30 Sensory Activities for a One-Year-Old

One-year-olds are in a stage of rapid development and exploration. They are eager to engage with their surroundings and learn through sensory experiences. Sensory activities provide stimulating opportunities for infants to discover their senses and develop essential skills. In this article, we have compiled a list of 30 sensory activities specifically tailored for one-year-olds. These activities will not only provide them with fun and excitement but also promote their cognitive, motor, and social development. So, let’s dive in and explore the wonderful world of sensory play!

Sensory activities provide infants with a range of experiences that engage their senses, including touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. These activities allow them to explore the world around them, build connections in their brain, and develop important skills. Sensory play can be easily incorporated into a one-year-old’s daily routine and offers numerous benefits for their overall development.

Sensory Play and its Benefits

Sensory play involves activities that stimulate a child’s senses, promoting their cognitive, physical, and social development. By engaging in sensory activities, one-year-olds can enhance their sensory perception, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, language development, problem-solving abilities, and emotional regulation. These activities also foster creativity, curiosity, and a sense of wonder in young children.

Safety Considerations

When engaging in sensory activities with a one-year-old, it is important to prioritize safety. Always supervise the child during playtime and ensure that the materials used are age-appropriate and non-toxic. Be mindful of small parts that could pose a choking hazard and avoid materials that may cause allergies or irritations. Additionally, create a safe and child-friendly environment by removing any sharp objects or potential hazards.


Sensory Activities for a One-Year-Old

Activity 1: Sensory Bottles

Create sensory bottles by filling clear plastic bottles with various materials such as colorful beads, glitter, or small toys. Secure the lids tightly and let your little one shake and explore the captivating sights and sounds.

Activity 2: Texture Exploration

Provide a variety of textures for your child to explore, such as soft fabrics, smooth stones, bumpy surfaces, and furry materials. Encourage them to touch and feel each texture, describing the sensations along the way.

Activity 3: Edible Finger Paint

Make edible finger paint using safe, non-toxic materials like mashed fruits or yogurt. Allow your child to freely explore the paint using their hands and fingers, encouraging sensory exploration and creativity.

Activity 4: Water Play

Fill a shallow tub with warm water and let your child splash and play with water toys. Add floating objects or colored ice cubes to make it more engaging and sensory-rich.

Activity 5: Sensory Bags

Create sensory bags by filling sealable plastic bags with different materials like colored gel, hair gel, or sand. Seal the bags tightly and let your child squish, squeeze, and explore the textures within.

Activity 6: Playdough Fun

Introduce playdough to your child and let them squish, mold, and shape it. Provide various tools like cookie cutters or rolling pins to enhance the sensory experience.

Activity 7: Sensory Balloons

Fill balloons with different materials like rice, flour, or lentils to create sensory-filled balloons. Seal the balloons tightly and let your child explore the different textures by touching and squeezing them.

Activity 8: Nature Sensory Bin

Collect natural materials like leaves, pinecones, or pebbles and create a sensory bin for your child. Let them explore the textures and scents of nature while engaging their senses.

Activity 9: Sensory Walk

Take your child for a sensory walk in nature or around the neighborhood. Encourage them to touch different surfaces like grass, sand, or tree bark, stimulating their sense of touch.

Activity 10: Bubble Wrap Stomp

Lay out a large sheet of bubble wrap on the floor and let your child stomp and jump on it. The popping sounds and the tactile feedback from the bubble wrap will provide a delightful sensory experience.

Activity 11: Musical Shakers

Create homemade musical shakers by filling empty containers with rice, beans, or small objects. Seal them tightly and let your child shake the shakers to explore different sounds and rhythms.

Activity 12: Rice Bin

Fill a container with uncooked rice and hide small toys or objects within it. Let your child dig and search for the hidden treasures, engaging their sense of touch and discovery.

Activity 13: Ice Cube Play

Freeze water with food coloring or small toys in ice cube trays. Offer the colorful ice cubes to your child, allowing them to explore the cold sensation and watch the ice melt.

Activity 14: Sensory Scarves

Provide colorful, lightweight scarves for your child to hold, wave, and explore. The flowing fabric will engage their visual senses and provide a gentle tactile experience.

Activity 15: Scented Sensory Play

Introduce scented materials like scented playdough or scented stickers. Let your child explore different smells, associating them with specific objects or experiences.

