Our Top Picks
"In addition to fostering a love of music, the toy also teaches motor skills, problem-solving, matching, and critical thinking."
Best Pull Toy: VTech Pull and Sing Puppy at Amazon
"This pull toy teaches numbers, colors, and body parts through songs, melodies, sounds, and phrases."
"This super soft-baby doll provides a great foray into imaginative play and helps promote social skills."
Best Book: First 100 Words at Amazon
"The board-book style makes the book easy for tiny hands to maneuver, and bright, bold illustrations keep kids engaged."
Best Personalized: Baby Board Book at artifactuprising.com
"This personalized book can introduce your baby to relatives you don't see often or introduce special places, like Grandma's house."
"A great introduction to puzzles, this brightly colored toy promotes dexterity and problem-solving skills."
Best Learning: Leapfrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo at Target
"When baby interacts by spinning the wheel or pushing the colorful buttons, they’re also developing vocabulary and motor skills."
Best Ride-On: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike at Amazon
"This ride-on toy is perfect for growing youngsters, since it can be made more stand-alone as your child develops new skills."
Best Outdoor: Little Tikes First Slide at Amazon
"When your tot is still a little too small for the playground, this beginner-level slide is a great alternative."
Best Activity Table: Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center at Amazon
"This activity table is small enough for the younger set to sit and play, but large enough for toddlers to tinker while standing."
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Best Musical: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
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.
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Best Book: First 100 Words
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.Continue to 5 of 21 below.
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Best Personalized: Baby Board Book
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.
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Best Budget: Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle
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.
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Best Learning: Leapfrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo
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.
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Best Ride-On: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike
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.Continue to 9 of 21 below.
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Best Outdoor: Little Tikes First Slide
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.
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Best Activity Table: Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center
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.
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My First Anywhere Chair
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.Continue to 13 of 21 below.
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Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Light-up Learning Vacuum
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.
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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.
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VTech Drop and Go Dump Truck
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.Continue to 17 of 21 below.
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Ancaixin Baby Balance Bike
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.
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Personalized Name Puzzle With Pegs
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.
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Fisher-Price Baby's First Blocks
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.
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Fat Brain Toys Kids Spinagain Toy
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.Continue to 21 of 21 below.
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Products Tested by The Spruce
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)
No stopper for balls when they fall through
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.