Rainy Day Activities for 1 Year Olds

This list of rainy day activities for 1 year olds is the best thing to have when wet, bad weather hits. No more cabin fever for your toddler!

Rainy Day Activities for 1 Year Olds

Rainy days can be tough for a 1 year old, especially when you can’t exactly explain why she can’t march outdoors this minute.

Perhaps she’s bored with her current toys (and frankly, you are, too). Maybe your mom watches her while you’re at work, and you’re worried she needs more ideas other than plopping her in front of the television all day. You’ve even tried looking for more ideas online, but most are geared toward older kids who are better at following directions.

So, what activities can you do on a rainy day enough to keep her busy?

No worries, friend—you’ve come to the right place! Below, I share my favorite things to do for just this occasion. These are perfect for that “no longer a baby but not yet a big toddler” stage. Take a look at my top picks to get through a rainy day:

1. Playing with toys

Isn’t it ironic how many toys we can have at home but still feel like we have nothing to do with our kids? Take a look at these fun ways to rekindle the joy in the toys you already have.

  • Bring toys to life. Play with the same toys but in a new way, like making silly voices for your child’s stuffed animals or bringing villagers in his train set to life.
  • Rotate toys. If he’s easily bored with toys, it’s likely because he has too many. Instead, put some toys away so that the next time you bring them out to play with, they seem “new” and exciting. This also leaves less of a mess when most of the toys are stored for later use.
  • Take all the toys out of a box. He may not pay attention to his toy box with everything in it, but the minute you dump it all out onto the floor, you can bet he’ll start playing with everything that was inside.
  • Bring outdoor toys inside. Place his inflatable (but empty) mini pool or his slide indoors.
  • Bathe with water toys. Introduce water-friendly toys into the bath.
  • Build with blocks. Do you have boxes of building toys like wooden blocks and Lego bricks? Bring them out to create new masterpieces.

Free printables: Out of ideas on what to do with your little one? Join my newsletter and grab your 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. Get it below—at no cost to you:

1 year old activities

2. Physical activities

Being cooped up indoors can take a toll on little kids who have boundless energy. here are several gross motor activities for 1 year olds to get active indoors.

  • Roll a ball back and forth. Sit far apart from your child and roll a soft ball to each other.
  • Play “fetch.” She may not be able to catch a ball with clear precision, but she might be able to run and grab a ball that you toss in her direction. This is perfect if you’re not in the mood to be as physically active (for instance, if you’re pregnant)—you can stay in place while she gets a workout.
  • Play chase around the house. Make a game of running after her as she makes her way around the house.
  • Kick a beach ball. A light, airy ball like a beach ball is a great way for her to practice kicking, even indoors.
  • Toss and catch a deflated balloon. Toss a balloon with no helium into the air for a slow catch.
  • Play hide and seek. Take turns pretending to hide and find one another.
  • Pop bubbles. Blow bubbles in the kitchen and have her chase and pop them.

3. Imaginary play

A rainy day is the perfect excuse to turn ordinary household items into a completely different world, all thanks to imaginary play. Check out these ideas on how to do just that.

  • Build a fort or tent. One of my best childhood memories was my siblings and I turning our parents’ bedroom into a fort, using blankets and tying them with string. You can do the same with something as simple as placing a blanket over two chairs. Up the ante by putting small toys inside the tent for your 1 year old to play with.
  • Play dress up. Establish a dress up box and toss imaginary clothing and costumes inside. Masks, hats, and old Halloween costumes can be a fun way to entertain him.
  • Play with a large cardboard box. Turn it into a fort, a boat, a car… you name it. Have him put little toys inside and pretend it’s a room. Later, you can flatten the box and turn it into a blank canvas. Once flattened, it can even work well as a dance floor (especially if he’s barefoot—he’ll love the pitter patter sound his feet make).
  • Play in a pretend kitchen. Do you have a mini kitchen for him to play in? Bring out his kitchen toys (or even better, give him real kitchen tools like measuring cups and small chopping boards) to play with.
  • Create a pillow mountain. Pile every pillow in the house in one area for him to climb. Add stuffed animals for extra fun!

4. Fun with music

Raindrops don’t have to be the only soundtrack you here. Let music color an otherwise gray day with these fun ideas.

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  • Throw a parade. Grab musical instruments and march with your toddler around the house.
  • Have a dance party. Find kids channels online or video streaming programs to dance to. Or play your favorite nursery songs with “moves,” like Hokey Pokey or Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes.
  • Sing songs. Nursery songs promote early learning, from building vocabulary to storytelling to encouraging a love of books. For instance, it’s no coincidence that animal sounds are found in many nursery songs. “Moo,” “baa,” and “neigh” are not only fun to say, but they’re also one of the easiest sounds for kids to make. This helps them associate sounds with objects or pictures.

