Mr. Rogers is the authority on playing. He’s credited with some of the most famous words on the matter: “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the
work of childhood.”Twelve months old is the start of new milestones. Sweet milestones, such as the first words, can be a way to balance out the stress. The best learning toys for 1-year-olds give space for these milestones to develop and grow — all at the easy pace of playtime.
Before determining which toys to stock in the playroom, it’s important to understand what’s happening with your child developmentally. Scary Mommy reached out to a board-certified pediatrician
Dr. Elissa Gonzalez Get the low-down. The Expert
Dr. Elissa González is a board-certified pediatrician.
Blue Monarch PediatricsLakeway, Texas. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Development at the University of Texas (UT), her Doctorate of Medicine and Masters of Public Health at UT Health, and a specialty of pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital through Baylor School of Medicine. She enjoys Supporting her patientsBy providing direct primary health care for all children. She is also a mother of three. 1-Year-Old Milestones for Development
As your child approaches a full 12 months of being on this earth, it feels like a monumental moment — and not just because of the time that’s passed. “By the age of 12 months, 75% of children are playing simple games, such as hide and seek with toys or peek-a-boo,” shares Dr. Gonzalez. “Most will be calling out for ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ and cruising around the furniture.”
These endearing moments come with their own challenges. “At this age, they may be experiencing the peak of stranger anxiety in public, but yearn for independence in the home. Emotionally, they are going through all the ranges of emotions of anger, frustration, happiness, sadness, and excitement… even in the same moment!”
As your child gets older, new worlds of movement and communication, emotions, emotions, and feelings will open up. “At 12 months, physically they are learning to walk, run, climb, use the stairs, and throw a ball. They are also learning to communicate a little better with single words or at least pointing their fingers to request or get your attention.”Children are able to not only learn about emotions and feelings, but they can also communicate with their parents. “expanding their problem-solving skills by stacking blocks, putting simple puzzles together or playing hide-and-seek with objects.”
What are the top learning toys for 1-year olds?
Thankfully, you don’t have to teach them alone. Toys can be used to help your child learn these milestones at their own pace. “Some toys that can help with development are simple blocks or puzzles,” reveals Dr. Gonzalez. “Toys that can be grouped together or categorized—such as colors and shapes. Placing toys inside other toys allows them to learn about shapes and sizes. Books with pictures of different emotions so they can learn what each one is and eventually know how to recognize them!”
And if your child isn’t catching on right away, it’s totally normal and expected. “One-year-olds aren’t great with rules at this time so having exploratory zones and child-proof areas will help them learn and explore freely!”
Are you ready to play? Below is a list of toys that have been approved by parents for children under one year olds.
Do you have to hurry? These are the top learning toys that one-year-olds can enjoy: The Best Stacking Rings Sassy Stacks Of Circles Ring Stackers The Best Musical Toys Oathx Baby Music Toys The Best Puzzle Set SKYFIELD Wooden Animal Puzzles The Best STEM Toys SmartMax My First Magnetic Building Dinosaur set 01 A Montessori Wooden Activity Cube For Curious Hands
There’s always something new to uncover with this
5-in-1 activity cubeIt has a bead-maze at its top, a learning clock with a friendly face, and some spinning wheels. You will also find a zigzag slide tool with cute insects. The Montessori toy was built with learning specifics in mind — namely sensory, fine-motor, and hand-eye coordination. This is a more compact activity cube than others on the market, measuring 6 by 6 by 5.9 inches (L x W x H), and while parents love the portability and affordability, some did mention that the tiny shapes could be a chocking hazard — so you’ll want to supervise closely. A helpful review “My nephew feels very accomplished when he fits the little pieces into the correct holes. He just squeals with joy! There’s a reason that these toys are found in so many pediatrician’s offices.” Recommended Age 12 months + 02 Fan-Favorite Stacking ring set
This wild and popular
Stacking ring setsYou can have fun exploring so many textures that you get both a sensory toys and a teether. The cute and colorful rings come in nine sizes. You can stack them in any way you want to make endless creations. Your 1-year-old will love taking the chunky rings apart and reloading them. This will improve fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. A helpful review: “[…] The rings have several different weights, sizes, and especially textures, which are all great to help with sensory development. The straight pole in the center is perfect as well, because it doesn’t require the rings to be stacked in a specific order. It is very colorful, and even includes rings with beads for sounds as well. It has a flat-bottom, which helps it balance better than the rounded ones, too. I [would] 100% recommend this toy to others!” Recommended Age 6-24 Months 03 The Best Musical Toys For a 1-Year-Old
Do you want to start a family band or a choir? It may be possible to get your 1-year-old to music and instruments as soon as possible. These principles will work no matter who Von Trapp is or who the Jonas Brothers might be.
