27 Awesome one Year Old Summer Activities (Free Printable bucket list)

Summer is a time to be outdoors and enjoy the hot weather. It is the perfect time for water play, messy play, and create some art.

If this sounds like the perfect Summer plan then new reading! 1 Year Old Summer Activities for the best summer ever!

Most of these 1 Year Old Summer Activities have taken into account that most One year olds still put everything in their mouth. This can feel frustrating when searching for activities but I have done the research and have the most fun activities ready for you to try!

Have an older toddler? siblings? don’t worry! these are great summer activities that kids of all ages can enjoy.

Take the ideas home! get the free 1 year old summer activities printable.

Take the fun with you and get a printable checklist of the One Year Old Summer Activities mentioned in this post. As a bonus get the blank summer calendar to get started planning your summer!

One Year Old Summer Activities

Water | 1 Year Old Summer Activites

#1 Seashell Sensory Bin

Water is a must-have over the summer. Grab a bunch of seashells from the beach (or at the dollar store) and make a fun sensory bin by adding water, a few drops of food coloring, and the seashells. The bigger the seashells, the better little learners who are still working on grasping can have an easier time holding the shells.

#2 Car Wash

One simple activity to set up is a toy wash sensory bin (example: cars or unicorns). Grab a few toy cars, a brush, and some soapy water. I always use baby shampoo to be safe in case he puts the soap in his eyes.

Baby bath soap creates more bubbles. Add a lot of water to the bin as little learners will love to hide the toys and their own hands under the water.

#3 Water Transfer

Using two bins, add water in one bin and a set of sponges. Show your one year old how to transfer water from one bin to the next squeezing the sponges.

#4 Pool Noodle Boats

You can get a pool noodle at the dollar store and cut it in pieces; then, the possibilities are endless with these foams. You can make pool noddle boats, and use them with a net to fish them out, stack them, take them to the beach or even add them to a water table.

#5 Painting with Ice

Painting with ice is one of my all-time favorite activities. On a hot summer day, they will lick the popsicle, get hydrated, and have fun! I like to use popsicle molds because it creates an easy handle. Another way to do the ice paintbrushes is with a regular ice cube tray and wood popsicle sticks. To make the ice paintbrushes add some food coloring to an ice tray and fill with water. Freeze for 24 hours. Unmold and provide some craft paper or white sheet and pain as the ice melts away.

#6 Paint with Water

There are different options for doing this activity. Inside, you can grab construction paper, a paintbrush, and a cup of water. Dip the paintbrush in the water and paint away over the paper! Want to do this outside? Grab large paintbrushes and a bucket of water and paint the fence, the street, the sidewalk. You can even draw with chalk first and then erase it!

#7 Water and Sand Sensory Table

I saw this and I immediately told my husband I wanted him to build a water and sand table. We use an old bin and some leftover PVC pipes he had from an old project plus some funnels from the dollar store. Kids love to see water and sand move, provide strainers and funnels to encourage pouring and movement.

#8 Frozen Nature Blocks

Another great option when your little one still puts everything in his/her mouth is to create giant blocks of ice with things inside. You can add toys, flowers, pom-poms, basically anything you can fit into a container and add water. if you are going to use flowers, make the collecting of the flowers as part of the activity as we did for our Mother’s Day Craft, go on a nature walk and collect the flowers, freeze them, and then use warm water to melt the ice.

#9 Sponge balls

My son can play in the water all day every day, and after a while, things can get repetitive. Cut sponges un stripes and tie them tight in the middle to create a sponge ball. These are fun to add to bath time or a fun ball pit activity this summer.

#10 Rainbow Foam

1 year old summer activities

The rainbow foam was one of the first sensory activities that I did at home. I used a different recipe that asked for flour to make the foam thicker and extra fluffy, oh, and it asked to use dish soap. What I didn’t realize is that for a One Year Old, this was a BAD idea… He touched his face, he tried to wipe it, and foam was everywhere, his eye stung, and he was crying a lot. Learn from me, go simple, use baby soap instead. Just add some baby soap, food coloring, and water into the blender and create a fun foam tray. It is safe for the eyes, and it’s like a free fun bath! Don’t want to do it outside? Do it in the bathtub and then just rinse it away.

#11 Ocean Sensory Bag

Sensory bags are another great way to share activities without having to worry about little ones putting the items in their mouth. Add water or hair gel inside a gallon sizes zip lock bag and a few ocean animals. Tape the bag to the floor so that they don’t try to eat the bag too!

#12 Shark Sensory Bottle

Sensory bottles are a lot of fun. For a mess-free activity, create an ocean themes sensory bottle by adding a shark made out of foam sheet into a VOSS bottle. Add glitter and a 1/4 cup of soap. Sensory bottle tutorial

Messy | One Year Old Summer Activites

#13 Cool Whip Painting

Cool Whip Painting | Disney Baby

This is an activity I do all year round. My son is already two, and we still do it. Take Cool Whip and mix in a few drops of food coloring to create edible safe paint. It is easy to set up, it is easy to clean and they have a blast! For my version of this activity, I added a few cars to “paint with cars. I’ve done it in the bathtub so when the activity is over, I just flush it all down the drain, clean the cars, and left him playing in the water for a little bit.

#14 Jell-O Pool

Toddlers having a fun time with Jello in a kiddie pool.

