One-year-olds will make anything a toy — like that tube of butt cream or disposable coffee cup you keep trying to throw away — but since those don’t make the best presents, we have some ideas for you. Here are our favorite go-to best gifts for a one year old. Some of the best gifts for a one-year-old are fun toys, some are great for development, and others are just ridiculously cute.
Best gifts for a One Year Old
Finding great toys for one year olds can be a particular challenge. They’re growing out of their baby toys, yet many “big kid” toys contain small pieces or are too developmentally advanced. At the same time, their brains and senses require stimulation to help them grow and learn as they play. That’s why we’ve curated this list of the 15 best toys for a 1-year-old that are sure to delight your little one.
Baby Einstein Curiosity Table
At age one, most children are getting steadier on their legs and building the muscles needed for walking and running. This toy allows them to do all this while stimulating all five senses in delightful and entertaining ways. The Baby Einstein Curiosity Table is an activity station that includes lots of movable pieces like gears and color circuits, and it also includes 65 melodies and sounds. And, for one-year-olds who aren’t quite ready to stand or walk yet, the legs can be removed for floor or table play.
Kyte Baby’s Cozy Must-Haves
Kyte Baby makes absolutely adorable baby clothes, sleep bags, loveys, and more. Their toddler blankets and pajamas are our favorite options to gift to sweet little ones. Not to mention, you can feel good about gifting these products since they are made from bamboo which is not just extremely soft but an environmentally intelligent choice.
TOYVENTIVE Baby Activity Cube
You can’t go wrong with an activity cube, and this colorful wooden version offers a multitude of activities for little hands. The TOYVENTIVE Baby Activity Cube combines five activities in one, including a wooden bead maze and a shape sorter, and helps your little one’s brain develop. An interesting and useful feature of this cube is that it detaches into two pieces so that two children can play simultaneously with plenty of fun to go around.
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
Stimulate your toddler’s senses and encourage language development with this interactive first-words book. The LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book allows your little one to touch the images on the pages in order to hear the words, along with sound effects and fun facts about animals, foods, colors and more. This book is also bilingual, offering each word in both English and Spanish.
CifToys Musical Learning Workbench
In this set of colorful construction tools, your 1 year old will be treated to music, lights and sound effects, too. Not only are tools a fun and engaging toy for toddlers, but the CifToys Musical Learning Workbench helps children develop spatial skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity. They’ll love manipulating the moving parts, like the easy-pull drawer and the kid-safe saw, too.
Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano
The perfect first piano for your little one. This piano toy magically plays music at the touch of your baby’s fingertips, no buttons involved! This music making toy can help your baby tune into different rhythmic patterns at a young age along with color coordination. There are color-coded notes that match the wooden keys. It includes 3 sheets of music and up to 6 different songs, or create your own! This is a great gift for ages 6 months and up.
Melissa and Doug Geometric Stacker
Stacking toys are classic for a reason – they’re fun! Toddlers can use this 25-piece set in a multitude of ways, including stacking, color-sorting, and assembling stacked puzzles. Toys like the Melissa and Doug Geometric Stacker are also great for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. This is a toy that can grow with your one-year-old, too, becoming a learning toy for older toddlers who are beginning to identify shapes and colors.
Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table
The Little Tikes Spiralin’ Seas Waterpark Play Table helps to develop early motor skills with fun characters. The perfect toy for outdoor summer play and stable enough for those kiddos still trying to balance while standing up. It promotes engaging play and includes 1 water cup and 5 round characters that squirt water.
AyeKu Balance Bike
Balance bikes are one of the best toys for a 1-year-old because they allow your child to feel independent while learning important skills at the same time. Best of all, your little one doesn’t have to be walking yet to enjoy it! Toddlers can strengthen their legs, gain coordination and balance, and tackle the beginning stages of bike-riding, all in the safety of your home. The AyeKu Balance Bike is designed not to harm floors, and it also includes important safety features for your child. Steering is limited to a 50-degree angle to avoid side falls, and the seat is adjustable to help you get a proper fit for your little rider.
Talking Plush Toy Set
Kids learn best through imaginative play and this Talking Plush Toy Set helps your child unlock creativity while learning about animals. It comes with four plush friends and an easy-carry soft storage treehouse that’s perfect for little hands. Each animal makes realistic sounds, and they also share fun facts and play music.
