Gift Ideas for 1 year olds (2021)

Updated: Nov 17, 2021

Here are our gift ideas for one year old toddlers based on typical development and the way children this age generally explore the world through play.


At one children are very much into their own world and enjoying lots of solitary play. They start watching and playing alongside others without interacting, but pick up all sorts of new skills just by looking and listening. You'll see them engaging in physical play as they discover what their bodies can do, sensory play as they continue using their senses to experience the world around them, and constructive play as they develop more confidence playing with objects.

 
Ways to Play: Breaking down the big categories of play by the types of activities children engage in
 
Here are our 2021 top toy picks for 1 year olds (not in any particular order). Scroll down for more on each recommendation and the associated developmental benefits:

[Please note that this post does contain affiliate links. This means, at zero cost to you, we may receive a small affiliate commission when you click through our links and make purchases. We try our best to be fair and only share products that we truly love and recommend.]

*Products mentioned on this page are meant for toddlers under adult supervision.. (Manufacturer's age recommendations are noted when available)
 

Stacker with a SPIN

Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


Fat Brain Toys SpinAgain Kids Stacking Toy (1-5 years)


We first laid eyes on this at my little one's Montessori school. To play, kiddos drop one of the chunky discs onto the threaded corkscrew pole and as gravity takes over the disc spins around and around down the pole until it lands on the base.


BENEFITS:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Sorting practice by size, color, shape

  • Focus and concentration

  • Engages the senses: visually appealing, different textures for tactile fun

  • Learns cause-and-effect

  • Develops physical strength; engaging gross motor (big muscles like arms, trunks, and legs) and fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

1st Puzzles

Melissa & Doug Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzles. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


Melissa & Doug Animals Jumbo Knob Wooden Puzzles Set - Fish and Pets (12-24 months)


This is where we started our puzzle journey. Simple 2-3 piece puzzles with large chunky pieces and easy grip knobs. The colorful matching pictures underneath each piece were helpful visual hints and made this a great first puzzle.


BENEFITS:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Visual perception skills

  • Focus and concentration

  • Encourages communication and language development

  • Problem Solving

  • Develops physical strength; engaging fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

 

Pop-up Fun

Pop Up Toy Click the photo to see the price on Amazon

Pop Up Toy (12 months & up)

Some toys are classics for a reason. This wooden spring loaded pop-up toy is so simple and so much fun. It comes with four friends little ones post in the slots. The pieces bounce up and down when pressed lightly and spring up and out after being pushed down with greater force.


BENEFITS:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Sorting practice by color

  • Focus and concentration

  • Learns cause-and-effect

  • Develops physical strength; engaging fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Pushing it


Kinderfeets 2-in-1 Wooden Cargo Walker/Wagon. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


Kinderfeets 2-in-1 Wooden Cargo Walker Cart Wagon with Adjustable Rubber Wheels and Removable Basket for Children and Toddlers (White)


Push toys are amazing for young toddlers! They are so helpful for encouraging little ones to stand and walk and building up confidence in new walkers. This particular push toy functions as both a walker and a wagon, has adjustable rubber wheels, a removable crate, and gorgeously simple design.


BENEFITS:

  • Develops physical strength; engaging gross motor (big muscles like arms, trunks, and legs) and fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Coordination and balancing skills

  • Spatial skills (where objects are in relation to each other)

  • Builds confidence

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Pulling it


Hape Walk-A-Long Puppy. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon

Walk-A-Long Puppy Wooden Pull Toy by Hape | Award Winning Push Pull Toy Puppy For Toddlers Can Sit, Stand and Roll (12 months & up)


Pull toys are equally amazing for young toddlers! They are so helpful for building up confidence and independence in new walkers. Little ones get to take control and lead the way. This particular pull toy is Pepe the pup. He wags his tail as he's getting pulled along and has rubber-rimmed wheels for quieter "walks" on wooden floors.


BENEFITS:

  • Develops physical strength; engaging gross motor (big muscles like arms, trunks, and legs) and fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Coordination and balancing skills

  • Spatial skills (where objects are in relation to each other)

  • Builds confidence

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Sort and Simple


PlanToys Wooden Shape & Sort Bench. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


PlanToys Wooden Shape & Sort Shape Sorting Bench (5398) | Sustainably Made from Rubberwood and Non-Toxic Paints and Dye (12 months & up)


Simple shape sorters are wonderful for little ones this age. We've owned and played with various versions and learned the simpler the better. This particular shape sorter has a great open design that allows children to watch the shapes slide out the side of the bench after pushing the matching shapes through.


BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens problem solving

  • Visual perception skills

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Focus and concentration

  • Learns shapes, colors, cause-and-effect

  • Develops physical strength; engaging fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Magnetic Stacker that Floats & Lasts



Tegu Magnetic Floating Stacker. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon

11 Piece Tegu Magnetic Floating Stacker Building Block Set, Rainbow (6 months-3 years)


We've had this stacker before our kiddo was 12 months old. It's great for young toddlers and the magnets add a cool gravity defying element to the toy. We're still rotating our floating stacker in and out of our toy rotation. These days our preschooler is using the open ended pieces in her constructive and pretend play.


BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens problem solving

  • Visual perception skills

  • Focus and concentration

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Develops physical strength; engaging fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Sensory Ball


Edushape See-Me Sensory Ball. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


Edushape See-Me Sensory Ball, 7 Inch, Colors May Vary (6 months & up)


Soft lightweight rubber balls are great and highly recommended for toddler play. Sensory balls, covered in textured rubber nubs, are rubber balls taken to the next level. Along with providing all the same fun as a normal ball, they are fantastic for engaging and developing the senses.


BENEFITS:

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Engages the senses: enhances tactile and visual sensory development

  • Develops physical strength; engaging gross motor(big muscles like arms, trunks, and legs) and fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Coordination and balancing skills

  • Spatial skills (where objects are in relation to each other)

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

Posting Box


Adena Montessori Object Permanence Box. Click the photo to see the price on Amazon

Adena Montessori Object Permanence Box with Tray Three Balls Montessori Toys (6 months & up)


This simple box based on classic Montessori materials helps little ones understand how objects continue to exist even when it can't be perceived (seen, heard, touch, smelled, or sensed in anyway). This particular box is similar to the materials available to the children in our daughter's school.


BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens problem solving

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Focus and concentration

  • Learns cause-and-effect, object permanence

  • Develops physical strength; engaging fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 

1st Ball Run


Hape Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing . Click the photo to see the price on Amazon


Award Winning Hape Totally Amazing Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing Toddler Toy (12 months & up)


This one was a hit in our nursery. Little ones send large colorful wooden balls down the double sided ball run track and hear a bell chime when they hit the bottom.


BENEFITS:

  • Strengthens problem solving

  • Visual perception skills

  • Hand-eye coordination

  • Focus and concentration

  • Learns colors, cause-and-effect

  • Develops physical strength; engaging gross motor (big muscles like arms, trunks, and legs) and fine motor (small muscles like fingers, and hands) movements

  • Encourages communication and language development

 
When choosing what we add to our playroom, we prioritized products that will engage our little one's social, physical, and intellectual development. We also look for items that are open ended, gender neutral, celebrates diversity, and made from natural materials whenever possible. Our recommendations are based on what we've learned along the way, our first hand experience with these or similar products, and our comparison of ratings and reviews.
 
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