The best toys for 1 year olds in 2024: 20 tried and tested buys

The best toys for 1 year olds are fun, engaging to play with and highly supportive of this key stage in your baby’s development

The best toys for 1 year olds include a rocking horse, wooden rainbow stacker and musical piano
(Image credit: Future)

Stimulate, educate, and delight with our pick of the best toys for one-year-olds.

Celebrations are in order — you've got yourself a one-year-old. But what are the best toys for this all-important age? And, whether you're browsing for toy deals, shopping for the top Christmas toys, or just looking for inspiration for the toy box, what should you get your not-so-little baby?

At the tender age of one, babies go through some pretty key developmental milestones. Maybe they're on the move. Or perhaps they're taking their first steps. At the grand old age of one, babies are excited to explore the world around them and see, touch and taste it too. Therefore, choosing toys for one-year-olds isn’t just about investing in items that will keep your baby's attention. It's also important to pick toys that will help them grow, learn and develop. 

For example, toys like the best baby walkers, which encourage your one-year-old to move, are ideal as they make sure playtime is practical and fun. As do ride-on vehicles or prams which help them practice walking, and playing happy families. 

But the best toys for one-year-olds can also hone their creativity skills, test their self-awareness, and emotional wellbeing, and better their grip. We say this because at this age, your baby is learning how to master their 'pincer grip' — the action of picking up small objects between their thumb and index finger. It might sound small, but this is a skill that will eventually help them to use a pencil or crayon at school. Stacking and nesting toys can be a great way to help develop this skill.

So, to help you choose the best toys for one-year-olds, we've compiled a list of the top-rated toys to help mark the occasion. 

How we chose and tested these toys

Why you can trust GoodtoKnow. Our experienced Consumer Editor & parent reviewers spend hours testing products to help you make the best choice. Find out how we test and review products.

We went on the hunt for the best toys for one-year-olds and tested them out with a team of toddlers to make sure they are products that little ones will love. You can read more about how we test and review products but here's what we took into consideration when shortlising the best toys for 1 year olds:

  • So that you can easily find the best playtime buys to suit your 12-month-old, we have included sensory toys, toys to encourage physical development, and options that encourage role-play too. 
  • We also picked products with a range of different aesthetics, from wooden toys that will look fantastic on the nursery shelf, to colourful toys with light and musical features that your child won't tire of - and which won't drive you mad! 

Best toys for one-year-olds in 2024

Bugsy Rocking Horse - £75 | Mamas & PapasGood for:Age suitability: Batteries required:RRP:

Bugsy Rocking Horse - £75 | Mamas & Papas
Good for:
Movement and balance | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £75

A rocking horse is a traditional classic that makes the perfect 1st birthday present that can be enjoyed for years to come. With its super soft fur, neutral colour palette, and adorable face, this cute rocking horse toy brings a modern twist to the age-old nursery staple. Our mini tester loved rocking on it. And its hidden surprises (a hidden bell in one ear and a rattle in the other) provided hours of entertainment. 

Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio - £38.99 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability:Batteries required:RRP:

Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio - £38.99 | Amazon

Good for: Sounds and listening | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: Yes |RRP: £39.99

Bring on some mega-cute dancing moments with this DJ Mix & Spin Studio from Hape. The portable DJ studio can be used in a variety of ways to bring a smile to your little one’s face. They can either play the keyboard solo with one of four instrument sounds or 18 sound effects, or you can turn on one of the five background tunes, using the tempo slider to change the speed and add DJ sound effects. Our little one absolutely loved the music provided within this compact studio, while we loved how portable it is, making it ideal for bringing on holidays. 

Play Kit Subscription | LoveveryGood for: Age suitability:Batteries required:RRP:

Play Kit Subscription | Lovevery

Good for: Developmental play | Age suitability: 0+ | Batteries required: No | RRP: Kit prices vary

If you want to take the guesswork out of what your child will enjoy playing with, a Lovevery Play Kit subscription is the answer. There are 14 play kits sent out to you when your child reaches different ages, with each kit supporting children’s learning during crucial developmental windows. The toys look beautiful and are built to last, made with sustainable wood, organic cotton and non-toxic paint. Each kit also comes with a play guide, which lets parents know why each toy has been included in the subscription. 

