Any activity that involves movement of the body, toys or machines and noise will entertain a young toddler for extended periods of time. Having several activities at hand that revolve around movement and sound will keep your young charge happy and learning all day. When he tires of one game, be prepared with a few others to entertain him.
Most 1 year olds can walk, and they get a kick out of exploring the world on two feet. Looking at their surroundings on their own level is new and thrilling. Take your toddler out for a walk in the neighborhood, grabbing the stroller, carrier or wagon, just in case she gets tired and needs a ride home. Even if your 1 year old doesn’t walk, crawling and scooting around outside at the park can keep her entertained. Take your child to a park where she can move around without having to hold your hand or be held. Talk about the different objects you see along the way to increase her vocabulary and awareness.
Your 1 year old will entertain himself if he can make a lot of noise. Supply a plastic bowl and a spoon to spur on your young drummer. A pot and a spoon will do the same trick, as will a cardboard oatmeal cylinder, a plastic food storage container and a cardboard box. Another option to make noise is just to sing. Sing your favorite song or a nursery rhyme your child likes. Then dance together. That might be just hopping around in circles, but your toddler will love it.
If the day is nice, take your child outside with a container of water and a paintbrush. Let your child paint the sidewalk or driveway with water. It magically disappears, and your toddler can do it all over again, making creative designs. You could also bring out the washable, non-toxic finger paints if you are inside for the day. A big piece of paper with a towel or newspaper under it to protect the floor or table will provide plenty of entertainment.
Most 1 year olds love to be read to. Yours may even want to read books to you. Make a trip to the library to get a stack of age-appropriate books that are new to your child. You can also read your child’s favorite story a few times. Use different voices to impersonate the characters in each book. Point out new vocabulary words in the pictures as you read. Ask your child where different objects you’re reading about are located the pictures to make the experience more interesting.