This fun game doubles as a great teamwork activity
11 Fun Activities for 1-Year-Olds
Between his newfound ability to walk and constantly improving language skills , your 1-year-old is so much fun to spend time with—which is important, because your interactions with him are essential to her development.
"Between 12 months and two years, kids are starting to do things on their own, seeing cause and effect, and actively engaging with others in their environment, " says Robert Myers, Ph.D., a child and adolescent psychologist, founder of the Child Development Institute, and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine. "Parents stimulating them, interacting with them, teaching them things, and exposing them to age-appropriate challenges and experiences is very important to encouraging development, and to the children exploring on their own and learning from interacting with their environment."
But there's no need to pull out a mountain of toys with all the bells and whistles—simple activities work well. "I can sit down with a child with one block and come up with 100 different activities because it's all about being playful and interacting with them," explains Roni Cohen Leiderman, Ph.D., dean of the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development at Nova Southeastern University, and co-author of Let's Play and Learn Together.
Not sure where to start? We rounded up several development-promoting activities that are fun and easy.
1. LITTLE DRUMMERS
Materials needed: Rattle, spoons, pots and pans, bells, cymbals, drums
What to do: Make music using percussion instruments. "Find fun tunes to play that have a rousing beat," suggests Dr. Myers. "Play along with her as well as encouraging her to play by herself."
Skills learned: Coordination, listening skills, and musical exploration
2. PLAYING HOUSE
Materials needed: Large cardboard box or store-bought play tunnel or playhouse
What to do: Create a fort out of a cardboard box, play tunnel, or playhouse. Include an entrance and an exit, and encourage your child to go in and out. (You might need to show him at first.) Up the entertainment factor with some pretend play, like knocking on the door or ringing the doorbell, and asking if anyone is home, Dr. Myers suggests.
Skills learned: Social skills, gross motor skills and exploring their environment
3. TELEPHONE CALL
Materials needed: Toy telephone or old phone
What to do: Hand a phone to your child and keep one for yourself. Pretend to make calls, and hold conversations with each other or imaginary people. Use funny voices, and create silly characters on the other line.
Variations: Some play telephones allow you to record your and your child's voices and play them back, which can enhance the fun.
Skills learned: Language and social development
4. BEACH PARTY
Materials needed: Sand, water, buckets, spoons, plastic shovels, large tub
What to do: Sand and water play are great activities when your child reaches 18 months. Fill a large tub with water or sand, and give your child free rein to dig, pour, scoop, and more. "Play along with them as well as encouraging solo play," says Dr. Myers. "When you're playing with them, talk and sing along. Encourage them to copy what you're doing, and then try to copy what they're doing." It's important to note: Never leave your child unattended around water.
Variations: Have another child join in parallel play.
Skills learned: Creative play, fine motor skills, tactile stimulation, and social development
5. TUBE TALK
Materials needed: Empty paper towel tube
What to do: Talk or make silly sounds to your baby through a cardboard tube, and see how she reacts and responds to the change in your normal speaking voice. Let her take a turn to see what sounds she can make. “Kids this age love to play with language, and this activity gives them an opportunity to practice new and novel sounds,” Dr. Leiderman says. ” Language is really about imitating sounds. Babbling turns into real words, which turns into a sense of humor.”
Skills learned: Auditory discrimination, turn taking
6. GO-GET GAME
What to do: Send your child on different “errands” around the house, asking him to “get” his shoes, bring you the ball, or find and deliver his cup. Besides letting him practice his receptive language skills by following directions, this activity lets him show you how much he can accomplish by himself.
Variations: Add silly directions, like “put the sock on your head,” to encourage a sense of humor.
Skills learned: Understanding directions, memory skills
7. STICKY STEP
Materials needed: Clear contact paper
What to do: Cut a piece of clear contact paper at least two feet long. Remove the backing and tape the contact paper, sticky side up, to the floor or carpeting. Then, let your child have fun running, jumping, dancing, or just standing on the paper while wiggling their toes on the sticky surface. “This is a fresh approach to learning about their bodies,” Dr. Leiderman explains. “Very often, we as parents think we have to have rules for games and do things in order. Sticky paper is just a fun free-for-all.”
Variations: Put small toys on the sticky surface and let your toddler experiment with trying to pick them up.
