Best Toys and Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds 2020

Best Toys and Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds 2020

One-year-olds are notoriously hard to buy for. They are no longer infants but not yet toddlers, so it’s hard to know what gifts to get. The good news is many baby toys and gifts are appropriate for a range of ages, so you can get a one-year-old something that they can play with for several years.

There are so many choices out there, though—books, toys, learning activities, the list goes on and on. It’s overwhelming! That’s where we come in. Whether you’re looking for a birthday present or holiday gift, we’ll help you find the perfect gift for the one-year-old in your life.

What to Look for in Toys and Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds

One-year-olds might not be able to tell you exactly what they want in a gift, but they know a good one when they see it. Thankfully, we do, too. Here are the aspects we looked for in the best toys and gifts.

Entertainment

Who wants a boring toy? You won’t find one of those on this list! And for good reason. Parents are willing to spend lots of money to keep their babies entertained because that buys parents just a few more minutes to clean the kitchen or shower or just stare at the wall in peace. For a baby, though, having fun and being entertained helps them to learn and grow.

Educational Development

Babies learn through play. Every one of the gifts on our list encourage learning in some way, even if it’s just learning cause and effect, so we’ll point it out whenever a toy we’ve chosen helps to develop your little one’s brain in some way—whether by building logic, math, and language skills or by promoting pretend play.

Motor Development

Babies and toddlers are constantly working on their fine and gross motor development. Fine motor skills for a one-year-old are skills like the pincer grasp, where they pinch their pointer finger and thumb together. Toys that encourage babies to poke, turn, grasp, pinch, or scribble are all ideal for fine motor development.

Gross motor skills are where your one-year-old uses their whole body, like standing, walking, kicking, and throwing (ideally a ball and not your favorite coffee cup).

We’ve also included the age ranges of all the toys so you can get an idea of how long your baby will likely want to play with it. Now, on to the reviews!

Top 21 Best Toys and Gift Ideas for 1-Year-Olds 2020

1. Best Overall Gift for 1-Year-Olds: VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Why we like it: This walker with lots of different activities is usable on the floor for a sitting baby and can be pushed by an active baby.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 9 months-3 years
  • Battery Requirements: 2 AA batteries (included)  

The Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is such an entertaining little toy because it has a lot going on with lights, colors, music, and wheels.

Educational Development

The toy has lots of activities to keep babies busy while they learn. It plays songs your baby can sing along with, plays music, and has fun phrases. It also has piano keys so your baby can play along with the music. Shape sorters, gears, and light-up buttons help babies work on their motor skills.

Babies at this age are also working on their communication skills. The walker’s little phone is perfect for communication skills and pretend play. It has a cow behind a door for peek-a-boo play, which is a game babies never get tired of.

Motor Development

It’s something fun for babies to push when they start walking, but they can also play with it on the floor. The whole front activity panel is removable, so even babies who are just sitting can play with it easily. Pushing the walker is helpful for gross motor development, and all the buttons and gears on the activity panel promote fine motor development.

The wheels on the walker have a two-level speed adjustment for slow or fast. However, even the slowest setting is a bit too fast on slick flooring. A fast walker isn’t a big deal when babies get older, but it can be frustrating for a baby just learning to walk because the walker might slip out from under them.

Verdict

Your baby will love playing with this toy through the toddler years. Until your baby is better at walking, you need to watch that the toy doesn’t slip away on slick flooring.

Pros

  • Comes in 3 different colors (blue, orange, and lavender)
  • Plays songs and music
  • Comes with shape sorters, gears, and a phone
  • Also includes piano keys and a peek-a-boo cow
  • Removable activity panel to play with on the floor

Cons

  • Wheels are a little too fast on slick flooring

2. Best Pull Toy: VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

VTech Pull and Sing Puppy

Why we like it: Everyone loves a puppy, especially if the puppy can teach colors, numbers, and cute little sing-alongs.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 6 months-36 months  
  • Battery Requirements: 2 AAA batteries (included for demo only)

The Vtech Pull and Sing Puppy makes an excellent gift for the one-year-old in your life because it can be played with while sitting, or a walking baby can tug it along behind them. When the cord isn’t in use, you can tuck it inside the puppy to keep it out of the way.

Educational Development

Like the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker, the Pull and Sing Puppy plays music and songs for your baby to sing along with. There are three buttons with colors and numbers for your baby to learn.

