As your child turns one, they develop a natural curiosity about things around them. This is a critical period of learning for them, as this is when they start to develop creativity, sociability, and behaviour. It is important then that they are supported in every way possible. One such way is by giving them the toys. The best toys for 1 year olds should, of course, be fun, but also help kids this age explore the world around them while mastering gross and fine motor skills.
Top 10 best toys for 1 year olds in the UK 2021
If you prefer to go straight to our top recommendations, here’s a quick view for you:
1. Geomag 126 Coffret de Magicube Free Building Set
Putting blocks together and pulling them apart will help develop kids their fine-motor skills and encourage collaborative play, says Good Play Guide founder Amanda Gummer. These colourful magnetic cubes are a great choice, says Gummer, as they are easy for little hands to manipulate. Buy a starter pack now, and if they’re a hit, you’ll have your present options sorted for years to come, as there are plenty of sets to collect.
2. Mega Bloks DCH55 Big Building Bag
The Mega Block Bug Building Bag is an award-winning set of 60 colourful blocks in the classic colours of red, blue, green, and yellow. Rest assured your little one will enjoy hours of safe fun, thanks to the PVC-material used to manufacture the blocks.
The set comes in versatile and assorted shapes and sizes, igniting your little one’s creativity. They can create anything from ships to houses to giraffes! Their imagination is the only limit. Stacking, building, and deconstructing the assembled blocks helps develop their fine motor and problem-solving skills. The storage bag makes clean up and storage easy. This affordable block set ticks all the boxes in terms of 1-year-old toy requirements, making it our pick for the best of the ten best toys for 1-year-olds.
3. Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth
A 28cm-high clapping, nodding sloth who grooves along to the music that plays when you press the green button on his foot. The orange button on his other foot plays phrases about numbers, colours and opposites. If you have another Linkimals animal (there’s an equally cute Musical Moose), you can ‘link’ them up so they sing and ‘chat’ together. Requires 4 AA batteries (demo ones included).
We love it because it’s nice and sturdy, with cute soft arms. And his clapping and head-wobbling is lovely: all our child testers reacted delightedly. The lights and sounds are fun without being too grating to parental ears – and introduce counting and numbers in a genuinely engaging way.
4. Hape Early Melodies E0305 Pound And Tap Bench
Roll over, Beethoven. With this classic toy, your child can experiment with different sounds by rolling the colorful balls down the xylophone slide or by hitting the keys with the mallet. We really love that this toy is mainly made of wood rather than plastic and features water-based paint and non-toxic finishes. It’s available in yellow (with a spectrum of rainbow shades on the sides) and red (with red, gold, and white sides). The sturdy materials make you confident it will last for several years, and the rounded edges are safe for kids.
5. Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker
As well as helping little ones take their first steps, a durable learner walker, like the Tidlo Wooden Activity Walker pictured, also features plenty of activities to keep toddlers entertained and busy. The spinning cage rattle, mini abacus, spinning mirror and matching blocks there’s plenty to stimulate young minds.
6. Sophie la girafe Baby Teething Toy
Ah, la giraffe. Serving red-cheeked little dribblers since 1961, this is still the best teething toy on the market, for kids from four months to three years. Sophie is made from soft natural rubber and dyed with food-grade paint, so she’s nicely squidgy and easy to clutch, and kids can chew on her to their hearts’ content. However, she’s also easy for babies to drop, so keep an eye out when you’re out and about – my one-year-old is currently on his third.
7. Lamaze Grab & Hide Ball
This squishy sphere makes a chiming sound when rolled. One-year-olds can “hide” and then “find” the cheery characters—but don’t worry, the critters are tethered to the ball so they won’t go missing. As one is pulled out in giggly glee, another slides inside.
8. Battat – Wooden Activity Cube
Each panel of the Battat Wooden Activity Cube features different activities to help toddlers develop their motor skills and learn about colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Recommended for kids 1 and up, this sturdy, durable toy is perfect for independent or side-by-side play. The best part is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to play with straight out of the box.
9. Green Toys Shape Sorter
Made in the USA from food-safe, 100 percent recycled plastic, this shape sorter is a fun, age-appropriate toy that has longevity. Safe for kids from 6 months up, younger kids will enjoy grasping the lightweight shapes while older babies can practice fine motor skills and color matching by sorting the shapes and placing the corresponding shape into the sorter. Perfect for indoor or outdoor play, parents appreciate that the pieces are stored inside the sorter and the whole set is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
10. TOP BRIGHT Wooden Car Ramp Toys
Young boys will enjoy TOP BRIGHT’s Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer With 4 Mini Cars for several years. Do not underestimate the enjoyment little guys get from watching tires spin and watching cars go down tracks. Even adult guys enjoy going to the track. Bring the track to your little man without the need for earplugs and terrible seating.
The cute design is simple with slightly curved tracks and simple cars made of wood. The top rack holds the four included cars and boys will love this toy from their first birthday and many more. This toy can teach time management as they need to space the cars on the track, as well as, hand/eye coordination, reasoning, and observation.
How to choose the best toys for 1 year olds in the UK 2021
Colours and Visual Appeal
One of the things that your one-year old develops at this stage is their vision. This is not to say that they start distinguishing colours this early, but what they can make a distinction of at this point is bright versus pastel colours, and they tend to get attracted more to the former. By giving them toys of such colours, we help reinforce that elementary skill.
It is right around the age of one that babies start to learn to walk a little bit. Encourage them to practice their newfound mobility with toys that they can push, pull, or move around with them. Stringed toys are made for this purpose, and it would be good to get your child one of those.
Coordination and Problem-Solving
Kids at this age have the propensity to get their hands on anything. In addition, they also tend to put things in their mouths. While this is natural, it pays to encourage them to divert their attention to activities that develop their basic motor, coordination, and problem-solving skills. Toys that do this include stacking/nesting toys, building blocks, and basic puzzles.
Lastly, one-year olds are at a very early stage of their social development. Hence, they do not interact much with other kids yet. But one way to encourage being around other kids is by introducing games for sharing and parallel play. Parallel play is a form of play in which children play adjacent to each other, but do not try to influence one another’s behavior. Toys of this kind come in sets that can be shared with other kids (like a multi-pack of toy cars.
From the age of 1 year olds, toys become more diversified and should help your little one reach his or her developmental milestones. Remember, toys are a big deal, and the right toys can make or break some serious play opportunities. Understanding your child’s progress is important in picking the most adapted toy. Our 1 year olds don’t need a lot of toys, but they do need the right toys.