Updated on April 21, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
As your baby grows and develops it is really helpful to have an ever-changing list of activities for him or her to do on their own or with limited supervision.
We also cover free activities for thirteen-month-olds near the end of the page that will give you extra ideas that won’t cost a dime.
21 Engaging Activities For 13-Month-Olds
1. Pound a Ball
This is a great activity for promoting fine motor skills. The pound a ball activity has a variety of colors and is ideal to give your child hammering practice. It promotes hand-eye coordination, arm movements, and cause and effect. This independent activity will keep your little one busy and is perfect for you to get some quick chores finished around the house. The thing I love about this activity is that they offer replacement balls for sale if your original ones ever become lost or damaged.
We have a similar activity book like this one at our home and it’s one of our favorite interactive activity books. This promotes early education for babies and comes with 40+ songs, sounds, and phrases. The colorful piano buttons introduce colors and different instruments to your little one. This makes for a great activity for both babies and toddlers.
This balance bike is perfect for thirteen-month-olds who are learning how to walk and develop their balance. It holds up to 100 pounds so your little one will get great use out of it. Our daughter has one of these at home and we purchased a helmet for her to wear while riding. We love taking her outside in our driveway for rides to work on her balance and she enjoys every minute of it.
The Fat Brain Suction Kupz activity is great for open-ended play. It comes with 6 different colored cups that have suctions on the bottom. You can stack, roll, or stick them to almost anymore. We love these for bath time because my daughter loves sticking them to the tiles. It’s made of 100% food-safe silicone, is BPA-free, and your little one can even drink out of them. This activity promotes fine motor skills, creativity, and experimentation. These suction cups can easily be cleaned by tossing them right in the dishwasher, which is my favorite part!
This shape sorting activity is perfect for your 13-month-old boy or girl. The wooden shape sorter helps their mind in continuing to develop, along with their coordination skills. It can help your little one recognize shapes and colors, as well teaching them to pull and push the toy truck. Some other developmental skills it tackles are: hand-eye coordination, action training, fine motor skills, and social intelligence. It’s made from high-quality plastic wood and is free from harmful substances.
This stacking block set has a non-toxic finish and is made out of child-safe materials. We love this activity at home because it’s so simple and builds your toddler’s mind. You can create stacks of 1,2,3, or 4 out of these different colored blocks. This activity will teach your little one how to count, recognize colors, and teach them about the basic triangle and square shapes.
Even though Melissa and Doug puzzles are recommended for 2 years and up, we started getting my daughter puzzles around 13 months of age. She’s 20 months now and can master one of these puzzles by herself with no help at all. According to her pediatrician she’s months ahead in this stage so we were glad to get her started on them early. This safari puzzle comes with 8 puzzle pieces. The pieces are very easy to grab, are high quality, and include pictures on the bottom to help guide your toddler to the right piece.
Montessori activities are our favorite because of how simple they are. This activity will teach your little one about objects, along with improving their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This improves the movements of their hands, wrists, and fingers by inserting the coins into the slot and seeing them drop in the box. A great independent activity!
Melissa and Doug have a great learning activity line for both babies and toddlers. An affordable activity for toddlers, your little one can stack, roll, and drive these animal cars. They’ll have 3 different options to choose from: a bear, dog, and cat. These carts have artwork on both sides, and are perfectly crafted so you can stack one on top of the other. This activity helps develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination by grasping and stacking. This makes for a perfect first toy to learn about colors, patterns, design, and imagination.
10. My First Bricks
We received this set for my daughters first birthday and it’s still one of her favorite activities to do. These blocks let your toddler build anything they desire. It’s the perfect independent activity for hours of fun and imagination. This building set comes with 80 pieces in different shapes and sizes. These pieces help develop their fine motor skills, along with increasing their creativity. This building set makes for a great birthday gift!
Bath time doesn’t have to be just for bathing. We do a lot of our teaching during bath time too! These different colored bath pipes suction to the wall and can be used to create different chains to pour water through. This set includes 5 pipes that have unique shapes and functions. This bath activity encourages problem solving and promotes color recognition. These are very easy to clean by just hand washing under warm soapy water.
This baby Einstein activity comes with multiple activities in one for developing creativity. The reason I particularly love this is because it’s great for different ages and development. You can take the legs off of it for seated play or you can use it as a standing table. It also includes a dry erase white board that is perfect for your curious doodler.
Personally, we’ve had our share of rocking horses that we just didn’t love. Little Tikes, however, was a different story. We love this rocking horse because of the high seat that is designed so they can’t fall backwards. We had one prior that my 13-month-old just kept falling off of so we switched to this one and never looked back. This is a perfect indoor or outdoor activity and has handles that are easy to grip for your little one. Your toddler can use her imagination when rocking back and forth on her magenta rocking horse.
Another activity that we received for my daughter’s birthday that she couldn’t stop playing with. This puppy has 3 colorful buttons that help promote your child’s fine motor skill development. They can push or pull the puppy along using the cord to pretend like they’re taking the puppy for a walk. The nose lights up and plays musical responses that will grab your little one’s attention. It’s incredibly affordable and makes for another great birthday gift.
Around 13 months, you may start discovering that your little one likes to doodle in the most inconvenient of places. If you want your little one to get artistic, this smock is the perfect thing for messy crafts. The Crayola Art Smock is reusable and has elastic cuffs with sleeves. It also comes with adjustable straps and a universal fit that makes for an easy clean up. This smock is perfect for crafts, coloring, or painting. Keep reading for more My First Crayola art supplies!