Motor Development

It has colorful buttons and a keyring hanging from the puppy’s mouth to encourage your baby to reach out and touch, which helps fine motor development. Pulling the puppy along is great for gross motor development, too.

Verdict

The VTech Pull and Sing Puppy is a cute toy for babies and toddlers with lots of entertaining songs, music, and movement. The string to pull it is thin, though, which is hard for little hands to grip.

Pros

  • Plays songs and music
  • Colorful buttons with numbers for fine motor development
  • String tucks away when not in use
  • Puppy’s head and legs move
  • Babies can pull the puppy behind them easily

Cons

  • Thin string is hard to hold for little hands

SplashEZ Three-in-One Sprinkler and Splash Pad

Why we like it: An innovative learning mat as the splash pad’s base helps babies learn their ABC’s while splashing and wading.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+

Looking for a way your one-year-old can beat the heat and enjoy the water without having to swim? The SplashEZ Three-in-One Sprinkler and Splash Pad is the perfect summer toy because it does so many things. It’s a splash pad, a sprinkler, and a little wading pool.

Educational Development

This baby pool and splash pad has a learning mat for its base, so you can work on your baby’s ABCs while staying cool and having fun. For kids who need a little more of a challenge, you can choose the world map splash pad instead.

Motor Development

Splashing and playing in the water is a great way to help your baby with gross motor development.

Verdict

A water toy that’s fun and educational makes this an ideal way for babies to cool off when it’s hot outside. The SplashEZ Sprinkler and Splash Pad is inflatable, though, so it can pop if you put it in an area with sticks, stones, or anything sharp or hard.

Pros

  • Base is a learning mat
  • Sprinkler, splash pad, and wading pool
  • BPA-free and phthalates-free
  • You can turn the hose off and water stays in the pool

Cons

  • Inflatable sides can pop

4. Best Premium Gift for 1-Year-Olds: Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike

Why we like it: Babies, toddlers, and even preschoolers will get lots of use out of this trike.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 9 months-5 years   

If you want a gift that will last for years, the Radio Flyer 4-in1 Trike is your best bet. It’s more expensive than the other gifts on our list, but you get your money’s worth out of it. The trike converts to different riding stages so that babies, toddlers, and preschoolers can enjoy it.

You can put a baby as young as nine months old in the trike with a three-point harness. The trike comes with an adjustable handle for adults to push babies or toddlers. Toddlers learning to steer and pedal can do so while you push the trike. When they’re ready to power the trike on their own, you can remove the handle and convert it to a classic trike.

It also has a UV sun canopy to keep your baby or toddler in the shade.

Motor Development

Learning to ride a trike is ideal for gross motor development as toddlers learn to pedal and steer.

Verdict

The Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike is a gift the one-year-old in your life can enjoy for years. The adjustable handle is comfortable for parents to push until their baby is ready to pedal and steer. The trike requires assembly, though, so it may not be the most convenient gift to give.

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Includes UV sun canopy, wrap-around tray, headrest, footrest, and parent handle
  • Three-point harness for babies
  • Accessories are all removable

Cons

  • Assembly required

5. Best Gift for Sports Fans: VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

Why we like it: All the ways to learn and stay active with this toy will keep your baby entertained while they develop their athletic prowess.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 12 months-3 years  
  • Battery Requirements: 3 AA batteries (not included)

For the littlest sports fan in your life, the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center is a fun gift that lets them play both basketball and soccer inside. The Sports Center includes toddler-sized basketball, basketball hoop, a soccer ball, and a soccer net. Now your athletic baby doesn’t have to choose between basketball and soccer—they can play both!

Educational Development

While your baby is shooting hoops and scoring goals, they can learn their numbers as the Sports Center keeps track of their shots. The toy plays songs and music for your baby to sing along to. There are also buttons to introduce shapes, numbers, letters, and sounds.

Motor Development

Tossing and kicking the balls is a great way to encourage gross motor development. The Sports Center also lets your baby press buttons, turn gears, and flip pages to develop their fine motor skills.

Verdict

The VTech Smart Shots Sports Center lets your baby athlete work on their fine and gross motor skills while brushing up on their ABCs, shapes, and numbers. The Sports Center requires batteries, though, and they’re not included.

