15 of the Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds

published Nov 10, 2021
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Credit: Emma Fiala

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There’s something so magical about a 1-year-old. No longer babies but not yet toddlers, this age group is an especially fun stage, as we watch them learn something new about themselves and the world around them every day. With many children reaching milestones such as their first words, the “cruising” stage, and discovering their favorite toys, it’s also one of the most developmentally fruitful times of a child’s life. This makes getting the right toys for your tot a must. The best toys for 1-year-olds are stimulating in more ways than one: They’re much more interactive than baby toys, promote things like linguistic and motor skill development, and do a lot to attract the senses.

As each child reaches specific milestones at different stages, having a wide array of toys at your disposal is essential. We rounded up 15 of the best toys for 1-year-olds, from classics you may remember from your own childhood to the latest and greatest contemporary picks. Either way, these toys are bound to be a hit with your little one. The best part? Many of these toys will last well beyond one!

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As we mentioned above, 1-year-olds are at the prime time to "cruise" A.K.A walk with a little assistance, making the VTech Sit-To-Stand Learning Walker a great pick. Aside from being a walker, it's also super interactive with a removable play panel that features five piano keys, colorful spinning rollers, shape sorters, and a telephone for hours of fun!

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was $14.45

If there's one thing 1-year-olds love to do, it's taking things in and out of containers. So, there's a reason the shape cube has been a go-to toy for decades now. This wooden toy comes with 12 brightly-colored, easy-to-grip shapes designed to fit through a matching hole on the wooden cube.

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was $29.99

It's never too early to encourage a love of music and there's no better way than with the Baby Einstein and Hape Magic Touch Piano. Simply tap the keyboard to play! Made of wood, this toy comes with three "sheets of music" where your little one can match the colors to the keys to play a song. But if that's not their style, the little prodigy can always freestyle.

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As this is the age where first words are spoken, the LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book is one of the best toys you can get your budding babe! Filled with 100 age-appropriate words chosen by learning experts, this book is super interactive with each word being read aloud when touched. To top it off, words, songs, and instructions can be heard in both English and Spanish for a full bilingual experience.

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"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" is a story that has been adored for over three generations and now you can bring the world of Eric Carle to playtime, too. This colorful wooden train set encourages creativity and curiosity with its building block design that allows your baby to customize their own choo-choo — the possibles are endless!

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One of the easiest senses to appeal to is touch and there's nothing better than a buttery soft plush animal for your little one! I gifted my goddaughter this incredibly soft stuffed lamb on her first birthday and now she can't go anywhere without her "lamby". It's also available in a fox and hound variety!

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was $5.99

1-year-olds are all about exploring and discovery, especially when it comes to themselves! Where Is Baby's Belly Button? is an interactive children's book that continues on the peek-a-boo theme with easy-to-lift flaps that let your babe have fun while making discoveries.

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Nothing seems to hold the attention of a toddler more than a good activity cube. This farm-themed, five-sided wooden activity center features tons of activities for hours of play, including spinners, a zigzag racetrack, a bead maze, doors to open, and mix-and-match animal puzzles! Designed to improve hand-eye coordination and learn cause-and-effect, this bright, colorful cube is sure to become a favorite.

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One of the most popular games with 1-year-olds? Peek-a-boo! And what's more fun than playing peek-a-boo with an adorable elephant? Gund's Flappy the Elephant is kid and parent favorite (I've already gifted it twice!) thanks to its interactive play. Press his left foot and he plays a game of peek-a-boo with his giant, floppy ears. Press his right foot and he adorably sings "Do Your Ears Hang Low." Best of all, this plush toy is just that — plush! So you can bet your little one will turn to Flappy for some quality cuddles.

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It's no secret that children are sponges that mirror our behaviors, so chances are your little one has tried to swipe that phone you're always on once or twice before. This fun smartphone toy looks like the real deal but better. It lights up and plays 30+ sing-along songs, sounds, and phrases that teach numbers, counting, greetings, and more for a device they might like better than yours. Note* They'll still want to snag your phone for FaceTime calls.

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was $59.99

For over 50 years, the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe has been the kid-powered ride-on toy that parents know and trust. In fact, chances are you remember having one as a kid, too! Kids love being behind the wheel of this coupe, while adults love it for how easily it transitions from a push-powered ride-on to a foot-to-floor ride-on for hours of outdoor fun as your little one grows.

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Let your little one embrace their inner artist with the My First Crayola Palm-Grasp Crayons. Sized to fit toddlers’ hands, they're the perfect way to encourage creativity, a love of art, and work on motor skills.

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If a top-notch developmental toy is on your must-have list, the SKYFIELD Wooden Farm Harvest Game is a great pick. Designed to help build fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination improvement, this game features seven different fruits and vegetables (all different sizes and colors) where your child must mix and match to "plant" the object in the right space.

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With eight different hands-on activities, The First Play Jungle Activity Table from Melissa & Doug is one of the most entertaining toys on this list. This wooden table features bright colors, bold patterns, and a whimsical design with attached pieces that are designed to turn, roll, flip, spin, slide, and more to help hone those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

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Bed Bath & Beyond

We know — this trike is a bit on the pricer side, but as a three-in-one set-up that'll last for years, you may just find it worth the investment. The Doona Liki Trike S3 is the ultimate tricycle. Easy to use and fully assembled out of the box, this foldable tricycle grows with your child, from a tricycle to a push tricycle to a toddler tricycle. Best of all, it comes equipped with tons of safety features including soft, durable shoulder pads, a padded armrest, and a five-point harness.