How do I keep a 1-year-old entertained at home?

Shannon - posted on 02/04/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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She's a great self-player, but has the same toys in the same rooms everyday. I want to make it creative for her (like Gymboree), while I'm working from home. Any thoughts??

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Shannon - posted on 02/05/2009

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Wow...these are great ideas. We already rotate her toys, but I'm sensing she's wanting more stimulation. I'm definitely going to get some big soft blocks (thanks for the website!) and build more nooks and crannies for her to crawl in. I also love the homemade toy approach. They seem to love random items (water bottles, Tupperware, etc). Homemade play dough and shredded also sound great.
I'm also considering childcare or Gymboree, but I have to get over my concern that she'll get sick from other kids. I know I have to let her explore and be stimulated, so it's something I'll have to deal with!
Thanks again for the great responses. ; )

Shannon - posted on 02/05/2009

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And, yes to the boxes! Nice and inexpensive. I just have to find some that don't have rough edges (for papercuts).

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Shannon - posted on 02/05/2009

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Oh my gosh. I just went on www.hotelfun4kids.com. I want everything!! I wonder how I'm gonna figure this one out (financially). I will definitely invest in some basics. Thanks again!

April - posted on 02/05/2009

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my kids at all ages loved playing with boxes. with supervision, let her color a box with washable crayons put a couple of things inside and let her crawl in and out of it. also, making a fort might seem like its for big kids, but if youre in there with her, or some of her toys, she may love it. let her paint with water/ a little food coloring in her high chair, we dont watch much tv, but we keep the music stations on and I get silly and dance-they love it and try to dance along

Tonya - posted on 02/04/2009

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Very true... with my first child, I spent some money on toys but all she wanted to do was play with household items...  Then, I joined the group Parents as Teachers.... All they use is homemade toys and household objects and some toys in their lessons.  I have learned to set up a room for child appropriate and friendly play.... I have sturdy toy bins with baskest and picture labels to art area.... blocks...pretend/dress up/ stove... etc. tables/chairs(child size)... I cycle out toys ... Many one year olds and up are learning to walk also... Their brains/bodies are focused on motor skills....so anything that helps them master that is good.

Shannon - posted on 02/04/2009

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There are so many things you could do to keep her entertained.  My son actually turned one today and I stay home with him as well.  He also has a lot of the same toys that he plays with day in and day out so I started to separate them so he only  gets certain ones at certain times.  He has one basket of toys that he gets everyday but I bagged up all his blocks together so we will sit down and do blocks and talk.  I did this with other items as well - like the plastic things that connect together to make circles or anything like that. 



Even though he has a lot of toys he actually prefers some of the most basic stuff - I give him baskets, boxes, measuring cups, etc.



I also use dried out water bottles and fill the bottoms with beads, ribbon, rice, colored cotton balls, bells, tin foil, or whatever else you can think of and he LOVES them!  They make a good amount of noise, so if you are working you might want to hold off on these until the noise is alright!  Also, most of the items that will fit in to a water bottle can be a choking hazard so if you aren't going to be supervising her while she is using them, put glue around the cover before twisting it tightly shut and you shouldn't have much to worry about.



You can also start with big puzzles at this age.  My son and I will begin playing with crayons, markers, paint, and play-doh really soon as well...  while many of these things will need your supervision, it is good for a change and if she is getting your attention and doing new things while you aren't working, she probably won't mind playing by herself with her other toys that she already has while you are busy working.





Good luck!

User - posted on 02/04/2009

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I wouldn't suggest having these on all the time, but the Baby Einsteins really are great!  My daughter loved to watch them while she was playing with her toys.  The music is lovely too and they aren't annoying.  We really liked Baby Monet, Neptune and Van Gogh.

Jasmyn - posted on 02/04/2009

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Try setting up the toys in different environments especially outdoor play is good (depending on what part of the world you are in at the moment this may not be an option). Try letting her play with real things too, such as tupperware and offer different music, books that she can touch and play with, simple puzzles, balls. Children also love sensory activities such as water play, playdough, slime, paint but this sort of stuff needs to be supervised. Do you work from home everyday? It may be worthwhile looking at Child Care for 1 or 2 days so that she is getting the stimulation she needs as she enters into the toddler stage. Try to be creative, inventive, resourceful one of the best things I saw at the Child Care Centre I worked at in the baby room (6 weeks - 2 years) was a baby pool but instead of water they would fill it with different things such as paper, balls, stuffed toys etc. Hope this helps!!

User - posted on 02/04/2009

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hi, I'm a daycare teacher fo infants. i have 10 children from 1yr to 18mths. The one thing that they like the best is shredded paper, its cheap and easy clean up.Just shred some old papers and put them in a tub ( like a baby bathtub) and watch your child have fun. You can play too, throw it up in the air or put some on her head. You can also use pasta, oatmeal or even snow or grass from outside. It a great way to explore her senses.



good luck and remember if you have fun your daughter will have fun too.

Sharon - posted on 02/04/2009

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It has been a while since I had a one year old, but I take care of my 2 year old niece quite a bit. Since she is the only toddler at my house I use a lot of things that I have around the house. She likes to climb a lot so I use step stools, trunks and small chairs for her to climb up and down. She also likes to use the step stools to jump off of, so I let her do that but we either put a lot of pillows down or drag out an old twin mattress we have and lay it on the floor. She also uses the mattress to tumble and roll around on. She also loves hamper and laundry baskets, so I let her play with those. She rolls them, climbs in and rolls, puts things in them and plays a little basketball. When she wants to make noise I made her some shakers using brown rice and old water bottles, she loves to dance around and shake them. I am a teacher, so I can't help but to try and use household items instead of buying them. I think we spend too much money on expensive things that kids only use a few times. Take some time and look around your house to find safe and fun things for your beautiful baby. It is cheaper and she will have just as much fun.

Kylie - posted on 02/04/2009

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Do you have a toy library in your area, she can help pick out toys and you can change them out every few weeks giving her something new to play without spending heaps

Catherine - posted on 02/04/2009

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If you have space, pack away all the toys then bring out only a few at a time. after a week change them over to some new one's, This way your child will not get bored or over stimulated. Drawing, Painting, pasting can be done with children as soon as they are old enough to grip an object. Play dough is another experience. Home made play dough is great because you know what is in it and apart from the large amount of salt it is safe if they taste tested it

Chantal - posted on 02/04/2009

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I bought my 1 year old some gigantic soft play blocks which are those big huge blocks that are covered with vinyl and he loves crawling over ramps and rolling around with them.  They are the same he plays with at the indoor play gym.  I find that they go a long way because they can build forts when they get a bit bigger and can make many different things - just like lego, they can have hours and hours of fun that changes every day.   (I had trouble finding them but I ordered my soft play toys at www.hotelfun4kids.com )

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