STEM Activities for the 13-Month-Old


Music Play:

STEM Concepts: Science (physical science) Math (patterns, counting, sequences, spatial relationships)

Materials: Basic musical instruments, piano, play instruments, radio, CD player and CDs or MP3 player, or music on your phone. You could also use our original music!

What to do: Play music and pick up your toddler and move her to the beat or tap out the beat on her back. Put her down and encourage her to move her body to the beat of the music. Clap out the rhythm and encourage her to clap to the rhythm as well. Count the beats in sets of four as your clap. Encourage her to count along with you.

Introduce instruments and encourage her to play along with the beat. Use instruments that encourage motor skills as well such as fine motor skills to use one finger per piano key, eye hand coordination to hit the keys on the xylophone, and two handed skills to hit cymbals together. As he plays to the beat, count along and clap your hands to the beat to help him find the rhythm.

Language and Communication: Use direction words as you and your child dance and move. Say things like “reach your hands up” and “kick your foot forward”  to start building these concepts. Also narrate the dance to build vocabulary.

Encourage your child to sing along with the lyrics to encourage articulation and memorization.

Counting out the beat helps to teach numbers and early counting skills as well.

Expand the Activity: Place your hand on your toddler’s heart and count her heartbeat. Encourage her to feel her own heart beat. That is her own personal rhythm.

Use two hands together to play instruments and dance. This is great practice for higher level skills.

Talk about body parts as you dance and move to build body awareness and help him with body part identification and language.

Make the musical instruments yourself and include your child in the process. A few dry beans inside of easter eggs or two paper plates taped together make great maracas!

While dancing with your toddler, pick him up and swing him around. Moving him through the air helps to teach body awareness, equilibrium, and builds overall strength, and of course it is so much fun!

Don’t be afraid to provide this movement for your child, just avoid swinging him by his hands. Always pick him up from under his arms, never pulling on just his hands so that you avoid any shoulder, elbow, or wrist injuries.



Water Play:

STEM Concepts: Science (physical science, earth science) Technology (simple tools) Math (measuring, volume)

Materials: Bathtub or basin of water or child’s swimming pool, measuring cups, plastic cups of different sizes, turkey baster, small medicine syringe, eye droppers, toy boats, rubber duckies, and water toys.

What to do: Provide the water and the materials and allow your toddler to explore. Use guided play strategies by “playing” along side of your toddler and see if he mimics what you do. Fill one cup and dump it into a second cup. Pour water into a measuring cup and take note of the volume, then pour into another container. Pull water into the syringe, turkey baster, and eye dropper, then squirt into the cups. Make the boat float on the water, then pull it under the water and watch it rise to the surface again.

Trickle water over your toddler’s body, saying his body parts.

Language and Communication: Narrate the water play using words related to volume such as “your cup has more water in it than mine” and “this cup is empty and this cup is full.

As you dribble water on your toddler say his body parts and encourage him to repeat them back to you. Ask him what cup has more water in it and see if he can point to the correct cup. These are important early math skills.

Expand the Activity: Make it colorful. Use different food coloring in the different containers of water and see what happens when you mix the colors! Talk about each color and what the colors turn into when mixed.

Swim lessons and pool play are great activities for body awareness, building strength and coordination and making your toddler safer around water.

*Never leave child unattended around water!