Pros

  • Light-up LED Scoreboard
  • Includes 50 plus songs
  • Includes both a basketball and soccer ball suitable in size for toddlers
  • Introduces shapes, letters, and numbers

Cons

  • Batteries aren’t included

6. Best Budget Gift for One-Year Olds: Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Why we like it: This colorful puzzle is chunky enough for little hands to grasp, and has just the right difficulty level to keep a toddler entertained but not frustrated.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+  

The Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle is an inexpensive gift that’s well-crafted and durable. The wooden puzzle has bright colors that are painted on with non-toxic paint that exceeds all government-regulated standards.

Some puzzles are frustrating for babies, but this is one that your baby will love. The knobs make each piece easy to grip, and there are colorful pictures underneath each one to show babies where the pieces go.

Educational Development

Puzzles are great for teaching babies problem-solving skills—for all those baby-sized problems they need to solve! The Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle also teaches colors and shapes as they put together the cute cottage.

Motor Development

Puzzles help with visual perception and hand-eye coordination, which will come in handy later in life when they play sports.

Verdict

For a beautiful gift that is budget-friendly, the Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle is perfect. The bright colors and wooden construction make it durable and fun for babies and toddlers. As with any puzzle, the pieces are easy to lose, although this one makes it harder since the pieces are chunky.

Pros

  • Bright colors
  • Five different shapes
  • Inexpensive
  • Durable wooden construction

Cons

  • Puzzle pieces are easy to lose

7. Best Musical Toy for 1-Year-Olds: Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Xylophone

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Xylophone

Why we like it: Bright colors, balls to tap, and a pull-out xylophone make this toy entertaining and educational.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months-3 years   

When only an award-winning toy will do for your budding musician, then The Hape Pound & Tap Bench is a solid choice. It’s won multiple international awards for the best musical toy.

This toy combines the hammering action of the PlayKidz Pound A Ball with a xylophone. Kids can leave the xylophone under the balls to create unique sounds when they tap the balls, or they can pull the xylophone out.

The bright colors are engaging, and any kind of percussion instrument always draws babies’ attention because it’s fun to hammer!

Educational Development

The Hape Pound & Tap Bench is a simple toy, but it teaches many learning skills. The xylophone encourages musical exploration in a way babies can easily play. Babies can play with the toy in different ways, which teaches them cause and effect as well as problem solving. It also has bright colors and shapes to draw your baby’s attention and help them learn.

Motor Development

All that tapping and pounding encourages both fine and gross motor development. It helps babies with dexterity, arm movements, and hand-eye coordination in a fun way.

Verdict

The Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Xylophone is an easy way to introduce playing music to your baby. The small size of the bench doesn’t take up much room in your house and makes the toy portable. However, the colorful balls roll away easily and get lost quickly.

Pros

  • Wooden materials with water-based paint and non-toxic finishes
  • Rounded edges
  • Multiple international awards
  • Multiple ways to play

Cons

  • Balls are easy to lose

8. Best First Words Books: First 100 Board Book Box Set

First 100 Board Book Box Set

Why we like it: A set of three colorful books will help fill that big baby brain with new words.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months-3 years  

Babies love to sit and read with their parents or grandparents, and the First 100 Board Book Box Set is perfect for engaging your baby’s interest. This set has three books: First 100 Words, First 100 Animals, and Numbers, Colors, Shapes. The board books are sturdy and the perfect size for little hands to hold.

Educational Development

It doesn’t get any more educational than learning books! These books help your baby learn new words, animals, numbers, colors, and shapes.

Motor Development

Pointing to the pictures with you, holding the book, and turning the pages are great ways to work on your baby’s motor development.

Verdict

Collections of books like the First 100 Board Book Box Set are ideal for building up your baby’s first library. These colorful books are durable and small enough for your baby to hold. The books do get repetitive, though, with the same words and animals used many times.

Pros

  • Colorful and sturdy
  • Great size for little hands
  • Teaches animals, words, numbers, and colors
  • Set of three books

Cons

  • Many repeated words and animals

Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse

Why we like it: This cute seahorse is a comforting stuffed animal that’s a nightlight and music player in one.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 0-2 years   
  • Battery Requirements: 2 AA batteries (included)

The Fisher-Price Soothe & Glow Seahorse is a sweet little gift that plays lullabies and classical music for your baby. The seahorse’s belly glows softly like a nightlight, and you can control the volume of the music, so it’s not too loud. It plays for five minutes and shuts off automatically, so you don’t have to go back into your baby’s room to turn it off.

