19 Developmentally-Friendly Toys That’ll Keep Your 1-Year-Old Entertained All Day

Updated on


What Toys Should My 1-Year-Old Be Playing With?

In choosing toys for a particular age group, consider the ones that fit their developmental milestones. As your 1-year-old transitions from being a baby to a toddler, they begin their journey with literally shaky steps. Choose toys to support standing up and walking.

Examples are push toys (such as the Fisher-Price Busy Activity Walker) they can hold while learning to walk. A pull toy (like the Fisher-Price Little People Big Yellow School Bus) also encourages them to walk.

Yet aside from motor skills, it’s a good idea to offer toys for toddler learning.

At 12 months, they’re learning how to talk. So talking toys or books can be ideal for this age group. Because kids love to imitate adults, toy vacuum cleaners or kitchen playsets are great for this age.

You don’t always need toys because toddlers also enjoy playing peek-a-boo or chasing games.


Here’s a gift guide to 19 of the best toys for 1-year-olds you can pick for your baby’s first birthday.


Montessori-Inspired Toys



  • Best features: 70 pieces, including threading blocks and toggle string
  • Product safety: Water-based paint and finishes
  • Materials: Sustainably harvested FSC-certified wood
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Age range: 18-48+ months
  • Extra features: Includes pieces to create a cart, little people figures, and a drawstring bag
  • Certification: FSC
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It’s pricier than equivalent plastic block sets. For example, Mega Bloks playset (80 pcs) costs $19.99.



  • Best features: Promotes thinking, pretend play, hand-eye coordination, pincer grasp and hand strength, and problem-solving
  • Product safety: Free from heavy elements and phthalates
  • Materials: Organic cotton baby doll and sustainably-harvested wood toys
  • Type of toy: Educational toy subscription
  • Age range: 11-12 months
  • Extra features: Includes organic cotton sensory pouch, mini books, balls, puzzles, and other learning materials
  • Certification: FSC and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 (products with this certification passed at least 100 tests to check for toxic chemicals) (1)
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.



  • Best features: Promotes learning about balance, cause and effect, spatial awareness, and object permanence
  • Product safety: Free from heavy elements and phthalates
  • Materials: Sustainably-harvested wood toys
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Age range: 13-15 months
  • Extra features: Includes board books, wooden stacker and puzzles, and other learning materials
  • Certification: OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and FSC
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.


Other STEM Toys


Key Features

  • Best features: Two-sided toy with buckets, water wheels, and slides for fun and learning
  • Product safety: Free from phthalates, BPA (bisphenol-A), or VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Materials: Polypropylene and/or polyethylene plastic
  • Type of toy: Water activity center
  • Educational value: Science concepts like motion, gravity, and cause and effect relationships
  • Age range: 18+ months
  • Extra features: Your child can also use pasta, beans, sand, or other materials for sensory exploration
  • Certification: ASTM F-963 Toy Safety Standards
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: No pre-drilled holes


Fat Brain Toys Boon Pipes Building Bath Toy MulticolorAMAZON BUTTONWALMART BUTTONEBAY BUTTON

  • Best features: Pipes with unique shapes and functions, including a water wheel and corkscrew design for building waterfall chains
  • Product safety: Free from BPA
  • Materials: BPA-free plastic
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Educational value: For engineering skills, spatial reasoning, creativity, and fine motor skills
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Suction cups to stick to bathroom walls for bathtime play
  • Certification: ASTM, European Safety Standards Commission, International Council of Toy Industries, CPSC
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about the suction cups not working well


Toys That Help Develop Cognitive Skills

Grimm’s Spiel & Holz Natural Wooden Rainbow (small)EBAY BUTTONBella Luna BUTTON

  • Best features: Waldorf-inspired European design with six rainbow pieces for stacking
  • Product safety: Non-toxic plant-based oil finish
  • Materials: Limewood
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Educational value: For sorting, building, fine motor skills, and spatial awareness
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Available in natural brown or colorful pieces
  • Certification: ASTM Toy Safety Standards and European (EN71-3) standards
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.



  • Best features: Hand-carved wavy wood blocks that can represent waves, hills, tunnels, or other things
  • Product safety: Non-toxic water-based dyes
  • Materials: Natural, sustainable wood
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Different shades of green and blue
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.


Maple Landmark Engraved ABC BlocksAMAZON BUTTON

  • Best features: Wooden blocks with carved letters on each side
  • Product safety: Natural finish, without paint
  • Materials: Sustainably harvested maple hardwood
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Educational value: Fine motor skills and early reading
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Includes a wooden box
  • Certification: CPSC
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricier than plastic blocks.


