Activities For 12-Month-Olds
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The Best Easy And Fun Activities For 12-Month-Olds

Did your sweet little baby turn into an energetic toddler in the blink of an eye? That’s sure how it seems to happen! You might find that it’s hard to keep up with your 1-year-old; their interests can change almost daily. That’s why it’s crucial to find an assortment of activities for 12-month-olds that your toddler can try out.

Every one of these activities for 12-month-olds is beneficial for your child; they each teach your kiddo different things. Once you find which activities your 1-year-old enjoys the most, you can make a fun rotation out of them, and your kiddo will rarely be bored!

It’s incredible to watch our children (who are quickly becoming toddlers) grow and develop. As you read through these fun suggestions, keep in mind that your kiddo might not be ready for some of these activities, and that’s normal! Toddlers develop at different rates, and it’s perfectly okay. However, never hesitate to call your doctor with any questions you have.

Let’s Start With Some Developmental Milestones For 12-Month-Olds:

At 12 months old, most toddlers will be able to…

  • Repeat your sounds and movements, like waving and clapping
  • Try to say more words than mama and dada
  • Is crawling on hands and knees
  • Pulls up to standing
  • Walks along the furniture or is walking without support
  • Explores things by shaking, dropping, and throwing them
  • Puts objects into a container and removes them
  • Looks at the correct picture when the image is named
  • Shows preferences for certain people and toys

Keep these milestones in mind as you begin to find exciting 12-month-old activities that will help challenge your toddler.

Now, on to the list of activities for 12-month-olds:

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1. Reading

Reading is an excellent activity to do with children of any age. It creates the perfect opportunity for you and your little one to bond and relax while enjoying new stories.

When you sit down to read a book with your 12-month-old, let them turn the pages. They might need a little help to turn the page entirely, but this is an excellent opportunity to encourage their pincer grasp development.

As your child shows more interest in reading, they will love these mini board books! They are the perfect size for your child’s small hands, and there is a wide variety to choose from. Also, they are a bit more sturdy and durable because they are board books.

My son always loved reading these Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse mini board books. He still loves these books as a 2-year-old!

Benefits of reading:

  • Quiet bonding activity
  • Pincer grasp/ hand muscle development
  • Promotes communication skills
  • Helps build listening skills and vocabulary

You’ll also love: The Ultimate List Of Board Books For Babies And Toddlers

2. Play Outside

Playing outside is one of the best activities for 12-month-olds. There are so many benefits of playing outside, not to mention it gives your child a change of scenery from being indoors. 

There are also many different things you can do outside with your little one. This could include going on a walk, stopping by a local park, or just hanging out in your backyard. When my son was 12-months-old, he loved going outside to help me move the sprinkler and water the flowers. 

Also, your toddler will love soaking in the world around them, and it’s an excellent opportunity to teach them about things that they usually don’t see inside the house. Plus, you don’t need a lot to entertain your toddler outside; dirt and grass are certainly fun by themselves.

But, if you are looking for other fun things to do outside, you can bring a large ball to roll around or get one of these great splash pads for a hot day! As always, closely supervise your child when they are playing in the water.

Benefits of playing outside:

  • Variety of sensory experiences, like water, dirt, or grass, for example.
  • Provides plenty of fresh air and sunlight 
  • Opportunity to learn greater self-awareness
  • More chances to develop gross motor skills and be physically active

You’ll also love: The Best Outdoor Toys For Toddlers

3. Practice Walking

There is a good chance that your baby will start walking independently sometime between 12 to 15-months-old. You can encourage this new skill by helping your child practice walking! All you need to do is take their hands and steady them as they walk down a hallway or just around the room.

Another way to help your 12-month-old practice walking is to get them an activity walker like this one! (Plus, it comes in multiple colors!) If you choose to get a walker for your child, make sure they are in a secure area and can’t push it down a set of stairs.

Benefits of practicing walking:

  • Helps your baby learn to walk on their own
  • Teaches balancing skills
  • Encourages gross motor skill development

4. Pillow Mountain

Pillow mountain was one of the most popular 12-month-old activities at my house, and it still is, even though my son is over two-years-old!