Educational Development

Classical music is not only soothing but also good for your baby’s brain. Your baby will also learn cause and effect just by hugging the seahorse to play the music.

Motor Development

Your baby can easily hold and squeeze the seahorse, which helps the motor development of their arms and hands.

Verdict

The Fisher-Price Sooth & Glow Seahorse really is soothing with its soft light, plush body, and calming music. There are pauses between songs, though, which might disturb babies who are light sleepers.

Pros

  • Plays classical music, lullabies, and ocean sounds
  • Turns off automatically
  • Volume control
  • Available in pink and blue

Cons

  • Pauses between songs

10. Best Stuffed Animal: LeapFrog My Pal Scout

LeapFrog My Pal Scout

Why we like it: This interactive stuffed animal is huggable and educational, and it can repeat a few custom phrases that your baby is sure to love.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 6 months-36 months
  • Battery Requirements: 3 AA batteries (included)  

If your baby loves stuffed animals, the LeapFrog My Pal Scout is one that’s extra entertaining. Using the app, you can program Scout to say your baby’s name and a few of their favorite things (like favorite food, animal, and color).

The pup plays songs and games to engage your child. Scout plays lively songs during the day, and at night, he can play lullabies to soothe your baby. When you get sick of the same songs playing all the time, you can go onto the app and change the selection, which is a nice feature.

Educational Development

Scout helps your baby learn words, colors, and numbers in a fun way. The toy even teaches your baby how to spell their name.

Motor Development

Pressing the buttons, hugging the stuffed animal, and carrying the toy around are great for motor development.

Verdict

The LeapFrog My Pal Scout is a fun, interactive stuffed animal that your baby can play with, learn from, and cuddle. We love that you can change the selection of the songs and games—no more being forced to listen to the same songs on repeat. Your baby will love that Scout knows their name! However, more unique baby names aren’t in the LeapFrog database.

Pros

  • Batteries are included
  • Plays music and games, and you can change the selection
  • Available in green (Scout) or purple (Violet)
  • Helps your baby learn first words, colors, and counting

Cons

  • More unique names aren’t in the LeapFrog database

11. Best Toy without Batteries: Fat Brain Toys Dimpl

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl

Why we like it: This engaging toy keeps babies busy without loud music and flashing lights.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 10 months+  

If you’re looking for a quiet toy, this is one that will keep your baby entertained. No batteries are needed! We especially like how it’s portable and fits in your diaper bag. You can pull this out at a restaurant or in the car to entertain your baby without having to listen to loud, repetitive baby toys.

Educational Development

The Fat Brain Toys Dimpl teaches babies about colors and cause and effect as they press and pop the silicone bubbles. The contrast of the soft silicone in the hard, plastic frame is also good for sensory exploration—which basically means it’s fun for your baby to touch.

Motor Development

Poking, grabbing, and popping the silicone bubble helps your baby develop their fine motor skills.

Verdict

The Fat Brain Toys Dimpl is an inexpensive, brightly-colored toy that’s ideal for fine motor skills. If you’re tired of every one of your baby’s toys requiring batteries, then this is a fun alternative. It’s smaller than expected, though, measuring only about five inches wide.

Pros

  • Bright, fun colors
  • Food-grade silicone
  • Easily fits in a diaper bag
  • Small and lightweight

Cons

  • Smaller than expected

Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons

Why we like it: If your curious one-year-old tastes these crayons, you don’t have to worry because they’re completely non-toxic.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+  

One of the ways babies explore their world is by putting everything in their mouths. The Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons have no paraffin wax, cheap fillers, allergens, or anything that could harm your baby if they take a little bite.

The crayons are chubby enough for little hands to get a good grip, and their thickness also makes them hard to break. The food-grade color shows up well on paper, but if your artist happens to get it on the walls, it comes off easily with soda water.

Educational Development

There’s nothing like a brand-new pack of crayons to inspire imagination, and Honeysticks are no exception. Your baby can learn about colors, art, and drawing from these non-toxic crayons.

Motor Development

The thickness of Honeysticks are perfect for little hands to grip and scribble, which will help your baby work on their fine motor skills.

