I would like to know what games to play with a child just under one year. I have no idea. Where can I get some ideas from. I would like my child to learn something. I have searched on YouTube but couldn't come across anything useful.

  • This question is too broad, can you narrow it down by which activity you are asking about or what activity will teach what priciple to the child?
    – elbrant
    Dec 21, 2018 at 17:53

1 Answer 1


You can look into "baby sensory play" to get some ideas of educational (mostly messy and/or elaborate to prepare) activities for toddlers, but I have always preferred the simple classics.

Songs and fingerplays:

  • Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Wheels on the Bus Old
  • McDonald (Extra fun if you have stuffed animals to hold up as you sing about each)
  • Bunny Foofoo
  • Pattycake
  • Counting and alphabet songs

Teach them something:

  • My little one LOVED learning sign language at that age. I found
    videos on youtube to help
  • Look at books with pictures of animals, vehicle, household objects, etc and name all the items
  • Learn science by investigating the properties of safe objects and substances like ice, shaving cream, piece of fake fur, the spices in the cupboard, etc. Just be careful of eating/choking if your baby still puts things in their mouth.
  • Teaching your child to 'help' around the house, like wipe a plate, sweep with a small broom, put socks in the dryer, pick up toys, etc
    is very good for their confidence and development. (This might not
    really work until 12-14 months old for some babies)

Simple games:

  • Peekaboo
  • Shell game (hide a small toy under one of 2-3 inverted unbreakable cups and encourage your child to pick up the one the toy is under.
    Work up to sliding the cups around, changing the order, and have your child find the toy.)
  • Roll a ball or toy car back and forth
  • Silly hats: what can you find around the house that fits on your heads? Bonus for adding silly faces.
  • Tag and chase games teach reciprocity/taking turns


  • Water or sand play with lots of scoops, cups, sieves, etc.
  • Walk outside and name items you see.
  • Blow bubbles and encourage your child to catch them for hand/eye coordination development.

Don't forget the importance of 'big body play'-- Running, climbing, swinging, etc are so good for developing brain. One game for this kind of play is doing an 'animal dance'-- hop like a bunny, wiggle like a snake, shake like a dog, stomp like an elephant, etc. You can also blow up a balloon and chase it around, or a big soft playground ball.

  • “Big body play” tag and chase? Consider that the child in question is a bit under a year, so probably not walking yet or at least still unsecure when doing so.
    – Stephie
    Dec 19, 2018 at 5:20
  • My little one enjoyed chasing me and being chased (gently) when he was still crawling. But you're quite right that not all these games can be played by all babies at that age. My son wasn't walking by one, my friend's son was running and climbing at 11 months, so it really does need to be tailored to each child.
    – Meg
    Dec 19, 2018 at 13:35
  • I'd also suggest filling jars with seeds or beads (making sure they are well sealed!) and giving them to the child to explore with hands, mouth, and ears. Basically anything they can touch, smell, listen to, or interact with physically is a good option.
    – Marisa
    Dec 21, 2018 at 19:01
  • Oh, that is fun. A sealed jar with a handful of small interesting objects inside and then filled most of the way with seeds, dry rice or dry beans for a homemade 'I spy' game is also great. At 10 months it's mainly just an interesting rattle, at 16 months the child can look for the toys and experiment with burying and unearthing them by turning the jar.
    – Meg
    Dec 21, 2018 at 19:09

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