When you were little, did you ever dream of swimming in a pool of your favorite snack? Chocolate pudding? Pasta? Well, how about Jell-O? Jello is soft, is easy to make, and can be a lot of fun to explore using not just the hands but the feet too! So fill up that toddler summer pool with Jell-O and get stomping!

#15 Jell-o I spy

Hiding toys in a big tray of Jell-O is a super fun activity you probably did when they were babies. Now, instead of letting them take out whatever toy they want, how about you play ISpy! Ask them to find the object, and then they can dig it out. Provide spoons, tongs, and other sensory tools to work on fine motor skills.

#16 Edible Water Beads

One Year Old Summer Activities
One Year Old Summer Activities using pearl couscous

Water beads are so much fun, but they can be super dangerous if ingested. Some moms use tapioca pearls to make edible, safe water beads but they could be hard to find. Make edible water beads with pearl couscous, they are fun and absorb color beautifully for an edible-safe activity! Edible water beads Recipe

#17 Spaghetti Bin

colored pasta recipe
One Year Old Summer Activities using colored pasta

Edible sensory bins are one of my favorite edible-safe activities: Colored spaghetti is one of the first ones I tried and I continue to make it! It might seem complicated to do but I promise you it is not. Just make the pasta the same way you would make it for dinner. When ready, drain it and submerge it in cold colored water (just add a few drops of food coloring to the water) for about one hour. Rinse, and play! Have different bowls for each color you want to have and create a rainbow sensory bin. Make a big batch and add it to your toddler pool for a super messy – super fun pool party! freeze it and save it to be used later on.

#18 Jell-O Slime

If messy doesn’t scare you, then this slime will be a lot of fun to make. It uses 3 packs sugar-free Jell-O, 1 cup of cornstarch, and ½ cup of water. The sugar-free is less sticky, and the dye doesn’t stain the hands as much, use the cherry one as it smells AMAZING!

#19 Oobleck Frozen or not

The Cat in the Hat made Oobleck famous and for a good reason. It is solid when you grab it and liquid when you let it go. Freeze it and is a whole new idea! So here you have two ideas in one. To make Oobleck, you need 1/2 cup of water and 1 cup of cornstarch. If you want to make it colorful, then add some food coloring to the water. It is so much fun to play with, even for adults! Oh, and try it with a colander, it is so cool to see it fall through. Learn to make oobleck

#20 Fizzy Cubes

Talking about science, then we can’t leave the fizzy cubes out. They are great cognitive and fun activities. I bet you already have what you need at home: Baking soda, water, vinegar. Mix food coloring into some water. Then, add the water slowly to some baking soda to create a paste. Pack an ice tray with the solution and freeze it overnight. Remove the ice cubes from the mold and set up a sensory bin placing some vinegar on a squirt bottle or cups, and let your little one pour the vinegar onto the fizzy cubes and watch the cubes fizzle and bubble.

Art & Craft | One Year Old Summer Activites

One Year old, toddlers are just learning how to handle art materials. It is not about creating crafts but more about making process art. It is their first experience with paint, handling a paintbrush, and using different materials. It is about discovering how different paints feel in their hands, on the paper and what happens when colors get mixes.

Some of us, are too excited about this area of play and can’t wait until they are 3 to create and do crafts. I have carefully selected art activities that I believe a one-year-old can do. Of course, it won’t look as perfect as some of these Pinterest perfect photos but the process can still be done, the materials can be used and the learning will happen.

Attention span might be super short, so feel free to break up these activities in steps. Do one step at a time; or divide the project over a few days day. Remember, just to enjoy the process as the learning is happening.

#21 Fish Scales

Let’s explore with paint but not in a traditional way of using paintbrushes. Veggies are super fun to use as paintbrushes because they are usually thicker than a paintbrush and more comfortable to handle. Celeries make a fun U shape when dipped in paint. Great to stamp the scales of a fish. Offer just one color at a time, or you will end up with a muddy fish once all the colors mix.

#22 Toilet Tubes as Paintbrushes

You can make these ahead of time and reuse them. You can use paper tubes to teach colors and shapes by cutting a sponge in different shapes and sizes. The toilet tubes are great because they are wide and just the perfect size for little ones to handle.

#23 Sticker Palm Tree

Stickers are a great tool to have around the house, the car, the diaper bag! Look for stickers that are raised as those are easier to peel out. Foam stickers are usually large and easy to handle. Create a palm tree with construction paper and use letter stickers to decorate it. It is a great Chica Chica Boom Boom book activity.

#24 Musical Instrument & Paint

This one is a fun one, and the mess contained. All you need is a deep pan, some rubber bands and craft paper. It uses a little amount of paint, and the paint splashes inside a container.

#25 Watercolor Pond

A great way to do art with one-year-olds is by using the same color in different shades. Watercolors are translucent and very soft to paint with. Making a pond using different shades of paint is a fun abstract activity and easy for little ones to try. You can even make your own edible-safe watercolor recipe for an edible-safe alternative.

#26 paint the ocean

This process-art activity is a two-day activity. The first day is to paint the ocean, and the second day is to explore and experiment with glue. Pre-cut ahead of time some fish using foam sheets and use either a glue stick or school glue to attach the fish to the ocean.

#27 Fireworks

What else happens in Summer? 4th of July! last year I did this craft with my son and it was a lot of fun. Cut some slits onto paper toilet rolls, and push them out to create like a flower. Dip into the paint and press onto the paper. The end result is gorgeous!

Take this fun list with you plus more summer fun!