20 Best Educational Toys for 1 Year Olds

Author avatar Craig McCart

As babies reach the 12 months milestone, they start to show lots of advances in their cognitive skills. At this age, they typically start to shake, bang and throw objects and may be able to sit up independently or begin to pull themselves into a standing position. They may recognize simple gestures like nodding for hello or waving goodbye.

Find a toy that encourages the baby to use these behaviors — it will have a positive benefit on their development, whilst ensuring they’re having fun playing at the same time. To help you find the ideal toy for your one-year-old, we’ve collated a list of our favorite toys suitable for girls and boys alike.

1. Important milestones for your baby by one year. 2019. CDC. cdc.gov

20 Educational Toys for 1 Year Olds

1. LEGO DUPLO All-in-One-Box-of-Fun Building Kit

LEGO Duplo offers a great introduction to building blocks for your one-year-old, and the set comes in a handy storage box so everything can be tidied away neatly. Even if your baby doesn’t quite understand the concept of putting the pieces together right away, it’s a safe activity that encourages them to develop fine motor skills. They’ll pick the concept of piecing together the site as they play with it!

Pros

  • Vibrant colors attract babies to the set
  • locks are the ideal size for little hands

Cons

  • The set could do with extra blocks

2. Fisher-Price Rock - A - Stack

This stacking toy from Fisher-Price includes 5 vibrant rings for babies to grab, shake, stack and even chew if they want to. Babies can stack the rings and then bat the base which offers a wibbly-wobbly effect which, as a result, encourages the use of fine motor skills and eye coordination in addition to being a fun and safe solo activity.

Pros

  • The rings come in a variety of bright colors
  • The set is well made and durable

Cons

  • The set could include more rings

3. Hape Pound & Tap Bench

Pros

  • The balls and the xylophone are solid wood
  • The xylophone is removable to use on its own

Cons

  • the balls are difficult to push through the holes

4. Edushape See-Me Sensory Ball

At first look at this sensory ball from Edushape it provides colors that simply draw babies in, On top of that the textured surface engages your baby’s senses and tactile development. They can grab, throw, chew or squeeze this ball to work on gross motor skills, rolling, tracking and bouncing the ball, helping to develop logic and reasoning skills.

Pros

  • The small size makes it easy to hold
  • It comes in a variety of vibrant colors

Cons

  • A stronger material would hold air in longer

5. Play22 Plush Talking Stuffed Animals Jungle Set

Whether it’s their first encounter with animals or they’re already familiar with them, this set includes everything they need to get to know animals from the jungle. The set Includes a jungle house carrier, Stuffed Bears, Stuffed Elephant, Stuffed Tiger, Stuffed Lion, Stuffed Zebra, and Stuffed Monkey. Squeezing each animal will make a sound for your baby to start associating each sound with the individual animals.

Pros

  • The animals are really soft
  • The set is made from durable materials

Cons

  • The noises the animals make could be more realistic

6. Busy Noisy Farm: Interactive Children's Sound Book

A children’s sound book is a great way to pique your baby’s curiosity. As you read the story, you will see picture icons that inspire little ones to find the buttons and play the sound effects. They’ll hear 10 different sounds as the farmer rides his tractor around the farm, looking for a missing pig. Busy Noisy Farm helps to promote matching, fine motor and listening skills, as well as language and literacy skills.

Pros

  • Buttons are easy to push
  • The battery life is fantastic

Cons

  • The area around the sound buttons need regular cleaning

7. Floating Baby Bath Books

Who said bathtime had to be boring? These floating baby bath books are great for keeping babies entertained in the bath.  Each individual book contains five pages covering a section of the alphabet. Each letter is described with simple, beautiful illustrations. These soft, squishy books all contain a squeaking noise-maker that is easily squeezed and makes silly sounds.

Pros

  • The books don’t get damaged or worn down by the water
  • They are the perfect size for tiny hands

Cons

  • An additional book could have been included

8. Vulli So Pure Sophie and Natural Soother

Sophie the giraffe and the natural soother are great for babies that like to chew things. With Sophie, babies can squeeze and chew in complete safety. Both pieces are made of 100% Natural Rubber (phthalates-free) and food paint. Squeezing Sophie makes a happy sound, stimulating your baby’s hearing to understand the link between cause and effect.

Pros

  • It’s great for babies that are teething
  • It's easy to clean after use

Cons

  • The color of the giraffe can fade

9. GOODLOGO Flower Bath Toys

This fun bathtime set has everything to make bathtime a blast! Babies can fill up the watering can and pretend to water the plants like a little gardener. Your one-year-old fills cups of water to pour into the flower which rotates the propellor and leaf to create a waterfall. This toy works on hand-eye coordination and promotes shape and color recognition.

Pros

  • All pieces are vibrant in color
  • The toys are easy to clean

Cons

  • The suction cups could be attached to the toy

10. Little Tikes Tap-A-Tune Drum

This drum kit is the perfect excuse for your baby to have fun and make some noise. It includes a single drum and two drumsticks which clip on to each side of the drum. Aside from beating the drum, your one-year-old could use the sticks to rub the surface of the drum to make some more unique sounds. Babies will work on their creative skills by finding their own musical sounds.

