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Best Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds

Donna Freydkin

So your child is 1 now. We know it’s a major milestone, and at this age, according to the CDC, he or she plays simple games like peek-a-boo, can wave bye, and say simple words. Your child will shake, bang, and throw toys and objects, and will drink from a cup or brush his or her hair. They’ll put things in and take them out of a container. And, of course, your child has likely started walking!  So naturally, you want gifts for your one year old that help his or her development.

Picking out great toys for 1-year-olds takes some thought. You want something safe and sturdy. You want something that’s fun, without blowing mom and dad’s eardrums. And you want something affordable, because kids aren’t cheap. These are the best toys and gifts for your 1-year-old.

Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth

This performing sloth claps its hands and bobs its head when listening to songs and music, and helps one year olds learn about cause and effect.

Buy Now $22.99

Yes, that’s right, a dancing sloth. Kids press the buttons on the sloth’s feet to hear songs and phrases about the alphabet, numbers, opposites, and colors. 

Hape Push & Pull Lawn Mower Toy

So this doesn't actually mow your lawn, we're sad to say. But it does help kids develop their coordination, balance, and motor skills.

Buy Now $23.00

When kids pull this lawnmower, they run around on the grass and pretend to mow it. Colorful blocks clack to sound like something resembling a lawnmower. Fun is had.

Baby Einstein Symphony Gears Musical Gear Toddler Toy

You may have the next Lin-Manuel Miranda on your hands. This symphony gears toy mixes music and self-discovery. Kids play with the gears, see lights, and hear new sounds every time. And oh yes, there's a volume control setting.

Buy Now $24.99

Kids stack the gears to hear new sounds. And they learn cause and effect, too.

TOP BRIGHT Ball Hammer Toy

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 $18.99

What’s more fun than banging stuff? Nothing, that’s what. And this ball hammer toy teaches kids to recognize colors when they fit each ball into its designated color slot.

Green Toys Shape Sorter

Sorting shapes is an integral part of child development. This set is made from recycled plastic, and the shapes are the perfect size for little hands to try and fit them into the correct slots. They learn color-matching, too.

Buy Now $14.99

Not every kids’ toy needs to make noise or have flashing lights. This classic shape sorter teaches kids to recognize colors and shapes, and help develop hand-eye coordination.

Melissa & Doug First Play Jungle Wooden Activity Table

The Melissa & Doug wooden activity table has eight different hands-on activities to help one year olds build developmental skills, including fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus, it's hella fun.

Buy Now $31.99

This animal-themed activity table has a ton of activities to keep your one year old occupied. There are gears to turn, a tube to roll, beads to slide, flaps to open, and a wheel to spin. All the while, your kiddo is honing his or her fine motor skills.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Learning Home

This is a fully immersive toy for your one year old. It's basically his or her own entertainment center. The hub features a crawl-through door, a porch light, mailbox that opens and closes, light-up house numbers, drop-through rain gutter, and a recycling bin that's also a shape sorter.

Buy Now $138.99

But wait, there’s more. So much more. There’s a home office area with a light-up thermostat, office light, and clicker-clock, plus a kitchen area with shape-sorter fridge and role play pieces. And kids can hear more than 200 songs, sounds, and phrases to teach them colors and numbers. 

PlanToys Dancing Alligator

When your little walker pulls the alligator along, the wooden pieces make rhythmic click-clack sounds.

Buy Now $15.68

When kids pull this alligator along on their walks, he wiggles and makes clapping sounds. It’s simple. It’s fun. It’s timeless.

Hape Mighty Mini Band Wooden Percussion Instrument

Little kids love making music and this melody-making music machine comes with a xylophone, a drum, a cymbal, a guiro, a clapper and drumsticks. No earplugs, sadly.

Buy Now $32.66

Music is a key part of development in kids, and this solid wood toy more than delivers. Kids can either play solo, or take turns and create their own band. It’s meant for kids two and up. The toy includes a wooden drum, cymbal, guiro, xylophone and a clapper.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair

Kids one year and up will be sitting pretty in this musical chair, which is suitable for three developmental ages. Each stage is age-appropriate and teaches your kid things like numbers, opposites, actions and pretend-play. They can hop like a frog and play peek-a-boo.

Buy Now $21.00

This chair helps kids learn numbers, phrases, colors and songs. It keeps them entertained by having them turn book pages, press remote control buttons, and life the seat cushion to learn cause and effect.

EverEarth Garden Activity Cube

Made of natural hardwood, this mad-cool activity cube has six sides to keep your kid entertained with geometric shape sorting, counting beads, sliding animals, spinning gears and a wire bead maze.