Verdict

If you have a baby who will just as soon eat crayons as draw with them, Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons will ensure that your little honey won’t eat anything harmful. Natural beeswax is more expensive to get than cheap fillers and paraffin wax, so these are pricier than ordinary crayons.

Pros

  • 100% beeswax and food-grade pigments for color
  • Unique shape makes it easy for small hands to hold
  • Safe for infants and children
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Pricey

LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket

Why we like it: This picnic basket is anything but boring, with shape sorting, music, sounds, and interactive pretend play to keep your little one entertained for hours.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 6 months-4 years
  • Battery Requirements: 3 AA batteries (included for demo only)    

Babies can get bored with classic shape sorters, but the LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket combines an interactive shape-sorter with pretend play. The play food fits into the lid of the picnic basket, and the plates that come with are also shape sorters. The picnic basket comes with play food and two of everything your baby needs for a pretend picnic with you.

Educational Development

The LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket teaches shapes and sorting, but it also has over 150 sounds, melodies, songs, and phrases. The phrases and songs help your little one learn about colors, polite pretend play, and sharing. For example, the basket asks, “May I please have a piece of fruit?”

Motor Development

Fitting the pieces of fruit into the basket and plates is helpful for fine motor development. It’s impressive to see how quickly babies learn how to sort shapes!

Verdict

The LeapFrog Shapes & Sharing Picnic Basket combines a shape sorter with interactive pretend play for maximum fun for your baby. This is one of those toys that appeal to a wide range of ages, so your baby will likely play with it for years to come. The play food and other pieces are small, though, and are easy to lose.

Pros

  • Available in pink or yellow
  • Interactive shape sorter
  • Comes with play food and picnic supplies for two
  • Lots of engaging sounds, music, and phrases

Cons

  • Small pieces are easy to lose

14. Best Activity Table: VTech Magic Star Learning Table

VTech Magic Star Learning Table

Why we like it: This educational activity table can be used on the floor with a sitting baby or with legs for a standing baby or toddler.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 6 months-3 years
  • Battery Requirements: 2 AA batteries (included for demo only)

Activity tables give babies and toddlers lots to do in a compact space. The VTech Magic Star Learning Table has removable legs so your baby can sit and play with it on the floor, which is helpful for babies who aren’t standing independently yet. We love the bright colors, the steering wheel that lets babies drive the little bear around the alphabet, and the electronic learning book.

Educational Development

The VTech Magic Star Learning Table helps your baby brush up on their reading skills with the learning book they can flip through. It teaches ABC’s, numbers, and colors, and the phone is perfect for pretend play. The table also plays sounds, phrases, and music, and you can choose either Spanish or English with an easy-to-use switch.

Motor Development

There are lots of opportunities for fine motor development with this toy as your baby can turn the steering wheel, turn gears, press buttons, and flip the pages of the learning book.

Verdict

The VTech Magic Star Learning Table is fun for babies on the floor or standing, and it has lots of engaging activities to keep them busy. The table’s legs aren’t the sturdiest, though, and it might not hold a baby who’s using the table to stand.

Pros

  • Sounds in both English and Spanish (easy to select switch)
  • Encourages your child to explore and learn
  • The toy phone encourages pretend play
  • Removable legs for floor or standing play

Cons

  • Table isn’t sturdy

Little Tikes Go and Grow Lil' Rollin' Giraffe Ride-On

Why we like it: This cute ride-on toy can be used inside or out for maximum play flexibility.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months-3 years   

The Little Tikes Go and Grow Lil’ Rollin’ Giraffe Ride-On is an excellent option for a trike your one-year-old can ride without assistance. The widely-spaced front wheels and thick back wheel give a lot of stability, and the friendly giraffe face encourages your tiny tot to take a ride.

Educational Development

This adorable giraffe ride-on toy encourages active play, but it’s also great for pretend play.

Motor Development

Ride-on toys are ideal for gross motor skills, and the Little Tikes Go and Grow Giraffe helps babies work on balance and leg strength.

Verdict

The Little Tikes Go and Grow Giraffe Ride-On is perfect for indoor or outdoor use, so your growing toddler will get a lot of use out this cute toy. It has a weight limit of 50 pounds, but it’s so low to the ground that we think your toddler will likely outgrow it before then.

