Things to Teach Your 1 Year Old

Top 14 Things To Teach a 1 Year Old

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Congratulations! You’ve made it through one year as a parent.

Keep your baby developing on track with these top things to teach a 1-year-old.

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1 Year Old Milestones

In order to know what you should be teaching your 1-year-old, it’s important to know 1-year-old milestones.

By your baby’s 1st birthday they should reach the following milestones: developmental milestones according to the CDC:

  • Uses simple gestures (Example: bye-bye, claps)
  • Says mama, dada, no
  • Tries to say words you say
  • Makes sounds with changes that sound like speech
  • Responds to simple commands
  • Points to the correct picture when named
  • Can find hidden objects
  • Manipulates toys (shake, drum, bang together)
  • Follows simple directions

What To Teach Your 1 Year Old

Our goals as parents are to help our babies play, learn, and develop. We are role models for our children and have to model how to interact with others.

The best way to help our babies learn at 1 year old is through play.

Make sure to make dedicated time each day to play with your baby. These top things to teach a 1 year old will help your baby grow and develop on track.

Things to Teach a 1 Year Old


One very important skill to teach your 1 year old is manners. Although they may not be able to use manners yet, now is the time to start modeling good manners.

Sit at the table as a family for meals. Use please and thank you when speaking to each other. Your little one is absorbing everything you do, so show them the right way to act.

Love of Reading

Teach your kids to love reading. Share new books every day to show them how fun and exciting books can be.

When you read a variety of books, they’ll be introduced to more words and new concepts.

Try to find books about a range of concepts including body parts, shapes, colors, numbers, food, etc.

Also, at this age, aim for interactive books to keep them engaged. 1-year-olds love to lift flaps and see what’s hiding on each page.

Continue to read to your little one every single day.

My favorite books for 1 year olds include:

First 100 Board Book Box Set

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? By Karen Katz

Babies Love Colors

Tails by Matthew Van Fleet

Words, Words, and More Words

Now is the time to help your 1-year old’s vocabulary grow and blossom. Although they may only say a handful of words, they are constantly listening to everything you say.

Talk and explain everything around them. Use this time to help them develop their vocabulary and learn to talk.

Focus on increasing their vocabulary by learning all types of words: body parts, shapes, colors, numbers, animals, food.

Explain and narrate everything you do all day.

Sing Songs and Dance

Music is such a great way to bond together, increase vocabulary, and move more. Give your one year old some rattles to practice making noise together and have fun.

Unconditional Love

One of the most important things to teach a year old is unconditional love. Disconnect from technology and have some undivided time together. Show your 1-year old that you’re there and present.

Mindful parenting involves enjoying each moment and not focusing on to-do lists. This will help your child become more confident as well as learn more from you.

Redirect Instead of Reprimand

At 1 year of age, your child is still learning what is right versus wrong. They’re testing boundaries. Avoid saying no and use these positive phrases instead.

Practice redirecting your child.

Independent Play

Let your 1-year-old know it’s okay to play independently sometimes. Set them up in a safe environment with a few favorite toys and let them play alone.

Start with just a few minutes at a time as your baby becomes comfortable with this concept.

Self Care

Toddlers love imitating what they see others do. This is a great time to let them start practicing taking care of themselves.

Let your 1 year old practice using a fork or a spoon. Allow them to try to brush their teeth and then scrub more afterwards.

These skills will continue to grow and improve with practice.


Work on improving your toddler’s problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination with the use of simple puzzles.

Offer chunky board puzzles that are easy for their hands to grasp and easy to match the pieces.

Imitation play

Toddlers love imitating what they see around them. Some fun activities for this age group include a play kitchen or cleaning supplies.

They love pretending to sweep, vacuum, or clean windows.

Give them a few toys to mimic what you see and you’ll be amazed by how much they are observing.

Simple Chores

It’s never too early to start simple chores with your 1-year-old. At this age, they can help put dirty clothes in laundry basket. Also, they can get into the habit of helping to clean up after themselves.

Work together to put toys away after each activity. You can read more toddler chore ideas here which are perfect for 1-3 year olds.


Coloring is a great activity for little ones. At this stage, scribbling on paper is a skill in and of itself.

This helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Give your 1-year-old chunky crayons or markers and let them scribble away.

Simple Games

1-year-olds love playing with parents and are becoming more coordinated with hand movements. Some fun games to teach your 1-year-old include peakaboo, pat-a-cake, and tag.

Spend time being silly together and have fun.

Stacking Blocks

Blocks have been a household favorite for years and for a good reason. Simple blocks allow babies to practice fine motor skills (carefully stacking) and also creativity.

As your baby grows, they can practice making different objects out of their blocks and get creative.

Remember, every baby develops at their own pace. Get them moving and get down and play together every day to help your 1-year-old baby grow and develop.

Related: Activities for 9-Month-Olds

Things To Teach Your 1 Year old
Things To Teach Your 1 Year old
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