1 Year Old Lesson Plans: Activities by Theme

Looking for fun and educational activities for your 1 year old? Check out these lesson plans organized by theme, from farms to outer space!

1 Year Old Lesson Plans

At a year old, the thought of having a lesson plan can seem impossible. She’s only a toddler, you think. She just finished being a baby.

Still, this is the age when your child’s curiosity is limitless. The goal isn’t to “teach” as it is to give her the opportunity to continue doing what she does best: learn.

Check out these weekly themes and lesson plans. Many of these ideas promote gross motor activities for 1 year olds and are free and easy to do, often right at home. You’ll find plenty of books to read, places to visit, and crafts to do. As one reader said:

“I’m a nanny. I love the lesson plans. They are easy to alter if you need to adapt to constraints.” -Joyce Edwards

Seasons of the year

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Free resources: Want ideas on what to do with your little one? Join my newsletter and grab your printable calendar of fun and simple toddler activities! Check them off as you go along, or use the blank template to add your own ideas. Get it below—at no cost to you:

1 year old activities

Oceans and beaches


  • Read: Children’s books about swimming
  • Field trip: Take a dip in your pool or visit a local pool
  • Numbers: Count how many times you carry him up and down into the water
  • Sensory activity: Describe what he feels: the cool water and the sounds of his splashes


  • Crafts: Grow green beans (in warm seasons) or peas (in cool ones) from seed. Or start a vegetable garden for kids!
  • Numbers: Count the number of leaves on a plant or insects you find
  • Field trip: Visit a botanical garden
  • Food: Eat fruits and vegetables found in books you read
  • Colors: Talk about different-colored flowers, fruits, and vegetables
  • Read: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Parts of the body

  • Song: Hokey Pokey or Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
  • Numbers: Count fingers and toes
  • Sensory exploration: Point out different smells or use a sensory table
  • Read: My First Body


  • Field trip: Visit a pumpkin patch, especially during the fall
  • Crafts: Decorate miniature pumpkins with finger paint
  • Numbers: Count how many pumpkins you can see at the patch
  • Colors: Describe the different colors of pumpkins
  • Sensory activity: Gently touch different textures of pumpkins, from rough and bumpy to smooth and shiny
  • Food: Bake pumpkin pie together


  • Read: Children’s books about farms
  • Song: Old McDonald Had a Farm
  • Field trip: Visit a local farm or animal sanctuary
  • Food: Pick strawberries at a pick-your-own farm
  • Crafts: Do farm-theme crafts for kids


  • Language: Introduce words like rain, wind, fog, snow, hot, cold, lightning and rainbow
  • Crafts: Create a weather forecast! Print out an icon and the accompanying word for the day’s weather (for instance, a cloud with rain and the word “rain” below). Hang the day’s weather forecast on a wall and swap it out each day.
  • Colors: Talk about the colors you can use to describe the weather (“gray” or “blue” to describe the sky, or the “white” clouds).
  • Read: Weather by Jill McDonald

Stars and space

  • Read: Children’s books about space
  • Song: Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
  • Field trip: Visit an observatory
  • Numbers: Name and count the planets in the solar system
  • Crafts: Do space activities for kids


  • Song: Sing Down at the Station
  • Field trip: Ride a train or visit a train museum
  • Numbers: Watch a train go by and count the number of cars
  • Crafts: Create crafts about trains
  • Read: Trains Coming Through! by Stephanie Morgan

Transportation and automobiles

  • Song: The Wheels on the Bus
  • Count: Count how many cars you see or walk by
  • Field trip: Ride a bus, visit a car museum or small-aircraft takeoff points, or watch construction trucks
  • Colors: Point out different colors of automobiles
  • Sign language: Learn baby signs for car, boat, airplane, truck
  • Sensory activity: Fill a sensory table with sand and place toy construction trucks inside
  • Read: Children’s books about cars



  • Numbers: Introduce fractions (yes!) by talking about how you slice an apple into halves, quarters, and 1/8 slices
  • Song: Sing Apples and Bananas
  • Food: Eat an apple or bake an apple pie together
  • Colors: Talk about different-colored apple varieties
  • Activity: Do an apple-themed gross motor activity
  • Field trip: Visit an apple farm where you can pick your own
  • Read: Apples by Gail Gibbons

Zoo animals

  • Song: Sing Five Little Monkeys
  • Field trip: Visit the zoo
  • Read: Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • Numbers: Count how many animals you see (whether at the zoo or in a book)
  • Craft: Print and color coloring sheets of zoo animals
1 Year Old Lesson Plan Ideas infographic


Even when my kids were only a year old, I loved turning educational “lessons” into fun and engaging activities, from taking them to a pumpkin patch to counting clouds in the sky. There’s always a way to make learning fun and nurture their curiosity—even when your toddler just finished being a baby.

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1 year old activities

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  1. Maria Corazon Virtucio says:

    This lesson plan would be of great help in our everyday activties in daycare.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m glad it can come in handy, Maria!

      1. Thank you for your sharing!

        1. Nina Garcia says:

          You’re welcome, Anh!

  2. Delores Collick says:

    This would be excellent for my 1 year old grand girls.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m so glad to hear that, Delores! Thank you for letting me know <3

  3. Joyce Edwards says:

    I’m a nanny. I love the lesson plans. They are easy to alter if you need to adapt to constraints.

    1. Nina Garcia says:

      I’m so glad you find them helpful, Joyce! Thanks for letting me know.