I am so excited to have teamed up with a local Early Childhood Educator, Carly from Mindful Education, to show you a bunch of new kids’ activities! Today she’s sharing 3 fun sensory filled activities for 12 – 18 month olds, and stay tuned for new activities coming every 2 weeks!

Carly loves being able to support each unique child to be fully themselves. Using your child’s interests, she creates “learning plans” which consist of 10 activities and songs to help build your little one’s knowledge, creativity, and skill level. She’s created this list of 3 fun activities based off favourites of the children she has worked with. You can check out her website to learn more about Carly and all of her services.

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12 - 18 Month Old Activities. Simple sensory and fine motor activities for toddlers.

Carly’s Activities for 12 – 18 Month Olds

For children (especially at this age), everything is a learning experience. Anything you set up for this age group should be simple and open ended. Babies need a chance to explore their environment freely.  A “yes space” is important to have. It is a space where they can explore without limitations, so only having child safe items. Some examples of open ended materials for this age group are: scarves, wooden blocks, cardboard boxes, mirrors, and cups (I like bamboo cups, they don’t break easily and they’re more sustainable than plastic).

Find ways to include them in everyday activities, for example, if you’re baking, have them in a high chair nearby with some flour and a whisk. Explain to them what you’re doing.

Activity #1

Babies are all about sensory experiences! One of my favorite activities to do with one year olds is BODY PAINTING! This can be done inside or out (depending how afraid you are of the mess). If you do it outside, make sure to do it on a soft surface like grass.

Set up:

  1. Put paper or a canvas on the floor/ground
  2. Put a couple colours of non toxic, washable paint in a tray, or on a cookie sheet, something flat (rather than in a container) works better for babies! I love adding white paint in with colors, when it gets mixed together or creates beautiful pastels.
  3. If desired, put some paint brushes with the paint. Not necessary, but paint brushes are great for fine motor development
  4. Bring out some warm soapy water, and a cloth, in a bin for afterwards
  5. Undress baby and let them go at it!

They can paint themselves, or use their hands/feet/bodies to paint the paper/canvas! You can join in on the fun, they usually think it’s pretty funny to paint an adult. *If they are painting with their feet, be extra careful, as it is very slippery!* Use lots of describing words, like “the paint feels so smooth/slippery/soft,” and talk about the colours.

I like to write a date on children’s artwork, to see how their creativity and skills progress. Putting their creations in a special book, or displaying them in the home is a great way to make children feel valued, and proud of their work.

This can also be done in a kiddy pool, to help keep it contained!

Activity #2

Baby obstacle course!

Gather materials that have different feelings to them, such as bubble wrap, a soft blanket, fake grass (I’ve found little squares of fake grass, and squares with smooth rocks attached, at the dollar store), pillows, couch cushions, etc. Lay it all out in a “path” for baby to explore. Watch to see how they interact with the materials, do they go around the pillow? Over it? Under it? This is all amazing full body movement! And it’s appropriate for crawlers and walkers (make sure it’s on soft ground in case they fall!)

Activity #3

Water play!

  1. Get 1-3 bins
  2. Fill them half way or more with water
  3. Put food colouring or soap if desired! (Food colouring may stain clothes)
  4. Add some cups, bowls, spoons, ice cube trays, anything from the kitchen!

I like to do this activity outside on the ground, and (if it’s warm enough and protected from the sun) baby can be naked! Children love dumping and pouring, it’s excellent for their hand- eye coordination. Giving them different kinds of kitchen tools that they see you using is a great way to involve them in the kitchen. If you’ve put food colouring in the water, you can talk to them about what happens when the different colors of water mix together, talk about the bubbles in the soapy water, etc. It’s also fun to add some cloths in, they can pretend to do the dishes. Another way to extend this activity is to put cold water in one bin, and warm in the other. That gives you the opportunity to talk to your child about the different temperatures of the water, see which they enjoy more, etc.


A big thank you to Carly for putting together these activites for us. Not only does she love creating these learning plans, but she also supports parents with behavioural management and meal planning which you can learn about here.

I can attest to how much kids love these activities for 12 – 18 month olds. #3 is always my go to for both my 1 year old and 2 year old when I need to occupy them while I get something done in the kitchen. There’s just something about water that kids love. I’d love to hear about how your kids liked these activities. If you try any of them out please tag myself, @JannineMacKinnon, and Carly, @Ezra.Jaxons.Momma, so we can check them out and for a chance to be featured.

xo Jannine

Toddler activities for 12 - 18 month olds. Help them work on their sensory and fine motor skills with these simple activities for one year olds.