While it may not be cheap, it was plain to see how much our little tester instantly loved her Babbler Play Kit, aimed for months 13, 14 and 15: She spent a good hour playing with the carrot coin bank, with the other included toys also fascinating her and keeping her occupied and happy over the days of testing. 

Infantino Mini Me Pretend Gift Set - £17.90 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

Infantino Mini Me Pretend Gift Set - £17.90 | Amazon

Good for:
Roleplay | Age suitability: 12m+ | Batteries required: Yes |RRP: £24

It’s an age-old question: why are one-year-olds so obsessed with their parents’ keys and phones? If you’re trying to distract your little one with literally anything else, this Mini Me Pretend Gift Set from Infantino is a little pretend flip phone and keys that make realistic noises and play songs too and are guaranteed to be a whole lot more fun than your actual phone and keys. Our tester adored playing with both of these gadgets, and they’re small enough to chuck into your handbag for hours of entertainment on days out. 

Chad Valley Babies to Love Wooden Dolls Pram - £20 | ArgosGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required:RRP:

Chad Valley Babies to Love Wooden Dolls Pram - £20 | ArgosGood for: Early imaginative play | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £20

Our little tester fell head over heels in love with this adorable Chad Valley Babies to Love Wooden Dolls Pram. Whether your little one is already walking or not, the sturdy wooden composition of this pretty pram will encourage standing and walking, while the design will stand out in nurseries and playrooms. Our tester loved pushing her collection of dolls and cuddly toys in this pram. A beautiful, well-made toy that will last for years. 

Galt Toys Shape Shorter Train - £22.99 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

Galt Toys Shape Shorter Train - £22.99 | Amazon

Good for:
Shape-sorting and colour-matching | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: Yes | RRP: £22.99

Your child will be learning all sorts of new things as they hit the big one-year milestone, and you might be surprised by how impressively they’re able to match colours and shapes. Our little one was fascinated by this Shape Sorter Train from Galt Toys, and loved sorting the wooden blocks by colour and shape, as well as using the magnets to drag the train along the floor. Plus, the quality wooden toy looks great on the nursery shelf. 

Wooden Rainbow Stacker - £15 | John LewisGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required:RRP:

Wooden Rainbow Stacker - £15 | John Lewis
Good for:
Stacking and sorting | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £15

If you’re loath to have brightly coloured plastic all over your home, but want to invest in high-quality and aesthetically beautiful toys, you can’t do better than this stunning Wooden Rainbow Stacker from John Lewis. In beautiful pastel shades, the toy is made of six pieces that look great when stacked on the shelf, but most importantly, are also fun and educational for children to play with. Our little tester enjoyed stacking them and organising them by size and colour, and it comes beautifully presented in recyclable packaging too, making it an ideal gift. 

CocoMelon Bedtime JJ Doll - £28.65 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required:RRP:

CocoMelon Bedtime JJ Doll - £28.65 | Amazon

Good for:
Language development | Age suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: Yes | RRP: £29

If you’re a parent to a one-year-old, chances are that the CocoMelon soundtrack is permanently etched into your brain - and that of your toddler’s too. This JJ plush toy, inspired by the hit series, says seven sounds and phrases when you press his tummy, and also plays the “Yes Yes Bedtime” song to hopefully make the bedtime process a little bit smoother. Our little one loved singing along, carrying the doll around and pushing his tummy on repeat.

