children get better at completing more difficult learning activities due to such encounters.
- Sensory-based activities help toddlers to explore – Using sensory materials fosters hands-on, independent, and self-centered play, which promotes learning and growth.
- Activities for sensory play are inclusive – Sensory activities stimulate multiple senses, making it inclusive for everyone because there is no correct or incorrect way to participate.
- Sensory play aids gross and fine motor skill development– These activities encourage your child to move and play while frequently adopting rhythmic gestures.
- Sensory play soothes agitated babies – Sensory activities have such a calming impact on young minds that kids frequently lose themselves in their activities.
- Sensory play activities encourage language learning skills – The simultaneous use of diverse senses encourages understanding and language learning, particularly expressive communication.
10 Best Sensory Play Activities for 1-Year-Olds:
Your baby has become a little adventurer and is rapidly learning a wide range of new abilities. Here are 10 simple sensory play activities that you and your little one can easily perform at home:
1. Moving Around
For children who are still learning how to walk, this is a fantastic pastime. Walking sideways while holding onto a piece of furniture teaches some fundamental skills – the vestibular, tactile, and proprioceptive senses are the focus of these crucial abilities.
Your toddler moves their feet from side to side as they cruise along the furniture. In the process, babies learn to maintain their posture and transfer their body weight. Encourage your child to reach for their favorite toys by scattering them on a couch or side table to aid them in learning this capability.
2. Indoor Sandbox Activity
Although this sensory activity can create a mess indoors it is simple to clean up afterward. You can use any variety of grains for this sensory play activity, depending on what you can find at home or the store.
The most important aspect is to make sure the grain is extremely fine so that it feels almost like sand. You can either put it in a large container or place a splash mat underneath it to avoid any issues. Allow your young ones to explore the container using their hands to feel the texture.
After that, you can include some spoons, toys, or cups in the mix to heighten their tactile and visual perceptions. Along with using their creativity to explore, they can continue to hone and improve their hand-eye coordination.
Discover the 7 best sensory bins for kids
3. Dropping Emblems
This game requires a very small setup and is an enjoyable activity for young ones. Just use a small amount of duct tape to secure a hollow roll of a paper tube in place on the wall. You can both grab small emblems or pom-poms and let your child develop their hand-eye coordination by dropping them through the empty paper tubes.
Then, as it emerges from the bottom end, they will eagerly watch it. You can first position the tube vertically and can adjust this angle as your child becomes skilled at it by altering the positions for an added challenge.
4. Using Spoon to Sort Balls
By placing two vibrant bowls out there, you may make this an entertaining activity. One dish should be filled with balls of different colors while the other bowl should remain empty. Let your child use a slotted spoon to transfer the balls to the void dish.
Both hand-eye coordination and fine motor abilities will benefit greatly from this activity. This is one of the best activities to enhance your child’s visionary senses through color coordination and hand-eye movement.
5. Playing with Magnet
This type of sensory play encourages your child to play while standing. It is crucial to focus on building stronger leg and abdominal muscles. Their ability to maintain posture and stand will benefit their movement as a result.
Start by putting magnets on your fridge in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors at a suitable height that will allow your child to stand. With the help of animal magnets, you can make up tales about each species and have children move the magnets around.
This activity particularly targets tactile, auditory, and visual skills. It enhances your child’s language, concept understanding, hand skills, and hand-eye coordination.
6. Gelatin Sensory Play Activity
After purchasing the gelatin, follow the directions on the package to prepare it. Now just chop it up into little cubes and put it in a plastic jar.
You may watch as your child enjoys using their hands to touch the different shapes and textures. To encourage further innovativeness and creativity, you could also include several cups and other utensils.
The vibrant gelatin container stimulates your child’s tactile and visual senses, helping to develop their motor skills and bilateral coordination.
7. Vertical Paint Play Bag
Place a few drops of several colored paints inside a zip-lock bag. As soon as the bag is closed, affix it to a vertical surface. Applying masking tape to the top and bottom sides will make it look nice and secure.
To urge your 12-month-old to stand up, raise the zip bag high enough on either a window or a door. Their leg muscles will become more firm as a result, and it will help your one-year-old to stand and walk without assistance.
When your child tries to grab the paint over the zip bag, it will strengthen muscles in their shoulders and their wrist. Encourage your 1-year-old to hold on to the zip lock bag with the other hand. This encourages hand skills by strengthening wrist muscles and finger isolation, hand-eye coordination, and bilateral integration.
8. Playing with Water
Whether it is winter or summer, any season is perfect for this activity. You can play outside in the summer season, play at water parks, fill up a baby water tub, or simply a big container with water. Meanwhile, in the winter season, you can let your child stay indoors and play in bathtubs.