If I’m being honest, my thirteen-month-old is most quiet when she’s drawing. Half the time it’s on the floor or walls (thank you magic erasers), but I’ve been learning to embrace the mess and just go with it since it helps build their minds and creativity. This crayon set comes with 9 palm gripping crayons that come in classic colors. Their egg shaped designs make for easy gripping and are comfortable to hold. The washable crayons make for easy clean up and make for a great activity to keep your little one entertained. These crayons are AP certified non-toxic.
As I mentioned earlier, Melissa and Doug are one of our favorite lines to buy from. Target has a huge collection of theirs if you ever can’t find it on Amazon. This 17-piece building block set comes with 10 blocks and 4 triangles to promote matching activities. They can pair numbers, animals, and shapes. Perfect for small hands, this activity helps develop sensory, fine motor, and gross motor skills. This activity promotes constructive play and keeps your child’s interest in new skills.
This fat brain activity has 3 propellers that spin down a corkscrew shaped pole. Watch your little one keep spinning the propellers over and over to explore the colors and textures and as they smoothly circle the surfaces. This activity promotes sensory, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, counting skills, and color recognition. This activity is made of BPA-Free materials.
We have this activity sitting in our playroom as I speak! This is another one of my daughter’s favorites. Watch your little one laugh in excitement as they fill the
dino’s belly with each ball. They’ll watch the balls pop around and out which encourages them to go after them. This activity helps promote grasping and dropping balls and helps strengthen your child’s fine motor skills.
This was yet another great learning activity my daughter received on her first birthday. Be prepared, if you buy or receive this, the songs will get stuck in your head! This picnic basket allows your little one to explore shapes and colors with different food pieces while learning songs. When they lift the basket they’ll hear music and other fun sound effects. This 14-piece picnic set comes with 6 food items, 2 plates, 2 forks, 2 cups, 1 blanket, and a basket.
21. Basketball Set
We play with this basketball set every single day at home. We’ve been teaching our daughter to say, “Kobe” when she makes a shot. This basketball set can be used both indoors and outdoors and comes with 3 small basketballs. This activity helps promote social, motor, and coordination skills. My 13-month-old keeps herself occupied with this activity for at least an hour!
7 Free Activities For Thirteen-Month-Olds
1. Pasta Sorting
In the evenings are when schedules start to become a little more intense, especially for my youngest. This is the time of day when she’s starting to lose steam. When I’m cooking dinner, sometimes it can be hard because she’s getting tired and she’s just ready to eat and go to bed. Lately I’ve been putting out a muffin pan and giving her dry pasta to put into each muffin slot. This will teach your little one all about sorting into different sections.
2. Flour Art
Prepare for this activity to get messy if you have the time and patience for cleanup. Put a plastic sheet on your kitchen floor, pour flour into a bowl, give them a scoop and they’re good to go. This activity will have them use their imagination and they can pretend to cook along with you. As long as you keep the mess on the sheet, the clean up should be fairly easy. Your little one, however, might need to go right to the bath!
3. Make a House Out of Cardboard
My 13-month-old loves cardboard boxes. Anything that is not a toy, you’ll notice they are more attracted to, it seems. If you have any cardboard boxes around the house, cut them up and make a house for your toddler. I promise you they’ll be occupied for a while! You can make windows and a door so it looks like the real thing.
4. Ice Pop Play
One thing that we always have a bunch of in our freezer is ice pops. Ice pops can make for a great sensory play activity. You can teach them the meaning of cold, colors, lengths, and shape. My daughter always had difficulty with grasping the meaning of cold. Hot however, was a different story. Every time I’m cooking dinner and I have the oven up, she comes over to where the oven is and says, “hot.”
5. Water Play
Ever since my daughter was a newborn, we knew she loved the water. She never, not once, cried at bath time. All kids love to play with water once they become familiar with it. You can fill a bin with water, add cups, anything that floats will work really. We like to play with the cups and pour the water out like a waterfall. This can be done inside your home if you have a big bathroom or even outside in your yard if you don’t have the space.
6. Moon Dough
This is a new activity that I just recently discussed through Instagram. You take 1 cup of cornstarch, ½ cup of conditioner or lotion, add any color food coloring, then mix/knead together. If it’s too dry you can add a little more lotion. If it’s too sticky add a little more cornstarch. It’s just like playdough, but even more creative! You can store it in a Ziploc bag. We just did this activity today and my daughter loved it. She didn’t know exactly what to expect when she started to squish it in her hands.
7. Play With a Blanket
I know this activity sounds simple, but your 13-month-old will get a big kick out of it. Sit down with your little one, have them grab a small blanket while you grab the other side and make waves. You can move it up and down and watch as they laugh. You probably did something similar to this in elementary school with a parachute. That’s one activity I know I’ll never forget from my elementary school days.
Whether you’re doing the dishes, cleaning off tables, or cleaning up toys, you’ll notice that your little one will sometimes try to help you to the best of their ability. So now after they are finished with their activity you can say, “ok time to clean up.” You’ll notice that they will start picking up things and putting them back into their correct place. The toddler stage is challenging, but in many ways it gets a lot easier. These activities are just the trick to help with the little things.