Best Developmental Toys for 1-Year-Olds

Great ideas for baby’s first birthday.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.

May 23, 2020
By: Amanda Mushro

Photo By: Little Brown Rabbit Photography

Photo By: Karl Tapales

Photo By: Yuji Ozeki

Photo By: yaoinlove

Photo By: suzyco

Little Ones Can Learn While They Play

A baby's first birthday brings the big transition from infant to toddler. To celebrate, they’ve got all kinds of new tricks. 1-year-olds are often on the move, super curious, and developing new language skills. If you’re looking for toys to help their development, here are a few of our favorites.

Toys for Gross Motor Skills

On average, babies begin taking their first steps around the year mark, so look for a toy that encourages balance and stability.

Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

The VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker is a great gift and a favorite toy of parents. The detachable panel has plenty of buttons, spinning rollers and shape sorters to keep babies engaged. The walker also features wheels that roll gently on carpet or hard wood floors. Your little one can sing-along to 70 songs, and enjoy music, sound effects and fun phrases that encourage language development and creative play.

BUY IT: Amazon, $35

Kid’s Play Tent and Crawl Tunnel

Tunnels and ball pits are perfect for encouraging your crawling baby to use those developing muscles and problem solve as they make their way through the tunnel. Crawling and scooting is great for physical activity, developing those gross motor skills and hopefully using up some of their energy.

BUY IT: Amazon, $55

Toys for Evolving Language Skills

At 12 months, most babies respond to simple verbal requests, like shaking their head no, clapping when someone says “yay!” or waving goodbye. At this age, some off their babbling can turn into words like "Dada," "Mama" and "Uh-Oh!" To encourage your baby’s language development, look for toys that offer simple words and repetition.

Where is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book

“Where is Baby’s Belly Button?”is an adorable lift-the-flap book that your 1-year-old will want you to read again and again. The simple text is great for language development and learning body parts.

BUY IT: Amazon, $5

Fisher-Price Magical Fishbowl

Babies learn through repetition, so they love hearing the songs, ABCs, numbers and shapes that this Laugh and Learn Magical Fishbowl plays. While they practice fine motor skills by pulling each sea creature out and putting them back in the bowl, you can encourage their language development by telling your baby the names of each creature.

BUY IT: Target, $18

Toys for Fine Motor Skills

1-year-olds can pick up finger foods, grasp items between their thumb and forefinger, and they're working on placing objects in a container and taking them out. So, look for toys that focus on eye-hand coordination and building fine motor skills.

Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks Bundle

From sorting shapes to stacking rings, these Fisher Price toys are classics. Your baby will love the bright colors and will be using both fine motor and problem-solving skills while they play. Also, these toys help their dexterity as baby grasps at the pieces. It’s amazing how such simple toys encourage so many new skills.

BUY IT: Amazon, $15

Zany Zoo

This activity cube will keep your baby engaged and learning. This fun toy is powered by your little one’s hands and needs no batteries. With peek-a-boo doors, squiggly tracks and colorful beads that move, your baby will work on their fine motor skills, language development and learn cause and effect while they play.

BUY IT: Target, $60

Toys for Cognitive Skills

Your baby’s understanding of object permanence is improving. Babies love to imitate, so they may “talk” on the phone, dance the way you dance and mimic your actions. Look for toys that encourage creative play and real world activities.

Town Play Mat

This play mat set encourages your little one to be creative and develop their imagination. This adorable toy nurtures focus and color awareness and promotes fine motor skills and number recognition.

BUY IT: Target, $22

Picnic Basket

Encourage early pretend play with this picnic basket. With four colorful picnic treats in a flip-top basket, and a pull-apart sandwich, your baby will love this sensory play. The multi-textured toys rattle, jingle, squeak and crinkle and will delight your little one.

BUY IT: Target, $23

Shop This Look