Learning & Activities


The 6 Best Toys For 1-Year-Olds

Preschool students playing with blocks

The 6 Best Toys For 1-Year-Olds

Key Points:

  • The list we compiled includes a fun combination of different toys, including building blocks, playhouses, toys for sports lovers, musical toys, and much more.
  • The toys that we selected all have an educational aspect of some sort. Some of them teach children how to improve their motor skills, some inspire creativity, and there are those that encourage them to build, understand sounds, and more.

Looking at the Best Toy For 1 Year Olds

When it comes to buying your 1-year-old toys, it can be a bit hit and miss. Most kids won’t be saying many words by this point, so they can’t express their desires and tell you what they want. The good news is that there are countless toys that are perfect for 1-year-old boys and girls that run the gamut from sports toys to building blocks, and most kids will enjoy playing with them.

It is also important to buy toys that will encourage your child’s development at the same time. By the time your child is one year old, most will have hit certain milestones, such as improved memory, the ability to identify objects, and a variety of motor skills, including how to stand on their own, take a couple of steps, and raise their arms and legs. The toys on this list can help your children to continue to improve those skills.

With that said, when it comes to buying toys, it is important to remember that every child is different. Most children will benefit from having a doll or stuffed animal that they can care for and bring wherever they go. Both boys and girls will enjoy blocks and toys that make sounds and colors. There is a lot of guesswork, but you are bound to find something they’ll enjoy, and the toys on this list will help.

During our review, we found six great toys that can be fun and educational for your 1-year-old, and there is sure to be something here for your unique child.

  1. Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center
    • Provides hours of hands-on learning fun.
    • The toy includes many gliders, springy flaps, and spinning dials.
    • Solidly-built toy.
    • Fun toy that helps to improve motor skills.
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    04/09/2024 11:45 pm GMT
  2. Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio
    • Makes over 18 fun sound effects.
    • Includes a scratchable record.
    • Helps kids improve hand-eye coordination and rhythm.
    • Great toy that features a lot of lights and sounds.
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    04/10/2024 08:25 am GMT
  3. Shape Sorting Grocery Cart Push Toy and Puzzles
    • A sturdy toy that provides a lot of fun.
    • The moveable cart helps to improve mobility.
    • The puzzles help with early problem solving skills.
    • Comes with fun accessories.
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    04/10/2024 03:51 pm GMT
  4. Little Tikes Baby Builders - Explore Together Blocks
    • Fun blocks that are easy for baby to hold.
    • Perfect for age 12 months or above.
    • It comes with a convenient storage case.
    • Compatible with other leading junior block brands
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    04/13/2024 04:55 am GMT
  5. VTech Smart Shots Sports Center
    • Allows kids to play basketball and soccer.
    • Lights up and features an LED screen.
    • Helps children to develop motor skills.
    • Can be used indoors or outdoors.
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    04/13/2024 04:10 am GMT
  6. Fisher-Price Little People Play House
    • A comprehensive playhouse that provides a lot of interactivity.
    • Comes with 3 figures and 7 additional play pieces.
    • 3 Smart Stages learning levels.
    • Includes 4 rooms in the house, outdoor patio, and more.
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    04/13/2024 05:15 am GMT

Top Pics: The Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds

After reviewing many different toys on the market, we have found the six best toys for 1-year-olds. The toys listed below are the best for education, fun, and overall entertainment.

#1 Best Overall: Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

This Tree Top Adventure Activity Center from Manhattan Toy is our overall pick because it provides a variety of activities and endless entertainment.

The activity center is a great gift for 1-year-olds because it provides your children with many different activities to enjoy while also helping them to improve their fine and gross motor skills. This awesome toy sits 22 inches tall, which is perfect for most 12-month-olds, and it is equipped with spinning dials, bead runs, springy flaps, and shape-recognition toys that will keep your kids entertained for hours.

This is a classic wooden toy made from sturdy craftsmanship, and it will last for years to come. Kids can use their imagination to move the pieces around and create their own little world that they will come back to time and time again. While the activity center is ideal for 1-year-olds, it can provide entertainment as your child grows, so it is a worthwhile investment.

Reviews rave about the quality of the product, and most rant and rave about how much their kids love to interact and enjoy endless activities. This toy is perfect for children and grandchildren, and it also makes for a great gift.

