Your baby is 1! We can’t believe it, either. A whole year ago your little love was born, and so much has changed since then. It might feel like just yesterday you were trying to decode those newborn cries and attend to their every need—while also attending to your own. But now, your newly minted toddler might be using signs, gestures, pointing and even a few words to communicate with you—and may even be working on taking a few first steps. It’s an exciting time! Congrats, mama.
Here’s what else you can expect this month.
Related: 12-month-old baby milestones
Sensory activities for 12-month-olds
1. Crayon time
Plop them down on the floor with some plain paper and a box full of crayons—they’re at the age where they might use them to actually color rather than just taste (but rest easy that crayons are non-toxic, so it’s OK if they mouth a couple). Help your little one scribble and make lines on the page, while naming the colors and creating fun artwork.
2. Counting pasta
Boil a bit of dried shaped pasta and set a handful of the cooled noodles out on your baby’s highchair tray. Help them count the fun shapes as they slide around their tray, which also helps them work on their pincer grasp.
3. Bubble party
Now that your little one is a bit more mobile, bubble play offers a whole new level of fun. Show them how to purse their lips and blow air through the wand, and help them experience the tactile joy of popping those iridescent orbs. Can they balance and take a step to reach that big bubble?
Related: How much sleep does a 12-month-old baby need?
Developmental activities for 12-month-olds
1. Lift-the-flap books
Now that your little one is using their pincer grasp, it’s even easier (and more fun!) for them to lift up flaps or turn pages of a board book. Ask them if they can find the ball or where the bear is hiding, and then wait for the unbridled joy when they discover it.
2. Puzzle mania
Wooden puzzles can be super satisfying for tiny hands these days, now that your little one is learning more about shapes, colors and hand-eye coordination. Help them fit the pieces back in, rotating them if necessary, and cheering them on when they fill all the missing spots.
Playful songs that pair music with gestures like “Pat-a-Cake” and “Open, Shut Them” help your tot take an active role in music and movement—and help them add more gesture skills to their growing library. Set up a playlist for a morning sing-along session.
Related: 10 Happy Birthday coloring pages that are more fun than eating cake
Things to do with a 12-month-old
Week 1: Nature walk
Hop outside for a leaf hunt, a cloud watching session, a pine-cone gathering event or a little casual bird watching. Participating (and narrating!) these simple joys helps your child connect with the natural world and appreciate its majesty.
Week 2: Dress-up play
Fill a small box or basket with a few hats, scarves, sunglasses or other clothing items and accessories you rarely wear to serve as a dress-up bin for your baby. Popping on a costume element can help you both get in the mood to play pretend and use your imagination—which baby is just learning how to do!
Related: Can we bring back old-school birthday parties, please?
Week 3: Make mini shakers
Fill an empty water bottle with rice, beans or dried grains and then glue the cap on tight. If you make a couple, you’ll soon have a merry band of shakers ready for little hands to mark out the rhythm at your next dance party.
Week 4: Sticker fun
Your tot might need help peeling off the sticker from its backing, but they’ll love sticking their favorite colorful characters on piece of paper or other surface. You could even use their newfound sticker talents to make a few cards for birthdays and holidays, signed with love.
Our favorite products for 12-month-olds