A round up of gifts for one-year-olds.
Credit: Amazon, Tomy, Chronicle Books, Manhattan Toy

The Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds

published Jul 20, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

This feature is part of Cubby's Gift Edit, our editor-curated collection of gift ideas for every occasion. Need more inspiration? Check out all our guides here.

Watching a one-year-old play with toys is such a joyous experience. Everything is new and exciting to them, and they can be enthralled by even the simplest toy! I have five-month-old twin boys, and many of the toys on this list are also on my wishlist for the upcoming holiday season — the ones we don’t already have, that is! When compiling toys, I took varying interests and abilities into account. One-year-olds really start to show their personalities, so take their lead when searching for toys they might like.

What to Look for in Baby Toys for 1-Year-Olds

One-year-olds are all about exploring the world around them, and it’s important to give them toys that help them safely do so. Many one-year-olds still put a lot of things in their mouths, so always choose toys that don’t have small pieces. Kids in this group have varying abilities; some are pros at walking while others are still crawling. They are also rapidly developing and refining skills they’ll use for the rest of their lives. Look for toys that help develop language, gross motor skills, and fine motor skills. 

Our Top Pick

Our top pick, the Garden Table Play Set, is $39.99. We love it because it’s versatile and has some longevity. Two and three-year-olds will enjoy the toy as well, and the table can double as a sensory bin.

Toys Under $20

1 / 7

Once babies begin crawling, crawl tunnels are excellent for their motor skills and development. Not to mention, crawling through a tunnel is just plain fun! Add some balls, toys, or books to encourage them to spend time in the tunnel.

2 / 7

Many parents can’t wait to play that first game of catch with their baby. You won’t have to wait long to start practicing with this fabric ball that is safe for kids six months and older. The ball is easy to grasp for kids who are still working on their grip.

3 / 7

Shape sorters are a must for one-year-olds, and this beautifully designed sushi shape sorting set is one of my favorites. Shape sorting helps develop problem-solving skills; it’s even an early math skill!

4 / 7

Many one-year-olds are beginning to dabble in pretend play, and they enjoy mimicking their environment. Some of the food in this set has functional peels, which help develop fine motor skills. You can also use the pieces to promote fruits and vegetables!

5 / 7

At such a low price point, this toy is a great value for the money. One-year-olds will have fun stacking the cups, but you can use the set to teach other skills as well, like letters, numbers, shapes, counting, and pouring.

6 / 7
Melissa & Doug

If you want young kids to love reading, it needs to be fun. These books double as animal masks, making them just as much about reading as they are about playing.

7 / 7
Melissa & Doug

Giant knob puzzles are right in the zone of proximal development for a one-year-old, which means they’re not too easy and they’re not too hard. This set is in the form of something familiar, a home, and it also exposes kids to colors and shapes.

Toys $20 – $40

1 / 12

A beautiful interactive book that exposes kids to letters in a tactile way. Adding another sense (touch) to letter exposure can help them retain what they learn.

2 / 12
Manhattan Toy

Wee Baby Stella is an excellent first doll. She’s soft, cuddly, safe for one-year-olds, and machine washable. Dolls provide kids an opportunity to practice empathy, personal hygiene, and many other skills.

3 / 12

Bath toys take an already fun experience and make it even more fun! This set includes 13 pipes and gears, so you can create different paths for the water to run.

4 / 12
Bannor Toys

It’s never too early to introduce kids to letters, and the letters in a child’s name are often the first ones they learn. Before the letters make sense to them, they’ll still have fun stacking the blocks. These blocks are made of maple or cherry wood, sanded smooth, and finished with a beeswax and flax seed oil.

5 / 12
Fat Brain Toys

These toys are excellent for entertaining one-year-olds any time they are confined to one space. Take them on an airplane, to a restaurant, or on a long road trip. They’re also safe to chew on during teething.

6 / 12

Pull-and-go cars are very easy for one-year-olds to operate, providing them with a frustration-free, fun toy. The tops of the cars are designed to look like animals with mouths that actually open, adding an extra element of fun.

7 / 12

This classic red steam train is made of wood and is just the right size for one-year-olds. They can push it along the floor or let it trail behind them as they pull the string.

8 / 12
Green Toys

Disney fans will love the Green Toys Disney Baby line. In this tea party set, you’ll get a teapot, a serving tray, three tea cups, and three dessert pieces. The cups and desserts nest into the tray as triangles, squares, or circles. Tea sets have long life spans; my four-year-old still plays with the set we got her when she turned one.

9 / 12

This play set is ideal for older one-year-olds who are starting to embark on pretend play. They can plant and water a pretend garden, and the set comes with a watering can, four garden tools, two flowers, two soil discs, and four pots. The table and bin can also be used as a sensory play area long after kids have outgrown the flower set.

10 / 12
Fat Brain Toys

The InnyBin is the ultimate toy to hone in on fine motor skill development. Kids will work hard putting the textured toys in and out of the bin. While simple, this open-ended toy encourages exploration and discovery.

11 / 12
Fat Brain Toys

One-year-olds will practice hand-eye coordination as they place the discs on the corkscrew. There are various ways to order and sort the discs, and the best part is watching them twirl down the corkscrew after kids correctly place them at the top.

12 / 12

No toy list for one-year-olds would be complete without a CoComelon-themed toy. The show is all the rage in the one-year-old crowd. The drum has four play modes and incorporates letters, numbers, and shapes.

Toys $40+

1 / 6

Push and pull toys like this wagon help one-year-olds get stronger and develop their gross motor skills. While this toy is pricey, they can use it long after they turn two as a functional companion for all their adventures. They can load it up with toys, use it to store stuffed animals, or pretend it’s a car as they begin to dapple in imaginative play.

2 / 6
Monti Kids

If you’re tired of toys that light up and make sounds, you’ll love a subscription to Monti Kids. Each kit is full of Montessori toys designed to meet your child at their developmental level. It also comes with online support that includes a toy rotation guide, instructional videos, milestone articles, and one-on-one parent coaching support.

3 / 6

The Little People farm playset is a classic that never goes out of style. One-year-olds will have fun maneuvering the animals around the farm and playing with the interactive elements. It has three play modes that you can move through as your child learns and grows.

4 / 6

This table is a fun play space for the newly walking. If your one-year-old is still crawling, you can place it on the floor without the legs, too. The play station includes gears, color circuits, lights, sounds, and more.

5 / 6

Crawling in and out of this car encourages kids to practice their gross motor skills. It also comes equipped with many other play and learning activities. It includes shapes, colors, letters, lights, buttons, songs, phrases, and more.

6 / 6

My daughter and I cruised the neighborhood in style with this car for years until she grew out of it. It has cup holders for kids and parents, a functioning horn, and storage space under the hood.

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