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Entertaining your 1-year-old can be a fun challenge. Whether they're walking, crawling, or just sitting—having some toys on hand is a must for busy households. Just remember, what they like one day, they may hate the next—so it is good to have plenty of options around.
Here, the best toys for 1-year-olds.
This award-winning musical toy has been praised for its colorful, non-toxic wooden design and its ability to teach kids about cause and effect. Rather than push a button, kids make their own music with a wooden hammer and balls. In addition to fostering a love of music, the toy also teachers motor skills, problem-solving, matching, and critical thinking.
"This is one of the few toys my son plays with every day. Sometimes he taps the xylophone itself, but he really loves pushing the balls through their dedicated slots and putting them back in."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
If your family isn’t quite ready for a real puppy, this fun pull toy is a great alternative. This dog’s got plenty of tricks: He walks, sings, and even teaches numbers, colors, and body parts through more than 60 songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases.
"VTech recommends this toy for ages 6 months to 3 years. Based on my experience [with my 19-month-old son], I would recommend it for those in the younger age group."—Michelle Piccolo, Product Tester
You little one surely sees you with your phone, so of course they want one of their own, right? This VTech baby phone comes in fun colors like orange, pink, and blue and features a touch and play screen. A dozen apps have fun songs and phrases to keep kids engaged.
At one year of age, baby’s vocabulary is likely on the verge of exploding. This comprehensive book, complete with 100 words essential to baby’s daily life, provides a gentle nudge in the right direction. The board-book style makes the book easy for tiny hands to maneuver, and bright, bold illustrations keep kids engaged.
What better way to end bath time than wrapping your baby up in this Pottery Barn towel. The material is super soft and suitable for kids up to 24 months or 30 pounds. Besides being warm, the elephant trunk on the hood adds an extra adorable element. For a few extra dollars, you can even personalize the towel with your little one's name.
A great introduction to puzzles, this brightly colored wooden toy has extra-thick pieces and features large knobs, so even the littlest fingers will have no trouble picking up the pieces. In addition to promoting dexterity, the toy also teaches problem-solving skills, spatial relations, and shapes, colors, and basic environmental items like tree, sun, and house.
It's never too early to encourage the joy of imagination. This rocket ship play tent is out of this world and perfect for kids from 12 months to 7 years old. The tent easily fits in most corners or can be folded flat in no time. Kids will enjoy having a play space all their own and when they get older, the tent can be a cozy reading nook.
If your child has trouble falling, or staying, asleep, then this might be a solution. The Settle & Sleep Soother easily attaches to a crib, but can also be placed on a tabletop for older kids. It features 30 minutes of music and sound that transition to white noise. There's also a projection of images on the ceiling or wall for a soothing light show that will lull them to bed before you know it.
This toy is more functional than it looks. Even though it's small, the buttons on the base let baby choose one of three modes of play: letters, animals, or music. When baby interacts by spinning the wheel or pushing any number of colorful buttons, they’ll be building their vocabulary, plus improving motor skills.
Kids grow so fast, so it's great any time you can buy a toy that grows right along with them. This play mat has five zones that focus on visual, motor skills, cognitive learning, and more. Accessories are removable based on the child's age and needs and parents will love the set up process takes just a few minutes.
Versatility is the name of the game for this walker. It folds down to an activity center with sliders and fun sounds, but when erected, it's a walker. The toy projects lights on the floor, giving your curious tot major incentive to keep taking steps. With more than 70 sounds and activities, it will be hard for anyone to get bored with this toy that also encourages motor skills.
When your tot is still a little too small for the playground, this beginner-level slide is a great alternative. It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, so you can enjoy active play no matter what the weather is like. Parents love that it folds flat for portability and convenient storage.
There’s no shortage of fun to be had with this award-winning wooden toy. The freestanding activity table, which features dozens of bead runs and gliders that facilitate grasping skills, is just the right size—small enough for the younger set to sit and play, but large enough for toddlers to tinker while standing.
Use this service to build a 20-, 30-, or 40-page custom board book for baby that centers around some of the most important people or places in your family’s life. It’s a great way to familiarize your baby with far-flung relatives or introduce special places. Plus, it serves as a great keepsake for the whole crew.
This ride-on toy is perfect for growing youngsters hitting new milestones all the time. It has four different ways to ride: use it as an infant trike or a steering trike with help from adults or as a learn-to-ride trike or a classic trike suitable for more independent riders. Though this toy is on the pricier side, it’s a worthy investment—it’s suitable for children as young as 9 months and as old as 5 years.
This set of 80 large-scale blocks provides the perfect introduction to building blocks. The colorful pieces easily click together, so kids can harness the power of their imagination and create any number of things—from robots, to castles, to cars, and more.
This cute, compact chair is just the right size for a little one to curl up in and watch Paw Patrol, Daniel Tiger, or another beloved children’s show. You don’t have to worry about spills, either—unlike your other furniture, the slipcover easily slides off, so you can give it a spin in the washing machine from time to time.
Get those creative juices flowing and those problem-solving skills into tip-top shape with this fun bath time building set. Kids will love figuring out how to connect the pipes to create a maze of working waterfalls.
Did you know that kids learn a lot of skills simply from mimicking their parents? Foster good habits and an inclination to help around the house with this fun light-up vacuum. Baby can push the vacuum around just like their parents might, but this version plays learning songs and phrases as they push to help expand their vocabulary, too.
There’s just something about keys—little kids love them! To ensure your set doesn’t go missing, give baby their own special set of keys they can chew on, rattle, and carry around. In addition to the eye-catching colors, these baby-safe keys have a realistic design and a functional remote that emits car sounds and turns on a flashlight.
This colorful dump truck is so much more than just a pull along toy. It’s a great tool for teaching kids basic counting—as they load the truck’s hinged bucket with rocks, the toy counts each one aloud. It also plays a variety of melodies and phrases that teach additional vocabulary words, including colors and shapes.
This four-wheeled pedal-less balance bike is a great alternative to the traditional tricycle. It develops coordination in kids as young as 10 months old and instills confidence and independence. It features a sturdy carbon steel frame, a supportive seat, and wide enclosed wheels to keep baby safe while scooting along.
For a unique gift that both baby and parent will oogle over, try a personalized name puzzle. This artful toy is crafted with high-quality, non-toxic material to give it a super sophisticated vibe, but it’s functional, too. It’ll provide hours of fun that help baby build problem-solving skills and fine motor function, and—eventually—teach them how to spell their name.
This classic toy is an ultra-affordable option that won’t feel like you phoned it in. The set includes ten colorful blocks that fit into identical slots in a convenient carry case. The blocks promote a host of important skills, including matching, sorting, and problem-solving.
A twist on the classic stacking toy, this set of six brightly-colored, graduated discs spin down a corkscrew pole, encouraging hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and the concept of cause and effect. Parents say that even though it's simple, there’s something mesmerizing about the toy—even for adults.
Toddlers are notorious for their short attention spans, but this activity center gives tots two choices—basketball or soccer—to ensure there’s no shortage of fun. The light-up scoreboard provides positive feedback when kids score and plays fun songs and sounds.
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.
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.