Toys That Promote Sensory Skills


  • Best features: Springy, rebounding elastic hold teether rods and beads together
  • Product safety: Non-toxic water-based finishing
  • Materials: Sustainable rubberwood
  • Type of toy: Teether toy
  • Educational value: Gross motor skills for tiny hands
  • Age range: 0+ years old
  • Extra features: Beads slide and rattle
  • Certification: European EN71 and CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008) safety regulations
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It’s important to check the toy for signs of cracked pieces of weak string to avoid choking risks.


Bannor Toys Wooden Toy KeysETSY BUTTON

  • Best features: Set of three wooden keys
  • Product safety: Finishing made of organic beeswax and flaxseed oil
  • Materials: Cherry, maple, and walnut wood
  • Type of toy: Pretend keys
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: It can be customized or engraved with names
  • Certification: ASTM F963-11 and CPSC
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.


Toys That Promote Hand-Eye Coordination


  • Best features: This colorful shape sorter is made from recycled materials.
  • Product safety: Food-safe plastic; free from BPA, phthalates or PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Materials: 100% recycled plastic milk jugs
  • Type of toy: Puzzle & shape sorter
  • Educational value: Problem-solving, eye-hand coordination, and fine and gross motor skill development
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Jumbo pieces for tiny hands
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about strong odor and difficult-to-clean hollow block parts


Plantoys Hammer BallsMacy's ButtonWALMART BUTTONAMAZON BUTTONBella Luna BUTTON

  • Best features: Wood platform with balls designed for hammering
  • Product safety: Free from formaldehyde, lead, or other heavy metals
  • Materials: Reclaimed and reused rubberwood with organic color pigment and water-based dyes
  • Type of toy: Educational
  • Educational value: Logical thinking, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills
  • Age range: 12+ months
  • Certification: ASTM and European EN71
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.



  • Best features: Colorful educational toy with built-in carrying case
  • Product safety: Class 1 LED product (for safe laser or light products)
  • Materials: Plastic
  • Type of toy: Educational and sensory toy
  • Educational value: Alphabet, counting, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills
  • Age range: 12-36 months
  • Extra features: It can be used with or without batteries.
  • Certification: ASTM, CPSC, and Canadian Hazardous Products Regulations
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Requires batteries to play the music.




Apple Park Organic Knit Plush – FoxETSY BUTTON

  • Price: $45
  • Best features: Organic fox plushie with plaid pants
  • Product safety: OEKO-TEX 100 eco-friendly dyes, free from phthalates
  • Materials: 100% organic cotton knit, filled with organic cotton and corn husk fiber
  • Type of toy: Plushie
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Embroidered eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Certification: ASTM F963 and European EN71
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Pricier than other plushies

Tikiri Aria Organic DollAMAZON BUTTON

  • Best features: Soft body doll
  • Product safety: Non-toxic, organic 100 material (100% organic)
  • Materials: Organic cloth with recycled polyester filling
  • Type of toy: Baby doll
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 0+ months old
  • Extra features: Dress with bird embroidery
  • Certification: European EN71 and US ASTM F963 Standards
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Doesn’t have hair

Our Green House Organic Stuffed Animal Sheep

  • Best features: Handmade organic plushie
  • Product safety: Organic materials
  • Materials: Organic cotton yarn and OEKO-TEX certified polyester stuffing
  • Type of toy: Animal plushie
  • Educational value: Pretend play
  • Age range: 1+ years old
  • Extra features: Handmade plushie made by stay-at-home moms who were refugees from Syria and now living in Istanbul, Turkey
  • Certification: OEKO-TEX
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricier than other plushies. For example, TeeTurtle plushies cost around $15.


Pretend Or Make-believe Toys

Under The Nile Fruit Tote Gift SetWALMART BUTTON

  • Best features: Colorful fruit basket
  • Product safety: Free from AZO dyes, PVC, lead, phosphates, optimal whiteners, bleach, chlorine, or petroleum-based surfactants and chemicals
  • Materials: 100% organic Egyptian cotton
  • Type of toy: Plushie make-believe toys
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 0+ years old
  • Extra features: Sustainably made from leftover clothing production scraps
  • Certification: GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and Gold Egyptian Seal of authentic premium Egyptian cotton
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: It can be pricey.