Dimpl Digits by Fat Brain Toys
This silicone sensory toy is captivating for little fingers and encourages the development of sensory motor skills and color exploration. The Dimpl Digits toy can grow with your child, too, as they begin to learn numbers, which are on this toy in both English and Spanish. Your kiddo will have hours of fun pushing and popping the squishy bubbles, and bonus – this toy is impossible to break!
Mega Bloks First Builders Bag
One of the qualities of the best toys for 1-year-olds is that they should be easy to handle so your young toddler can feel independent as they play. These colorful Mega Bloks are made for little hands and they’re perfect for the type of hands-on, imaginative play that is ideal for early childhood development. This set comes with 80 pieces in different sizes and shapes, as well as an easy-carry bag for storage and transport.
Hape Pound and Tap Bench
One-year-olds love to experiment with sounds, but some toys are simply obnoxiously loud. Not the case with the Hape Pound and Tap Bench. It encourages musical development with multifunctional instruments, including a keyboard and xylophone, without driving parents nuts! Kids will also love using the included hammer to tap the balls and send them tinkling over the notes before they run to chase them.
Melissa and Doug Touch & Feel Puzzle
Age one is a great time to start helping your child learn puzzling skills, which are important for emotional, cognitive and skill development. This Touch & Feel puzzle is particularly appropriate for a young toddler because the pieces stand up so they can double as toys themselves. Plus, each comes with a textured finish that will keep little hands curious and amused. This is a great screen-free toy that keeps kids’ attention.
LeapFrog My Pal Scout
This adorable plush dog is way more than a cuddly friend for your kiddo – each paw activates music, songs and games. And My Pal Scout can even be set to say your child’s name! This toy is designed to help kids learn things like first words, daily routines, counting and emotions. It comes with five pre-loaded songs, but parents can go online and choose from 30 others, too.
Playskool Busy Ball Popper
Ball poppers are tons of fun, and this one from Playskool will delight your 1-year-old’s senses. It comes with five balls, which your child feeds into ramps and tubes, only to watch them pop up on the air again. It comes with music and silly sound effects and, even though it’s a toy with a lot of action, it’s activated by a large easy-push button that little ones can use on their own.
Nuby Purple Octopus Bath Toy
Add more interactive play to bathtime with this adorable Purple Octopus! He is textured to support learning through touch, and he comes with a set of rings that your child can place or toss onto his tentacles to encourage hand-eye coordination. All of the included pieces float, too, so they won’t get lost under the bubbles!
Spike the Hedgehog
It’s impossible NOT to grab onto Spike the Hedgehog’s inviting, chunky spikes, and little hands will have fun trying to pop them back into place, too. They can also be used for color-sorting and color recognition play, and removing and replacing them into Spike’s back is great for fine motor skill development. As your child gets older, this toy can also be used for learning early counting skills.
At age one, kids are really beginning to explore the world around them, and the more color, texture and sound you can add to it, the better for their development. We hope this list of the 15 best toys for a 1-year-old is useful to you as you encourage your little one’s journey of learning to play… and playing to learn!
If you want a gift for under $10, this Playskool shape sorter is my fave. I’ve purchased it about five times for my own kids and small friends after testing others.
Need somebody smaller to love? Toddlers of all genders love to cuddle up with dolls. This one’s a cutie and less than $20. You can find African-American, Hispanic, or Asian dolls from JC Toys in the same general price range.
My little guys love to push a baby in a stroller like this one. There are several models for about $20. Baby beds and other accessories are a good bet.
Speaking of WHEELS, boys and girls love vehicles. Green Toys makes their popular dump truck in three color combos to suit your preferences for about $20. The trucks are super durable and made from recycled milk jugs so I’m willing to pay a little more.
Whitney’s kids always had fun pushing around play food or anything at all in this adorable and durable shopping cart from Melissa & Doug (about $50).
Another big hit from Whitney’s family, this ball pounder from Melissa + Doug teaches cause and effect, fun with balls, and the joy of whacking things. Just keep it far from your glass coffee table, ok? It retails for less than $20.
This Radio Flyer wagon is so well-loved at my son’s daycare that I wish we had it at home. Kids take turns riding and pushing. If you don’t have a friend to drive around, your teddy bear will also enjoy the ride (Or more likely, my left shoe and our remote control).