cute percussion instruments will keep your kiddo’s little hands busy. This musical toy set will help your child improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination. It also includes a triangle and striker, as well as a tambourine. Plus, there’s a band bag to keep it all contained after the encore. A helpful review “My 1-year-old toddler is absolutely in love with these musical toys. She has been playing with them for the last 2-3 days, which is rare because she gets bored easily. They are small and fits perfectly in her small hands. Her favorite is the xylophone. In general, the sound isn’t too loud, which is easy on the ears for everyone else.” Recommended Age6 months to 6 year 04 A Colorful Pound A Ball Toy To Show Cause and Effect
fun toyThe hammer can be used by 1-year-olds to practice dexterity, hand eye coordination, and hand-grip. They will push the balls down the course with the hammer. Help your child match colors by matching the four balls. As the balls slide down the ramps, this will teach your child cause and effect. It’s a popular toy on Amazon, having amassed an impressive 4.6-star rating after 6,000+ reviews. Shoppers report that this is a sturdy toy, with many noting it’s still in good shape after months of use and abuse. A helpful review “I purchased this as a birthday gift for my one-year-old grandson. He really liked handling the balls and figured out how to pound or move them down the slots. His 2 and 1/2 year old brother liked it, too. It is durable and well-made and colorful. […]” Recommended Age 12 months + 05 A Wooden Ukulele With 21,000+ Ratings
If you are a
ToyIt has more than 21,000 Amazon reviews so it is well-worth having in your playroom. Give your 1-year-old the gift of music — and give your ears the gift of a toy that doesn’t make you want to remove the batteries. This adorable baby ukulele is available in play or freestyle modes. The ukulele strums to real chords so there are no clacking sounds. Either way, there won’t be any guitar smashing as this toy can withstand a few toddler-inflicted bruises.
Want to add to your LO’s musical collection? There’s also a
Piano with great touchThe same listing. A helpful review: “This is our go-to birthday gift for one and two year old birthdays. Everyone loves it. It has great sound, not grating or overly electronic in pitch. It’s a charming, well-made, and nicely interactive toy that doesn’t look or feel cheap. We have one in our own playroom and all of my children like to play with it, I have a 1 yr old, 4 yr old, and 7 yr old. The fact that it comes with color coded “sheet music”It’s a great toy that older kids can enjoy. I will continue to purchase as long as it’s available.” Recommended Age 6 to 36 Months 06 An Interactive Toy That’ll Grow With Your Kid
Rollin’ RoveeIs it a? “Smart Stage”Interactive toy that will grow with your 1-year-old. Begin by playing seated. Next, move on to a crawl chase. Then, it’s time to dance, games, and toss the ball back-and-forth. You can even sing along with the 190 sounds, phrases, and songs included. Worth the price of admission if you want a toy that’ll entice your kiddo into endless “pick-a-boo” games! A helpful review: “Wonderful toy. Well made and certainly interactive. My 1-year-old appreciates it. Has four interactive play modes that play music and have activities. Has a light-up face and soft arms that move, so it can clap, play peek-a-boo, roll over for crawl and chase play, and play with the ball. Smart Stages learning content teaches your child about the alphabet, numbers, opposites, and much more. Worth buying.” Age recommendation 6 months to 5 years 07 This Heirloom Quality Wooden Pull Toy is a great gift idea
This adorable little cutie
Dog pull toyThis makes an adorable and low-maintenance pet. The wooden puppy can play, wag and sit like the best of them. This fosters imagination as well as fine motor skills. Every movement helps your child practice dexterity and hand-eye coordination. A helpful review: “Super cute toy! I love it. The back wheels are purposefully wonky so that it makes the dog’s butt wiggle and his tail wag as he rolls around the floor. Its cute in person and the design is very impressive. It’s a simple wood toy but the design is really good so the dog can scoot in the back legs, sit up – I love how the ears slide forward when the head is down so it looks like he’s sniffing the ground, but then slide back as he looks up. Just really well made. […]” Recommended Age 12 months to 3 years 08 A Montessori Toy That’s Perfect For Practicing Fine Motor Skills
Which carrot goes in what hole? Your child will be capable of recognizing the size and using their dexterity skills, place the carrot in the right spot. It’s a
Simple toy with a big benefit —leaning on Montessori methods to teach independence and resourcefulness. Plus, it’s built to last since it’s crafted from pine wood. A helpful review: “[…]Defiantly grows with the child. Perfect for counting, sorting, size recognition and hand dexterity. Paint is very sturdy and has not come off anywhere. Wood block is sturdy and smooth to touch. We play with these constantly. I HIGHLYrecommend this product with the understanding that you need to supervise infants and toddlers .” Recommended Age 6 months and more 09 A bike that doesn’t require a pedal for toddlers who are on the go
First bike? This is the toy you’re looking for. This adorable balance bicycle is safe for children due to its features like covered wheels to protect their hands, limited steering and a low centre gravity to prevent any spills. They’ll develop balance and coordination as they roll along. This makes a great gift idea to grandparents and parents! You can choose from six sweet colours. A helpful review: “[…]I bought it for my granddaughter’s first birthday she love this. I love the concept of it as a step before a tricycle. There are no pedals so it’s easy for them to control it with their own feet. Lastly this bike is super compact so it isn’t an issue to have in the house, even if you have a small house.” Recommended Age 18 months + 10 A cute pull-back car set for going vrooom!