To play pillow mountain, all you need to do is pile up a bunch of pillows and cover them with a large blanket. The blanket will help the pillows stay together, so the mountain doesn’t fall apart.

I typically set this activity up in the living room with all of the throw pillows on the couch (or even the couch cushions at times).

Once the pillow mountain is assembled, your toddler can climb over it (with your supervision), or you can hide on the other side and play peekaboo!

Benefits of pillow mountain:

  • Encourages gross motor skill development
  • Promotes spatial awareness
  • Crawling and climbing on uneven surfaces promotes balance
  • Teaches problem-solving
  • Encourages hand and foot coordination

5. Blocks

There are so many great activities that your toddler can do with blocks. As mentioned in the milestones above, your 12-month-old will love throwing blocks and banging them together.

A game that is always a hit is to build a tower out of the blocks and have your child knock them down. If you get excited when your toddler knocks the tower over, they will think it’s hilarious, and they will want to do it all over again.

We use these blocks a lot, but we had also introduced these Mega blocks soon after our baby turned one. Mega blocks are fantastic for your little one to put together and pull apart. Your 12-month-old can even start learning how to sort the blocks by color.

Benefits of playing with blocks:

  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Teach cause and effect
  • Can help teach counting and colors
  • Teaches cause and effect
  • Promotes fine motor skill and hand muscle development
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6. Balls

Balls are also a prominent toy for entertaining your 12-month-old, and there are so many different ways your child can play with them. These sensory balls are a great starter set for your little one to play with! They come with many exciting textures for your toddler to feel.

If your toddler enjoys knocking down block towers, show them how to roll a ball into the tower to knock it down.

Another fun 12-month-old activity is to pass a ball across the floor to each other. These larger balls are great for this purpose because they are easier for your toddler to catch.

Benefits of balls:

  • Promotes hand-eye coordination
  • Encourages walking to chase after the ball
  • Promotes fine and gross motor skills and hand muscle development
  • Can help teach timing and spatial awareness
  • Teaches cause and effect

7. “Where Is…” Game

Once you notice that your toddler identifies more things around the house, try out asking them where that item is.

For example, ask your toddler, “Where is the clock?” and encourage them to point to the clock. Eventually, your toddler will start to try to say ‘clock’ when they point to it.

This game will encourage your baby to say new words, point, and recognize items. It will also help your child start communicating with you in a new way. If you want to sit while playing this game, this set of books is great to have your little one point out the pictures inside!

You may also notice that your toddler will start pointing to new items, which will keep this fantastic learning game going. 

Benefits of the “Where Is…” Game

  • Promotes communication
  • Helps develop listening skills and vocabulary

8. Sorting and Dropping Items

One of the new milestones your 12-month-old will start is grabbing items and releasing them into a container. This toy is a great budget-friendly item to keep your kiddo exploring this new developmental milestone!

If sorting and dropping the shapes through the designated hole is too advanced at the moment, your toddler will love to simply pick up the shapes and put them right into the bucket without the lid.

You can also use basic household items to make this one of the most budget-friendly activities for 12-month-olds. For example, you can grab an empty oatmeal container and carefully cut a slot in the lid. Then, grab a deck of cards, and you’re set!

Benefits of sorting and dropping:

  • Teaches problem-solving skills
  • Encourage pincer grasp and fine motor skill development
  • Teaches your toddler to notice differences and similarities

9. Stacking Objects

Stacking objects is another one of the 12-month-old activities that can have many different variations. If you have stacking cups like these ones, you can use them in the bathtub, put other little toys inside them, or make them into a tower. The list is never-ending!

We have these stacking cups, which are inexpensive and of excellent quality. Plus, your toddler will love playing with these cups for quite a while! My son still enjoys playing with them at over two years old.

Another perfect item for encouraging your toddler to stack is this ring tower. Your toddler will love putting the rings on and taking them back off.

