It’s amazing how quickly babies learn and grow when they get around the 1-year mark. The way they used to play completely changes and you can start to see the analyzing, understanding, and imagination come out. Toys that would have been too advanced a month ago are now favorites. As a first time mom, I often find myself surprised at how quickly he picks things up. It’s a super fun age but buying toys for a 1-year-old can be challenging with so many options out there. These are our favorites and the best toys for 1-year-old boys and girls (including some oddball things he loves from around the house).
Best Toys for 1-Year-Old Boys and Girls
Once babies and toddler are walking they outgrow a lot of the toys they used to love. Playmats are now obsolete, exersaucers are probably too confining and stationary toys like suction cups are less entertaining. Luckily, our exersaucer turns into a play table which is great and something to always think about when buying the larger, more expensive items. It’s often worth it to spend a little more money to get a toy that will last a few extra years.
It’s also great to have a toy rotation so you don’t have to always buy new toys when your kids get bored playing with the same ones. We have 2 “sets” of toys, one he’s currently playing with and one that’s put away. We switch sets every few months (or just when you see them getting bored) and it’s like buying a bunch of new toys without spending any money. We’ve done this from the beginning and it’s allowed us to have a lot less stuff lying around the house, which I LOVE.
Our Favorite 1-Year-Old Toys for Toddlers
Poke A Dot Books
We discovered these poke a dot books with our second son and he LOVES them! We have 2 large books and a 1 small book that is easier to take with places. Lots of options for theme and story. You’re sure to find one your kiddo loves! Our favorites are the A-Z Dinosaur, Alphabet I Spy, and Animal Families.
Magnadoodle Drawing Board
Another thing we discovered with our second. Shocker, the Magnadoodle drawing boards we had as kids are still the best! Everyone loves playing with these, especially the 1 and 3-year-old. I love them because they can draw and color without making a mess!
Water Drawing Mat
This water drawing mat is another great option for easy and clean art! We have a small mat and a large mat. Get the large size so multiple kids can draw at once. Plus it allows for more coloring time before the whole space is used up (we have yet to have that happen on our large one).
We have lots of wooden puzzles in all styles. Alphabet, Numbers, Shapes, Animals. You name it, we have it, and they are all well-loved! The basic shapes and animals, especially the animal puzzle that makes noise, are great for younger kids 1-2. The letters and numbers are nice for older kids to start learning.
Play Kitchen and Food
Easily our youngest son’s favorite toy at age 1. The Kid Kraft play kitchen we have is small but has a lot of doors to open and places to hide things (probably the TV remote or our keys). We also have a set of play food and play dishes. The best part about this toy is that it will last the kids FOREVER. Our 4 year old still loves playing with it as well. Who knows, maybe one of them will grow up to be a famous chef!
Golf Club Set
This was hands down our oldest son’s favorite toy. We got it as a gift when he was about 11 months old and I thought it would be several months before he would really know how to use it. Wrong. Within a couple weeks he was running around the house hitting balls with the clubs. I was shocked. Maybe we have a sports genius our hands or maybe this is just a great toy for hand-eye coordination. It also helps with walking, running, and stability. He also carries around the bag and fills it with his smaller toys. This baby golf club set can keep him busy for hours every day making it one of the best toys for 1-year-old boys and girls! We also bought some extra toy golf balls because he loves it so much.
Ride-On Toys for Toddlers
We have a few ride-on toys and our son loves them all for various reasons. His favorite is his rocket ship. It’s great for younger toddlers because it has easy to grip handlebars. We also have a Jeep ride on toy that’s nice for pushing him because it has a higher back bar. This one will be great for outside in the summer. Both of these have seats that lift up and he LOVES putting things in them. He even climbs into the rocket ship like he’s riding in it. Hilarious.
We also have a ride-on bouncing and rocking horse that was mine when I was little. Our horse obsessed toddler LOVES this thing! He can’t get enough of it. This one is probably best for kids 18 months and older.
Push toys are one of the best toys for 1-year-old boys and girls because it helps develop their walking and running skills. We have had the Zebra Walker since he was about 3 months old and he still plays with it to this day. It can be pushed but it also has activities on the front that light up and sing. The newest push toy he loves is the lawn mower. It has a pull cord that makes noise and it’s a popper when pushed. It also comes with a gas can that he loves to play with on its own. You can also get push toys that blow bubbles and would be great for summertime fun in the sun!
Handheld Toys that Light Up
Anything that lights up and sings is always a favorite in our house. He loves his baby remote control and his new baby toy guitar. The remote teaches counting, colors, and opposites. The guitar plays classical music which is a nice switch from all the baby songs coming from his other toys.
I bought this latch board a while back when it was on sale and it was a bit too advanced for him at the time. I pulled it out around his first birthday and he’s been obsessed with it ever since. He loves working the various latches and opening and closing the doors. You can see the wheels turning when he’s playing with this one and mom and dad love that! Plus, it doesn’t talk so that’s a nice break for everyone (LOL).
Stacker toys for 1-year-old
We have 2 varieties of stacker toys. One is a ring stacker on a John Deer tracker trailer. It can be used as a stacker, which makes animal noises as the rings are placed in the correct order, and it’s also a “drivable” car that sings songs when you push the top. The other stacker is a more traditional cup stacker. They stack together in ROYGBIV order and can also snap together to form balls. He loves both of these toys and they are so different that recommend both toys for 1-year-old toddlers. I can see both being popular toys for a long time.
Our little people airplane is a huge hit. He loves the little people and carries them around all the time. The plane sings when you push the button on top or put the people in their “seats.” This is definitely a toy that will grow with them and can be played with for years.
