“From 1 to 2 years old, babies become ‘big kids’ — walking and talking. They increasingly want to do more for themselves and enjoy toys that give them a sense of independence and mastery. Think about stacking rings, simple knob puzzles, chunky toy cars and trains, big balls to toss, roll, kick and throw, and push-toys they can move,” says Rebecca Parlakian, the senior director of programs at Zero to Three.
The Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds
Cake Blocks by PlanToys
These blocks have no prescribed way to use them: There's no right way or wrong way to stack them, pile them up, or line them up. Blocks are wonderful starter toys, for that very reason. Kids learn about the concept of gravity, when they topple over. And they work on their motor skills.
Buy Now $30.00
First Shapes Learning Puzzle by Hape
So simple and so perfect: Kids' problem solving skills get a nice workout as they try to fit the correct shapes into the correct openings.
Buy Now $17.99
Kitchen Play Set by Hape
Children learn by watching and doing. And this wood kitchen lets them hone their motor skills as they make breakfast or lunch by stirring what's in the pot.
Buy Now $21.95
Wild Animal Playset by PlanToys
These whimsical figures, which represent so many members of the animal kingdom, are sized just right for little hands. And they leave it up to your 1 year old to create pretend words where blue elephants have dinner with pink dolphins.
Buy Now $24.95
Magnetic Game of Emotions by Janod
These cards help children with social-emotional learning, as they match the expressions on kids' faces with the corresponding feelings.
Buy Now $24.99
Fill & Spill by Melissa & Doug
Children love to take stuff out of a bag and put it back into a bag. And these soft balls, which rattle or jingle, Iare easy for them to manage. In doing so, they learn to problem-solve, as they maneuver the ball in and out and in and out.
Buy Now $19.99
Wood Bead Maze by Hape
This classic bead maze helps children work on their hand-eye coordination, learn to recognize shapes and colors, and grasp the basic concept of gravity and movement.
Buy Now $59.16
Sesame Street Colors with Elmo Magnetic Tiles by CreateOn
It's a mashup of two great concepts: Sesame Street and magnetic tiles. Kids play with Elmo, Big Bird, and Oscar while learning about shapes, numbers, colors, and building whatever their imaginations dream up.
Buy Now $39.95
Musical Chicken Toy by Manhattan Toy
Kids practice motor skills and learn cause-and-effect when they discover all the ways in which bird makes music — hidden away in this veritable Trojan chicken are a maraca, xylophone, guiro-like notched and textured surfaces, saddle-blanket clackers, wooden mallets, blocks and whirling gears.
Buy Now $39.99
Wooden Beehives Sorting Game by PlanToys
Kids work on their fine motor skills, and their color recognition, as they use the pincers to put each bee in its respective hive.
Buy Now $30.00
Dancing Butterfly Toy by Hape
Not only is this toy colorful and fun, but it also helps kids develop their coordination, balance, and motor skills.When kids push the toy, butterflies spin around. Kids learn about cause and effect, and burn off some energy.
Buy Now $22.39
First Shapes Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzle by Melissa & Doug
A bright and engaging wood knob puzzle, this one teaches kids about shapes and colors while also helping them with their motor skills.
Buy Now $21.88
Hoot the Fine Motor Owl by Learning Resources
This bird teaches kids about shapes and colors, and helps hone their fine motor skills. They'll grab his spinning eyes, squeak his beak, and put coins in his slot. Once they figure out this last trick, they can flap his wings and let him hoot up a storm.
Buy Now $10.32
Math Monster Scale Toy by Hape
This funky monster teaches kids about gravity, weight, balance, and velocity as they place the various weights on the scale.
Buy Now $31.95
Baby Stella Baby Doll by Manhattan Toy
Dolls are nurturing toys, teaching kids how to care for something. This 15 inch doll is soft, cuddly, and more diverse than the mostly all-white offerings out there. The pacifier is magnetic, and she has removable and interchangeable doll outfits and diapers.
Buy Now $35.99
Textured Multi Ball Set by Infantino
Kids toss these textured balls, which help develop their senses, and learn all about movement and their own physicality.
Buy Now $12.74
Dune Buggy Pull Toy by Green Toys
This is a pull toy that's handsome, promotes activity in kids, and is built to last — a combination that can't be beat. But it's also responsible: It’s made from recycled plastic milk jugs, which is something every parent can feel good
Buy Now $19.95
Stacking Cars by Melissa & Doug
These chunky toy cars teach kids about motion. These bright cars are stackable, and have wheels that are easy for little hands to maneuver.
Buy Now $7.78
Fruit Set by Plan Toys
Real world toys like this gorgeous fruit set help kids make sense of what they see around them. Not to mention, pretend toys encourage, you guessed it, pretend play. As kids serve up pretend meals.
Buy Now $24.99
Sensory Tray by Tender Leaf Toys
The four simple solid-wood blocks on this shape-sorting tray offer kids a surprisingly rich world of possibilities — each block looks different, engaging curious kids with color and musicality, stimulating sensory learning.
Buy Now $19.99
Dump Truck Puzzle by Green Toys
This four-piece puzzle is made from recycled milk jugs — which means, 100 percent safe recycled plastic (no BPA, phthalates, or PVC). It's also dishwasher-safe. With colorful, chunky puzzle pieces, it's a perfect first puzzle for a 1-year-old.
Buy Now $19.83
Mix & Match Sesame Street Friends Wooden Stacking Toy by Bright Starts
If your kid loves Elmo, this stacking toy will be your child's favorite for a long time to come and will help him or her learn about shapes and colors.
Buy Now $9.99
Stainless-Steel Pots & Pans Play Set by Melissa & Doug
Pretend play gets a real-life twist with toy pots and pans that have the look and feel of the real thing. Whether they're used as metal drums or wooden-block carriers or in a play kitchen, to cook up some felt-and-velcro veggies, a kitchen play set launches years of edifying, screen-free fun. This stain-steel set includes a colander, pot with lid, two pans, two wooden utensils, and a rack.
Buy Now $24.79
My First Number Train by Lego Duplo
A wonderful, modular set of blocks that teaches kids problem-solving as they figure out for themselves how things fit together.
Buy Now $16.82
Stacking Cups by Green Toys
You can go super high-tech with toys, but we love this back-to-basics stacking cup set, which encourages motor skills. It's a surefire winner. Kids can scoop and pour water, build towers and forts by turning the cups upside down, or just sort the cups by size.
Buy Now $8.20
Ball Hammer Toy by Top Bright
One year olds match each brightly-colored ball to its designated slot. The hammer toys help promote hand-eye coordination and improves dexterity. Plus, it lets kids bang stuff while learning their colors.
Buy Now $19.99
Pull and Sing Puppy by VTech
A more electronic take on the traditional pull toy. This canine plays more than 60 songs and has a light-up nose to keep your child's attention focused. It helps teach numbers and colors, too.
Buy Now $21.75
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.
How to Watch ABC's New 20/20 John Lennon Special
12 Truths About Life After Divorce, According to Divorced Dads
The Best Pregnant-Couple Halloween Costumes
Map Shows Only D.C., Puerto Rico Requiring Complete Distance Learning
The post The Best Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds appeared first on Fatherly.