Benefits of stacking:

  • Fine motor skill development
  • Encourages problem-solving
  • Teaches cause and effect and balancing objects
  • Develops hand-eye coordination

You’ll also love: The Best Toys For 12-Month-Olds

10. Singing and Dancing

Once your child is around 12-months-old and starts comprehending more, it can be fun to sing interactive songs with them like The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Also, if your toddler is standing unsupported or starting to walk, grab their hands and have a dance party with them! There are many great children’s music stations on Pandora or Spotify to choose from, and your kiddo will love hearing the fun songs.

Benefits of singing and dancing:

  • Helps develop language skills and vocabulary
  • Fun bonding activity
  • Encourages creativity and imagination

11. Peekaboo

If your toddler loved playing peekaboo as a baby, they will love it even more as they get older!

Try using different items to hide behind, such as a blanket or a pillow. Or, you can also have your baby’s favorite toys play peekaboo with them!

Benefits of playing peekaboo:

  • Teaches object permanence
  • Promotes visual tracking
  • Great bonding activity

12. Painting With Water

Painting with water is one of the activities for 12-month-olds that has minimal mess!

To start this activity, all you do is grab some colored construction paper, a bowl of water (or these spill-proof cups), and a toddler-friendly paintbrush.

Once your toddler swipes the paintbrush against the paper, the paper will darken, leaving the design behind. Your kiddo might also like using their fingers to make designs on the paper.

Another tip to control the mess is putting the construction paper inside a baking pan. The baking pan sides will help contain the water and prevent it from getting on your table or floor.

Benefits of painting with water:

  • Fine motor skill development
  • Encourages creativity and imagination
  • Teaches cause-and-effect

You’ll also love: Must-Have Art Supplies For Toddlers

Activities For 12-Month-Olds Pin Image

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13. Masking Tape on the Floor, Wall, or Balls

Most babies and toddlers like picking at things they find, like stickers, for example. That’s why this 12-month-old activity will bring so much entertainment!

If you have the smaller ball pit-sized balls, take a muffin pan, put a ball in each tin, and put a piece of masking tape across the ball to keep it down. Your toddler will love to work at getting each ball free.

A little more advanced version is putting masking tape on the ball itself. Your toddler will work at holding the ball in one hand and picking the tape off with the other.

Just remember, these two activities should be supervised to ensure that your child doesn’t eat any tape.

Benefits of this 12-month-old activity:

  • Teaches cause and effect and problem-solving
  • Promotes hand-eye coordination
  • Helps develop pincer grasp and fine motor skills

14. Ball Drop in a Tube

While you have the masking tape out from the activity above, grab an old paper towel tube and tape it to the wall low enough for your toddler to be able to reach the top.

Next, grab some balls that will fit in the tube. I have found that ping pong balls like these ones work well. Also, I have seen suggestions to use colorful, fuzzy, crafting pompoms, but in my opinion, those are too easy for your toddler to pop into their mouth.

Then, your baby can drop the balls down the paper towel tube and watch them fall out of the other side. If you have extra tubes, you can try taping them to the wall at different angles. This can make it a little more interesting for your kiddo!

If you have hard floors and decide to use ping pong balls, they will go bouncing off the floor and make fun noises that I’m sure your toddler will love.

Benefits of this activity for 12-month-olds:

  • Fine motor skill development
  • Can help teach object permanence
  • Teaches cause and effect, and hand-eye coordination

15. Self-Feeding

Self-feeding might be one of your toddler’s favorites in this list of activities for 12-month-olds. In addition to entertainment, it will also help your little one perfect their pincer grasp and coordination.

At this age, you can let your toddler try to feed themselves with utensils, but it might be pretty messy. We use these toddler utensils, and they fit great in little hands. Also, if you’re worried about the mess, this mat is fantastic to put under your toddler’s highchair!

One thing my son loved was to sit on the floor with his bowl of cheerios. He loves to play with them while eating and often lines them up on the couch cushion.

If your child likes cheerios (and plays with them 😉), this little book is so fun! Your toddler puts cheerios in the empty spots throughout the book and can snack as they go along.