Pros and Cons of the Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

There are countless activities that provide hours of entertainment.The toy is a bit smaller than it appears in the picture.
It is a well-built toy that will last for years.The toy can tip over if your child isn’t careful.
A great toy that teaches important motor skills.

2. Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds Who Love Music: Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio

Kids who love to play and listen to music will adore this sound machine that combines a piano, buttons, sliders, and more.

Hearing and listening to different sounds is important to a child’s development, which is why a toy like the Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio can be so beneficial. This portable DJ studio provides a mix of 18 piano keys, and it has a scratchable black record, just like the real DJs! It also has several colorful buttons that play 19 sound effects, four DJ effects, and five unique musical background tracks.

While the toy is really ideal for toddlers, it is great for any child who loves to listen to and create music. The toy comes with a detailed instruction booklet that shows your child how to play different songs. In addition to piano sounds, the spin studio also plays other instrument sounds, including guitar, organ, and drums.

This is a great toy that encourages creativity, and it is also an educational toy because it helps kids to learn about rhythm while also developing their hand-eye coordination. Note that this may only be an appropriate toy for parents who can appreciate the constant noise.

Pros and Cons of the Hape DJ Mix & Spin Studio

A fun toy that allows kids to flex their musical muscles.The toy is loud, and it may become irritating for parents after a while.
A great toy for improving hand-eye coordination.It doesn’t play many familiar songs.
The piano plays a variety of different sounds.

3. Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds Who Love to Shop: Melissa & Doug Wooden Grocery Cart Push Toy and Puzzles

The Wooden Grocery Cart Push Toy and Puzzles set from Melissa & Doug is a great buy for kids who love to be mobile while also shopping like mommy and daddy.

If there is one thing that children enjoy, it is pushing around carts, and that is why this grocery cart push toy really hits all the right buttons. The set includes a wooden cart, which is fun and easy to push around on many different surfaces. Inside the cart is a variety of fun pieces, which include two wooden puzzle boards, 12 shapes/puzzle pieces, and a pretend coffee cup with a lid.

In addition to being a lot of fun, this toy also provides plenty of learning opportunities. The movement and creativity of the toy allow kids to work on their problem-solving, fine and gross motor skills, color and shape recognition, counting, sorting and sequencing, and more.

There are countless ways to play with this toy. Kids from ages 1 to 2 years old will love to push the cart from place to place. They can also play with the many included shapes and puzzles, which can improve their logic skills. The Melissa & Doug company has been rated the #1 preschool brand for wooden and sustainable toys.

Pros and Cons of the Melissa & Doug Wooden Grocery Cart Push Toy and Puzzles

This comprehensive toy provides many ways to play.Many smaller pieces can get lost if you’re not careful.
The included puzzles are great for your child’s mental development.Some parents complained that the toy was hard to assemble.
It is a mobile toy that will encourage your kids to get up and move around.

4. Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds Who Love to Build: Little Tikes Baby Builders Blocks

The act of building with blocks can help kids to learn hand-eye coordination, creativity, and math skills, and this Baby Block Builder Set is the perfect starting point.

This fun block set comes at an incredible price point, and it provides hours of entertainment for your young child. Brought to you by the brand Little Tykes, this set comes with 16 blocks that are easy for the smallest hands to hold, and they can continue to use it as they get older. 

In addition to being building blocks, many of the pieces provide different activities. Some of them twist, spin, close, and feature opening doors with fun characters inside. Your kids can use their imagination to build any type of structure they want, big or small. By one year of age, most children will be able to build a tower of at least three blocks, and this toy can help.

Best of all, this toy is compatible with other major block brands, so they can continue to expand their collection as they get older. This is also a great toy for parents because the pieces are easy to pick up and place in their cute storage container.

Pros and Cons of the Little Tikes Baby Builders Blocks

A great toy helps your children learn their motor skills.The pieces can get lost if parents are not careful. 
The included carrying case makes them easy to organize.Not suitable for children under the age of 1 year old.
The blocks can be used with other leading junior block brands.

5. Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds Who Love Sports: VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

This incredible VTech Smart Shots Sports Center has everything that a young boy or girl that loves sports could want, and it comes at a great price.

You may have seen other parents have this fun toy in their collection, and that is because it offers a lot of value for your money. It is a 2-in-1 basketball and soccer set. Your kids can dunk the ball in the basket or score a soccer goal!

