How to entertain a 1 year old baby

How to entertain a 1 year old baby

After our homemade beach effort last week I realised just how much Baby R loves to explore natural everyday things, funnily enough I also came to this conclusion after 1/2 an hour of playing with the contents of a whole box of cereal he’d emptied on the floor yesterday while I got the dinner ready (thank Heaven for small mercies?)

He’s really not that interested in toys yet so I’ve gone back to the basics with some good old water play and rice in a tray in an effort to find different ways to entertain a 1 year old baby.

sensory play for older babies

As you can tell he loves nothing more than splashing in the water, not content with sitting beside it, he got straight in. With a towel placed under it stop any slips when he moved around and luke warm water he was in his element.  At 12 months there wasn’t any need for anything else, he was just as happy splashing with his hands and feet. I’d like to think that 9 months of baby swimming lessons have contributed to his love of water but I think it’s probably more to do with his love of the dog bowl.

Our next play session involved rice, spoons and scoops.  We start in a tray, or on this occasion a dish, but it pretty soon ends up on the floor.

It’s during clean up time that I’m thankful for our greedy dog and the Dyson, although I’d be lying if I said we weren’t finding the odd grain of rice here and there.

The best thing with the rice is I can join in and show him how to scoop it up and let it fall through your hands and with his whole transporting schema thing going on he loves moving it from the tray to the floor in hand fulls.


It was also the beginning signs of a containing schema (if you want to know more about schemas; the repeated patterns of play, Click here) as he preferred to climb right into the dish and play with the dry rice from there.

I love seeing how his little brain ticks over as he works things out, my favourite site for play time inspiration is The Imagination Tree, we often pop over there for ideas but If you’ve  got some sensory play suggestions I’d love to hear.

Sensory activities for babies and toddlers which you can do at home



  1. 7th July 2015 / 9:46 am

    Thank you, it’s a fail safe play session, always worth the cleaning up afterwards too.

  2. caroline
    7th July 2015 / 9:49 am

    Looks like great fun, the simple things are the best when they are little. x

    • 7th July 2015 / 10:03 am

      I’ve totally found that out, I’m packing the plastic away as I type

  3. 7th July 2015 / 10:14 am

    There are some fantastic ideas there. My 1 yr old loves playing with water. I’ve heard that shaving foam is another good sensory item I’m just not sure how safe it is for a 1yr old although I’m sure there are alternatives

    • 7th July 2015 / 12:18 pm

      I’ve used it for older kids but always worry about the chemicals, plus my boy will just eat it!

  4. Lana
    7th July 2015 / 1:37 pm

    We do dry beans as well. And of course, dough. And here’s a little tip: Throw down a tablecloth on the floor under the bin. Cleanup just got easier!

  5. 7th July 2015 / 3:41 pm

    Someone’s having fun!!!

    I wish I had done things like this with my girls when they were little! xxx

  6. 8th July 2015 / 12:25 pm

    This is such a great post, thanks for these ideas. I’m in the same boat, my little boy will be one in two weeks and he’s not really interested in toys yet, even though he’s got tons. He much rather crawls around and pulls things out and puts everything in his mouth, so these sound like great alternatives. Shall be trying these out imminently! Thanks for sharing these! x #SharwWithMe

    • 9th July 2015 / 9:34 pm

      Your boy sounds just like mine, he loves nothing more than emptying cupboards and pays no attention in his toy box at all

  7. 8th July 2015 / 8:05 pm

    This reminds me of my daughter. She has no interest in toys, but in the ordinary things (like the water in the sink or my baking pans in the kitchen). It’s quite fascinating seeing them explore and discover things isn’t it? I love that link you shared about Schemas as well. Such a helpful read, especially for parents of little ones. Thank you for such a enlightening and informative post, Ali!

    • 9th July 2015 / 9:31 pm

      You’re welcome Maria, I’ve known about schemas for years and can forget that not everyone has heard of them, they’re so useful in understanding children’s play that I though I’d share.

  8. Sharisse @ Savvy Sweet Life
    8th July 2015 / 8:08 pm

    It looks like he had so much fun. I love sensory play for babies. And you’re right about dogs—such good helpers when “cleaning up” spills 🙂 Funny, my little boy loves turning over our dog’s water bowl too ! #sharewithme

    • 9th July 2015 / 9:27 pm

      What is it with dog bowls? my boy can sniff one out at 30 yards!

  9. 8th July 2015 / 10:32 pm

    Oh my god, I literally did the same thing this week with the water play and towels on the floor – and that’s with a 3-year-old! We were making paper boats to float in the water. It’s lovely to entertain them without toys 🙂 Sabrina xx #sharewithme

    • 9th July 2015 / 9:26 pm

      That’s such a great idea with the paper boats, I must remember that!

  10. 9th July 2015 / 7:54 am

    The Imagination Tree is a great resource! I love the pictures of him sat in the rice bowl! So cute. It’s fascinating watching babies play! My mummy could spend hours doing it! Thanks for sharing on #Sharewithme

  11. 9th July 2015 / 12:36 pm

    Haha so cute! Water is amazing. My son is 5 now and I let him play in the sink and it would still make him the happiest chap. Water never loses its magic to kids no matter what age me thinks. #sharewithme

    • 9th July 2015 / 1:50 pm

      It’s lovely when something so simple can amuse them. My older 2 are more into water fights than playing but it’s still good fun.

  12. 9th July 2015 / 8:54 pm

    Aww such gorgeous pictures! The water one is awesome, looks like he had loads of fun. Thanks for linking up to #PointShoot x

  13. Jenny
    13th July 2015 / 2:14 am

    This is brilliant and so true. Even my two would love this. it’s great for their sensory skills as they grow. Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • 13th July 2015 / 8:21 am

      Thanks Jenny, it’s simple things like this entertain them for years

  14. 14th July 2015 / 1:10 pm

    How totally wonderful, I love it! Toby adores water play but lately his favourite activity is crawling in the garden and running his hands through plants and flowers. Fab pics of Baby R, what a cutie xx

    • 14th July 2015 / 4:33 pm

      We have a soil love going on too at the moment! Great but his finger nails are always black

  15. 24th November 2015 / 10:33 pm

    You have captured some lovely photos here. Monkey also use to prefer this sort of play, treasure baskets were his main toy until he was about 18 months. Even now if I got it all out he would happily entertain himself with it. Xx

    • 25th November 2015 / 5:47 am

      Thank you, they are just perfect for igniting that imagination and development aren’t they.

    • 7th January 2016 / 9:15 am

      He’s not phased by much, hair washing and the doorbell are about his limit.

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