Benefits of self-feeding:

  • Develops their pincer grasp and fine motor skills
  • Promotes hand-eye coordination
  • Helps them practice a crucial skill
  • Can be a fun sensory experience

16. Clapping Games

In addition to learning how to point, your toddler will most likely learn how to clap as well. It’s so fun to clap when they do something exciting and see their face light up as they clap back at you.

You can try teaching your little one clapping games like pat-a-cake, but often, just doing a high-five will be just as much fun to them. 🙂

Benefits of clapping games:

  • Promotes motor skill development and socializing
  • Teaches a form of communication
  • Encourages hand-eye coordination

17. Mess-Free Finger Painting

Mess Free Finger Painting - Activities For 12-Month-Olds

Letting your toddler experiment through art typically ends up with a mess. That’s why mess-free finger painting is a great art activity to do with your 12-month-old!

When mess-free finger painting, your toddler can still feel the squashy paint under their fingers while mixing colors, but the paint is contained in the bag.

Check out this article for step-by-step instructions for mess-free finger painting!

Benefits of mess-free finger painting:

  • Fun sensory activity 
  • Promotes creativity and imagination
  • Teaches cause and effect

18. Cardboard Box Coloring Cave

I don’t know what it is about toddlers and cardboard boxes, but boxes bring endless entertainment for kids. Making a cardboard box coloring cave is one of the activities for 12-month-olds that I stumbled upon one day as I was trying to entertain my toddler, and it’s still one of his favorite things to do!

For this activity, you’ll need a large cardboard box and some jumbo crayons. Now, depending on your child’s preference, you can either set them in the box to sit and color, or you can lay the box on its side, and your toddler can crawl in.

Typically, I used empty diaper boxes from Costco, and they were a perfect size. 

Benefits of the coloring cave:

  • Encourages creativity and imagination
  • Holding crayons develops hand muscles and pincer grasp
  • Teaches cause-and-effect 
  • Improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills

19. Blanket Forts

Like the coloring cave, your child will love to explore a blanket fort! The great thing about making blanket forts with your 12-month-old is that the fort doesn’t have to be elaborate. Your toddler will love even the most simple fort.

However you decide to make a blanket fort, make sure it’s cozy! Add some pillows or stuffed animals, and make it a unique hang-out. Also, it can be a lot of fun to read some board books in the fort with your toddler.

Benefits of blanket forts:

  • When your child helps you build the fort, it encourages problem-solving skills, creativity, and imagination.

20. Start Teaching Your 1-Year-Old Through Play

After reading through these activities, you might be wondering, ‘What should I be teaching my 12-month-old?’. It’s good to know that your child is doing so much development during their first years that the learning opportunities rarely stop!

While many of the activities on this list teach your child different things, it’s worthwhile to ensure you teach your kiddo everything they need at this age. In this post, you’ll find all of the best things to teach your 1-year-old, plus the top tips for success.

Another vital thing to start teaching your 12-month-old is discipline. Because teaching your toddler discipline takes persistence, it’s terrific to begin guiding your little one as soon as you can. In this post, you’ll find our best tips for teaching your toddler discipline.

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The great thing about these activities for 12-month-olds is that you can keep doing most of these things as your toddler gets older. For example, reading and going outside are two activities that are always great for your child.

And remember, even if you think your toddler won’t like a specific activity, you might be surprised when you find that they love it! Don’t be afraid to give them all a try.

Before you go, check out these related articles:

What are some activities for 12-month-olds that your toddler loves? I would love to know in the comments below!

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  1. Ahhhhh! The mess-free finger painting is amazing! I am going to have to do that with my daughter. She is 15 months now and still loves to do all of these. Thank you for the ideas!

    1. That’s awesome, Nickki! I hope your daughter enjoys the finger painting activity! I know you’ll love that it’s mess-free. 🙂

  2. Wow! What a wonderful list of developmental activities for 12-month-olds! When my daughter was this age we had a lot of these toys and activities. We also did the paper towel tube, but with large pom-poms you could find at an arts and crafts store.

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