If you are here, you have a one-year-old! What a joy to bring a new life into this world. This collection of toys for one-year-olds brought me so much joy as I put it together. Memories of chubby little hands and the early years flooded my mind as I added each toy to the list. Not only are these toys that my three boys enjoyed, but many are still around (and used) today.
Quick disclaimer as you dive in. I will be utterly blunt before you read the must-have toys for one-year-olds. Gift your baby something they can continue using when they are three. Don’t get too much. Choose a gift your baby needs, and a cordless vacuum for yourself. (More on this in a bit.) Don’t feel guilty with a small pile on the holiday morning. As your child grows, there will be plenty of opportunities to grow your toy collection.
I considered these parenting tips as I curated this helpful list to create memorable moments of play in the early years.
RELATED: Use these toys with this activity list for one-year-olds!
What are Good Toys for One-Year-Olds?
Good toys for one-year-olds include different textures, and opportunities for discovery. Ensure the toy is not a choking hazard and cannot fit through a paper tube. If it can, it is too small for your one-year-old and becomes a risk.
I want my one-year-old to engage in learning through play to stimulate the mind and senses. A good toy is a toy that allows my baby to solve problems and discover new connections to the world around them.
Good toys for one-year-olds encourage babies and toddlers to explore their environment and the world around them naturally.
Safety and Toys for One-Year-Olds
When selecting baby toys, keep choking hazards in mind. Reminder: the toy should not fit through a cylinder before handing it over.
- Adult supervision
- Age appropriateness – is this a good fit for my child’s interests?
- Cleanliness – can I periodically clean this as it goes into my child’s mouth?
- Does the toy include chemicals?
- Lastingness – how long will this toy stay together?
Adult supervision is needed at all times. The CPSC site is a good resource for checking toy recalls.
How to Choose a Toy for One-Year-Olds
One-year-olds learn through their senses and discovery. When picking baby toys, think about the actions more than the design. Does it move? Pull? Stack?
Here is a short list of things I consider when choosing a toy for one-year-olds:
- captivate attention
- encourage natural curiosity
- engage gross motor muscles
- have textures
- improve coordination
- inspire pretend play
- make sounds
- open-ended – toys that can be played multiple ways
- stimulate hand-eye coordination
- stimulate the senses
Take it from me, mom of three, that these one-year-old toys are spectacular and will be around for a long time! I picked these toys for one-year-olds with the brain development of one-year-olds in mind.
TOYS FOR KIDS
After attending the NYToy Fair, I updated this list with the best toys for kids in 2023-2024. Open-ended toys your child will grow with.
What This Toy List Supports:
- Cognitive development
- Emotional development
- Hand-eye coordination
- Language development
- Physical development
- Play Schema – repeated actions to build on prior knowledge
- Social-emotional learning
Let’s dive into the best toys for one-year-olds.
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Toys for One-Year-Olds List
SoftScape Toddler Playtime Corner Climber
This playtime corner climber comes in various colors and helps young children climb, crawl, and slide. This play helps strengthen big muscles that will eventually help with walking, running, and throwing. Great for indoor play at home and, in my opinion, a lot more ideal than a ball pit.
Melissa and Doug Work and Play
When I attended the NY Toy Fair, I saw this work-and-play desk and knew it needed to be added. The woman sharing it with me said her older one-year-old carries it everywhere.
High Contrast Cards
These may be the only flashcards you will see me recommending. They come with three wooden stands to help encourage tummy time and are high-contrast images to match a baby’s vision development.
How sweet is this pineapple stacker? Your baby discovers sounds and textures with this adorable plush toy.
Go Tots Woodden Bus
Your baby can roll, stack, and explore this 3D bus with wooden chips that go inside. I saw this at the NY Toy Fair and could not wait to share it with you.
Go Tots Woodden Town House
You know it is a popular toy collection when there are many ways to play! This wooden town house is another addition to the Go Tots bus. (spoiler: there are others in the collection as well!)
Fat Brain Toys InnyBin
Encourage conversations about 3D shapes and colors with this baby toy! One-year-olds and toddlers experiment and discover as they strengthen small hand muscles grasping each form. Designed for little hands and problem-solving!
Move over, Talking Elmo! I am looking for a simple plush toy my child will adore but won’t talk to me for hours. In my experience, Elmo is a hit 99.9% of the time. Elmo still lingers on my older child’s bed. He’s a classic hit!
My youngest took a “loving” to Cookie Monster, which I find adorable. At five, he still looks for Cookie and loves cuddling up with his plush Cookie Monster in bed.
A baby book that is chew-proof, nontoxic, and washable? YES, please! These books come in various titles and are perfect for the on-the-go. Great to read and wipe down at restaurants as your family waits on food. Toss this book in your baby bag!