5. Arts and crafts

Arts and crafts for 1 year olds are less about creating a finished product, and more about introducing your 1 year old to new textures and encouraging curiosity.

  • Finger paint. Finger paint is a fantastic way to create art, even if it means random markings on a piece of paper.
  • Play dough. Encourage him to touch, squeeze, pinch, and pull on play dough. Don’t expect a finished creation, but rather use this as an activity to keep him engaged.
  • Stickers. Practice fine motor skills with stickers. Start with large stickers, pulling a corner up for him to peel the rest off. Similarly, unroll and hang a sheet of sticky contact paper and have him apply pieces of paper onto it.
  • Glue sticks. Tear 2-inch pieces of paper and show him how to apply glue sticks to the pieces and adhere them to another sheet.
  • Large crayons. Tape a large piece of paper onto a surface and allow him to scribble with large crayons. Make it extra special by sending his work of art to his grandparents.
  • Tub crayons. Water crayons make bath time fun and even extend his time in the water.

Crafts for 1 Year Olds

6. Learning activities

Ignite your toddler’s curiosity with these fun ways to learn, perfect for when you’re indoors all day.

  • Read. A rainy day is the perfect excuse to cuddle up with a pile of books and read.
  • Create sensory bins. Fill a large container with sand. Then, add toys like Easter eggs, a shovel and bucket, or toy trucks. He’ll enjoy playing with the different textures.
  • Ice in a cup. Fill a small cup or bowl with ice and encourage him to explore. Have him touch and even taste the ice, and watch as it melts into liquid water.
  • Sort snacks into bowls. Place dried snacks together and encourage him to sort them into different bowls. For instance, place cereal and raisins in one bowl. Then, show him how to place the cereal in one bowl and the raisins in another. In the end, celebrate by eating the snacks!

Sensory Bins for 1 Year Old

7. Household chores

Toddlers can’t exactly clean the house the way you and I can, but involving him in chores can be a fun way to get things done and keep him entertained. He’s not exactly “helping” so much as participating in the same activities as you. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started.

  • Bake together. Sit your 1 year old in a highchair and give him simple tasks to do, like kneading the dough, stirring the batter, or scraping the sides of a bowl.
  • Wipe surfaces. Spray flat surfaces with an eco-friendly cleaner while he wipes up after you.
  • Wash and sort laundry. He can help place and retrieve clothes from the washer and dryer, especially if they’re forward-facing. Otherwise, he can also sort clothes and place them into piles.

Learn how to get things done with a toddler.

8. Outside the house

Just because it’s raining, that doesn’t mean you have to stay home all day. Check out these places to take a 1 year old where you can still stay dry even when you’re out and about.

  • Aquarium. An annual membership to the aquarium just might be your saving grace for rainy days. You’ll get out of the house and introduce your little one to amazing sea creatures.
  • Indoor playground. Look for indoor playgrounds near you, perfect for rainy days. Plan ahead and try to get there right when they open to beat the crowd.
  • Children’s museum. I prefer museums geared specifically for kids because they encourage hands-on play. That way, you don’t have to remind your child not to touch anything. Or make sure the museum has a kids’ area so yours can spend the majority of his time there.
  • Errands. He just might enjoy running errands, from grocery shopping to visiting the post office, especially if he’s fine with a simple change in scenery.
  • Library. Libraries are some of my favorite places to go on a rainy day. Besides reading books and playing with toys in the children’s area, many libraries offer events like story time and puppet shows.
  • Coffee shop. A cold, rainy day calls for a trip to the coffee shop to break up a glum day. Give him a snack while you order your preferred beverage.
  • Mall play area. Check out your local malls and shopping centers for fun play areas to visit.
  • Visit family and friends. Set up a play date, visit grandparents, or schedule a lunch with a friend. Similarly, invite people to your house to break up the day.

9. Go out in the rain anyway

So long as it’s safe to do so, going out in the rain can be just as fun as staying indoors.

  • Splash in puddles. Folks who live in rainy areas know better than to stay indoors for every rainy day. Instead, bundle up with good rain boots, coats, and umbrellas, and splash in the puddles. Simply follow it up with a nice, warm bath, some lunch, and a nap.
  • Go under a covered area. If you really don’t want to get wet but want to enjoy some fresh air, step outside under a covered area. Your patio or balcony can still allow you to be outdoors without getting rained on.


Staying indoors—especially for days at a time—is not an easy task for many kids. But with these activities, you now have ideas to keep yours entertained, learning, and burning energy. Even with the rain pouring outside.

p.s. Check out Sunny-Side Up by Jacky Davis, all about a child coping with a rainy day:

Sunny-Side Up by Jacky Davis

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Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your printable calendar of fun and simple play activities below—at no cost to you:

1 year old activities

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