Activity 16: Mirror Exploration

Place child-safe mirrors at different angles to allow your child to observe their reflection. Encourage them to touch the mirror and explore their own facial expressions.

Activity 17: Sensory Blocks

Offer different textured blocks for your child to stack and play with. Textures could include soft, rough, or bumpy surfaces, providing a tactile and visual experience.

Activity 18: Sensory Bath Time

Add bath toys, colored water, or bath crayons to make bath time a sensory experience. Let your child splash, pour, and explore the different textures and temperatures of water.

Activity 19: Sensory Tunnels

Create tunnels using blankets, pillows, or large cardboard boxes. Encourage your child to crawl through the tunnels, experiencing the different textures and spatial awareness.

Activity 20: Sensory Rice Tray

Fill a tray with colored rice and provide scoops, cups, and containers for your child to manipulate and explore. The rice will provide a unique tactile sensation.

Activity 21: Feathers and Pom-Poms

Offer feathers and colorful pom-poms for your child to touch, sort, and experiment with. The softness of feathers and the different sizes of pom-poms will engage their sense of touch.

Activity 22: Sensory Treasure Hunt

Hide small objects or toys in a sensory bin filled with rice, beans, or sand. Encourage your child to search for the hidden treasures, stimulating their sense of touch and exploration.

Activity 23: Sensory Play with Shaving Cream

Squirt shaving cream onto a tray or table and let your child explore the fluffy texture. They can draw shapes or make imprints with their fingers, engaging their sense of touch and creativity.

Activity 24: Sensory Stacking Cups

Provide colorful stacking cups for your child to stack, nest, and explore. The different sizes and textures of the cups will enhance their sensory and fine motor skills.

Activity 25: Sensory Story Time

Read sensory-rich books that involve textures or interactive elements like flaps or sound buttons. Engage your child’s senses while enjoying storytime together.

Activity 26: Sensory Puzzles

Introduce puzzles with sensory elements such as textures, sounds, or knobs. Let your child explore the puzzle pieces and solve simple puzzles, enhancing their cognitive and fine motor skills.

Activity 27: Sensory Texture Board

Create a texture board by attaching different textured materials, such as sandpaper, fabric, or bubble wrap, to a large board. Encourage your child to touch and explore each texture.

Activity 28: Sensory Play with Spaghetti

Cook spaghetti noodles and let your child play with the cooked noodles using their hands. They can squish, pull, and explore the slimy texture of the cooked spaghetti.

Activity 29: Sensory Sensations Jar

Fill a clear plastic jar with various small objects like buttons, beads, or bells. Secure the lid tightly and let your child shake the jar to hear the different sounds and observe the objects moving.

Activity 30: Sensory Play with Scarves

Provide colorful, lightweight scarves for your child to toss, catch, or wave in the air. The flowing fabric will engage their visual senses and promote gross motor skills.



Sensory activities offer valuable opportunities for one-year-olds to explore their senses, develop crucial skills, and have fun while learning. These 30 sensory activities provide a range of experiences that engage their senses and support their overall development. Remember to create a safe environment and supervise your child during playtime. So, gather the materials, embrace the joy of sensory play, and watch your little one delight in the wonders of their senses.


Are sensory activities safe for one-year-olds?

Sensory activities can be safe for one-year-olds when age-appropriate materials and proper supervision are provided. Ensure that the materials used are non-toxic and do not pose choking hazards. Always supervise your child during sensory play.

Can sensory activities help with my child’s development?

Yes, sensory activities are beneficial for a child’s development. They promote sensory exploration, fine motor skills, cognitive development, language development, and social interaction.

How long should sensory activities last for a one-year-old?

The duration of sensory activities can vary depending on the child’s interest and attention span. Start with shorter sessions and gradually increase the time as your child’s engagement and enjoyment increase.

Can I use household items for sensory activities?

Yes, many household items can be repurposed for sensory activities. For example, rice, beans, or pasta can be used for sensory bins, and kitchen utensils or containers can be used for scooping and pouring activities.

How often should I engage my one-year-old in sensory activities?

You can incorporate sensory activities into your child’s daily routine. Aim for a few short sensory play sessions throughout the day to keep them engaged and stimulated.

Remember, always prioritize your child’s safety, supervise them during playtime, and ensure that the materials used are appropriate for their age and development.