How to Play with a One-Year-Old Child?

Play is the main activity and the most important part of every child’s day. Depending on the age of the little one, it’s worth introducing certain elements into playtime with your child that will support their development, teach them certain relationships, and open their young minds to the world around them. Through play, a child develops their senses, learns to speak not only in their native language but also easily absorbs foreign languages, and their mathematical abilities are shaped. The role of the parent is to support their child and participate in their daily life. This will have a huge impact on the relationship and building a bond between the little one and mom and dad.

Playing with a One-Year-Old Child

A one-year-old child begins to take their first steps, utter their first words, and becomes increasingly curious about the world around them. It is very important to allow the child this and to create space for proper development and discovering new things. But where to start playing with a one-year-old child and how to plan it so as not to overwhelm either yourself or the child? It’s worth remembering that such a toddler really doesn’t need much. A dozen or so varied colorful, shining, and loud toys are not really what little ones like the most. Of course, such toys catch their attention and attract their gaze, but in the end, they don’t differ much from each other, so there’s no point in having more than 2-3 pieces. More important at this stage of development is focusing on allowing the child to explore different textures. A child at this age learns about the world mainly through touch – they like to get dirty, take everything in their hands, stroke, squeeze, and put things in their mouth. Remember also that a one-year-old child is not yet able to focus their attention on one plaything or item for long and gets bored quite quickly. A good idea, therefore, would be to rotate toys from time to time – hiding some of them and bringing them out only after some time when the little one has forgotten about them. This way, you provide the child with “new” toys without the need to buy them.

What Games and Activities to Choose for a One-Year-Old Child? Sensory Box

At this stage, toys that support sensory development are perfect. A great example here would be a sensory box. We can make it ourselves by putting various objects and toys in a box that develop sensory integration. These could be, for example, soft sponges, rough brushes, balls with bumps, rubber squeezies, but also things that each of us has at home – rolling pins, cloths, or spoons.


Another example would be toys that develop fine motor skills. Learning shapes, colors, practicing manual dexterity, and hand-eye coordination will be supported by all kinds of sorters, pounding benches, blocks, or boxes from which pyramids can be built.


Books are undoubtedly one of the best toys supporting a child’s development and building a bond with the parent. The earlier you start reading to a child, the sooner it will bear fruit. Through books and reading, a child learns to speak, discovers new words and objects. Initially, picture books will work better, and over time we can choose those with more text. Books will also be an excellent pretext for talking with the child, and conversation is one of the most valuable ways to spend time with our little one.

Developmental Activities with a One-Year-Old Child “Peekaboo” – Hide and Seek

One of the simplest games we can introduce at this stage, guaranteeing lots of joy and laughter, is playing “peekaboo.” We can hide from the child, asking them to find us, we can hide the child and pretend that we’re looking for them, or we can also hide toys and look for them together with the child. This game works great as part of the morning routine, while still lying in bed we can hide, for example, under the duvet or under a blanket.

Obstacle Course

Another idea would be to build an obstacle course. This is a game that supports large motor skills and develops coordination and orientation of the child. To build an obstacle course, a few pillows, plush toys can be used, we can also use different foils, cardboard, or boards. Depending on what we have at hand, just arrange objects one after the other so that the child can walk over them.


A simple but extremely developing activity that delights every child is dancing. Just turn on the music and dance to its rhythm. There are also various songs and melodies that teach body parts, colors, or animal names through showing and imitation.


One-year-old children are already starting to be interested in crayons and paper. Initially, drawings will only represent single lines or dots, but over time they will become more and more advanced. If we’re not afraid to let the child get a little dirty, it’s worth giving them child-safe paints and a piece of fabric or canvas – good and colorful fun guaranteed.

Rhymes – Massage

The last idea for playing with a one-year-old child is all kinds of rhymes – massages or finger plays. You don’t need anything but our hands for these games. They have a beneficial effect on our child’s development, train fine motor skills and manual dexterity, and besides, they incredibly bring us closer. Thanks to melodic rhymes, they also influence speech development. “Here goes a crab, not in a hurry”, “The hen cooks porridge” or “Elephants walking on the concrete” are just some of the many rhymes – massages that bring children a lot of joy. We can massage our little ones and then allow them to massage us.

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