Pros

  • Seat is adjustable
  • Oversized back wheel provides added stability
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Helps babies and toddlers with balance

Cons

  • Kids will outgrow this ride-on toy quickly

16. Best Hammering Toy: PlayKidz Pound a Ball

PlayKidz Pound a Ball

Why we like it: The brightly colored balls and chutes make a fun, battery-less toy for babies and toddlers.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+  

The PlayKidz Pound a Ball toy lets kids do what they love best: hammer stuff. Your baby will enjoy hitting the colorful balls and watching them roll down the chutes. The squeaky hammer is the perfect size for little hands and easy to grip. Like the Fat Brain Toys Dimpl, this toy is battery-free.

Educational Development

The PlayKidz toy helps your baby learn cause and effect by letting your baby explore what happens to the balls when they whack them with a hammer. It also teaches them how we use certain objects. They learn a hammer is for hitting things–but hopefully just the toy balls!

Motor Development

The hammering motion is excellent for fine and gross motor skills such as hand-eye coordination and arm movements. But mostly, it’s just fun for babies to whack the balls.

Verdict

The PlayKidz Pound a Ball is a fun, battery-free toy that helps with your baby’s motor development. Mostly, though, it’s just entertaining for babies to use the squeaky hammer and watch the balls roll down the chutes. The balls get lost easily, though. If you end up having to replace them, or if you just want to have extras on hand, they’re available here.

Pros

  • Easy to grasp the hammer
  • Brilliant colors
  • Promotes fine motor skills
  • No batteries needed

Cons

  • Easy to lose the balls

Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toy

Why we like it: These bubble toys make bath time more fun without growing a forest of mold inside.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 4 months+  

Unquestionable fact: bubble baths are more fun with toys. But the one thing that’s annoying about bath toys is how they tend to suck in water and then grow mildew inside. The Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles are designed to float instead of suck in water.

This set of four bubbles includes two with animals inside and two with whirly toys inside. The toys inside the bubbles are weighted to stay upright, and there are textured rings on the outside so your baby can grasp them easily.

Motor Development

Your baby will strengthen their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills by trying to grasp the floating, bobbing bubbles.

Verdict

The Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toys are fun for your baby both in and out of the bath. They don’t have any openings to let water in, so you don’t have to deal with mold and mildew like squirt toys. Not all the bubble toys rattle or make noise, so they aren’t as entertaining for all babies.

Pros

  • Four bubbles in the set
  • BPA-free and phthalates-free
  • Helps develop hand-eye coordination
  • Bubbles float in water

Cons

  • Some of the bubble toys are more fun than others

18. Best Board Book Set: World of Eric Carle Board Book Block

World of Eric Carle Board Book Block

Why we like it: These colorful books are fun for you and your baby to read together, and they store neatly in a carrying case.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+  

Eric Carle’s books are beloved for their bright colors and easy-to-remember words. This set has twelve little board books that are perfect for your baby to read along with you or to just put into endless stacks. Six look-and-find books let you and your baby find the hidden objects. Six other books explore everything from numbers and letters to colors and shapes.

We like that the books store neatly away in a carrying case with magnetic closure—maybe then the books won’t end up under the couch with every other lost thing.

Educational Development

These books are ten pages long each, so they’re the perfect length for babies to enjoy reading along with you. Aside from increasing vocabulary and reading skills, these books teach letters, numbers, colors, shapes, animals, and first words.

Motor Development

These little books are the perfect size for babies and toddlers to take out of the box, stack, and put back again. It may seem like a simple activity, but it’s good for their motor development.

Verdict

The World of Eric Carle Board Book Block is a set of twelve colorful books your baby will love to read with you. The carrying case neatly stores the books and features the Hungry Caterpillar, but fans of that book should note that it’s not included in this set.

Pros

  • Comes with carrying case to store the books
  • Includes twelve books
  • Teaches numbers, letters, colors, shapes, animals, and first words
  • Little books for little hands

Cons

  • Has the Hungry Caterpillar on the case, but it doesn’t include the book

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Singin’ Soccer Ball

Why we like it: This plush soccer ball sings songs and teaches numbers while babies roll it around.

Editor’s Rating:

Quick Facts

  • Age Range: 12 months+  
  • Battery Requirements: 2 AA batteries (included)

If a real soccer ball is still too hard for your baby, then the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Singin’ Soccer Ball is the perfect alternative. It’s plush and made of fabric, but it’s still firm enough for your baby to roll or throw it.

