Best Toys for 1 Year Olds

Pop culture is a huge part of our world, and not only do we celebrate our own children's birthdays, the media celebrates the birthdays of famous children including Prince George and North West. This got me wondering, if I were a celebrity what would I want to give my child for their first birthday or Christmas? After some thought and research, while celebrities and royals may have more money to spend on momentous "firsts," kids are kids. They don't understand the value of the...MORE dollar or know whether the toy was $10 or $1,000. Kids are invested in one thing, anything that they find to be fun and entertaining. Here are some of the best toys for 1-year-olds, so as parents and gift-givers you can furnish your own little celebrities with a toy they will adore on momentous occasions.

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    Radio Flyer Build-A-Wagon
    Radio Flyer Build-A-Wagon. Radio Flyer

    While 1-year-olds love to walk, if you want to ditch the stroller on occasion as a family you may enjoy taking a trip to the park or through the neighborhood in a wagon. There are ultimately many kinds of wagons to choose from, for those looking for a "celebrity option" the Radio Flyer Build-A-Wagon (pictured left) allows families to custom design fabrics and layouts for different umbrellas and canopies.   

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    Little People Pretend Play Sets

    Little People Day at Disney
    Little People Day at Disney. Disney / Fisher-Price

    It's hard for me to pick just one specific pretend play set because children have different interests. However, for a one-year-old I always immediately think of Fisher-Price Little People. Not only are the sets easy to wipe clean, but the size of the people fit perfectly in the hand of a small child. The play options are vast, including classic farms and dollhouse  scenarios, and as well as transportation vehicles like buses, planes, trucks. Newer licensed themes now include a DC Super...MORE Friends Batcave and Disney Princess castle. Disney toys are amazingly popular, and one of the newest sets (pictured here) is the "Day at Disney." While this item is available exclusive to Walmart, the Disney themed Little People will melt your heart, while your children will love the cause and effect scenes that allow them to initiate their own fireworks show above the castle.

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    Corolle Mon Premier Bath Doll
    Corolle Mon Premier Bebe Bath Doll

    For little girls, a great first birthday present is a baby doll. My favorite choices include Corolle's Mon Premier Baby doll, American Girl's Bitty Baby and Adora Doll's Playtime babies. Don't forget to include additional baby doll accessories, for new walkers they will love being in charge of pushing their own doll stroller.

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    Kids' Bikes and Ride-On Toys

    YBike Pewi
    YBike Pewi. ©Ybike / Pricegrabber

    1-year-olds are generally learning to walk, and if they aren't already, pushing, pulling, and climbing on, off, in and out of ride-on toys is usually a preferred activity. The Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is one of my personal favorite ride-on toys for this age because new walkers love climbing in and out. However, if you are looking for something unique or different, the Y-Bike Pewi (pictured left) is a fast ride-on with swivel wheels that will quietly glide across wooden floors. While young...MORE children will love to sit and scoot or push it, over time it will grow with your child as they spin in circles or zoom across the floor. 

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    Mega Bloks

    While certainly many people are partial to classic wooden blocks, Mega Bloks First Builders blocks are one of my favorite recommendations for early builders. These large, plastic blocks are not only easy to clean by washing them with a wipe or placing them in the dishwasher or bathtub, they are easy for kids just learning about stacking to put them together and pull them apart. These blocks are generally purchased in a large zippered bag, which doubles as practical toy storage solution when the...MORE blocks are not in use. 

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    Vehicle cause and effect play as cars zoom down ramps and raceways is a lot of fun for one-year-olds. The VTech Go Smart Wheels play set toys, pictured here, connect through various tracks, allowing kids and parents to design their own personalized neighborhood. Sturdier tracks make for a better alternative in my opinion than train sets. Play options may include locations such as a fire station, train station, airport, car wash, race track, ramp way, and garage. The unique feature of these sets...MORE is that as the vehicles roll over certain "smart points" on the tracks, music, sounds, and educational information such as letter sounds will be activated enhancing the child's learning experience.

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    Cause and Effect Toys

    elefun ball popper

    While younger children may enjoy sitting and playing with a toy as one-year-olds become more steady on their feet and master the art of running and climbing, toys like the Elefun Busy Ball Popper are versatile. By moving and spinning Elefun's trunk in a different direction, this battery operated toy will launch the balls flying around the room, motivating children crawl, walk, run or jump to get the balls and place them back into the toy.

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    Dump and Fill Play Toys

    Sonny the School Bus & Dylan Dump Truck

    When my son learned to crawl, he repeatedly pushed any vehicle he could find all around the living area. All of these Mega Bloks vehicles have playful features perfect for one-year-olds who are learning to put items in and out of containers for dump and fill play. Blok Buddy characters have large circular heads that easily fit in the palm of a child's hand for placement in the vehicles or on the top of any of the blocks.

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    Shape Sorters

    My First Green Toys Shape Sorter
    Green Toys

    Shape sorters are one of the first toys that encourage children to use their problem solving, matching skills and hand-eye coordination. At first placing shapes such as the circle and square will be easiest, but over time toys like this can challenge even a young child's attention and persistence. This particular shape sorter pictured is from Green Toys, and for those who are looking for an eco-friendly toy option, it is made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs and manufactured completely...MORE within the United States. 


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    Books and Reading Activities

    LeapReader Junior /TAG Jr.
    ©Leap Frog

    Fostering a love of reading comes by exposing children to books at an early age. These intuitive board books from LeapFrog feature fun characters from Sesame Street, Disney themed movies and other popular children's authors like Dr. Seuss. After book content is downloaded from internet via a USB connection onto the LeapReader Jr. device, when the toy is placed over different pictures on the page, it bring the pages to life with silly sound effects. As a child develops, the toy will...MORE also engage children in learning new vocabulary words and participating in reading comprehension activities by asking them to answer questions about the story, using the LeapReader Jr. device.

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    Bath Toys

    B. Kids Dedee-Squirter-Game.jpg
    B. Toys

    Now that 1-year-olds are able to sit up and play by themselves, their play skills will expand into the bathtub. Squeeze toys and target games like the B.Kids Squirter are often favorites. Don't forget bath toys can also be used in warmer weather outdoors in small pools and water tables with caregiver supervision.