I was recently asked for my toy recommendations for a 1 year old, so I’m very excited to be able to bring to you this gift guide for the best toys for babies under 1. These are great toys for Christmas, birthdays, or just because!
Normally I try to steer clear of battery-operated toys and would prefer all-natural, wooden toys, but that’s not always possible. I think flashing lights, sounds, music, and talking toys can do great things for a child under 1. Flashing lights and music are captivating and stimulating, which gets their little neurons in their brains firing, creating more avenues to learn and observe! I just don’t recommend that all of their toys have bright lights or music.
I hope this gift guide helps you get some great ideas for the babies in your life!
Best Toys for Babies Under 1
1. Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Say Please Tea Set. This tea set is so cute! What I love most about this set is the shapes of the cookies! What a creative way to sneak some learning in! The cookies also make great “teethers”. The teapot makes fun sound effects when tipped. Teaches baby about numbers, shapes, manners, opposites, and greetings!
2. Parents Magazine Bee Bop Band. We personally had this set in our house when my little one was younger. I loved it! All of the instruments are animals! Ant bells, caterpillar tambourine, and centipede drumsticks…just to name a few. Music for babies=magic. Music improves cognitive thinking and inspires creativity (plus MUCH more!) Best part of this set? Everything fits in the drum!
3. Melissa & Doug Large Shapes Jumbo Puzzle. This is the perfect “1st puzzle” for your 1 year old. It teaches shapes, colors, sorting, and has large wooden handles that are perfect for small hands to grip. There are full color pictures underneath to help child match the shape to the right spot. Develops fine-motor and matching skills.
4. Plan Toy Stacking Ring. Plan Toys are some of my favorite toys! They are so brightly colored, and all natural wood! They will last forever! This is a beautiful rendition of the classic, stacking rings we remember from our childhood. (Except mine were plastic). Helps child explore color, size, and counting. The rod in the middle collapses if rings aren’t on the rod. This is a GREAT safety feature. This toy will develop fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and concentration.
5. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube. Another favorite toy in our house! This toy is great for learning shapes, colors, counting, and sorting! This wooden cube contains 12 wooden pieces and an interactive design that lets children sort the shapes into the correct holes. The blocks are big and chunky and don’t create a choking hazard. This toy develops fine-motor skills, hand/eye coordination, concentration, and spatial awareness.
6. Melissa & Doug Fill and Spill Toolbox. This 9 piece soft-plush tool set is perfect for the little builders in your life! The tools are made with high-quality fabric and phthalate-free plastic. Even the drill vibrates!
Hours of fun!
7. Plan Toy Oval Xylophone. This all-wooden xylophone is a great toy to stimulate your child’s sense of harmony and rhythm. This toy is recommended for 18mos and up because of the wooden mallet, but I think supervised play would be fine.
8. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set, aka “Sensory Balls!” I’m VERY big into sensory play, so I thought these balls were perfect for the collection. Set comes with 6 easy to grab, various textured balls to create a sensory experience! These balls are great for your little one to explore colors and textures.
These puppies are too cute! They help baby learn parts of the body, ABC’s, 1-2-3’s, colors, and interact with baby by singing songs that encourage movement, like “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes!” Each one sings over 40 songs, tunes, and phrases!
10. B. One Two Squeeze Blocks. These soft rubber blocks are awesome! Comes in bright, bold colors and are numbered 1-10. These blocks can be chewed on, squeezed, thrown, float in the bathtub, and stacked! Every side of the block contains a number and pictures! So cute!
11. VTech Sit to Stand Learning Walker. Yes, yes, and yes! The front panel on this toy is removable and can be placed on the floor with baby so she/he can sit next to this toy and interact with the brightly colored buttons, listen to the music, and explore the shape buttons. The flower petals spin, there are flashing lights, there are piano buttons, shape sorter, hide and seek animals, and when baby picks up the phone, the animals will sing! When baby is ready to stand and able to push, they can practice walking and pushing this all around the house! GREAT buy and GREAT toy!
12. VTech Rhyme and Discover Book. I believe all children should be exposed from books as soon as possible! These interactive books are a great way to begin the literacy skills super early! Believe it or not, turning the pages from left to right teaching directionality, and baby will also begin to learn where the front of the book is and how to tell if the book is upside down while they’re playing with it. These are both important early literacy skills. This book contains 7 Nursery Rhymes (which is another literacy skill that kids don’t get enough of). This book encourages thinking, playing, and learning. Turning the pages is great for gross motor development and sliding and pushing the buttons is great for those fine motor skills!
That’s it for this Gift Guide: Best Toys for Babies Under 1! I truly hope I gave you some insight on some great toys you can get your little one. Shopping for a “baby” under 1 doesn’t have to be discouraging, just look for the toys that teach something or engage them in some way! The more a baby can interact with the toy, the better!
Erica Leggiero, M.S. Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 7 years. Erica is currently the director and teacher at a Preschool Enrichment Program in her area. Erica believes that young children learn best through play and exploration, and she is constantly looking for new and creative ways to incorporate learning through play. She embraces this belief in all of the activities she creates in her preschool classroom, and loves sharing them here on her blog. Erica has also co-authored the book, "Learn With Play" with other kid bloggers in the preschool field.