One-year-olds are a tough age when it comes to devising activities. They’re old enough to want variety and to do things with those little hands and bodies, but not skilled enough yet for the games and projects they can enjoy once true toddlers (closer to 15 or 18 months).
Here’s a fantastically easy sensory bin that’s sure to engage a baby at just this age. If you have a box of rice cereal, just dump it in a bin! I added a few of her favorite little toys (Duplo figures, plastic farm animals) and buried them somewhat in the cereal. Now everyone was hiding in the rice paddy!
I also added a rake for her to explore with, thinking this would make less of a mess than shovel. This wasn’t necessarily the case, but the rake became a fast favorite, and she trotted over to her playroom with it once the sensory play was done!
I also added a spritz bottle. Toddlers can practice squeezing the handle themselves. For Veronika at age one, I spritzed the water so she could watch the droplets in the sun-lit room.
The instant the water hits the rice cereal, you’ll also get a scent sensory bin, with the homey smell of cereal for breakfast wafting up.
The water also means the rice cereal will clump together. She delighted in handfuls, picking them up, marveling when they stuck to her little palm, and shaking them loose with glee.
And of course, trying a taste!
She had fun raking through and finding the toys.
Then it was lots of scattering the rice cereal around for ages.
But don’t worry about clean-up. The rice cereal (even when wet) sweeps up like a charm with a simple dustpan.
This was definitely a winner!