Skills learned: Sensory awareness, muscle strength, body awareness
8. SPOT THE DOT
Materials needed: Lipstick
What to do: Put a dot of red lipstick on your toddler ‘s face, and distract her for a few minutes before putting her in front of a mirror. If your child reacts to her image by touching her nose or trying to wipe off the mark, it indicates she realizes there is something out of the ordinary in her reflection. “Children when they are very young don’t have a sense of self, but at this age it’s clear to them who they are when they look in the mirror,” Dr. Leiderman says. But don’t worry if she doesn’t react yet—she will soon!
Variation: Put a silly hat on your child’s head and watch her take it off.
Skills learned: Self-awareness and identity
9. LET’S COUNT
What to do: Toddlers love to count their fingers and toes, so show your little one how to touch each digit only once as you count out loud. Don’t fret if your kid counts out of order, Dr. Leiderman says. “Kids counting in order is not important,” she says. “Just like you’re giving them new words, numbers are part of life. Use them in context to count toes or objects, so they can eventually learn the concepts of numbers.”
Variations: Count the stairs as you go up and down, count while you’re waiting for the light to turn green, and count the bubbles floating in the air.
Skills learned: Basic number skills, one-on-one correspondence skills
10. CRUMB WRITING
Materials needed: Baby rice cereal or finely crumbed crackers, cookie sheet
What to do: Spread the rice cereal or crumbled crackers on the cookie sheet, and show him how to use a finger to “write” in the crumbs. “This gives [children] the opportunity to imitate the adults and older siblings in their lives, which is a major meaningful activity of early childhood,” says Rachel Coley, occupational therapist, author of Simple Play: Easy Fun For Babies, and founder of CanDoKiddo.com . Bonus: The “sand” is edible! (Of course, supervise your child closely.)
Skills learned: Early handwriting skills, understanding cause and effect.
Materials needed: Play tunnel, puzzles, multi-part toys
What to do: Divide puzzle pieces or parts of a toy set into two piles, placing a pile at either end of a play tunnel so your child has to “commute” back and forth through the tunnel to complete his task.
Skills learned: Sustained attention, sensory processing, learning how to complete multi-step sequences
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Why blindfolds games for team building are so popular
Games using blindfolds have been a part of team building activities for
many years. They are so popular for a variety of reasons:
Blindfolds can impel team members into working together more closely
– for example in blindfolds leads, a blindfolded person has to rely upon
a sighted person. This is good for developing the habit of closer working
Blindfolds make some team building activities more memorable – for example
a meal out together can be fun, but include a blindfolds course with a
mystery memory, and the team will be talking about it afterwards, hopefully
for the right reasons.
Blindfolds can make activities harder- for example completing a jigsaw
might by attainable but doing it where only the blindfolded person can
touch the pieces will add a whole new dimension.
Wearing blindfolds can be fun – I wouldn’t want to wear one all the
time but when used for the right game it can add a dimension of fun for
example a Blindfolded Grouping (see below) would be a bit of fun for a
Blindfolds games safety
Safety should be the number one priority when using blindfolds games.
- Prior to any blindfolds games activity a site specific risk assessment
should be carried out by a competent individual and approved by your
health and safety officer.
- Blindfolds activities should be run by individuals with appropriate
training and approved by your health and safety officer.
- Blindfolds activities should take place where there are no hazards
such as hard objects or sharp corners.
- Blindfolds activities should take place on grass or other soft surfaces.
- During blindfolds activities no one should move quicker than slow
- Appropriate number of trainers for the blindfolds activities that
you are using should be in attendance at all times to ensure that rules
are followed and that there are no hazards.
- Any other safety instructions that are appropriate to the blindfolds
activity should be followed with care.
- Test them before you use them.
- Running the blindfolfds activity in a test environment is great for
learning how to best present it and what pitfalls to avoid.
- For the blindfolds games this means a walk through with other trainers,
then a test run on a group just to see how it works, then present it
to a test group in real time, then if all has gone well, run it with
a a client group.
Where to buy blindfolds
Follow this link
A selection of blindfold games for senior groups
Colour Blind is a team problem solving activity. Typically it takes about
30 minutes and works with groups of between 5 and 12. It can be bought
as a kit.
The team is given a set of shapes with 2 of the set removed. By logical
reasoning, communication and teamwork, the team have to work out the shape
an colour of the two missing pieces. While they are doing the activity
all of the group members are wearing blindfolds.
Shape Sorter is a similar game again using
blindfolds however it needs less input by the facilitator
Great for developing team work and communication.
Team members are blindfolded and then presented with a set of shapes
from which two have been removed.
