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ParentingActivities for 12-Month-Old Baby to Foster Development

Activities for 12-Month-Old Baby to Foster Development

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.

3. Sing-along

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

Piccalio Mini Chef HelperPiccalio Mini Chef Helper


A learning tower allows your child to be at counter height in a secure environment so they can help you cook (or pretend cook!) or do the dishes or work together on a craft project. One of our favorite styles is the 2-for-1 design from Piccalio. When they’re done at the counter, it converts to a kid-sized table and bench to sit and enjoy the snack they’ve helped prepare. It adjusts to three different heights as they grow and even comes with a free wooden mini cutter to keep them safely busy. It’s a super versatile piece of furniture that’ll be used for years to come.

TOMY Toomies Squeak Toy, Hide & Squeak EggsTOMY Toomies Squeak Toy, Hide & Squeak Eggs



You can never go wrong with a simple toy like the Hide & Squeak Eggs from Tomy. There are tons of different ways to play, from simply taking them apart and putting them back together, matching the inside color to the face, matching the shape on the bottom to fit into the carton and even staging egg hunts. If our experience is any indication, they’ll have a prominent spot on the playroom shelf for an impressive stretch of time!

Prince Lionheart Wheely BugPrince Lionheart Wheely Bug

Prince Lionheart


Now that your little one is moving and grooving, it may be time to look for a toddler ride-on toy. An award-winning style that’s as adorable as it is functional, the padded Wheely Bug from Prince Lionheart features four swivel wheels that take it in every direction. The u-shaped handle is perfect for little hands and the leather-like surface is easy to wipe clean. Choose from a variety of adorable styles and two sizes which are appropriate for little ones ages 1-3+.

Manhattan Toy Playdate FriendsManhattan Toy Playdate Friends

Manhattan Toy


One-year-olds get so many benefits from caring for a baby doll. (Not to mention, it’s just about the cutest thing ever to see them comfort, cuddle and reflect your hard work back at you!) We love these soft little plush doll friends that clean up well—they’re fully machine-washable and dryer-safe, meaning your little one can tote their new pal along anywhere and everywhere

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