Tikiri Midnight Dragon – Organic Natural Rubber RattleAMAZON BUTTONBella Luna BUTTON

  • Best features: Magical dragon rattle and plushie
  • Product safety: Non-toxic and free from BPA, phthalates, and PVC
  • Materials: 100% organic natural rubber and cotton fabrics
  • Type of toy: Rattle, plushie, and teether
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 0+ years old
  • Extra features: Hand-painted with soy-based ink with parts that can soothe teething gums
  • Certification: European EN71, US ASTM F963, and Canadian Consumer Product Safety Act
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about a sloppy paint job


Finn + Emma Rattle Buddy

  • Best features: Vintage-inspired flying pig
  • Product safety: Free from phthalates
  • Materials: Certified 100% organic cotton with non-toxic, eco-friendly dyes
  • Type of toy: Plushie with rattle
  • Educational value: Imaginative play
  • Age range: 0+ years old
  • Extra features: Hand-knit and ethically made
  • Certification: GOTS
  • Product recall: None
  • Cons: Some complaints about strong scent (goes away after washing)


Factors To Consider When Buying Toys for 1-Year-Olds


Babies love to put things in their mouths, even past the teething stage. So, it’s important to avoid choking hazards and provide them with toys made from non-toxic materials.

Check the following safety concerns:

Product Recalls

Before buying any toy, check for recent product recalls. You can use the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) page for product recalls or do an online search using the brand and toy name. (2)

Often, recalls involving toys are about safety hazards or risks. For example, LeapFrog My Pal Scout Electronic Plush Toy Dogs were recalled in July 2009 for paw decals that might detach, posing a choking risk. (3)

In October 2020, MorfBoard Skate & Scoot Combo scooters were recalled because the “Y” handlebars can break, posing a fall risk. (4)


Choking Risks

Toys must be at least 1¼ inches in diameter or 2¼ inches in length to ensure that they’re too large for your baby to choke on. However, be careful of parts that can detach from larger toys or loose screws, nuts, and bolts. (5)

Avoid small, hard, and round objects such as marbles, games with small balls, or coins even if they’re larger than 1¼ inches in diameter. Choose those larger than 1.75 inches in diameter because smaller ones can get stuck in their throat.

Check soft toys and baby dolls for safety pins, loose buttons, or detached parts that can become choking hazards.

As a rule of thumb, pick jumbo versions for baby toys. They can make playtime safer for your little one. Plus, these can be easier to hold with little hands.


Batteries (Choking Hazard & Toxic When Swallowed)

Be extra careful with toys that have small, circular batteries. Although most of these have battery cases secured by screws, your child might accidentally pry these open with another toy. These shiny things look appealing but very dangerous to kids. If swallowed, they can lead to death from poisoning. (6)

It’s challenging to determine a child’s cause of sickness, especially because the symptoms can be similar to other illnesses: (6)(7)

  • Pain in the affected area (e.g., tummy, nose, ears, etc.)
  • Crying
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • No appetite
  • Drooling or salivating
  • Coughing and gagging when eating
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever


If you suspect that your baby ingested a battery, immediately bring them to the hospital. Give your child honey as a first-aid measure, but if there’s none on hand, don’t delay rushing them to the ER to look for honey. (7)

Although children below one year of age should avoid honey due to botulism risks (a bacterial infection), there may be a higher risk of poisoning than bacterial infection if they ingested a battery. (7)

You can give them 2 tbsp of honey if they can swallow liquids, and it’s within 12 hours from swallowing the battery. (7)



Avoid toys with magnets because these can also be easily swallowed and can cause abdominal pain due to blockage or stacking together in your child’s tummy. (7)

Symptoms can include: (7)

  • Aching tummy
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


Riding Toys

Check the manufacturer’s recommendation. Although most riding toys let your child sit unsupported, some might require safety belts or harnesses.


Lead & Other Harmful, Toxic Chemicals or Materials To Avoid

Check the label. Avoid toys with lead, often found in paint. Lead poisoning symptoms can include: (7)

  • Fatigue (lack of energy)
  • Headache
  • Behavioral changes


If you’re buying wooden blocks or wooden puzzles, choose those made with lead-free paint. For example, Hape Shape Sorting Box is an educational toy made of wood with a child-safe paint finish.

Bright colors are appealing to kids, but their safety comes first. If possible, choose the ones that don’t have any paint if you can’t find lead-free painted toys.

Always check the label to avoid toys with these toxic chemicals, which can cause increased risks for cancer, premature puberty, fertility problems, hyperactivity, aggressiveness or other behavioral problems, and liver or kidney dysfunction: (8)

  • BPA (bisphenol-A) and other polycarbonates (BPS or bisphenol-S)
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Phthalates
  • Cadmium
  • Formaldehyde
  • Polystyrene (commonly known as styrofoam)
  • Flame retardant chemicals – PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers), HBCD (hexabromocyclododecane), OPFRs (organophosphate flame retardants), TBBPA (tetrabromobisphenol A), TDCPP or tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl)phosphate; and TCEP or tris(2-chloroethyl)phosphate (9)(10)
  • Carcinogenic dyes (like AZO dyes) (11)