Buy Now $64.77

Kids quickly get bored with activity cubes, if you get one that’s shoddy and small. Which is why we’re fans of EverEarth’s Cadillac of activity cubes. They learn shape recognition and develop hand-eye coordination while playing with this cube, which has moving beads, a maze,  shape sorter, an abacus, moving cogs, and counting blocks.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Servin' Up Fun Food Truck

Kids can prep their food, and the cash register reads all four menu cards. Plus, chefs can ring up orders by pressing number buttons and push the music buttons to hear songs. They learn cause and effect, and number recognition.

Buy Now $54.88

Play kitchens are a key part of imaginative play, and this food truck is a great beginner toy for kids. It has a light-up grill, and a cash register with four different menu cards. Kids make their food, ring it up, and serve it up.

TOP BRIGHT Wooden Shape Sorter

Sure, kids can pull the car. But even better, they put different shapes into the mixing bucket and each shape makes a crunching noise. They develop hand-eye coordination, and learn to differentiate colors and shapes.

Buy Now $29.99

Kids fit shapes into the truck’s cement mixer, thereby learning to sort and figure out which objects fit into which openings. This great toy encourages problem solving, and hand eye coordination.

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano

Kids can create their own songs, or sing along to ones they know and love, with this sweet wooden piano.

Buy Now $38.56

With this wooden piano, kids just tap the keys to make it play. Kids can play classic melodies, or create their own.

Little Tikes Rocking Horse Blue

This rocking horse, designed for kids one and up, has a specially-designed seat so your kiddo doesn't fall forward or back.

Buy Now $29.99

A perpetual child favorite is back! This rocking horse has no sharp edges, and helps children learn balance and coordination. And the high seat helps prevent any spills. As an added bonus (and this is a major one), it comes fully assembled.

Fat Brain Toys Tobbles Neo

Your one year old can stack these egg-shaped pieces, topple them over, and stack them again. They're weighted, sturdy, and encourage kids to build their fine motor skills.

Buy Now $23.20

Perfect for little hands, these Tobbles encourage kids to strengthen their fine motor and visual-spatial skills, all while having a blast. Is there anything more fun than knocking things down? No. No, there is not.

Radio Flyer Busy Buggy

It's the classic Radio Flyer, but for your toddler. The Busy Buggy is an interactive ride-on that encourages kids to engage in imaginative play and helps them build both fine and gross motor skills. Plus, it makes fun noises.

Buy Now $40.80

The new Busy Buggy has a horn that kids can honk (sorry, parents), gears that shift, the option to either push it or ride it, and a reflective mirror that flips in and out. In short, it’s a dream machine for toddlers. The weight capacity is 42 pounds.

KidKraft Metal Accessories Set

Pretend play gets a real-life twist with toys that look just like what's in an actual adult kitchen.

Buy Now $14.89

Kids can whip up dinner or snacks with this 11-piece set, which features two kid-sized metal pans, a pot with a lid, a spatula and a ladle. And the broccoli will, we hope, teach them to love their veggies. 

Fat Brain Toys Pet Chunky Puzzle

Not only are puzzles fun, but they help kids with hand-eye coordination, and encourage focused play. This one is colorful, bright, and solid.

Buy Now $8.95

This animal puzzle is made up of chunky blocks, and kids fit the right animal into the matching slot. They learn to match shapes, and recognize colors. Plus, the critters are damn cute.

LEGO DUPLO My First Number Train 10847 Learning and Counting Train Set Building Kit

It's never too early to enter the Lego universe, and this colorful train is a solid entrypoint.

Buy Now $15.99

The chunky train is easy for small hands to grab and build. And the cars have numbers on them, so your child will be exposed to counting and number recognition. There’s even a cat, because why wouldn’t there be?

Step2 Infant to Toddler Swing Seat, Turquoise

This swing, with a weight limit of 50 pounds, is ideal for your toddler. It's comfortable, safe, and easy to load and unload.

Buy Now $37.98

The restraint system keeps your kiddo secure. As for the swing, it helps enhance your child’s gross motor skills as they swing back and forth.

CifToys Musical Learning Workbench Toy

This is a great toy for your budding engineer. It's a musical learning workbench toy with fun sound effects and construction tools.

Buy Now $39.99

You get four shape blocks that are inserted into the shape sorter, and your child will hear the name of the shape. Plus, you get an electric drill, chainsaw, bench clamp, detachable hammer, screwdriver, wrench, and a nail for every kind of pretend-DIY building project.

iPlay, iLearn Baby Music Activity Cube

This five-sided musical toy will teach your kids to love tunes, and it has an adjustable volume switch, which is crucial.

Buy Now $29.99

Pros: This toy is a super-fun music table that lets kids control what they hear, and the instruments they play. You can adjust the volume accordingly (you’re welcome) and switch into karaoke mode to create your own songs. But for those who can’t handle noise, this is not the toy for you.

