Babies love to play and interact with the world around them. Developmentally age-appropriate art activities can stimulate a 1-year-old and let him enjoy all the new things he is able to do, according to Baby Center. While a 1-year-old can't do traditional art projects such as cutting and gluing, he can enjoy art activities that are geared toward his level of development.
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Babies like to feel the texture of their food by squishing it between their fingers and by playing with it. Baby Center suggests encouraging a baby's natural tendency to play with his food by turning mealtime into art time. Place small amounts of smooth baby foods such as peas, carrots or other vegetables on the highchair tray, and let the baby "paint." As he paints, talk to him about the colors of the food, and show him how to mix them to make new colors. You also can use gelatin cubes for highchair art. Show the baby how to stack the cubes or squish them in his hand. Pudding work well too.
Playing in the water is a favorite activity for many 1-year-olds, and water "coloring" is a safe and fun art activity that can help increase fine motor skill development. Water "coloring" requires only a bowl of water and paintbrushes. Show the baby how to dip a paintbrush in the bowl of water and "paint" walls, benches or other outdoor objects. The baby also can dip her hands into the water and make handprints on the ground. For safety's sake, never leave a 1-year-old unattended around any amount of water.
Scribbling is a satisfying activity for babies because they can see the fruits of their efforts on a piece of paper. Family Education recommends that you tape a large piece of paper to the floor and give your 1-year-old crayons to color with. Floor art lets him experience scribbling with his whole body instead of just with his arm. Extend the activity by cutting the paper into shapes such as circles, triangles or squares, or letting the baby draw on the entire driveway with sidewalk chalk.
There is something very engaging about ripping paper, throwing paper and crinkling paper. Family Education suggests paper play as an appropriate art activity for 1-year-olds. Fill a box with a variety of different types of paper, and let your child explore. Show your 1-year-old how to rip the paper, crinkle the paper into balls and throw them, walk on the paper or tear holes in the paper.