Add a variety of multi-colored water toys of different shapes, and let your one-year-old splash around in a bathtub. This will enhance their tactile and proprioceptive senses, as well as improve their hand skills, hand-eye coordination, and bilateral coordination.
9. Sensory Zip Bags
With the help of sensory zip bags, babies can safely explore and handle objects that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to touch due to choking hazards or mess potential. You can toss things like cotton balls, crayons, and other multi-colored textured items into a plastic bag, zip and tape the top, and then stick it on a window, wall, or door.
Your child will try to grab the items inside the zip bag and find it entertaining when they move it around. This will mainly target your child’s visual and tactile senses that will encourage their hand-eye coordination, and strengthen their wrist muscles.
10. Feel the frames with your hands
You can utilize an old picture frame for your child’s sensory play activity if you have one. Then, attach sensory items to the back of the empty picture frames that have had their glass removed.
You can put cotton balls, sponge, pieces of soft silk fabric, bubble wrap, or anything else that is touch-sensitive. Set them out for the infant to try, close them up, and put the frame back around them.
Best Sensory Activity Toys for 1-Year-olds:
Sensory activity toys are specially selected play activities for keeping your young ones occupied and entertained. Let’s say you are introducing your young ones to different musical tones with different color combinations, you can decorate their room with small fairy lights or you could introduce the following play toys to them:
1. Wooden Kids Baby Activity Cube
This wonderful baby activity cube comes in a charming blue gift-ready package and includes a toddler activity play cube, additional stacking cups, and a board book with vital words. This fantastic set of toddler educational toys is made to foster counting and math abilities as well as form, pattern, and color recognition in a stimulating, enjoyable, and interactive way.
The bead cube’s top and bottom can be played with independently because they are detachable. The top also flips over and fits inside the box for simple storage. As a result, the entire wooden toy is lightweight and perfect as a toddler travel toy.
This baby development toy will keep your toddler entertained for hours and develop his mind, senses, and coordination. It enhances your child’s tactile, visual, and cognitive capacity whilst improving hand-eye coordination. This play activity cube comes with dimensional calculations of 7.08 inches in width, 7.08 inches in depth, and 12.21 inches in height.
- It is a great gift for an active one-year-old.
- There are a lot of learning activities for your young ones.
- The sides are thin plywood and weak.
- The hands on the clock side were super stiff.
2. Baby Sorter Colorful Cube Toy
This toy is a cubical shape wrapped by elastic bands, and your baby can have a challenge trying to push the shapes through these elastic bands. It stimulates the children’s tactile and visual senses as a baby toy, assisting in their exploration, experimentation, and discovery.
The frame of the educational toy is soft and has rounded corners made of high-quality ABS plastic. All textures and corners have been polished to a circular, pleasant shape that is kind to the skin.
The six substantial shape blocks are each created with intriguing textures that are fun for the fingers. The rough texture of the cube will boost sensory perception, and its brightness encourages color and shape recognition.
This activity toy weighs only 9.1 ounces and follows the dimensional calculations of 5.16 inches x 5 inches x 4.88 inches.
- Children love putting the shapes in the cube and taking them out again.
- The size of the toy is perfect for small hands.
- It is a perfect on-the-go toy to take with you somewhere.
- It is slightly pricey for a small toy.
3. Joyjoz Baby Musical Mats
The Joyjoz Baby Musical Mat is a tiny yet potent item. Since it is smaller than others so you may easily carry it anywhere. Its sound array consists of nine music keys, seven animal noises, and nine melodies. This product has an extensive library of sounds that can help kids develop their creativity and cognitive skills.
About 25 different musical sounds are included in this piano mat to keep your toddler interested and enthusiastic for a long time. You can use it anywhere because it has two modes. You can place the piano mat indoors after fully extending it, measuring 15 by 30 cm, or fold it in half to make it smaller, measuring six by 12 inches.
The anti-slip texture used in the Jojoz piano mat increases the product’s safety for your young children. The fabric is smooth and soft, making it a good option for your kids. It helps your child with visual, tactile, and hearing sensations that help improve their hand-eye coordination.
- This melodic mat is a perfect gift.
- Anti-slip Velcro is affixed to the product, which aids in keeping the mat in place.
- The mat's fabric is silky-smooth and comfy to the touch.
- Because of its modest weight, it is simple to transport.
- It is slightly smaller in size as compared to the dimensions shown.
Click here to discover more sensory toys for babies & toddlers.
Here we have covered the importance of sensory stimulus along with the best sensory play activities for 1-year-olds, and children beyond that age.
Sensory play helps to develop cognitive growth, aids gross and fine motor skills, soothes agitation, encourages language skills, and benefits 1-year-olds in many other ways. Sensory play activities like moving around, playing in the sandbox dropping emblems, and many others can help to achieve sensory development quicker. To aid the sensory development even further, you can also incorporate the best sensory spinning toys.