Wooden Kitchen Set - £91 | The White CompanyGood for: Age suitability:Batteries required:RRP:

Wooden Kitchen Set - £91 | The White Company

Good for:
Role play and pretending | Age suitability: 3+ | Batteries required: No | RRP: £91

A nursery staple, a toy kitchen is a really special gift to invest in for your little one - and this gorgeous pastel green wooden kitchen from The White Company is an aesthetic beauty rather than an eyesore. The kitchen comes with everything your little chef will need for his or her kitchen, including pots, pans, utensils and even salt, pepper and a clock. Our mini cook loved pretending to cook on the stove and turning the control knobs. We also liked that you can store extra toys within its shelves, perfect for hassle-free cleaning up after playing. A classic, beautifully-made toy that encourages imagination and creativity, and that your child will enjoy playing with for years to come. 

Halilit Baby’s First Birthday Band - £16.99 | AmazonGood for:Age suitability:Batteries required:RRP:

Halilit Baby’s First Birthday Band - £16.99 | Amazon

Good for:
Motor skills and creativity | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £23.50

Life with toddlers is never quiet, so embrace the chaos with the Halilit Baby's First Birthday Band Gift Set. The set includes five delightfully noisy shakers, such as a rattle roller, ocean drum and a baby maraca, which make a variety of sounds to thrill your toddler, and which aim to teach motor skills, coordination and creativity. Our little one loved shaking each rattle to make different sounds and enjoyed using them as teethers too. 

Wheelybug Ride On Bee - £69.95 | BootsGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

Wheelybug Ride On Bee - £69.95 | Boots

Good for:
Balance and co-ordination | Age suitability: 1-3 years | Batteries required: No | RRP: £69.95

Life is never the same once your baby becomes a toddler - so help them on their journey of mobility by buying them a developmental toy such as this Wheelybug ride-on bee. Coming with multi-directional wheels, the toy enables your child to push it around, and when they get more confident with the way it moves, to ride it around in all sorts of directions: forward, backwards, side to side or round and round. We loved the quality of the plywood base and the padded body, while our little tester really liked pushing the bee, poking its antennae and expanding her range of movements by riding it. 

LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot - £27 | AsdaGood for:  | Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

LeapFrog Choppin’ Fun Learning Pot - £27 | Asda

Good for:
Learning colours | Age suitability: 12 - 36 months | Batteries required: Yes | RRP: £27

If your toddler is fascinated by what you get up to in the kitchen, gift them their very own mini cooking set in the form of this LeapFrog Choppin' Fun Learning Pot. The set comes with four plastic vegetables, with a toy knife to cut them in half, while four buttons on the pot reveal their names, colours and recipes. There are loads of realistic cooking sounds, bright colours and catchy songs along with each button, and our little tester was kept thoroughly entertained by this toy.  

Hape My First Balance Bike - £50.83 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability:Batteries required: RRP:

Hape My First Balance Bike - £50.83 | Amazon

Good for:
Gross motor skills and core stability | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £55

Every child remembers when they first learned to ride a bike, so encourage your child to get comfortable with the concept earlier than most with the My First Balance Bike from Hape. This beautifully designed mint green balance bike is ideal for toddlers just getting to grips with being able to move around, with lightweight construction, flexible wheels and adjustable seat. The bike encourages muscle coordination and development while promoting balance, and our child was happy to instantly jump on board and give riding it a go. It’s super easy to put together and indoor-friendly, too, making it an ideal gift.

Baby Walker with Bright Wooden Blocks - £29.99 | The Entertainer

Baby Walker with Bright Wooden Blocks - £29.99 | The Entertainer

Good for: Balance, co-ordination and spatial awareness | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: No | RRP: £29.99

It can be stressful as parents watching our toddlers take their tentative first steps, and inevitable first tumbles too. That’s why toys such as this baby walker with bright wooden blocks from the Early Learning Centre are such a great idea, as they encourage physical development, offer support for those precarious first steps and are fun to play with too. Our little one enjoyed practising her rapidly developing walking skills while pushing this around, and during quieter times, loved building towers out of the included colourful wooden blocks too. 

