Developmentally appropriate 1 year old toys

September 14, 2021

We have a few shop lists on our blog to help you find engaging (and educational) gifts for the little people in your life. Whether they are under one, 2, 3 or 4, we have ideas, with links, for you.

As always, we use amazon links because regardless of where you live Amazon usually ships. But you can often find many of these toys at a local toy store.

If you have a creative, joyful 1 year old on your hands, here are our top toy recommendations that go the distance for years to come:

  • Hammering toys are great for motor skill development and hand eye coordination. Our top pick is the Hape Pound and Punch Bench. This toy is still going strong for a nearly 4 year old. It comes with a hammer bench, a xylophone, and 3 balls (that can be used for a variety of activities on the earlybird platform). Melissa and Doug also does a great straight hammer bench.
  • Puzzles promote hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and problem-solving. Hape has some really cool tactile sensory puzzles that are easy for early puzzle solvers. Melissa and Doug also has a latch puzzle that will take your child some time to master but even 1 year olds love exploring. It is fantastic for developing motor skills your child will need for daily living. Letter and number puzzles are a great way to expose your child to foundational concepts. You can also use them in conjunction with many of the activities on the earlybird platform.
  • Activity Supplies are a great gift because they are consumable, engage children in a creative process, and don't result in more clutter in the house. So you could grab them any of the materials on our art and loose part supply list. Or unique activity books, coloring books, or resuseable sticker activities.
  • Blocks are a fantastic, open-ended toy that encourages imaginative play -they can become anything your child desires. Stacking and moving blocks is also great for motor development, hand-eye coordination and understanding balance. If you want to also engage your child in color understanding and sorting activities, opt for the rainbow blocks over plain wood.
  • Duplo (and LEGO) are powerful toys for creative and motor development. Start with an open-ended set, and move into some of the creative themed sets like motorized trains, airport, marvel superheros, or farms. You can also get sets that target a child's literacy or numeracy development. These often come with printed posters inside that focus a child in on the core learning concepts.
  • Imaginative play toys are open-ended, allowing your child to make up stories which will promote literacy in rich ways. Action figures, dolls, trucks, and animals are all fantastic for encouraging oral language and creative story-telling.
  • Start a collection of small, affordable gifts that you collect over time are wonderful. They also make an easy gift suggestion to loved ones without having your child become overwhelmed with toys. Thomas trains and tracks, wooden animals, and dollhouse, people, and furnishings all make for great collectable gifts.
  • Musical toys provide a rich sensory experience, while also honing a child's motor skills. Multi-sensory egg sakers with different sounds are fantastic, like these or these. So is a child-sized drum or tambourine.

Remember your only job as a caregiver is to provide your child with materials and the time to explore. They will take it from there and get learning. With any of these gifts you will have done just that.

and if you would like some creative ideas for how to get them playing and learning with their toys, join Earlybird.

Happy playing!

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