Buying toys for 1-year-old children can be somewhat of a challenge for most parents. Not only do they want to buy a toy that their child will enjoy, but they also want to buy one that will stimulate the child and help encourage proper motor development. And of course, they want to buy toys that will be as safe as possible for their child, too.
Fortunately, this task doesn’t have to be difficult. That’s because there are toys suitable for children a year old or younger that provide stimulation, encourage fine motor skills and are safe. We’ve found the top ten of the age-appropriate toys and have listed them below so parents can find one that works for their child.
My Top 10 Best Toys For 1 Year Olds Recommendations & Reviews
#10 Hape Pound & Tap Xylophone Bench
Not only is this toy made with wood and child-safe paint, so parents know that it’s safe for the child to use, but it also provides numerous developmental benefits for the child. The top of this bench features three holes that the child can use a mallet to drive one of the three multicolored balls through, so it helps to develop the child’s hand-eye coordination and arm strength. It also has a xylophone that helps to encourage musical play and audio recognition. That’s quite impressive for a toy that initially appears to be quite simple.
- Suitable for children 12-months and older, Made to be safe and durable, Helps with fine motor skill development.
- It may be difficult for the child to hammer the balls through this toy’s holes.
#9 Sassy Whimsical Wheel STEM Toy
This colorful and visually stimulating toy is appropriate for children as young as 6-months old and as old as 2-years old. This product looks like a mini Ferris wheel that encourages the child to tug on and spin. It also has a center that spins, and that helps to encourage visual tracking and helps develop fine motor skills. This product also has a suction cup base, that allows the parent to attach it to a solid surface, which makes it great for entertaining the child while they’re eating in their high chair.
- Appropriate for children 6-months to 24-months old, This toy is visually stimulating, Helps encourage fine motor skills.
- This toy can be difficult to clean because of its shape.
#8 V-Tech Smart Shots Sport’s Center
This interactive “sports center” is designed to give children 12-months to 36-months old some very active fun. Using this toy, the toddler can play basketball or soccer, and they’re encouraged to play because it features a scoreboard that keeps count of baskets, cheering noises and other exciting sounds. Although we do think that children older than a year old will quickly outgrow it because of its low height, it’s still a great toy that’s fun to play and features 50 different sounds, phrases, melodies and songs.
- Appropriate for toddlers 12-months old, Encourages toddlers to be more active, Has lights and sounds that encourage play.
- It has a low height, so children may outgrow it quickly.
#7 V-Tech Pull & Sing Puppy
Appropriate for children 6-months to 36-months of age, this interactive puppy is ready to go for a walk. It has a leash that’s a bit too short, but still provides the toddler a way of “walking” this dog. If the child pulls its cord, they can also activate this puppy’s sounds and music. Additional features include buttons that promote fine motor skills, 60+ songs and phrases, and it promotes language development by introducing the child to colors and parts of the body.
- Appropriate for toddlers 6-months to 3-years old, Helps children learn colors and numbers, Children love walking this dog.
- This toy’s “leash” is a little bit too short for practical use.
#6 Baby Einstein Take Along Musical Toy
This colorful and interactive toy is appropriate for children as young as 3-months old up to 36-months old. It’s just the right size for children in this age group to use and it brightly colored to encourage play. Since it’s a musical toy, it introduces children to age-appropriate versions of melodies by Mozart, Rossini, Vivaldi, and Chopin. Although it’s speaker is located on its back, which muffles the sound when it’s laying flat on the floor, this toy is otherwise a great way to introduce musical play into a child’s life.
- Appropriate for children 3-months to 3-years old, Introduces children to music, Flashing lights keep a child’s attention.
- Its speaker is located on its back so it’s muffled when its sitting flat on the floor.
#5 Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks Set
This colorful playset comes with a bucket that’s equipped with a lid that has cutouts for the various shaped blocks that come with it. The child can match these brightly colored blocks to the shape of the holes, which encourages fine motor skill development and problem-solving. Although the lid comes off a little too easily, it’s still a great playset that should provide the child with years of play and keep them entertaining through the day.
- Appropriate for children 6-months to 4-years old, Encourages fine motor skills and problem solving, Introduces colors & shapes.
- This toy’s lid comes off too easily
#4 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair
Even though this toy may look like a toddler chair, it does a lot more than provide a seat for a child. It’s also able to provide the child with exciting sing-along songs and phrases that can be set according to the child’s particular level. If the child is 12-months old, then choose level one to explore first words. If the child is 18+ months old, then choose level two for added phrases and sound. And level three can be set for children 24-months or older to provide them with early role-playing experiences and imaginative fun.
- Ideal for children 12-months to 36-months old, Seems very sturdy, Provides age-appropriate interactive play.
- This toy may scratch wooden floors
#3 V-Tech Sit-To-Stand Educational Walker
This toy is suitable for toddlers as young as 9-months old up to 3-years of age, and it performs as an interactive toy and a walker. It features “gears” and light up buttons that children can use for interactive play. It’s also equipped with 70 songs, sound effects, and phrases that will provide the child with plenty of entertainment. Younger children can use this walker to help themselves move around the home and older children can push it around. Regardless of how it’s used, however, it’s sure to provide plenty of fun.
