Check out these fun summer activities for 1 year old toddlers! Perfect for growing kids ready to explore and have fun this season.
For many families, summer is the best time to enroll the kids in camps, schedule vacations, and fill the calendar before the start of school. But what do you do if your little one is only a year old?
Summer camps aren’t exactly available for toddlers this age, and some activities may not be suitable (or interesting) for him.
You may be looking for fun summer activities but feel overwhelmed sorting through which ones are available in your area. Not all are activities he’d enjoy, and some aren’t even developmentally appropriate.
At the same time, you don’t want to sit at home every day. Fun activities to keep him entertained would break up your rut and offer him a chance to learn something new.
What are the best summer activities for 1 year old toddlers you could try?
Summer activities for 1 year old toddlers
After three kids, I know all too well that not all activities are suited for younger children as they are with their older counterparts. Nothing is more frustrating than bringing your 1 year old to an activity that only overwhelms and frustrates him.
Still, I wanted to make sure that summertime was memorable for my toddlers. Take a look at a few of the activities we loved. You’ll find a mix of activities that took us out and about, as well as those we could do right at home:
- Splash pads: Check your local parks to see if they offer splash pads during the summer.
- Pools: Cool off by the pool, whether your own, your shared community, or through your city pool. Many have kiddie pools perfect for toddlers.
- Sponges in a bucket: Get a bucket of water and place a few sponges inside. Show your child how to soak and squeeze water out of the sponges.
- Water table: Fill a water table like this with water and small trinkets and toys.
- Bathtub fun: Make bath time a lot of fun by introducing new toys and soap paint.
- Beaches and lakes: If you live near the water, take a trip to the beach or lake.
- Boat rides: Check local marinas or beaches to see if they offer boat rides or paddle boats.
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:
Out in nature
- Neighborhood flowers: Take a walk around the neighborhood and point out local flowers. It’s amazing how many of these can go unnoticed. You can even take pictures of the flowers you found and look through them when you get home.
- Picnics: Change up your meal and snack times by bringing food outdoors! Lay a blanket in your backyard or local park under the shade for a picnic.
- Look at butterflies: Check local museums or gardens to see if they have butterfly pavilion.
- Strawberry picking: Strawberries and blueberries are in season in the summer, perfect for your little one to pick. Check local farms to see which ones offer pick-your-own activities.
- Kick a soccer ball: Bring a small ball to the park or your backyard that he can kick around.
- Trails: Go on a hike or a simple trail, or visit local wetlands or lagoons and walk around the area.
- Visit gardens: Explore a variety of gardens in your area. From botanical to Japanese to roses, themed gardens are an excellent reason to take him outdoors.
- Look at ducks and turtles: Some neighborhoods have ponds or small lakes with ducks and turtles. Check out lagoons or even manmade ponds with these two animal favorites.
- Petting zoos and farms: Bring him up close and personal with farm animals. Then, tie it in at home and read children’s books about farms or listen to nursery songs with animals.
- Garden at home: Bring him along with you as you tend to your garden. Let him play with the soil, water plants, or pull weeds.
- Sand: Can’t get to the beach? Play with sand instead! Find a local park with a sandbox, or place sand a sensory bin to contain messes.
- Bubbles: Blow bubbles that your toddler can chase and catch.
- Shaving cream: Mix shaving cream and food coloring on a large tray.
- Finger paint: Tape a large piece of paper onto an easel or waterproof wall. Then encourage finger painting with washable paint.
- Play dough: Let him roll, squish, pinch, or otherwise experiment with play dough.
- Sidewalk chalk: Bring a tub of chalk outside and have him draw on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Paint with water: Don’t want to deal with the mess of paint? Bring a cup of water and a paint brush outside and have him “paint” the sidewalk with water.
- Build a fort: Build a fort out of chairs and blankets, or by using a toy like this that you can assemble. Then, place pillows, books, and stuffed animals inside that he can play with.
- Eat a watermelon: This is the time to relish summer produce like watermelons.
Out and about
- Playground: Explore a new area in your local playground, or visit one you haven’t been to before.
- Ice cream or frozen yogurt: Treat yourselves to ice cream or frozen yogurt. If it’s self-serve, allow your toddler to choose and pull the levers to fill his bowl.
- Indoor playground: On a hot summer day, find an indoor playground or mall play area. Many have a ball pit, props for pretend play, and structures to climb and slide. (Check out these indoor activities for toddlers under 2.)
- Play date: Break up your rut and find a friend with another child for a play date! Meet at a nearby park or invite one another to your homes.
- Children’s museum: Schedule a date to visit a children’s museum (or a regular museum with a children’s area). Your library might even offer free tickets.
- Haircut: Treat your toddler to a fresh new haircut! Many children’s salons offer fun seats or a movie to watch.
- College campus: Explore your local college campus, even if just to walk around, look at fountains, or picnic on the grass.
- Carnivals and festivals: Look up summer carnivals and festivals in your area, from strawberry festivals to summer fiestas.
As hot as summers can be, they offer plenty of traditions only found in this season. Hit the pool or visit the beach for water play. Pick strawberries or explore a local garden. Draw with chalk on the sidewalk or take a bite out of delicious watermelon. Bring him to summer carnivals or treat him to ice cream.
Now your 1 year old can enjoy the next few months—even if summer camp is years away.
Get more tips:
- How to Keep Kids Learning in the Summer
- Preschool Outdoor Activities for Summer
- 31 Activities for 1 Year Olds
- Toddler Travel Essentials for a Fuss-Free Family Trip
- Outdoor Activities for 1 Year Olds
Don’t forget: Join my newsletter and grab your printable calendar of fun and simple play activities: