Wondering what things to teach a 1 year old? Take a look at these free 1 year old lesson plans, perfect for your toddler. Includes activities by theme!
At a year old, the thought of having a lesson plan can seem crazy. He’s just a toddler, you think. He just finished being a baby.
Still, this is the age when your child’s curiosity is limitless. He’s enamored by his world and willing to explore, make mistakes, and keep learning. The goal of creating 1 year old lessons plans isn’t so much to “teach” as it is to give him the opportunity to continue doing what he does best: learning.
He’s building synapses in the brain, putting pieces together to make sense of his surroundings. Educational activities, whether for yourself or even his caregiver, can give everyone a sense of structure. And with weekly lesson plans, you can reinforce the theme over the course of many days.
Weekly themes for 1 year old lesson plans
And that’s exactly what I share here. Don’t think so much about making sure he learns his alphabet and numbers—instead, draw on his curiosity and tie in those elements along the way.
For instance, you might count the animals you see on a farm, or expose him to new words as you read about them. You might take him on a “field trip” to visit an observatory or provide a sensory experience by going to the beach.
If anything, these 1 year old lesson plans give you a loose structure to plan your days in case you’re out of ideas. The best part? You’re modeling your own excitement and eagerness to explore, making it easier for him to follow suit.
Check out these weekly themes for 1 year old lesson plans. Many of these ideas are free and easy to teach your 1 year old, often at home. They encourage language skills and physical activities, and you’ll find plenty of books to read, places to visit, and crafts to do:
- Song: Old McDonald Had a Farm
- Read: Children’s books about farms
- Field trip: Visit a local farm
- Crafts: Do farm-theme crafts for kids
Free printables: Out of ideas on what to do with your little one? Grab my printable calendar of fun and simple play activities! Check them off as you go along, or use the blank template to add your own ideas. Join my newsletter and download it below—at no cost to you:
- Read: Children’s books about gardening
- Numbers: Count the number of leaves on a plant
- Field trip: Visit a botanical garden
- Crafts: Grow a green bean plant from seed
- Food: Eat fruits and vegetables found in books you read
- Colors: Talk about different-colored flowers, fruits, and vegetables
3. Stars and space
- Song: Sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- Read: Space books for preschoolers and toddlers
- Field trip: Visit an observatory
- Numbers: Name and count the planets in the solar system
- Crafts: Do space activities for kids
4. Parts of the body
- Song: Hokey Pokey or Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes
- Numbers: Count fingers and toes
- Sensory activities: Point out different smells, use a sensory table
5. Seasons of the year
- Read: Children’s books about seasons
- Numbers: Collect and count nature items, depending on the season
- Field trip: Visit a seasonal place, like the beach during the summer or a poppy reserve during spring
- Crafts: Do easy and fun activities about the seasons
6. Transportation and automobiles
- Song: The Wheels on the Bus
- Read: Children’s books about cars
- 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: Weather books 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).
8. Oceans and beaches
- Read: Children’s books about the beach
- Field trip: Take a trip to the beach, or visit a local aquarium or marina
- Sensory activities: Turn field trips into sensory activities by exploring sand and water
- Song: Sing Baby Shark or Baby Beluga
- Field trip: Visit your local natural history museum and look at dinosaur fossils
- Numbers: Count how many toy dinosaurs he has and arrange them by size
- Crafts: Do crafts about dinosaurs
- 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
- Field trip: Visit an apple farm where you can pick your own
- Crafts: Create an apple craft
- Read: Check out the ultimate list of pumpkin books for preschoolers and toddlers
- 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 cupcakes together
- 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, the sounds of his splashes
13. Zoo animals
- Song: Sing Five Little Monkeys
- Field trip: Visit the zoo
- Read: Zoo books for kids
- Numbers: Count how many animals you see (whether at the zoo or in a book)
- Craft: Print and color coloring sheets of zoo animals
- 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
Even when my kids were only a year old, I loved turning educational “lessons” into a fun and engaging activity. Maybe that meant taking them to a pumpkin patch or counting clouds in the sky. Sometimes all it takes is using descriptive vocabulary, like talking about what you’re doing or the sounds you hear.
Even with 1 year olds, there’s always a way to make learning fun and nurture their curiosity.
Get more tips:
- Things to Teach a 1 Year Old
- Easy Arts and Crafts for 1 Year Olds (No Complicated Instructions!)
- 31 Activities for 1 Year Olds
- Fun Places to Take a 1 Year Old
- Rainy Day Activities for 1 Year Olds
Don’t forget: Grab your printable calendar of fun and simple play activities! Join my newsletter and download it below—at no cost to you: