The 10 Best Toys to Buy for One-Year-Olds in 2018

Help them explore the world with the right tools for their age

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Our Top Picks

Best Cause and Effect: Hape Pound & Tap Bench at Amazon

"This toy has a cause and effect aspect to help them learn."

Best Pull Toy: VTech Pull and Sing Puppy at Amazon

"It has 60 songs, sounds, and phrases to keep little ones entertained."

Best Pretend Play: Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket at Amazon

"The 14-piece set includes food items, plates, forks and more."

Best Book: First 100 Words at Amazon

"This book is great for helping them establish their vocabulary."

Best Ride-On: VTech Sit-to-Stand Walker at Target

"The foldable seat in the back can help facilitate walking."

Best Sorting Toy: Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks at Amazon

"This block set helps them figure out shapes."

Best Bath Toy: Munchkin Bath Toys at Amazon

"The numbers and letters all float and stick to smooth surfaces."

Best Doll: Fisher-Price Baby's First Doll at Amazon

"It's soft and cuddly and help promotes social recognition."

Best Retro: Fisher Price Classics Retro Phone at Amazon

"This roll-along toy has an interactive design."

Best Active: Pacific Play Tents Tunnel at Amazon

"Get your kid moving, grooving, and exploring with this pop-up tent."

 

  • 01 of 10

    Best Cause and Effect: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

    Excellent

    Instead of them listening to music by pressing a button on a toy, why not let them make their own with this cute wooden kit that is suited for children 12 months to three years. With the tiny wooden hammer they'll pound the balls onto the xylophone which will then play a little tune for them.

    Besides helping with musical recognition this toy has a cause and effect aspect which is a skill they are developing right at the one-year age mark so he'll get hours of fun seeing what he can do. 

    Read more reviews of the best wooden toys available for purchase online.

  • 02 of 10

    Best Pull Toy: VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

    Puppies and toddlers are two of the cutest things on earth, and together, well, the cuteness is almost too much. Of course, not all families are up for a walking, barking, (pooping) kind of pooch, so this battery-powered version may be perfect. Even those who do have a real-life Fido will love this little guy, because he can do tricks like no other dog.

    Not only can he sing, as kids pull (an important new skill) him around by his leash, but he teaches numbers, colors and parts of the body. With more than 60 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases, he’s sure to keep little ones entertained. Two AAA batteries are required (not included), but at least there’s no need for a pooper scooper.

    Take a peek at some of the other best pull toys you can buy.

  • 03 of 10

    Best Pretend Play: LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket

    Life may not always be a picnic (we are talking about toddlers here.), but kids can have one anytime they like with this fun picnic basket set. Sweet and colorful, it comes with all of the fixings for a perfect basket of yum.

    The 14-piece set includes the basket, six food items, two plates, two forks, two cups and a picnic blanket. And the food is smart too, as it’s made in various shapes that can then be sorted on the plate for a little side of learning as they play.

    When you lift the basket’s lid, music and sound effects spill out. There are 30 audio responses in all that make for great imaginative play. Three AAA batteries are required and included, so the party can get started right out of the box.

  • 04 of 10

    Best Book: First 100 Words

    While books are crucial throughout all of childhood, this book is great for helping them establish their vocabulary. Bright big pictures of items like apples, cows and balls help them understand what is what when it comes to learning how to talk more. Get even more involved with the book by pointing to a picture of a ball and then handing them an actual real ball. You'll watch their mind grow as you go through the 100 words in this educational book. 

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Best Ride-On: VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

    Whether they are full on walking, just crawling or happy sitting the VTech Sit, Stand and Ride Baby Walker has a stage just for them. For babies content on the floor, the front part comes off so they can play with all the buttons and musical parts. For when they are starting to learn to walk you can open the seat in the back to help facilitate walking with encouraging music. And when they are comfortable on their feet they'll still get a kick out of zooming around the house pushing this.

  • 06 of 10

    Best Sorting Toy: Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Blocks

    Besides doing the obvious like building and stacking, this shape set helps young ones figure out shapes by placing them back into the bucket when they drop it in the correct slot. The blocks come in five shapes and have 10 total pieces. This bucket has a lid and a handle so it makes for easy transporting when you are on the go. 

