Last Updated: Jul 24, 2019

10 Car Activities for 1 Year Old

  • BY Nick Bulanda

    Published March 31, 2019

Long car trips with toddlers range from frustrating to difficult. Sometimes, babies do not take kindly to long car rides. Especially since they are in the rear seat and you are not. As a result, it is important to properly entertain your kid. Not to mention providing them with the right car activities for 1 year old. Lacking the right type of creative ideas? Do not worry. Ride Toy Zone has ideas that offer kids plenty of fun. Some ideas are a little complex and others are incredibly simple. Here is how you can keep a child entertained during a long car ride up north!


Do not laugh. Yes, this sounds silly at first. But, it really is no laughing matter. Toddlers need sleep for growth. What better place to knock out a long nap then in the car? Let them play for a long time before a car trip. You might even delay their usual nap for a few hours. That way, they are all tired out before the long car trip. Car naps let you relax and enjoy some quiet time.

A sleeping baby is the best possible scenario for any long car ride.
A sleeping baby is the best possible scenario for any long car ride.


Another simple but serious activity. Toddlers need to eat. Furthermore, toddlers like to eat. Do not let them stuff their faces. But, pack lots of snacks and the right milk formula. Let them eat food whenever they seem sour. They will be quiet as they eat. After, they usually take a long nap. So you win on two fronts.


This is an absolute classic. Plus, it is relatively easy for kids to play. You pick out items. Now, they might not play this game like older children. But, that does not matter. What matters is they begin to understand new concepts and new words. Along the way, they expand their brain and level of understanding.


Everyone loves music, children included. As a result, children will definitely enjoy a jam session. In particular, play their favorite songs or favorite movie soundtracks. If they like Frozen, play some Frozen music. Let them belt out songs the best they can. You can even join in to take the fun to another level. After all, they love when their parents show attention and get in on the fun experience. Turn a boring car ride into a karaoke game. You will be so distracted that the ride will go by so fast!

Watching Movies

One of the more effortless car activities for 1 year old involves just watching a movie. Bring along a tablet or use the movie player in your car. Let them watch their favorite movie. They will be distracted all throughout the ride. Again, you and your partner enjoy some nice peace and quiet. What more can you ask for?

A long Disney movie is the best way to keep children occupied all throughout the car ride.
A long Disney movie is the best way to keep children occupied all throughout the car ride.

Alphabet Hunt

This is a lot like I-Spy but a little bit easier. Tell them to look for a particular letter on signs. This includes billboards, freeway signs, road signs, and maybe even those big commercial trucks. This is such a simple distraction for kids to enjoy. All the while, they begin to develop their letter sounds and sayings. Plus, you do not have to do any work at all!

Spelling Bee

Another one of the super fun and super easy car activities for 1 year old. Find a list of simple words. You do not want to bring out ridiculously long words. Instead, provide them with one syllable words and words with less than 6 letters. Let them spell out the words and help them along the way. At the end of the day, they move towards better pronunciations.

Toys & Books

Now, obviously, you cannot let them play with kids motorized cars on a long road trip. But, that does not mean they cannot enjoy some toys and books. Get them a nice picture book that features an inspirational message. Likewise, they might even enjoy a fun set of toys. Make sure the toys are smaller in size and make sure they will not cause a mess. Super small toys might just get tossed on the ground. If that is the case, do not pick them up. You cannot reward bad behavior!

Car activities for 1 year old baby boy can entertain and educate all at once.
Car activities for 1 year old can entertain and educate all at once.

Sibling Time

This is only for families with more than one kid. The sibling time is great for family bonding, though. Especially since toddlers usually sit in the rear row of seats. Let them play together or watch a movie together. The older kid can even spearhead the games like I-Spy or the Alphabet Hunt. But, always keep on eye on the siblings. After all, siblings are prone to quibbles and little arguments.

Coloring Books

Keep the crayons a bit limited or let a sibling hold the crayons. Then, let kids scribble and color a book on the ride up north. They will enjoy an hour or a half hour of coloring with their crayons. Best of all, they develop motor skills and a sense of creative expression. All the while, they will be really quiet all throughout their coloring time. Let them color and have fun while you relax.

Quick Tips: Comfort & Safety

If it is the first time out on the open road. Put comfort and safety above everything else. Discomfort can be the cause of so much screaming and crying. Especially if their car seat is the cause of discomfort. Always check to make sure they are snug but cozy. Provide them with blankets and thick clothing. That way, car seat straps are not bothersome or uncomfortable.

Most importantly, you need to properly install the car seat. Each car seat is different. Check for instructions before your road trip. Keep them safe and comfortable all at once for the best results.

Final Words On Car Activities For 1 Year Old

There are so many great tips for riding with a baby in car. Especially during a long car trip. In some cases, you can put remote control power wheels in the trunk. Then, at a rest stop let them play for a bit. Too much confinement instills anxiety in some children. Always keep children safe and cozy for the best results.


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