This sports center is great for kids because, in addition to getting to play with the balls, the set also has sounds, lights, and an LED scoreboard that shows how many baskets they made. It also plays over 50 songs, sounds, and phrases. It is an indoor/outdoor toy that provides endless fun.

Of course, every toy for 1-year-olds should come with an educational aspect and the sports center is no exception. The foot and arm movements necessary to play are essential for improving motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Plus, you never know when your kids may develop a taste for these sports as they grow older.

Pros and Cons of the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

A fun toy that has a combination of soccer and basketball.The toy uses AA batteries that are not included.
The toy teaches kids how to improve their motor skills.The balls have a tendency to go flat after a while.
The LED scoreboard is a great touch.

6. Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds Who Love Make-Believe: Fisher-Price Little People Playhouse Toddler Playset 

The colorful People Play House from Fisher-Price provides a lot of fun and the chance for kids to use their imaginations to play with their own little families.

This awesome playset comes with many fun pieces. In addition to the house itself, you also get three little figures, a table, three chairs, a plastic pool, and a piece of cake. With all of these pieces, your children are only limited by their imagination, and the set can provide hours of fun.

This is no regular house. This is an electronic home set. Almost every room in the house has a button that your kids can press to simulate a kitchen appliance, light switch, and toilet flusher. Plus, a song plays when you open the refrigerator. 

The People Play House also provides many learning opportunities. When kids go through the rooms of the house, they learn about opposites, counting, the alphabet, and more. It also plays fun songs that encourage your kids to dance and start to learn their words. Your children can make up their own stories about the included human figures in the house, and it can be a ton of fun.

Pros and Cons of the Fisher-Price Little People Playhouse Toddler Playset 

The play house is very interactive.Small pieces can get lost if you are not careful. 
The set teaches kids about the rooms in their house.The toy can be a bit loud for parents.
A fun toy that plays 80+ songs, sounds, and phrases.

Criteria: How To Choose The Best Toy for 1-Year-Olds

Mom typing with baby in lap
Before you buy a toy, make sure to read online reviews.


While every toy will be a bit different, there are certain factors that you will want to keep an eye out for so you can ensure that you get a quality product for your 1-year-old.

Here are the considerations to make when choosing a new toy:

  • Price/Reviews
  • Educational Factors


When you buy a toy for 1-year-olds online or in a store, it is essential that you take a beat to look at the price and read the reviews from other parents. This is especially true if the toy is costly because you need to ensure that you are getting the most out of your money.

By reading reviews, you can get honest feedback from other parents. They will tell you if their kids love the toy and why. Most reviewers also won’t hold back if there is something wrong with the toy. If it feels poorly made, pieces fall off, it is too loud, or it doesn’t do what it is supposed to, then they won’t be afraid to speak their minds, and you will know if you are making a smart purchase.

When you are looking at the product description, it is also a good idea to look at the dimensions of the product. Sometimes, the pictures can be deceiving, and an item can look larger than it actually is, so get the right details before you buy.

Educational Factors

As we mentioned earlier, it is important that the toys that you provide your children have some sort of educational aspect so your child can continue to grow and evolve. Most toys that kids can hold, move, and take with them will at least help kids improve their motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Many other toys can do that and more, so do your research. If you think your child is falling behind on a certain milestone, then look for a toy that helps with that particular skill. 


Below are some of the commonly asked questions that parents wonder when shopping for toys for their 1-year-old kids.

Q. How Should a Child Play at 1 Year Old?

A. Kids don’t need to have complex toys at this age, but they should be provided with toys that move, make noise, or mimic the world around them. There is a lot to get used to in this world, and these toys can help. It is also a good idea to look for toys that kids can walk with and pull as they move about the house because they can help with mobility. Dolls and toy cars, trucks, and trains can teach your kids more about their environment.

Q. How Many Toys Should a 1-Year-Old Have?

A. Although many parents and grandparents want to shower their kids with toys, it is important not to overwhelm the space with toys or your child could become confused. As a general guideline, try to keep the number of toys around a child limited to 4 when they are pre-mobile, 8 when they start to crawl, and 12 for a toddler. 

Q. What Should You Not Give a 1-Year-Old?

A. When it comes to buying a toy for 1-year-olds, avoid small toys whenever possible. As a rule, avoid any toys that are smaller than 1.75 inches across because that is small enough for kids to put in their mouths and possibly choke. If you provide battery-operated toys, then ensure that the battery case is secured so the batteries cannot fall out.

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