The team have the task of identifying the shape and version of each of
the two pieces that have been removed.
Works well with groups of 6-12 and takes about 30 minutes.
This one is all about trust and communication.
A blindfolded person is lead by a sighted person, at first across a level
grass area, then around increasingly complex soft obstacles such as through
a pattern of balls or round markers.
Leading can be with physical contact at first, progressing to voice leading
The sighted person is well placed to support the person and to watch
out for their safety.
Typcially I would set aside 30 minutes for this activity with participants
swapping roles about half way through.
Good as an ice breaker that also gets people into groups ready for team
Before the event work out who is going to be in which team.
When the event starts brief the group on what is coming, then give each
of them a note of a noise they must make eg whistle for one team, baa-ing
for another team etc.
Then ask them to put on blindfolds.
Then find the other team members making the same noise so that they can
get together in their teams. Mayhem……..
Blindfolds tent is great for developing communication. We also use blindfold
tent as a point scoring project as part of a multi project activity.
Works well with groups of around 4 people, for larger groups use more
Best to use a simple tent. Give the team plenty of time to familiarise
themselves with the tent including putting it up once or twice. Then run
a timed attempt, the start point being the tent in the bag.
The blindfolds bit comes in because only team members wearing blindfolds
can touch the tent. Sighted team members can only direct others typically
working 1:1 with the team members wearing blindfolds.
This one is all about problem solving, communication and teamwork.
Use a rope about 20m long with the ends joined to make a large loop.
Blindfolds for each person. Work on an open grassed lawn with no obstacles
Ask everyone to wear blindfolds then give the rope to one of the team
members. Ask the team to put the rope on the ground in shape of the largest
square possible. The team must wear blindfolds throughout.
Time should be about 30 minutes.
Team size should be about 4-10.
Blindfold games for younger groups
Blindfolds Robot Wars
Players work in pairs, a controller who is sighted and a robot who is
The robot is in the marked zone and scores points by picking up paper
balls and then throwing them at the other robots in the zone.
The controller is outside the zone and directing their robot verbally
as to where to find the paper balls and then which direction to throw
3 minutes per round works well.
Blindfolds rope line
Make a line out of rope laid on a lawn, start with 5m but could work
up to 10m.
Team members take it in turn to walk the line whilst blindfolded.
The aim being to walk the full length of the line without putting foot
Good to have people on either side to make sure that they don’t fall
In a good sized room lay a number of light objects on the floor.
The group stand around the room and one person, the sentinel, is seated
in the middle and wears a blindfolds.
Players take it in turns to retrieve objects from the floor without making
If the person wearing the blindfolds hears them, then they point them
and say ‘heard you’ and that is the end of that persons turn.
The winner is the one who retrieved the most objects in a set time.
Blindfolds route re-trace
This one is a short fun game involving blindfolds.
Place a marker on a large grassed area.
Stand a player at the marker wearing a blindfolds. Then give them walking
instructions along the lines of 2 steps forward, 5 right etc. When they
get to the end of the trail give them the reverse instructions.
The goal is that they should finish as close to the start point as they
Work in pairs, one wearing blindfolds and the other sighted to give instructions
and check for safety.
The second person shouldn’t tell them how well they are doing until the
instructions are finished.
Blindfolds Hide and Seek
This one works well with groups of around 10.
Mark out a zone on an area of grass, rough 10m x 10m.
One person stands stationary in the zone.
The rest of the group are blindfolded and have to find the person with
A good progression of this activity is to allow the sighted person to
move slowly whilst the rest of the group wearing blindfolds have to find
Typically this will require the blindfolded players to work together.
Circle of Silence (with Blindfolds)
Great with groups of around 10 to 20. Group to stand in an inward facing
circle with an arms length between each person. One person is given an
object that if jarred will make a noise, a large tin with a few marbles
in it works really well. The tin must be passed from one person to the
next as quietly as they can. One of the group wears a blindfold and asked
to stand in the middle of the circle. Their aim is to listen out for the
noise of the tin and marbles. If they hear it they should point to where
the noise comes from. Whoever made the noise takes the place of the person
in the middle of the group.
A marker is put on a clear space of grass. A person wears a blindfold
and is then given a route to follow away from the mark. At the end of
the route they are to retrace their steps. Then the blindfold is removed.