  • 07 of 10

    Best Bath Toy: Munchkin Letters and Numbers Bath Toys, 36 Count

    Let us spell it out for you… this is a toy every 1-year-old needs. Plenty of parents will attest to the fact that this simple, inexpensive set of letters and numbers gets more use than many other fancy toys with all the bells and whistles.

    Made of soft foam, the set comes with 26 colorful letters and 10 numbers (0-9). They all float and stick to smooth surfaces when wet, which makes them perfect for bathtime fun and learning. From sounds to eventually spelling out and reading entire words, they’ll get years of use. Kids will be begging to get in the tub to play with them, and you’ll likely have trouble dragging them out. This toy provides good, clean fun.

    Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best bath toys.

  • 08 of 10

    Best Doll: Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Doll

    Girls and boys alike begin to start playing pretend at this age and a doll is the perfect toy to help foster their imagination. They can tote this doll around or point at various body parts to help them learn the correct words. This Fisher-Price Brilliant Basics Baby's First Doll is soft and cuddly and help promotes social recognition as well as gives them a sense of comfort when they are holding onto it. 

    Besides being a stuffed animal/doll it also has a built-in rattle to stimulate auditory skills. If they are really into this doll and additional stroller can be purchased they can push around their little baby.

    Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best baby dolls

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Best Retro: Fisher Price Classics Retro Chatter Phone

    Teach your kid about the pre-digital era with this throwback Chatter Phone, that can help inspire their imagination. You can teach them how to use a rotary phone (if you remember!) and they can "call" up their friends or grandma for a chat. The eyes also open and close on this and it has a dial that rings which will keep your baby entertained. Your little one can also pull this toy along from room to room so the fun can follow them while they also work on their gross motor skills. 

    This toy is suited for 1-year-olds and up and many have found that their preschoolers are really into the imagination play with this, which makes it a great toy that will be with the family for a few years time.

    Still can't decide on what you want? Our round-up of the best retro toys can help you find what you're looking for. 

  • 10 of 10

    Best Active: Pacific Play Tents Find Me Multi Color 6' Tunnel

    If you want to get your kid moving, grooving, and exploring this pop-up tent is sure to be a fun treat for the whole family. When it is not in use this easily folds up into a carrying case so it makes a great toy to bring to the grandparents without lugging a bunch of stuff. When it is set up (all you need to do is untie two strings) your kid and you can crawl through this which will help them work on their gross motor skills.

    The tunnel is 6' long and 19" wide leaving plenty of room for mom or dad to get in on the fun. Besides being great for a 1-year-old this toy will be a perennial favorite with many kindergarteners still enjoying all the fun games they can come up with.

Products Tested by

How We Tested

Our reviewers spent 22 hours testing one of the top-rated toys for one-year-olds. To really get the full picture, our testers took this toy home and had their own kids play with it. We asked our reviewers to consider the most important features when using this toy, from its durability to its educational benefits. We've outlined them here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Toy for a One-Year-Old

Safety Naturally, you’ll want to consider safety when purchasing a toy for a one-year-old. Everything on our list is appropriate for this young age, but, if you're shopping on your own, watch out for toys with small parts that can be a choking hazard.

Longevity Because toddlers grow and progress so quickly, you’ll want to consider how long they’ll be able to use the toy you buy. You may want to look for one that children can use as they get older, instead of an expensive toy that’ll only be used for a few months.

Educational value It’s also beneficial to think about whether the toy you’re buying is educational. There’s a lot for one-year-olds to learn, from basic motor and language skills to letters, colors, sounds, and more. Consider what toys they already have and what skills they’re working on when you start shopping.

Test Results: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone (Best Cause and Effect)

Excellent

What We Like

  • Educational

  • Durable

  • Attractive design

What We Don't Like

  • No stopper for balls when they fall through

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
Hape Pound & Tap Bench Xylophone
Hape Pound & Tap Bench

One of our testers reported that this toy was a huge hit with her child. “He loved it,” she said. “He goes directly to it in the morning. He plays with it for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time, which is a long time span for him.” Our reviewers also loved this toy's educational value. “It has many moving pieces, which is something that’s good for fine motor skills,” added one tester. Our reviewers did, however, think it was missing one physical feature: “There should be some sort of stopper for the balls when they fall through so they don't roll away,” one suggested.