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The 10 best gifts for 1-year-olds that provide fun and learning

Buying gifts for 1-year-olds can be tricky. Children in this age group are transitioning from babyhood to toddlerhood, with several major milestones in the development of their social, cognitive, language, and motor skills. It’s the stage where they observe, learn, and imitate quickly as well as react to different things. That said, baby toys that do no more than just rattle and crinkle are no longer suitable for them. They need something that can provide more stimulation such as lego sets or even robotics kits.

The fact is that 1-year-olds are very adorable and it can be tempting to go a little overboard when getting them presents. However, it’s important not to overwhelm them. Gifts for 1-year-olds should be safe, simple, and straightforward yet educational enough that will encourage them to explore and experiment. Playtime is central to kids’ creativity, thinking, and entertainment, so also make sure to give them something that they’ll have fun tinkering with. Whether you’re a first-time parent looking for recommendations or attending a first birthday party and have no clue what to bring, here are amazing giftable toys that youngsters will enjoy and learn from.

At a glance:

  • VTech Smart Shots Sports Center$43
  • TOP BRIGHT Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer$22
  • Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag$15
  • Radio Flyer Creativity Car$35
  • Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz$20
  • Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter$18
  • Basket of Babies Creative Minds Plush Dolls$41
  • Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy$25
  • LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set$25
  • Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center$76

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

Let your sporty little one have fun playing soccer or basketball with the VTech Smart Shots Sports Center. The light-up LED scoreboard keeps tracks of the goals and baskets and can also play more than 50 captivating sounds effects and animations. Kicking the ball and shooting hoops help kids develop their motor skills, while the animations, sounds, shapes, numbers, buttons, and flip pages will attract their attention and make them curious.

TOP BRIGHT Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer

Bring racing fun to your kid’s playtime. Starting from the top, each of the four vibrant-colored mini toy cars flips at the end of the ramp and slides to the next, showing a continuous motion that will fascinate youngsters. Watching the cars race, roll, and flip bring them amusement, and at the same time, provide them with learning opportunities. It can spark their curiosity as well as help them discover how things work, learn colors and numbers, and practice hand-eye coordination. There’s also the benefit of acquiring and developing communication skills when played together with other kids, friends, or parents.

Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

This building bag from Mega Bloks contains 80 big pieces of blocks in different shapes. Easy to hold and vibrant in colors, the building blocks are perfect for children aged 1 and up. Not only will kids have fun building, stacking, and creating whatever they imagine, but they will also gain developmental benefits, such as creativity, problem-solving, and motor skills. This toy is also useful for teaching them how to clean up or put the blocks back into the bag after playing.

Radio Flyer Creativity Car

The Radio Flyer Creativity Car offers playtime in three modes: Sensory play, push walker, and ride-on. It has 17 sensory activities that promote imaginative play and entertainment, which include honking the horn, sliding the beads, and exploring the dashboard. Kids can sit and be wheeled around while they develop leg strength, and then later on they can push it themselves as they learn to balance and gain the confidence to walk. The seat opens to reveal a storage compartment that can be used for holding small toys.

Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz

Keep your little one busy with the Fat Brain Toys pipSquigz. This set includes three squishy silicone suction cups with unique shapes, all of which can be shaken, tugged, pulled, and pushed. Whether held by hand or stuck down into a smooth surface, these suckers’ rattling sounds, bright colors, and textures will surely captivate your child’s attention, delight their senses, and stimulate their motor skills. These toys are dishwasher-safe for easy cleanup and can be used for playtime in the highchair, stroller, bathtub, and even during travels.

Melissa & Doug Take-Along Shape Sorter

Spatial recognition and learning shapes are crucial developmental skills for babies, and this Melissa & Doug shape sorter is one great way that will allow them to practice both. It features a padded case with a carry handle and nine colorful textured blocks. One side of the case flaunts the classic sorter where the blocks are shoot into, while the other side is designed with crinkly flaps with pictures of the items that match the shape of the blocks. This toy bag guarantees an enriching play experience for children that supports the development of their communication, sensory, and fine motor skills.

Basket of Babies Creative Minds Plush Dolls

Gift your baby with cuddling companions in the form of the Basket of Babies Creative Minds Plush Dolls. This set includes a basket and six culturally diverse baby dolls with embroidered facial details, all of which are hand-sewn to the highest standards for durability. The dolls are crafted from ultra-soft material to encourage hugging and to nurture role play, complete with removable sack clothes that support matching and motor skills development when dressing and undressing the dolls.

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy

Introduce kiddos to different sounds and rhythmic patterns with the Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy. This buttonless mini toy piano is equipped with the magic touch technology that lets children enjoy classic melodies or create their own tunes with real piano sounds. Matching the color-coded notes on the included music sheets to the piano keys also aids in practicing color coordination.

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set

This tea set is great for pretend play and for building different skills like counting, matching, sharing, patience, manners, and interaction. The teapot provides visuals that display a lifelike representation of tea sloshing down and can even burst into different colors to teach color names. It can also play seven songs, which adds to the fun.

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

This tree-themed activity center is loaded with features that will help youngsters hone their imagination. From shape recognition and bead runs to spinning dials and springy flaps, kids will definitely have a good time exploring the colorful, detailed graphics and activity features in each quadrant. The setup also encourages them to move around and investigate, which assists in the development of fine and gross motor skills.

Looking for more gifts and toy ideas? Find outdoor toys for toddlers and more on our Toys & Games hub.

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