VTech 3-in-1 Sports Centre - £39.99 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

VTech 3-in-1 Sports Centre - £39.99 | Amazon

Good for:
Physical development and coordination | Age suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: 3x AA RR | RRP: £39.99

It’s never too early to encourage a love of sports, and this interactive, colourful toy is a good place to start. It was an instant hit with our toddler tester, who adored the three challenges it presents: shooting a basket, scoring a goal or hitting the target. There are so many features to discover within one toy, including four fun songs, 18 melodies and three colourful buttons that teach kids shapes, colours and objects. A brilliant, multi-faceted toy that does everything from teaching numbers and shapes to encouraging fine motor skills. 

Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker - £59.99 |Amazon Good for: Age Suitability: Batteries required:RRP:

Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker - £59.99 |Amazon 

Good for:
Balance and coordination | Age Suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: None | RRP: £59.99

A durable walker such as the Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker features plenty of activities to keep toddlers entertained. It is ideal for helping 1 year olds take their first steps. With a spinning cage rattle, mini abacus, spinning mirror and matching blocks there’s plenty to stimulate young minds. 'I like the fact that this is made from wood and makes a change from some of the bright plastic designs you can buy,' says Gemma, mum to Oliver and Sienna. 'I've decided to keep hold of it as it makes a lovely keepsake.'

SMARTMAX SMX230 Construction Toy - £20.99 | AmazonGood for: Age Suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

SMARTMAX SMX230 Construction Toy - £20.99 | Amazon

Good for:
Fine motor skills | Age Suitability: 18 months + | Batteries required: Yes | RRP: £21

My First Totem has picked up multiple awards for innovation and is 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.

Once they get a little older, you can upgrade onto the Smartmax Megaball Run. It comes with 71 pieces that include tubes and X-shaped bars with 4 magnetic ends. This makes it a little more challenging.

Mega Bloks DCH55 Big Building Bag - £19.42 | AmazonGood for: Age Suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

Mega Bloks DCH55 Big Building Bag - £19.42 | Amazon

Good for:
Hand-eye coordination | Age Suitability: 12 months + | Batteries required: None | RRP: £19.42

This set contains 80 multi-coloured building blocks with shapes that are perfect for little hands. It's designed to encourage hands-on play for early childhood development. And, they can be combined with other Mega Bloks sets too and kids can build towers as tall as they like. 

The colourful finishes makes the set that much more enticing as kids can build and knock down their constructions to their hearts content. 'We've had so many hours of play out of Mega Bloks set,' says Emily, mum to Bethany and William. 'Much like Duplo in that fact that the blocks are great for little hands of under-5s, it gave my kids endless opportunity to get creative in their play.'

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy - £20 | AmazonGood for:Age Suitability:Batteries required: RRP:

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy - £20 | AmazonGood for: Language and listening | Age Suitability: 6 months + | Batteries required: Yes | RRP: £20

All little kids love huggable presents. And this Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Puppy provides the opportunity to do just that. On board there are 75+ songs, sounds, tunes and phrases the bear can play. The bear's hand, foot, ear and heart all light up to respond to the baby's touch, all designed to encourage a 1-year-old to say their first words.

'You can’t really beat Fisher Price baby toys,' says GoodtoKnow consumer editor and mum Heidi Scrimgeour says. 'They are fun and educational and great value for money. What’s more, babies love them!'

ELC Sensory Stacking Rings - £21.60 | AmazonGood for: Age suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

ELC Sensory Stacking Rings - £21.60 | Amazon

Good for:
Hand-eye coordination | Age suitability: 6-12 months | Batteries required: None | RRP: £21

This classic toy has lots of textures to explore and is great for problem-solving. It's also ideal for stimulating the senses and developing hand-to-eye coordination. The fun, colourful giraffe will delight your little one during playtime. 'While this is such a simple toy, it is no doubt get played with time and time again,' says Emily, mum to Bethany and William. 'I've seen many versions of this stackable toy online. This design is one of my favourites as I love the giraffe-themed pattern.'