When I was pregnant with my first son, a friend gifted this sweet book to us. It is wonderful! It is filled with soft pages and a charming forest to inspire even your youngest reader.
This is such a fun sensory toy for babies! Pull the cords to hear and feel the different vibrations. Zippee states that it speaks and keeps a baby/toddler’s curiosity while narrowing in on the developmental play, creating connections within their brain.
Let’s get moving with the Little Tikes Rocking Horse. Fun for indoor or outdoor play. The best thing about this toy is you can easily toss it in the back of your car for a trip to the park or grandparents’ house. Fun on the go!
Cheers to unit blocks and the endless amounts of open-ended play they bring! Unit blocks can entertain babies and still be played with well after your child turns seven. You are going to have to trust me on this one. These wooden blocks help with play perseverance, spatial sense, communication, planning ideas, problem-solving, and much more!
Introduce the large blocks now, and save the smaller pieces when your child is 3+.
Babies love this toy! It is perfect for flights or long car rides to buy yourself some time between snacks and naps. A great addition to your grab-and-go toy collection!
This five-piece set includes a 17-inch ukulele, tambourine, clapper, rattle, and rainmaker—a great startup set to introduce kids to music. Your kid will love this so much that they will never want to put these instruments down. You can place them in a bin when you need a few quiet moments.
Your baby will develop fine motor strength when grasping the soft fruit! Easy to store and a fun way to learn colors, discover new textures, and spark imaginary play!
Develop fine motor strength when grasping the soft fruit! Easy to store and a fun way to learn colors, discover new textures, and spark up imaginary play!
Use these five buckets with three different sprinkler effects in the bathtub or outdoor water play. Adorable design with easy-to-grab handles!
These plastic stacking boats have wide decks for scooping and pouring water. Dry them after use and stack them for easy storage.
Encourage hand-eye coordination, cause-and-effect, motor movement, textures, and tactile exploration. The bright colors reinforce visual recognition skills and promote counting as your one-year-old spins and stacks the disks.
We were gifted Mega Bloks on my oldest son’s first birthday, and it was a fantastic gift! Guess what? The kids still pull out and play. Yep, Mega Bloks. Perfect for constructing, sorting, stacking, building, and collaborating with multiple children. If you don’t have Mega Bloks in your toy collection, add them this holiday season.
Balance, nest, spin, and stack! I love this toy for encouraging curiosity and inspiring young minds to problem-solve. Great for grabbing and grasping to strengthen small hand muscles.
These soft baby dolls come in a diverse collection of skin tones. The toy dolls are adorable and cuddly. Manhattan Toy Company has been around since 1978 and cares about its customers.
We adore this pound and tap bench from Hape! Making noise and stimulating sound without pushing a button that lights up is high on our list. This is an excellent toy for your one-year-old!
This colorful caterpillar is excellent for long car trips or simple play at home. My oldest child and dad played with this toy every morning to help build hand strength and recognize colors. We love this toy by Melissa and Doug!
We have a collection of Green Toys in our transportation bin that will forever be on repeat. Green Toys last and come in a sizeable variety -from seaplanes to fire trucks- we love these vehicles!
Yep! Another win by Green Toys. We use this tugboat in the bathtub. This colorful boat is also made from recycled plastic and is dishwasher safe. It makes it so easy to keep it clean for my kids’ health!
Bring us all the touchy-feely books! We adore these and have used them over the years with our boys. This book makes a terrific gift for your one-year-old.
Vacuum, tell me the details.
At the beginning of the toy list, I mentioned your one-year-old does not need much. What I also suggest is gifting both of you a cordless vacuum. I am a mom of three boys, and the one I purchased is still going strong. My life changed after making this purchase.
Cordless Stick Vacuum Cleaner
Mount this to the wall and use it for years after meals. Bonus: kids enjoy using it, too!
I loved making this toy list for one-year-olds. Which toy will you add this year to your baby’s holiday gifting list?
More Toys Lists:
Frequently Asked Questions
One-year-olds should play with toys that captivate interest and encourage emotional development, hand-eye coordination, language development, cognitive development, physical development, schema (repeated actions to build on prior knowledge), and social-emotional learning.
When picking out a gift for one-year-olds, remember that different families have different lifestyles. For a baby on the go, consider toys that are easy to pack. For a baby on the move, consider a push toy or playmat. I like to gift toys that work well for the age now and months that follow.
Keep the family in mind when picking out birthday gifts. I like to think about what I’ve seen the baby play with and find something similar to build play schema. As babies and children revisit concepts such as pulling, twisting and rotating, they add more brain paths to deepen understanding and knowledge.