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The Best Toys for a One-Year-Old to Keep Them Entertained
- As a mom, you want to do what you feel is best for your child. You understand that play is important for kids, but you may not understand how to help them play best? You may feel tired and overwhelmed and now you have a one-year-old who is learning how to walk, making tons of messes, getting into everything, starting to cry when they don’t get their way, and they are becoming a toddler! This is an amazing stage in development, but how do we help our one year old learn new skills and keep them entertained so we can get stuff done?
- I am a first-time mom with a one-year-old little boy, so I know these feelings exactly! I know where you are coming from, feeling overwhelmed that your baby is now a toddler and wondering where did this last year go and how do I have a one-year-old?? They are such a busy body and want to explore their environment constantly. You are exhausted trying to figure out how to play with your baby and make sure they are safe (not falling and hitting their head) and trying to manage a house (all while the one-year-old is taking everything they can out of the drawers). I am learning right alongside you about what toys and activities are helping my son to learn about the environment around him and how to help him meet his developmental milestones all through engaging play!
Why are one-year-olds so busy?
- One-year-olds are so busy because they are constantly learning about the world around them. They are trying to figure out how objects move, where they are in space, how to move their bodies, what different sounds mean, or what different textures feel like.
- They are also at a big gross motor stage of development. They are typically trying to get their legs stronger so they can stand on their own and start to walk on their own if they haven’t already mastered this skill.
- They will need your help to keep them safe as they navigate this world and they will fall and get bumps and bruises. It can be overwhelming to figure out what types of toys will help them learn, but also keep them entertained so that you can also try to figure out how to get things done around the house as well. I mean simple things like make a quick meal or do a load of laundry or load the dishwasher.
What skills should a One-Year-Old be Learning?
- These are skills and milestones for a typical one-year-old. Everyone develops differently and there is a wide range of what is considered normal. Some children gain skills earlier or later than others. Always talk to your doctor if you feel that your child is not progressing as they should be or if you have questions or concerns.
- From an occupational therapy standpoint, we like to specifically look at the physical movement for fine motor (little movements) and gross motor skills (big movements).
- Fine Motor Skills:
- Using both hands together and banging objects together
- Is starting to stack two blocks on top of each other
- Can use a pincer grasp to pick up small objects (uses their thumb and index finger)
- Uses their hands to bring food items to their mouths during meal time
- Points at objects that they want
- Placing objects inside a container (such as shapes into a large opening)
- Gross Motor Skills:
- Stands alone
- Walks with one handheld and possibly even walks alone
- pulls up to stand by themselves
- Stick out their arms, legs, and feet to help get dressed and undressed
- May begin walking up stairs
- Fine Motor Skills:
- If you would like more resources to learn more about typical developmental milestones for one-year-olds, check out the resources below.
The Best Toys to Entertain a One-Year-Old and Help them Learn New Skills!
Ball Drop Toy
The Ball Drop Toy has been one of our favorites becuase my son could do this activity all by himself after I modeled it for him. He was able to figure out how to drop the balls to go down the ramps and the balls shake and rattle and make fun noises! He loves banging them together to hear the sounds they make! He also finds it funny to try to drop other items down the ramp to see if they fit such as large coins, pom pom balls, or other sized balls. This is great becuase it allows him to problem solve and figure out if it works or not. This toy works on his visual motor, fine motor, and eye hand coordination to bring the ball to the correct opening to allow it to drop onto the ramp. He is also working on his focus, attention, and problem solving (if it doesn’t go down). You can place this toy on the ground or up on a surface to work on this while they are sitting or standing. We hope you love this toy as much as our son has loved it!!
Here is a picture of him in action with the ball drop toy!
Play Scarves may not be a typical toy you would see for a one-year-old, but we have found so many fun ways to play and engage together with them! One of our favorite ways to play with them is to put them inside an empty diaper wipes container with a lid that he can then pull them out of the top! This keeps him entertained for at least 10-15 minutes! In the one-year-old phase that seems like an hour!! Other skills that we work on while using these play scarves are silly games like peek a boo! We throw them up in the air over his head and watch the scarf fall over the top of his head and he bursts out laughing! They also add some fun colors to the toys and they can easily be packed on the go! We also use them to add some fun colors to our discovery bins! I love to make little baskets of toys, books, and items found around the house for him to explore.
Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles
These cars are small but mighty! We love how easy they are for my one-year-old son to grasp onto and he can push them across the floor by himself! He loves to watch mommy pull back the cars on the floor and see them fly across the floor! These have been great to get in some extra crawling and arm strengthening activities! We have even made a little ramp for these cars to go down and he laughs and giggles while playing with them! We love to set up a little obstacle course for him to push the cars around and we usually do it together! Mama can always use some arm strengthening as well, he is growing so fast I need to keep up with my arm strength too 🙂
Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon
This push wagon has been so much fun for both of us! He loves to open the side of the back of the wagon and crawl right in so that mom can push him around! We go on little adventures around the house! We love to put our stuffed animals, books and toys inside the back of the wagon and then he gives them a ride! This toy keeps him entertained because he can work on putting toys in and out, climbing in and out, and he can work on walking as well! This toy is so versatile and it also is great toy storage when it is not in use! You can really add some weight to the back of the wagon so that when he does work on walking the toy isn’t slipping out from under him. I am excited for him to grow with this toy as I can really seem him using his imagination with the wagon with his toys and animals!
Touchy Feely Board Books
Touchy Feely Board Books have been some of our favorite toys and books since he was little enough to grasp at the books! He loves to explore the new and exciting textures and look at the colorful pictures! We have loved the books we listed above from Make Believe Ideas because they use textures that are not typically found in little kid books. They use a rubber type material so this is great if you are looking for books that you can easily clean and sanitize! They make the books silly, fun, and engaging and it allows you to connect socially with your little one talking about the pictures that you see in the books! Take a look at our book circle that I made for my son to help him explore the books on his own!
Original Toys Pop Up Toys
These pop-up toys look so simple, but they pack a lot of fun and learning into them!! They allow your child to work on fine motor skills with working on taking out the people or candles and then working on their eye-hand coordination to put them back into the opening. They have to figure out how to turn the pieces so that they fit along with figuring out how much force to use to push them down into the opening and then the fun they have once they figure out they can fly through the air! These pop-up toys have entertained my son on numerous occasions! We loved that they had a birthday cake version that we got him for his first birthday!!
Melissa & Doug Pop Blocs Farm Animals
These farm animals are super cute plus they offer a lot of skill practice as well! My son is really into taking things apart and this gives him just that opportunity! He loves it when we make grunting noises and then pull the animals apart! I am excited for him to grow with these animals becuase the learning opportunities are endless! He can work on matching, putting them together, language development with animal sounds and pretend play!
Pop-Up Play Tunnel for Kids
This tunnel has been great at our house during this winter time!! It has been so incredibly cold and we have been stuck inside a lot! This tunnel offers great exercise and gross motor skill practice to help him get stronger and burn off some energy! He loves crawling on his hands and knees going through the tunnel and we have used books, balls, and bubbles to make going through the tunnel even more fun!!
Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank
This piggy bank is so fun and cute! It
Common Questions/FAQ About The Best Toys for a One-Year-Old to Keep Them Entertained
Why are fine motor skills important for toddlers?
- Fine motor skills such as using a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger to pick up objects) are important to help toddlers learn more advanced skills as they get older.
- Such as zipping up their coat, buttons, snaps, handwriting, brushing their teeth, opening containers, and more! There are so many important every day skills that involve the use of our hands.
- Other important fine motor skills for toddlers include:
- using and isoloated index finger to point to objects
- ability to use both hands and transferrin objects
- the ability to put objects into containers
- increasing hand and upper body strength through crawling
How can I keep my One-Year-Old Busy Indoors?
- Toddlers are so fascinated about the world around them and they enjoy exploring toys and objects around the house!
- Find activities you can do one on one with each other with toys and simple play items from around the house.
- If you are needig them to do some independent play while you make a meal or load the dishwasher, always make sure they have a safe space. Try setting up some small planned out play activities and toys that we have listed above to have out for them to see and want to engage with.
What if they are not entertained or interested in the toys?
- Toddlers and One-Year-Olds start to have an opinion and they will let you know if they like or don’t like something! These are toys that my son has personally like to play with as a one year old. Not all children are the same and may not like the same toys.
- I always like to have playtime be child led, where I will take his lead and interact with toys/activities that he is interested in.
- If he is not interested in the toy, I sometimes try to figure out another way to play with it, such as can I change something about it. Can I put it some place else, can I make silly noises with the toy, can I add a favorite toy to this toy such as a favorite animal or figurine to get him interested. Can I show him that I am super excited to play with the toy and this sparks his interest? There are a lot of different ways you can change a toy to make it be more engaging and entertaining for your child.
- If they are not interested at all, I step away and move on. I get it out the next day and see if they might be interested in it now.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about The Best Toys for a One Year Old to Keep Them Entertained
- Have fun engaging with your one year old!! They look to you for guidance and support and I know they may require a lot of your attention now, but the time will go by so quickly!
- Let me know in the comments below if your one-year-old likes any of the toys we listed and if there are any more we should add to the list!! We love getting to know our readers!