Personalised Doll - £26 | My 1st YearsGood for: Age Suitability: Batteries required: RRP:

Personalised Doll - £26 | My 1st Years

Good for:
Roleplay | Age Suitability: From birth | Batteries required: None | RRP: £26

Children love to mimic what they see around them. Looking after and caring for their very own ‘baby’ is definitely a popular activity for kids, which is why this toy makes a great gift for a 1 year old. My 1st Years Personalised Rag Doll in Gingham Dress is soft and machine washable. What we love most about it is that it can be personalised, making it a lovely idea for a present for a 1 year old. 'My kids loved to put their dollies in the toy buggy and walking around and around the house,' says Gemma, mum to Oliver and Sienna. 'This rag doll makes a nice change from plastic baby dolls, and the fact that it can be personalised with your child's name makes for a nice touch.'

Toys for 1 year olds - how do children develop at this stage?

At this age, you may notice 1 year olds want the remote control, the dog’s water bowl, or a set of car keys. They want 'non-toy toys'. These non-toy toys are great, too. As a parent, everything you’re doing with your child is helping them to develop - from jangling your keys as they reach out, to giving them a pan and a wooden spoon. You know your baby better than anyone else.

In addition, Dr. Laverne Antrobus, a child psychologist who teamed up with kids toy giant Hasbro to remind us; “While for most adults, ‘work’ and ‘play’ are separate pursuits, for children play is their work – instead of being just a fun break, it is in fact how they learn, both about the world and themselves.” 

Gross Motor Skills

The NHS defines Gross Motor Skill as ‘the big skills’, they use the big muscles. They require balance and coordination and include a variety of big movements in play, such as running, jumping, hopping, crawling, climbing, kicking, pushing and pulling. Most 1-year-olds can sit without leaning on anything, crawl on hands and knees, pull to standing and coast between furniture. 

The best toys for 1-year-olds working on their gross motor skills are;

Ride-on toys, pull-along toys, balancing or crawling-through toys

Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor skills are the opposite, using smaller muscles for little things. Picking up small objects between their thumb and index finger; this is known as the ‘pincer grip’. Children are either completely walking by their first birthday or getting there. Whether that’s bottom shuffling, crawling or walking. They will want to explore more of the world outside the play mat.

They will likely want to start using toys that will help support themselves, stand up or even move around - such as walkers.

“All toys can help a child’s development,” says child psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer. “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.”

In order to engage a baby/toddler they have to feel challenged but also to feel triumphant with some aspects of what they are playing with. Toys to support early learning at home – encourage exploration, curiosity and decision making.

The best toys for 1-year-olds to enhance fine motor skills are;

Stacking rings, nesting toys, stringing toys, pom poms and tongs

The best toys for 1 year olds - our consumer editor's verdict

In our roundup, one of the standout products is the Mamas and Papas Bugsy Rocking Horse. 'It feels incredibly soft, looks fantastic in the nursery or playroom and is an instant hit with toddlers, who enjoy stroking its fur, making it rattle, and, of course, rocking it back and forth,' says our Consumer Editor Heidi Scrimgeour.

For musical tots, we'd highly recommend the DJ Mix & Spin Studio from Hape, which provided our little tester with hours of adorable dancing fun. 'It plays songs that will not only delight little ones but that adults will enjoy too - an important consideration when you think about how often you'll be listening to these tunes on repeat!' 

Another big hit is the Lovevery Play Kit Subscription. You can either sign up for the full subscription or buy individual kits based on your child's exact age, explains Heidi. 'It was fascinating to see how much our testers adored playing with these toys for hours on end, which have clearly been cleverly chosen to appeal to specific developmental stages.'

While you're looking for the best toys for one-year-olds, you might also like the best toy for 18-month-olds, the best toys for two-years-olds and the best toys for three-year-olds. We've also got a guide to the best Frozen toys .

Heidi Scrimgeour
Deputy Editor

As a parenting specialist for more than 15 years, Heidi has written for most national newspapers and for a wide range of consumer magazines, including Mother & Baby where she was the Shopping Editor for six years, looking after regular consumer features including buying guides and gift roundups.

With contributions from