With so many toys for 1-year-olds on the market, it’s not always easy to pick between them all. Which is why we’ve rounded up the best toys for 1-year-olds that will delight, entertain, educate and occupy little ones going through big changes in their development.
12 months is an exciting age for any child as it marks the time when they turn from a baby into a toddler. The exciting milestones of walking and talking are both on the horizon. With increased mobility, your little one can finally get to explore all of the things they have only been able to look longingly at from afar.
Whether you want them to or not, 1-year-olds are going to start to try and get into -and open – everything and anything. Drawers, cupboards and bookshelves beware! Choosing the best toys for a 1-year-old won’t stop them from being interested in these things, but it will keep them occupied and out of trouble as much possible.
The best toys for 1-year-olds
Here’s our pick of the best toys for 1-year-olds, from stackers to shakers and walkers to music makers. With price points for every budget, these toys make great presents for 1 years olds. Plus, good quality means you should be able to pass them along when your child grows out of them.
ELC Sensory Stacking Rings
Age suitability: 6-12 months | Batteries required: None | Price: £12.80
This classic toy has lots of textures to explore, and is great for problem-solving, stimulating the senses and developing Hand To Eye co-ordination. This fun, colourful giraffe design is sure to delight your little one during playtime.
Personalised Doll in Yellow Dress
Age Suitability: From birth | Batteries required: None | Price: £23.40
Children love to mimic and copy what they see around them and looking after and caring for their very own ‘baby’ is definitely one of those things. My 1st Years Personalised Rag Doll in Yellow Dress is soft and machine washable – and can be personalised for free, making it a lovely idea for presents for one-year-olds.
Oskar & Catie Personalised Noah’s Ark
Age Suitability: 1 year + | Batteries required: None | Price: £49.99
Coming in two different sizes, this wooden Noah’s ark comes with seven different pairs of animals – a fun way to introduce children to various species. This toy encourages imagination and handling the animals is great for developing those fine motor skills.
John Lewis & Partners Wooden Dog Walker
Age Suitability: 1 year + | Batteries required: None | Price: £75
Parents loved this dog walker toy for its great quality and the fact that toddlers can either use it as a ride on toy or push along walker. As well as being a fluffy and loveable addition to any child’s toy collection, this walker is also great at helping little ones practice their balance and coordination as well as concentration.
Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker
Age Suitability: 1 year + | Batteries required: None | Price: £49.99
As well as helping little ones take their first steps, a durable learner walker, like the Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker pictured, also features plenty of activities to keep toddlers entertained and busy. The spinning cage rattle, mini abacus, spinning mirror and matching blocks there’s plenty to stimulate young minds.
Le Toy Van – Wooden Educational Petilou Sensory Shapes
Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: None | Price: £23.29
This multi-sensory toy features four different blocks all aimed at stimulating the senses of sight, tough and sound. The puzzle-style of the toy also encourages shape recognition, manual dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination.
Classic World – Crocodile Wooden Animal Balancing
Age Suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: None | Price: £8.46
This colourful game is designed to build hand-eye coordination, as well as hone fine motor skills and stimulate shape recognition, as your child uses the colourful wooden blocks to balance the friendly crocodile.
Personalised Wooden Rainbow Xylophone
Age Suitability: 12 + months | Batteries required: None | Price: £24.90
A bright, colourful xylophone will not only delight children and allow them to express themselves, but toys like this are great for teaching early note recognition and developing motor skills. It can also be personalised which makes for a great gift.
SMARTMAX SMX230 Construction Toy
Age Suitability: 1 year + | Batteries required: None | Price: £22.99
My First Totem has picked up multiple awards for innovation and being a great toy for stimulating young minds. The set features 8 colourful magnetic building blocks, with different sounds, styles and textures. Little ones can combine the sensory blocks to build the coolest totem; or follow one of the 24 fun challenges.
Kids Piano Mat, Music Mat Dance Mats Touch Play Mats Floor Keyboard
Age Suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: None | Price: £15.99
Great for encouraging children’s creativity and musical expression, this musical mat comes with eight different piano ‘keys’ which each make the sound of a different instrument. Easy to use like a retro dance mat, children will love jumping around and experimenting with sounds. The m zimoon Music Mat, pictured, is available on Amazon.
Djeco – Topanifarm
Age Suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: None | Price: £24.39
This cute little farm-themed set may look like sweet animals in small boxes, but this block and tower set is a great way to get small children practising their construction skills and hand-eye coordination, whilst learning about different animals and their homes.
Mega Bloks DCH55 Big Building Bag, Blue, 60 Pieces
Age Suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: None | Price: £7.50
This set contains 60 multi-coloured building blocks, including distinct shapes, that are perfect for little hands and encourages hands-on play for early childhood development. They can be combined with other Mega Bloks sets too.
What are the best gifts for a 12-month-old?
The best toys for 1-year-olds are usually designed to be as stimulating and educational as possible while promoting the central most important thing – play.
This means that as well as being entertained and occupied, these toys for 1-year-olds will also help with their development.
Around the age of one, children usually start to learn how to pick up small objects between their thumb and index finger. This is known as the ‘pincer grip’. This new skill will make it possible for children to start doing activities like scribbling or playing with blocks.
The best toys for 1-year-old children will help them practice this newly learnt skill – and others – while playing.
However, you shouldn’t be too worried about buying specifically educational toys for children as young as one. As child development, expert and psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer told us: ‘All toys can help children’s development. Even if it’s just a case of helping them learn about the things that they enjoy playing with and what makes them happy.’
‘The important thing is to provide children with a range of playthings and allow them to play freely with different toys. This helps with things like decision-making skills, self-awareness, emotional wellbeing, and creativity.’
How do I stimulate my 1-year-old and start to teach them at home?
‘Whether they are bottom shuffling, crawling or walking, many children will be mobile by their first birthday,’ says Geraldine Butler, who is a health visitor and author of Teach Yourself Successful Potty Training.
Due to their increased mobility, to help occupy and stimulate your child you should keep this big developmental stage in mind when deciding on the best toys for your 1-year-old.
For example, they are less likely to want to spend lots of tummy time on a play mat and much more likely to want to start using toys that they can use supporting themselves, standing up or even moving around.
There are lots of gifts and presents for 1-year-olds out there that will support early learning at home through encouraging exploration, fostering curiosity, building relationships and exploring moral dilemmas. You can find toys like this, which will help you teach your one-year-old key skills at home, below. For slightly older children, take a look at our ideas for toys for two-year-olds and our ideas for fun gifts and toys for three-year-olds.