A good set of cars is essential for every 1-year-old to learn how things work! These are
Cute pull-back cars These cars are a great place for your child to learn fine and gross motor skills. They are lightweight and easy to pull back by your child. The set includes a police vehicle, a firetruck, a family vehicle, and a school bus. All items can be easily packed into their own bags. They’re so portable, you just might want to take them on the road for a real-life car toy to make longer road trips more manageable. A helpful review: “My kids LOVE these cars! And they can both play with them! I love toys that both my 2.5 year old and 10 monthold can both handle and use and these are perfect! These cars are even a hit with our kid’s friends!” Age recommendation 9 months and more 11 A Collection Of Stacking Stones That You’ll Actually Allow Inside
What is it that kids love about rocks? We say go with it — in the form of this colorful
Collection of stacking stonesThese carpets can be used in many ways, including building and playing. You won’t find dirt particles in the carpet. These colorful Montessori rocks blocks are lightweight and heavy, making it easy to stack. Learn how to stack them to learn basic geometry, spatial skills and balance. A helpful review “These are simple and durable wood blocks. These stacking rocks prove toys can be aesthetically pleasing and equally fun to play with. Our kids love being creative and building with these, and I enjoy stacking with them too. The odd shapes lead to a higher level of spacial creativity and thinking. This is a toddler toy you don’t feel compelled to throw in the closet because they are really beautiful.” Age recommendation 12 months or longer 12 An Interactive Mushroom Garden For Innovative Play
This is a loved and beloved and
Award-winning toyIt’s more than meets your eye. Simply push down on the mushrooms to make the garden spin and delight. You can choose between four modes that encourage logic, concentration problem solving, dexterity, memory, and problem solving. It even comes with the three AAA batteries that are required to make it run. A helpful review: “I bought this for my grandson who is one. But the two year old loves it too. It’s great for teaching different skills, which is why I opted for it but it’s also good fun with the voices and the music. The mushrooms are just right for small hands- not massive nor too small for them to choose the correct one. It doesn’t take up loads of space and can be tidied away easily. It came with batteries-always a plus- and was very well received as a present. There is an on/off button so no wasting of battery. Well-constructed and would definitely recommend it” Recommended Age 12 months to 5 Years 13 A high-quality learning package that includes books, toys and other materials.
Learning boxIt is filled with tools that will stimulate imagination, improve memory skills and introduce vocabulary and language. Each box contains two tear-resistant boardsbooks, a laminated poster with the first word, a simple boardgame suitable for 1-year-olds, as well as a Rhyming Card. A set of animal-face masks that can be used for storytelling, role-playing, and story-telling. The box was created by parents, so it’s no wonder reviewers rave over the entire set. A helpful review: “gifted to my son for his birthday. We LOVE IT! he is so happy and its educational so its a great way to start teaching them animalsounds and their first words.” Recommended Age 12 months or more 14 A Dinosaur STEM Toy to help budding engineers
first engineering toy? You can do whatever you want. This STEM set provides kids with the tools they need to build, explore, and play with their animals. You can mix and match 14 magnetic pieces. You can choose from sets with dinosaurs, farm animals, or safari animals as well as trains, tractors, and tractors. Tip: This toy is great to keep little hands busy while on road trips. A helpful review: “These are so cool and I’m so happy to have found something like this. My 19 monthold daughter loves these and even my 3 year old has done some pretty creative things with these that surprised me. You can mix and match all the heads, butts and the middle magnet pieces for all sorts of creative fun. Definitely recommend” Recommended Age 12 months to 5 Years 15 A Ball Pit That’s Perfect For Baby’s 1st Birthday & Beyond
This is the perfect gift for a first birthday. The cute
Ball pit with zoo themeThis set includes 20 balls for little ones to get them started. A world of imagination awaits, and as they catch and throw the balls, they’ll be working on hand-eye coordination. Helping others CleanBy rolling up the balls, they will learn valuable life skills. The quick pop-up design makes setup a breeze and it stores away flat so you don’t need a ton of space for this one. A helpful review: “I got this as a 1st birthday gift for my son and he absolutely loves it! It is very easy to climb in and out of, sets up and folds away very easy, and it is big enough for two kids to play in comfortably. The balls it comes with are very soft and easy for little hands to hold.” Age recommendation 12 months or longer 16 Popular stacking toy
Stack, sort and organize. This colorful project offers many learning opportunities.
