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Quick--Ideas how to keep a one year old busy?

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I'm babysitting this afternoon 11-3. Darling baby has several nice toys, mainly blocks and things that are soft but make a sound. She likes fill and dump, being read to, going in the stroller. She will have lunch and a snack (so that will take up about half an hour). I need a couple of filler activities. We play peek a boo, we can dance around (she's not walking but can cruise), put the blanket over the head or over the object and such, but I'm out of ideas at the moment. I may try a large crayon and piece of paper--what else?

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Water. Put her in the highchair if you have one, with a shallow pan of water. Works like a charm. Even if they dump the water out, enough stays in the rim of the tray for them to play with.


If you don't have a highchair, put down a heavy blanket on the floor and do the same. all you have to do is dry the blanket when you're done. Or outside, if it's nice. Squeeze bottles, like you buy to put ketchup in, extend the fascination.


Emptying a box of tissues was an endless source of amusement for mine at this age.

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I take care of my 14 month old niece during the day. She loves the little play kitchen with all its shelves and cubbies, some play food, utensils and bowls.


She can also happily play for 20-30 minutes outside in the yard. I watch her from the patio table.


We have a Little Tikes easel in the back and a couple jumbo pieces of chalk (that she can't swallow). She'll draw on the board a little, but mostly she likes to splash the water that accumulates in the paint tray after the sprinklers have been on. She also likes to play with the balls... a big, 24" playground ball, a reg. playgound ball and a couple of balls small enough for her to pick up and throw.


Bubbles are a sure hit.


A saucepan of water, a toy kitchen stirrer, and a couple of toy foods that'll bob in the water will keep her happy.


Inside, some of the cd's for babies or very young children work well. We have one about throwing scarves, dancing with scarves, touching body parts,... (Hap Palmer is good! :) ) She's only starting to understand the words, but she's always loved the activity around her when we throw scarves or dance or whatever.


The simpler the better, I've found.


The thing is, if you're going to be caring for this baby long-term, you might want to encourage her to play independently from time to time. Not only do you not want to have to play Entertainment Director forever, but you also want her to be active in her curiosity. The less I interfere in my niece's play, the more interesting things she seems to find to play with. I think it also helps a child develop a longer attention span if I'm not constantly interrupting their train of thought (short as it is right now) with what _I_ think they'll want to do.


Have fun! It's a really fun age!



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Emptying a box of tissues was an endless source of amusement for mine at this age.


With mine it was the baby wipes and diapers. I finally had to lock them up.:)


I'm assuming that it's as nice there as it is here, take her outside and let her cruise around and explore. Listen to and look at the birds, play with the grass. You remember, it hasn't been that long.;) And the fresh air might just make her tired enough to take a nap.


Do you have any plastic containers she can play with? Crumpled up paper, different texture, it will roll and can be tossed.


This is really a stretch, but you don't by chance happen to have a pitch pipe lying about do you? Dh had one for tuning his guitar and it was one of the absolute favorites around here.


Just some thoughts.

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Thanks--I didn't get to this thread until this minute (2 days later!) but it's funny to me, because I did bring water play into the mix, and she LOVED it!


I have to say I timed it right, too, because her sweet parents came home just as we were starting (about 5 minutes into it) and saw a very happy, very engaged baby and a laughing caregiver!


I really am having fun.:D Thanks for the ideas for next time!

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