How to Create a Home Learning Corner for Your One-Year-Old

If you’re looking to create a fun, safe space for your one-year-old to play and grow, look no further!

We have a space set up in a nook in our kitchen. I love having a little space for my daughter to play independently while I do the dishes or cook.

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It was important for us to have a space separate from her nursery, as we like to save that space for sleeping.

To get started, we used these foam mats so that she would be comfortable on the floor. Next, we started to add her toys and books to the area.

Here are some of my one-year-old’s favorite books these days:

Baby Woof Woof!

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Peekaboo Sophie!

Puppies and Kittens

Here are some of my one-year-old’s favorite toys these days:

Fisher Price Farm

Raccoon Jelly Cat

Fisher Price Ring Stacker

Cooking Utensils – yup, just a random assortment of whisks and wooden spoons

Every night, my husband and I will set up the stuffed animals in silly positions. Sometimes they’re banging the drum, sometimes they’re riding the tractor – whatever it is, it always brings so much joy to my daughter’s face! It makes every morning feel like Christmas morning.

Here are some tips to get you started on your learning corner for your little one!

Get on their level.

Getting down on your child’s level is a great place to start. You want to see what they see, and things might not be as accessible or functional as they appear from above.

Focus on Play

Children learn through play! Childhood isn’t the time for flashcards or memorization. Creating a safe, fun, imaginative space for your little one is the best thing for them.

Choose developmentally appropriate items.

Choosing items that are developmentally appropriate is key! There’s a reason toys come with a suggested age bracket. You wouldn’t give a one-year-old a puzzle designed for a five-year-old, just as your little one has probably outgrown toys designed for infants.

Carefully select items that foster creativity, problem solving, imagination and of course, joy!

Less is more.

When it comes to choosing toys, books, and activities – less is more! I have learned as an early childhood educator that intentionality and quality matters more than quantity.

Don’t be afraid of color.

Color is your little one’s best friend! Social media trends make it seem like gray/beige/white is the go-to for all things baby. Don’t be afraid of color.

Rotate toys and books.

Rotating toys ensures that your child isn’t getting bored, they have varied ways to play, and keeps clutter to a minimum. A great way to rotate toys is to pick a theme! Right now, we are focusing on penguins since we have snow on the ground here. We went to the library and checked out books on penguins. I added those to the space as well as penguin stuffed animals we had lying around!

Does your child have a learning friendly space in your home? What do they like to play with? Let me know below!



  1. I had a kitchen drawer filled with goodies and the plastic container shelves open for business when mine were little. One of the favorite things were the oversized magnetic letters for the fridge. We’d play “making words” that rhymed, you know, CAT, HAT to HAD, MAD ect. sing silly songs all while fixing dinner. We always had around the house, blocks or musical instruments, hands on stuff that could be easily rotated… just like you said. And yes, books and books and more books. Reading to my kids was a daily ritual from a very early age. Thanks for the memories and remember, they grow FAST… then next thing you know they’re running over your light next to the driveway lol 🙂

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