Everyone loves legos so these are a no-brainer. Our son loves them and I know that love will only grow. Duplo Legos are the larger size that is perfect for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.
Little People Farm
This kid loves the little people and animals. The Little People Farm is a classic toy and it was something I had to have for my son. He loves playing with the characters now and I know he’ll grow into the farm, making it a great long-term toy! They discontinued the farm which has raised the price. The new version is called the Caring for Animals Farm and is a more affordable option. You can also get additional people and animal sets.
I’m using this term lightly. I basically mean anything with wheels that can be pushed or pulled. We have several varieties and sizes and they are all well-loved toys for 1-year-old boys and girls. Some of our favorites include: Oball cars, smart wheels playset, pull back cars, dump truck pull toy, and a car carrier.
We have a lot of balls in our house. Plastic golf balls, a mini soccer ball, hard plastic balls, fabric balls, he loves them all. As I mentioned he plays golf with them, he also kicks them and throws them (which, I know, can be a negative for some parents).
Sand and Water Table
This sand and water table is going to be a great outdoor toy in the summer. Its another one that can grow with him and will be well loved for years. It’s a really nice alternative if you don’t have a place for a large sandbox (or don’t want one). Right now, we use it inside as a toy box. We keep his Duplo Legos in one side and his smaller toys (balls, people, etc) in the other side. It’s a great way to keep our play area clean and still allow easy access to the toys. It also comes with some dinosaurs and cups that he loves!
Crash Pad for 1-year-olds
This is a must-have and one of the best “toys” for 1-year-old boys and girls. At this age, they’re probably learning to walk or run. Once they get going there is no stopping them. Our son loves to be chased around the house and always ends up flopping down on something right be for we catch him. Usually, it’s a pile of pillows, a blanket, or the hard edge of the couch. Ugh. We also spend a lot of time sitting on the floor playing with him. It didn’t take long to realize we needed a crash pad/bean bag chair. This one fit the bill perfectly. It’s super affordable (especially compared to other adult sized bean bag chairs), it’s low to the ground so our son can join us, and it’s low enough (but thick enough) to be used as a crash pad. It’s also made from super durable fabric that can be wiped clean, so it’s going to last through everything your kids throw at it! Trust me when I say, you need this.
Toddler Arm Chair
We discovered our sons love for toddler chairs when we left his portable highchair on the floor in our rec room. He pulled it over, sat it right side up and put his little butt in the chair and just sat there with us. It was adorable. Now we’re in the market for a cute kids chair and this is the one I’ve got my eye on because it’s easy to clean and our cats won’t scratch it. If you have the bean bag chair listed above it can also serve this purpose. Another win, win, win.
Play Teepee Tent for Toddlers
The teepee tent pictured above is something an older one-year-old would love. Once they know to sit in it and not plow into the walls it’s a safe and fun pre-made fort.
Slide Climber for Inside or Outside
We have a small Slide Climber inside for “outside” play in the colder months. We got it when our son was about 20 months old but he would have loved having it much earlier. It’s one of the favorite toys in our house and is used for far more than just climbing and sliding (car jump, hiding place, fort, etc.).
Unique Toys for 1-Year-Old that You Have Around the House
Some of our son’s favorite things are items we have just laying around the house (or that he finds and carries everywhere)
So weird and random. We spend a lot of time in our rec room which also happens to be the entrance from our garage. We keep our most worn shoes at the door in a shoe rack and they have become one of his favorite things (gross, I know). The funny part of this is, he always, always, always picks up the matching pair out of the heap he makes. He’ll pull them all off the rack and then dig through them for a matching pair and carry them around putting them in various places around the room. I guess the key here is a 1-year-olds ability to match things. Something I would have never thought they could do at this age.
No surprise here, toddlers love boxes. From tiny to huge, he loves them. We currently have 4 boxes of varying sizes in our play area that he carries around, fills with toys, and climbs in. He’s having fun so I’m a-okay with that.
His Duplo Legos came in a plastic bucket, and like the boxes above, he carries it around filling it with various toys. It’s one of his favorite things. Have an extra clean bucket lying around? give it a try, it will keep a 1-year-old busy for hours.
Tupperware, Plastic Bowls, and Spoons
This is a great one when you’re in a pinch. Some of the best toys for 1-year old boys and girls are things you make up when you need to keep them happy and occupied. We always bring toys when we go to other people’s houses but in a new place with new things to look at and get into they never keep him busy. If your host is comfortable with it, Tupperware cabinets, plastic bowls, and plastic utensils can keep them busy for hours. Just be prepared to clean up a mess haha!
I think we’ve all seen the video of the baby laughing hysterically at tearing paper. Well, that’s not too far off with toddlers either. They love shredding everything. Paper, tissues, TP, anything and everything. Our junk mail keeps him busy when he’s bored and I need to get a little more writing done (he may have just gotten into some important papers while writing this blog, ugh).
The Best Toys for 1-Year-Old Boys and Girls Birthdays
Our favorite toys for 1-year-olds include a wide variety of types, price points, and sizes which not only the kids love but parents love as well. If you’re looking for a gift, keep in mind the noise level. It’s always better to go with a quiet toy if it’s not your child. A gift receipt is also ALWAYS much appreciated. Kids often get multiples of the same toy or similar toys and it’s nice to give the parents an easy way to exchange.
A few really unique 1-year-old gift ideas are the Wonderbly personalized children’s books. We have 2 so far and they are well loved and so unique and special. You can read my full reviews of the books here: Wonderbly Lost My Name Personalized Children’s Book and The Birthday Thief Personalized Children’s Book by Wonderbly.
What are your favorite toys for 1-year-old boys and girls?
Share them in the comments below!
Until Next Time,