With every roll, shake, and touch, the ball sings cute songs and has encouraging phrases. Best of all, it comes with volume control for Mom and Dad’s sanity.

We also like that the ball is machine washable after you take out the electronics. This means your baby can play with it outside on a sunny day, and later, you can get all the grass stains out!

Educational Development

Though it’s perfect for active babies, this ball helps teach kids counting and numbers as they roll the ball around.

Motor Development

Throwing, rolling, and kicking the ball are all fantastic ways to work on gross motor development.

Verdict

The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Singin’ Soccer Ball is a fun, safe way to introduce your baby to playing with balls. The counting and songs are random, though, and there isn’t a way to choose whether the ball sings or does counting games.

Pros

  • Machine washable (with electronics removed)
  • Plays songs, encouraging phrases, and teaches counting
  • Plush and soft for safety
  • You can control the volume and turn it off

Cons

  • You can’t choose whether it plays songs or practices counting

20. Best Cloth Book: Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest

Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest

Why we like it: Crinkly flaps your baby can lift, cute animals, and bright colors make this soft, cloth book lots of fun for your baby.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 6 months+  

Cloth books are durable and easy for even little babies to turn the pages. The Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest features cute animals hiding under crinkly flaps that are engaging for your baby to touch.

Educational Development

Simple words and phrases help your baby develop their speech and language skills. Peek-a-boo is an entertaining game that also teaches your baby cause and effect.

Motor Development

Your baby will love turning the pages, feeling the crinkly flaps, and playing peek-a-boo with the animals. They won’t even notice they’re developing their fine motor skills at the same time.

Verdict

The Lamaze Peek-A-Boo Forest is the perfect, soft book to read to your baby with engaging flaps and cute animals. It’s lightweight and comfortable for your baby to hold and play with on their own. Cloth books do get dirty quickly, though, especially if your baby tends to drool and spit up.

Pros

  • Interactive peek-a-boo pages
  • Durable, washable fabric for the pages
  • Lightweight
  • Easy for your baby to hold

Cons

  • Cloth books get dirty easily

Toyventive Wooden Kids Baby Activity Cube

Why we like it: This durable, wooden cube has lots of fun activities for your baby, all packaged in a cute box.

Editor’s Rating:

Age Range: 12 months+  

If you’re looking for a gift for a baby who doesn’t have many toys yet, then this activity cube is perfect. The cube has so much for babies to play with, including one of those bead-mazes that are a favorite at doctor offices, a clock, an abacus, spinning gears, and a shape sorter. The bead maze fits inside the cube for easy storage.

The set also includes stacking cups and a first words board book. For some reason, babies just love pouring water into cups, and these are perfect for that. The whole set of toys comes packaged in a pink or blue gift box, so you don’t even have to wrap it!

Educational Development

This toy maxes out on educational activities by teaching colors, shapes, counting, letters, and math skills. The bonus board book helps your baby brush up on their reading skills.

Motor Development

All the cube’s activities and the stacking cup are ideal for fine motor skills. Babies will need a lot of hand-eye coordination for each of the activities.

Verdict

The Toyventive Wooden Kids Baby Activity Cube makes an ideal gift for a baby could use a few more toys to fill up their toy box. With everything the cube comes with, you’d expect it to be big, but it’s only 7.5 inches squared.

Pros

  • Fits together for storage
  • Lots of activity in one package
  • Sturdy wood construction
  • Non-toxic, BPA-free, and phthalate-free

Cons

  • Activity cube is smaller than expected

Final Thoughts on Toys and Gifts for 1-Year-Olds

We hope our list of gift ideas helped you find the perfect present for the sweet one-year-old in your life. Remember, though, that one-year-olds are just as likely to play with the box as the toy itself. So, don’t feel bad if the gift isn’t an instant hit! There’s always next year.

About the Author

Jessica Leake

Jessica Leake

With five kids from the age of still-in-diapers to tween, Jessica Leake should have a degree in kid stuff, parenting, and diapers by now. Sadly, her only official degree is as a psychotherapist (Master of Social Work/licensed clinical social worker) which she puts to good use homeschooling all those kids. She’s also the author of four traditionally published novels, the two most recent by HarperTeen. She lives in Greenville, SC with her pharmacist husband, their five young children, two dogs, and a whole lot of chickens.

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