The closer they are to the start point the better. Progression in this
task is to make the route more complex for example start with 10 steps
forward. The next route may be 5 steps forward and 5 steps to the left
and so on. Works best with delegates working in pairs, one with blindfold
and one sighted to check they don’t go to far off track and to be beside
them to give a steadying hand.
Blindfold Hide and Seek
Mark an area on grass with a rope. If there were 10 people in the group
then the size of the area would be 15m square (ie 1 and a half times the
number in the group). Up to 12 is a good group size. One of the group
is sighted and hides in the square. The rest of the group wear blindfolds.
The rest of the group must find the sighted person.
A good progression in this activity is to allow the sighted person to
move. Typically this will need the blindfolded players to work together.
Team building activity, great for groups of around 4 people.
Use a simple tent. Give the group time to familiarise themselves with
the tent and to put it up once or twice. Then put the tent in its bag
and blindfold the whole group. Now the challenge is to put the tent up.
Works well as a competition between groups in which case the teams can
be scored on time and how well the tent is put up.
Sheep and Shepherd
For a group of up to 12. Use a large open grass space free from any obstructions
or hazards. Using rope laid on the ground mark out a pen. Select one team
member to be the shepherd. Everyone else will take the role of sheep.
The shepherd has to get the sheep in the pen. The shepherd is to stay
in one place in the centre of the field and may only clap or whistle.
The sheep wear blindfolds and are scattered around the field and may only
make sheep noises. Before putting blindfolds in place give the team time
to plan how they are going to use these sounds to achieve the task. Allow
up to 30 minutes for the activity.
Blindfolds line up
Height order – For a group of up to 12. Blindfold everyone
in the group then ask them to line up in height order.
Birthday order – Blindfold everyone, then same as above
but in birthday order.
Alphabetic order – Blindfold everyone, then same as
above but in order of first name. Afterwards it could be by surname.
Shoe size order – Blindfold everyone, then same as above
but in order of shoe size.
Mark out a trail with rope. The trail should include areas of sensory
interest such as over grass, over soft floor mats, under a crawl net.
Blindfold all members of the group then ask them to follow the rope staying
together as a group by holding the back of the coat of the person in front
Use a large loop of rope, about 30m works well. A team of between 4 and
6 individuals should be asked to lay this loop on the ground in a specific
shape such as a square or circle whilst all of them are blindfolded and
in contact with the rope. For younger groups give them 20 minutes planning
time and time for a couple of dry runs, all without blindfolds. For older
groups just set them the task.
This works really well with squares, triangles are a bit harder. For
older groups then using a longer rope and asking them to make two shapes
with the same rope at the same time raises the level of challenge.
Lay a large number of soft objects to be avoided on a grassed area. Amongst
them place some soft objects to be retrieved. The in each pair one person
is blindfolded and must be guided by the other to retrieve the targets
without touching any of the mines. Easiest if the person doing the guiding
can touch the other persons hand. Harder if they may only talk to them,
harder again if the person guiding is on the edge of the area.
Works well with groups of 10 and larger. Divide the group into subteams
and give each sub team an animal type. Now ask every one to mingle together
and then find their own space. Everyone should put blindfolds on at this
point and on your signal to make the sound of their animal and find other
people of the same type. Eventually everyone should end up with their
own subteam. Can be used at the start of an event to form teams by giving
everyone a piece of paper with their animal type written on it.
Basic – a leader calls out an object to be drawn, group
members each have to draw that item while wearing blindfolds.
Complex – The leader is given a complex shape drawn
with straight lines. They must communicate this shape to a drawer who
is wearing a blindfold and get them to recreate the shape.
Blindfold ‘what is it’
Get the group sitting on the floor. Blindfold them. Give a box of items
to the group leader and ask them to describe one at a time until all objects
are identified by the group. The leader may not say the name of the object.
Voice in the Dark
One team member is seated and blindfolded. Other group members, one at
a time, say a short message to the person wearing the blindfold using
a disguised voice. The aim of the person blindfolded is to gues would
Traditional blindfold games
And of course not forgetting the most traditional blindfold games:
One person wears a blindfold and must find other members of the group.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Using a large picture or outline drawing of a donkey, each group member
takes turns to pin a tail made of string on the donkey while wearing a
blindfold. Start the individual about 3 metres from the drawing.
Egg and Spoon Race with Blindfolds!
On grass, lay out a start and finish line with rope or tape. Contestants
work in pairs, the person with the egg and spoon wearing the blindfold.
The sighted person guides them down the course. Soft obstacles can make
the game a bit harder.
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