LeapFrog Spin and Sing Alphabet Zoo

What does a pig say? This product teaches your kids the alphabet, plus animal names and corresponding sounds.

Buy Now $13.99

Yet another stellar toy from an industry leader, this LeapFrog ball features three modes of play. Kids press the three light-up buttons to learn letter names, animal names and sounds, and music. And they can sing along to the ABC song or a song about colors and shapes.

Radio Flyer Glide N Go Balance Bike with Air Tires

You won't go wrong with this classic, sturdy, timeless balance bike, a great starter cycle for your kid.

Buy Now $59.00

Pros: This pedal-free beginner balance bike teaches kids balance and has an adjustable cushion that grows with the child, and a weight limit of 50 pounds. This is meant for slightly bigger kids, who are more stable on their feet, so if your child is a late walker, hold off on buying it.

Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set

Get ready for hours of fun, while also teaching hand-eye coordination, and releasing a much-needed dose of energy.

Buy Now $34.99

This hoop works both indoors and outdoors. You can adjust the height from 2.5 to 4 feet, and you can weigh down the base with sand for added stability. It helps build coordination and motor skills while your wannabe Lebron James has a blast.

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Your kiddo will build his or her fine motor skills with chunky, peg-shaped pieces that fit to the back of this adorable hedgehog.

Buy Now $11.90

Sure, it’s fun, but this little critter also helps kids recognize colors, learn to count, and figure out how to sort.

Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toy

No more bath-time tantrums. These animals rattle and roll in their balls and are weighed to stay upright. Yes, they're fun, but they also help built hand-eye coordination.

Buy Now $7.01

They’re the right size for 1-year-old hands, and they’re noisy enough to be fun without driving parents insane, thus making this the perfect 1-year-old birthday gift.

VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

The minute your toddler demands an actual dog, get this one instead. You pull the cord, and you hear music and other sounds. The puppy trots along and all is well in the world.

Buy Now $12.97

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.

Bedtime Originals Choo Choo Express Plush Elephant

Super-cute plush toy that's easy to grab, soft to cuddle with, and simple to drag around. Plus, who doesn't love an elephant?

Buy Now $5.55

This stuffed pachyderm doesn’t talk or sing, but looks adorable and will quickly become your little one’s favorite bedtime pal.

LEGO Duplo My First My First Bricks 10848

As we already said, you literally can't go wrong with Legos. The options are endless, and you're only limited by your imagination. These sturdy blocks are ideal for 1-year-old hands.

Buy Now $12.99

You get 80 colorful LEGO DUPLO pieces in different shapes and sizes, plus building cards are included. Your kid can make a car, a flower, a dog, a helicopter … we could go on. And on. And on. Your 1-year-old birthday boy or girl will thank you.

Fisher-Price Rattle N Rock Maracas

Now admittedly, if you have delicate ears, maybe skip this toy. But it's a fun and colorful way for little ones to connect with their inner musicians.

Buy Now $4.89

These are the ideal size for little hands to grab, shake, rattle, and roll. Colorful rattle beads whirl around on one side, and you grab the maracas using the soft handles.

Step2 Waterfall Discovery Wall Playset

Part water table, part waterfall, part hours of fun. Kids can get wet and wild with this very cool set.

Buy Now $39.99

There are two interchangeable water wheels and three interchangeable water buckets so kids don’t get bored, ever. They can scoop the water and watch it spin and rush down the two-sided wall.

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

So before you complain about the noise, do note that this toy encourages development and exploration, plus musicality, audio recognition, and play.

Buy Now $26.46

This gorgeous, solid-wood instrument will last for years, and all music aside, it helps promote dexterity, hand-eye coordination, and movement.

TOP BRIGHT Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer With 4 Mini Cars

This gorgeous toddler ramp race track toy is made of wood, is BPA-free, and stained with bright non-toxic water-based paint. Plus, it's just fast-paced fun and an ideal 1-year-old birthday gift.

Buy Now $19.99

It’s bright and engaging and most of all, it encourages kids to take turns and work together to race their cars.

The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game

True story: This board game kept one toddler engaged for hours. It's simple to follow, and results in hours of fun as you help hungry animals find food.

Buy Now $16.99

This game teaches kids about colors. Plus, it’s easy to follow, as you complete to help squirrels find acorns.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learning Kitchen

You open the fridge, and it's got an off-and-on light switch, an interactive faucet, a clock/timer with a spinning roller and multiple shapes to sort.

Buy Now $36.28

You’ll indeed get more laughing than cooking out of this kitchen. It teaches sorting skills, and helps your child learn about different foods.

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