peg board set.This Montessori favorite offers many learning opportunities to your 1-year-old. The pegs can be inserted into each other to build towers. Each set contains 30 pieces in total, in six colors, as well as one foam board. All of it can fit in the storage bag. A helpful review: “My baby loves this toy and always find a new way to use the peg board. Develops manipulating skills and imagination.” Age recommendation 18 months or more 17 A Sensory Toy that Enchants Parents
Every once in a while a toy comes along that even a parent can’t help but explore. These toys are
Pop tube sensory toysThey are mysteriously addictive. The brightly colored toys encourage calm, contemplative play. Tip: Keep a few toys inside the glove box for fussy children. While the manufacturer recommended age is 3, you’ll find that younger toddlers will enjoy simply stretching them out and giggling over the fun sound that makes. A helpful review: “I am a teacher for children birth to three years of age with specialneeds. I purchased these to use in sensory play to work on hand strength and fine motor skills or to be used as fidgets. I love the bright colors and they were very reasonably priced. They are a favorite with the little ones and safe if they put them in their mouth.” Recommended Age 3 years or longer 18 A charming wooden puzzle set to keep your children’s attention
The puzzle is a classic game that can be used to teach and play. This set of four colorful puzzles makes it easy to teach.
animal puzzlesIt’s a fun way for children to enjoy the satisfaction of solving puzzles. Puzzles can improve attention span and problem-solving skills. Puzzles can be used as a way to solve problems. mightEven if you don’t have the time, you can still brew a cup. A helpful review: “These are the perfect puzzles for your little learner. super colorful and good for littleones to have fun with. they also come with a cute little carry storage bag.” Recommended Age 12 months to 3 years 19 A Set Of Crayons That Won’t Destroy Your House
Use twistable crayons are nontoxic, easy to grip, and there’s not a wrapper to be slowly torn off in sight. Fans love the smooth glide. The wrapper can be twisted if the color runs dry. Plus, when kiddos turn to the table or the wall or the couch as a canvas, you’ll rest easy knowing every scribble will wash right off. As your kiddo gets more skilled as gripping the crayon, they’ll also be working on important fine motor skills. A helpful review: “These crayons are amazing. Silky smooth with no resistance to write with, saturated pigmentation, and clean off of almost anything (except grout and the white plastic tray of kiddo’s walker). […] We’ve had them since kiddo was 14 monthsold and she’s almost 19 monthsold now and loves them even more. And can spout off colors like “peach!” “teal!”” Recommended Age 1 to 4 Years 20 3-Pack of Drawing paper for Creative Little Minds
There comes a time when odd pieces of computer paper, old bills, and notepads just won’t cut it. This is how it looks
Three-pack of drawing pad padsIt’s perfect to keep on hand when you feel the creative urge. And take it from us — the way toddlers rip through page after page after page — you’ll be happy you bought them in bulk. And remember, as they create masterpiece after masterpiece, they’re working on key fine motor skills. A helpful review: “Great drawing pads for our toddler. We mostly use with crayons. Have tried finger paints and will hold up as long as it doesn’t get too saturated with paint. I like that it came in a pack of 3.” Recommended Age 36 months to 5 years 21 A 6-Pack Of Finger Paints For Baby’s First Masterpiece
Finger paint is messy, and sure you’ll have to supervise, but it’s
Fun. It is a joy to hear your child’s delight when they spread their first color across a page. Crayola’s washable paint setBright colors (washable) are available for tactile, vibrant joy. Flip-top lids keep things clean and prevent them getting too messy. A helpful review: “This is an awesome purchase for those with 12+mth babies. The product is nontoxic and easy to use. The colors were vibrant and attractive to my little one, and was easy to wash off after use. I bought the finger paint paper to go with this as regular paper would become water logged too quickly.” Recommended Age 12 months and beyond Expert: Dr. Elissa Gonzalez, board-certified pediatrician at Blue Monarch Pediatrics HeyAre you ready to find out more? Subscribe to Scary Mommy’s daily email newsletter for more stories from trenches