- Appropriate for toddlers 9-months to 3-years old, Has 70 songs & sound effects, Buttons & gears encourage fine motor skills.
- It’s interlocking “gears” may be difficult for children to operate.
#2 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Puppy
This Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy from Fisher-Price is not only designed to be a cuddly friend for a 6-month to a 3-year old child, but it’s also designed to provide them with a quality educational experience. This product can teach the child songs, words, or phrases according to one of three preset age stages. It can teach the child up to 100 first words, and also introduce body parts, counting, the alphabet, and shapes to the child as well. And by pressing this puppy’s light-up-heart, the child can listen to this toy’s full line of exciting songs.
- It’s ideal for children 6-months to 3-years of age, Has 3 different age appropriate Smart Stages, Teaches baby over 100+ first words.
- Its Smart Stages Level button is located on the foot so a child can change it too frequently.
#1 First Builders Mega Bloks Big Building Bag
This toy is the most popular construction toy sold in the U.S, and there’s a good reason for that fact. That’s because it gives children 1 to 5-years of age hours upon hours of interactive play. They can use these blocks to build castles, skyscrapers, or just about anything else they can imagine. They can also use them with other Mega Blok Sets to expand their creative play even further. And since these blocks are brightly colored, they are very visually stimulating, too. Although their plastic construction seems a little flimsier than we would’ve thought it would be, they should still hold up for most children’s regular play sessions.
- Ideal for children 1-year to 5-years old, Encourages planning and problem solving skills, Blocks come in bright colors.
- Plastic doesn’t seem very durable.
More products also worth checking out:
A Guide To Buying Toys For 1-Year Old Toddlers
Starting at the age of 6-months old, infants begin to go through a series of rapid developments that change how they interact with their world as well as their toys. As children become more physically adept and gain a better mental understanding of their environment, parents need to buy them the toys that will help them expand their skills and master their environment.
Although we tried to provide some of the toys that we feel are the best for children in the 9-month to 12-month age range, we understand that parents might want to search for toys that are more customized to the individual needs of their toddler, so we’ve written this guide to give parents some pointers in choosing the best toys for 1-year old children.
Choose Toys That Will Engage The Child’s Imagination
Around the 1-year mark, toddlers’ imagination really begins to engage, so parents should choose toys that will help stoke their budding imagination. Children in this age group like to imitate the actions of others or begin to act out a rudimentary version of their environment, so toys that help them with those actions can be quite helpful. This includes toys that are musical analogs, play chairs, pretend pets, play plates, and pretend tools.
Now’s The Time To Start With Reading Primers
Even though children at this age are far from being able to read, it’s still a good time to introduce them to what we’d call “reading primers.” These include picture books and books that introduce the child to reading skills such as alphabet books. Coloring books that cover rudimentary reading skills are also covered in this category, so parents may want to give some of those a look. Remember, it’s never too early to introduce your child to reading, so the 1-year old age mark is a good opportunity to introduce the child to early reading. Studies have also consistently shown that children who are read to starting at 6-months old were more likely to test higher than children who are introduced to reading after the age of 3-years old.
Choose Toys That Encourage Engagement
Children in this age group are also just beginning to engage with their environment more readily, so parents might want to introduce them to toys that they can touch, turn over, and manipulate. Toys that fall into this category include blocks, age-appropriate STEM toys, xylophones or toy workbenches that are made for children in this age group.
Choose Toys The Encourage Physical Involvement
Helping your children lead active and healthy lives is just as important as it ever was. In 2020, approximately 18% of American children were considered to be obese, and the figure keeps rising every year. Although diet is an important way to keep your child at a healthy weight, exercise also plays an important role, so parents should encourage their toddlers to become more physically involved by purchasing them toys that encourage physicality. Toys in this category include interactive sports centers, play golf sets, interactive balls, play push mowers, and even age-appropriate scooters or bowling sets.
Choose Toys That Respond With Sounds Or Gestures
The toys that fall into this category include toys that are electronic and interactive. These toys include robotic toys, sound books, and even puppets that the parent can manipulate to entertain their child. The purpose of these toys is to give the child gestures or sounds that they can mimic. Why is that important? It’s important because mimicry is one of the ways that children in this age group gain a better understanding of their environment.
Choose Toys The Reinforce The Idea Of Object Permanence
Object permanence is a child’s ability to understand that objects in their world continue to exist even when they aren’t looking at or interacting with them. Parents who have ever played a game of “peek-a-boo” with their child probably understand that very young children seem surprised when an object that’s temporarily hidden from their view suddenly becomes visible again. Young children will also get upset if a favorite toy is not within sight because they have not yet developed object permanence and don’t understand that the object still exists. Toys that help a child gain a better understanding of object permanence include toys that feature drawers and balls, ball push-object toys, and pop-up toys.
Purchase Toys That Encourage Greater Social & Cognitive Development
Once a child hits the 1-year mark, their physical, cognitive and social skills begin to rapidly develop and parents can be proactive in their development by giving the child toys that encourage growth in these areas. Some of the toys that parents might want to consider include:
- Objects that respond to the child’s speech
- Toys in which children can identify similar objects
- Toys that encourage learning through exploration
- Books that allow the child to identify and point out people or objects