Better Alternatives

  • Uncoated, unpainted, or unfinished wood
  • Wood finished with natural oils or waxes (e.g., beeswax or walnut oil)
  • Cotton
  • Wool
  • Washable fabrics
  • Food grade silicone
  • Polypropylene – a plastic option that may be safer for kids (12)
  • Natural rubber – they’re free from BPA and PVC but check for signs of allergic reactions (hives, itchy welts, trouble breathing, nausea, runny nose, or skin redness) (13)



Manufacturers have their quality certifications, but the following independent certificates show that your baby’s tiny hands play with non-toxic and eco-friendly toys:

  • ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International F-963 Toy Safety Standards – tests for toxic chemicals (e.g., heavy metals like lead and cadmium), labeling or safety warning requirements, material quality, etc. (14)
  • CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) – tests toys to ensure they meet safety standards for different factors, including flammability, sound pressure levels for toys that produce sound, choking hazards, etc. (15)
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 – products with this certification passed at least 100 tests to check for toxic chemicals (1)
  • GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) – the international textile processing standard for organic fibers (covers all processing stages, from raw materials to distribution) (16)
  • FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) – eco-friendly products from responsibly managed forests (17)
  • PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) – Look for the green tree logo, which signifies that the wooden toys come from sustainably managed forests (18)
  • Rainforest Alliance – Look for the frog seal, which means that the brand meets the standards for natural resource conservation, worker and wildlife protection, and financial viability of farms (19)
  • Class 1 LED product (for safe laser or light products) (20)


Other Toy Dangers To Watch Out For

Aside from the hazards mentioned above, it’s also important to keep these toys away from your one-year-old’s reach: (5)(21)

  • Shooting or projectile toys, even if the play bullets are made of soft foam
  • Balloons
  • Toys in a plastic bag (suffocation risk)
  • Toy chests without air holes or those without lid support; it’s better to choose a toy chest without a lid
  • Damaged or broken toys (always check for splinters, cracks, loose buttons or screws, sharp points or edges, and pinch points)
  • Toys that make loud noises or move fast
  • Electric toys
  • Toys made of glass or brittle plastic
  • Any object not meant to be used as a toy (especially safety hazards like scissors, matches, fireworks, and crafting materials)


Educational Value

Kids can learn while having fun with toys like Melissa & Doug knob puzzles, 2-in-1 talking ball learning toys, or soft activity books like The Wonderful World of Peekaboo!

Montessori-inspired toys are made using natural materials like wood, cotton, rocks, or metal that encourage learning through play. These toys don’t make artificial sounds or light up. 

These toys are rooted in reality for kids to manipulate with their hands, developing their fine motor skills. 

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) toys encourage them to have fun while also learning about science concepts. Examples are cause and effect toys (such as a pound and tap bench that makes a sound when the toy hammer hits).

Another good example is the Step2 Waterfall Discovery Wall, which encourages sensory exploration. It also lets your child learn the basics of gravity, force, and motion (because they can follow the water movement and toys from the buckets).


Age Range

Kids have different interests, but this can greatly vary with age.

For example, you might notice that your one-year-old loves stacking toys and activity cubes, but your 5-year-old doesn’t like playing with them. An older child might prefer a balance bike, stroller, or another ride-on toy.

Your 6-year-oldmight be more interested in musical instruments like pianos and string instruments, but a one-year-old might be content with a tap bench or simple xylophone.

Sometimes, toys can grow with your kids. For example, building blocks, stackers (such as stacking cups), dolls, or toy figures can be shared with 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. But even as 4-year-olds (or older), they can find other uses for these toys or play with them in more sophisticated ways (such as building more elaborate castles.


What’s The Best Gift For A One-Year-Old Girl?

Kids’ interests can vary based on gender, but many parents typically give baby dolls and musical toys to baby girls. However, you can also let them play with blocks, pull toys, and all the other toys we listed in this review.


What Kind Of Gift Do You Get A One-Year-Old Boy?

Some parents prefer giving typical toys for baby boys, such as cars, but excluding baby dolls and “girly” stuff. But the Montessori-based toys, STEM toys, and many of the toys we list in this review can be great as gifts for your one-year-old boy.


Quality & Durability

You can find plenty of cheap toys from Amazon or even Walmart and Target. However, it might not be safe to make price your deciding factor.

It’s easier to gauge the quality and durability of a toy if you’re buying it at the store. But if you’re buying online, it’s good to read the reviews and do your due diligence.


Other Learning Toys For Different Age Groups


Toy Recalls To Monitor


























– Motherhood Community is reader supported. When you buy through links on our site we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More