The Best Toys For 1-Year-Olds That Educate, Entertain And Keep ’Em Busy – Forbes


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Turning 1 is a big birthday for baby—but it’s also a huge milestone for the proud parents who are likely watching their little one gain so many new skills. This makes shopping the best toys for 1-year-olds extra special and exciting.

“Most kids are starting to walk around age 1 and exploring more of their environment,” explains Dr. Lauren Anne Tarnok, a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey and mom to two children. “They’re also developing their fine motor skills and getting better with their hands. They may start to manipulate smaller objects.”

The best toys for 1-year-olds encourage exploration of their environment, learning—and a lot of un.


Dr. Tarnok also points to the “explosion of language” at this age and the interest in new sensory experiences. “People might want to go with the expensive or flashy toy, but in general, for 1-year-olds simple toys are better,” she say. “Things that allow the child to use it in their own way. Things like blocks, shape sorters... Things to bang together.” She also loves open-ended and pretend play items, such as dolls, play kitchen items, sensory balls and touch-and-feel books. Here are the best toys for 1-year-olds to shop right now.

  • Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank
  • Alligator Walker
  • World Of Eric Carle Set Of 12 Board Books
  • Mega Bloks ABC Musical Train Set
  • Linkimils Smooth Moves Sloth
  • John Deere Sit N Scoot Activity Tractor
  • Fresh Picked Fruit And Veggie Tote
  • Sweet Cupcakes Shape Sorter
  • Baby Einstein Curiosity Table
  • Corolle Bébé Calin Unicorn Baby Doll
  • Plan Toys Wooden Drum
  • Green Toys Flatbed Truck With Race Car
  • Touch And Feel Animal Board Books
  • Chillafish Bunzi 2 in 1 Gradual Balance Bike
  • Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

A Singing, Counting Piggy Bank With Oversize Coins


Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank

Placing the oversize plastic coins into this smiling piggy let little ones flex their fine motor skills. The wide slot is generous enough that even the clumsiest baby will be able to jam it in there! The switch at the top moves from “off,” meaning no sounds (thank you, Fisher-Price), to a counting option to a singing option. As much as I love removing batteries from noisy toys, these sounds are actually great to encourage counting and other language development. All three of my kids have adored this thing, especially right around the age 1 to 18-months mark.

This Walker Chomps And Clacks As It Strolls


Melissa & Doug Alligator Wooden Push Toy

Kids love to push this sweet wooden walker along to hear the chomp, chomp, clack of the alligators’ mouths. It’s just the right height for new walkers, and it doesn’t speed along too quickly. It’s made with that classic Melissa & Doug hand-me-down quality, too. Just remember to keep this on a first floor and any stairs gated or closed off to avoid any dangerous falls from your explorer.

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A Colorful Set Of Board Books That Fits In Their Hand

Editor’s Pick


World of Eric Carle, My First Library 12 Board Book Set

A dozen board books in bright primary colors will help your baby’s library grow. I own this set and frequently gift it to friends, too. Each board book covers a single subject in a few short pages with just a word per page, helping little ones learn their colors, shapes, numbers and animal names. Older toddlers will love to show off and “read” the book back to you as it fits right in their hands.

Build This Musical Train Set Together (Again And Again)


Mega Bloks First Builders ABC Musical Train

Mega Bloks is one of the few building block sets designed for ages 1 and up. The blocks boast large, 1-year-old-friendly large size and easy inter-locking action. I love this 50-piece set, because it incorporates wheels, which your tot will thrill to race back and forth. It also introduces letters with the alphabet theme and plays music, engaging another sense.

This Sloth Dances Its Way Through Counting, Colors and Songs


Fisher Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

This interactive toy lights up, sings songs, the ABCs and counts, engaging babies and toddlers in dancing and practicing some big kid skills in a fun way. It moves its head and claps its hands while teaching kids colors and more. The buttons are big and responsive enough that even babies can tap it on. Choose from among several cute animal characters. It was a 2020 infant/preschool best toy award winner from the Toy Association.