Pros

  • Babies can use drum sticks or their hands to play
  • It doesn’t take up too much space

Cons

  • The sticks could be attached to the drums to avoid losing them

11. SKYFIELD Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzles

These chunky puzzles are the ideal size for little hands, the pieces are chunky enough to withstand reasonable bashes and scrapes and include four packs of cute and vibrant puzzle pieces. As well as helping babies to recognize animals, these jigsaws will build on your baby’s concentration and basic logic skills. 

Pros

  • The pieces are good quality, void of sharp edges
  • A handy carrier bag is included

Cons

  • The pieces could fit more snug

12. Noisy Dinosaurs book (My First)

This dinosaur-themed touch and feel book includes interactive ways for your baby to get involved with each page of the book. As well as feeling textures, they’ll also hear the sounds of dinosaurs as you continue with the story. The book includes vibrant photographs, and through the use of different surfaces, it encourages sensory development and promotes listening.

Pros

  • The sounds are realistic
  • There's a wide variety of textures

Cons

  • There could be more pages to enjoy

13. Disney Winnie The Pooh Music and Lights Walker

This Winnie The Pooh walker includes 2 swing-open activity trays with 4 fun Winnie the Pooh themed toys and 12 songs. The walker holsd babies up to 30lbs and is great for strengthening the power in their lower limbs. Babies can play with the vibrant activity trays or begin to scoot around the house using their legs. When your one-year-old is tired of playing, they can use the included tray table to refuel with a snack!

Pros

  • The padded seat is machine washable
  • The wheels work on hard floors and carpet

Cons

  • Initial assembly could have been easier

14. The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

Although the concept of stacking cups is simplistic, this set includes 8 brightly colored cups that can either be stacked on top of one another or your baby can hide things inside them. There are holes in each cup too which means they can also be used in the bath. The numbers on the cups means your baby can begin to recognize the differences and learn basic counting.

Pros

  • Each cup has large numbers printed on the bottom
  • The cups are easy to clean

Cons

  • Cups could have had a bigger range of sizes

15. Boxiki kids Wooden Stacking Toys & Shape Sorting Board

This geometric stacking and shape sorting board from Boxiki features a range of colorful wooden pieces of triangles, squares, circles and rectangles that can be matched and stacked on the corresponding rods. Using the various pieces, babies can stack them together on top of each other which helps to build early problem-solving, cognitive, shape, color, and size differentiation skills.

Pros

  • The wood is smooth, solid and well painted
  • There’s lots of color and shape options

Cons

  • The overall size of the toy could be bigger

16. Stainless Steel Cookware Playset

Packed into a cute box is this 13 piece cookware playset, pots and pans are 3.7″ in diameter, while cooking utensils are 5.5″ long. The pots, pans, and utensils are essentially miniatures of what is found in mom and dad’s kitchen, and they’ve been created with little hands in mind. Babies can pretend to cook while you take care of dinner time, promoting imaginative and imitation play as a result.

Pros

  • Handles are riveted on pots and pans tightly
  • Made of high-quality hand-polished stainless steel

Cons

  • The pots and pans are not big enough for larger play food

17. VTech Pull and Sing PuppySnap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Electronics Exploration Kit

The VTech Pull and Sing Puppy has a light-up nose that flashes along with all voice, sound and musical responses to attract your little one’s attention, this promotes language development in a playful way. Using the cord, your baby can push or pull this cute pup to activate the music which works on their gross motor skills at the same time.

Pros

  • It’s well made, standing up to bumps and falls
  • The sounds, colors, and movement or great quality

Cons

  • The string could be longer

18. Bright Baby Touch & Feel Baby Animals

This touch and feel book takes baby animals and puts them into a cute little story for you to read to your little one, as you turn each page they can feel the textures to get more involved with the story. 

With colorful pictures of baby animals and rhyming text to read aloud, this interactive book is perfect for your bright baby to build their reading skills, sensory skills, and their vocabulary.

Pros

  • Offers a range of different textures
  • The pages are thick and durable

Cons

  • Each page is similar textures

19. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

This all in one Early learning center has 5 piano keys that play music, and it features 2 colorful spinning rollers, 3 shape sorters, and 3 light-up buttons. Your baby can sit and play with the various activities. Once they’re brave enough, they can attempt to stand up and even take their first steps with this walker. This toy encourages creativity and builds on fine motor skills.

Pros

  • It works on hard floors and carpet
  • Includes 2 AA batteries

Cons

  • The small phone is unattached so easily lost

20. Wooden Race Track Car Ramp

This race track car ramp is made from solid wood, it comes with 4 wooden racing cars in vibrant colors that’ll instantly grab your baby’s attention. Your one-year-old places a car at the top of the parking lot, and with a small push the car flips down each level of the lot before speeding out from the base of the lot. The toy promotes fine motor skills and also works on keeping their concentration engaged.

Pros

  • The parking lot is good quality and is built to last
  • Cars glide down the ramps without getting stuck

Cons

  • The cars go a little too fast

Buying Toys for 1-Year-Olds

Finding a toy that’s entertaining, safe and educational for a one-year-old can seem like a tough job. The toys we have suggested here have been collated from recommendations from real parents, looking for the most positive reviews to help with your search for a suitable option for your baby. If you’ve found an option on our list that’s perfect for your little one, or have a suggestion, let us know in the comments below.