Your Wannabe Farmer Wants A New Ride

Fat Brain Toys

John Deere Sit N Scoot Activity Tractor

One-year-olds often love ride-on toys just before they hit the balance bike stage. This tractor version amps up the pretend play with its farm theme, including horn that belts out the Old MacDonald theme song. Open the seat to reveal a farm play scene. It also includes four farm animal figurines. Kids can scoot or push this on their own, or enjoy a ride while a caregiver pushes them along.

A Bag Of Play Food For Plenty Of Pretend Play


Learning Resources Fresh Picked Fruit And Veggie Tote

This is a great play food introductory set for little ones not quite ready for the full 2-year-old play kitchen. I love that it comes with a play tote that can be used in other games. Includes 17 pieces of fresh fruit, vegetables and other items. Designed for ages 18-months and up.

A Sweet Shape Sorter


Bright Starts Sweet Cupcakes Shape Sorter Toy

This multipurpose toy draws in kids with its sweet cupcake design. Use it as play food if you like, but it’s also part shape sorter, part puzzle, part sensory toy. Kids as young as 1 can take the cupcake top off and piece it back together with the correct bottom. Easy to grasp with little hands. In addition to shapes, it introduces color sorting.

An Activity Table With So Much To Touch


Baby Einstein Curiosity Table Activity Station

This dual-sided activity table is loaded with cool things to explore with their hands, including gears, colors and art activities. There’s a drawing station and songs and music, too. It’s lightweight (just 5 pounds) and the legs are removable, so you can set the top on the floor for babies who aren’t ready for standing play.

Their Very First Doll


Corolle Bébé Calin Unicorn Baby Doll

We have an embarrassingly large collection of these sweet, soft-body French-designed dolls between my two daughters, but it really makes a fantastic baby doll. This Corolle Bébé Calin Unicorn doll is extra sweet in its purple onesie. We love the curled hands, tiny toes and the eyes that blink. These babies get tucked in, fed play food, carried in the tricycle and just about everywhere. Designed for ages 18 months and up.

Let Them Play This Sweet Wooden Drum

This simple wooden drum is well-designed and a sweet addition to any playroom’s musical section. Little ones can grasp the drum stick, tapping it to the instrument’s surface where they’ll hear different sounds depending on where they tap. Designed for ages 18 months and up.

Make Their First Truck A Green Toy


Fat Brain Toys

Green Toys Flatbed with Red Race Car

This eco-friendly truck hauls its race car buddy wherever your kid wants them to go. Race them side by side or use the flatbed truck to carry other objects. It’s a special first truck, designed in the U.S. with 100% recycled plastic milk containers with no BPA, PVC, phthalates or external coatings, so it’s all made to be extra baby friendly. You can even throw this truck into the dishwasher.

Explore Colors, Touch And Language With This Book Set


Bright Baby Touch & Feel Boxed Set Of Animal Board Books

Read about and then pet all the sweet baby animals in this set of four board books: On the Farm, Baby Animals, At the Zoo and Perfect Pets. Kids this age often prefer interactive books, and these touch and feel books allow them to explore colors and their sense of touch, as well as start learning the names of animals. I also love this style of book that is small enough for toddlers to hold one their own.

Get Ready To Ride With A Three-Wheeled Balance Bike

Fat Brain Toys

Chillafish Bunzi 2-In-1 Gradual Balance Bike

This bike is just right to introduce an active little one to the world of riding. It transforms from three-wheels to two wheels when they’re ready, but gives them plenty of balance at the beginning. It’s low to the ground, sturdy and lightweight. You might be surprised at how quickly your kid starts motoring around on this bike. There’s a little storage section in the seat, too.

An Extra Large Water Table So There’s Room For Everyone To Splash



Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table

This was my summer baby’s first birthday gift from her grandparents, and it was a huge hit with all of the kids, including her much older siblings. They loved all the little cups and toys that came with it, as well as creating a waterfall by pouring water through the top tier. It has held up well over several years. We do give it a scrub with a sponge and some dish soap from time to time as we store it outdoors year-round.

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