How to choose toys & gifts for young toddler (1-year-olds)?


During 1 to 2 years, toddlers are moving around more, and are aware of themselves and their surroundings. They desire to explore new things. Everything makes them curious, always want to touch it. As physical growth and development slow, motor skills, cognitive development, and language take huge strides. The toys & gifts that We buy for a baby should promote the development of these skills.


During the second year, their rate of physical growth slows, but motor skills take huge strides, flexibility is also getting better, become more muscular because of increased activity.

motor skills include Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills

Gross Motor Skills is using big muscles to move the whole body

Gross Motor Skills Milestones:

During the second year, their rate of physical growth slows, but motor skills take huge strides, flexibility is also getting better, become more muscular because of increased activity.

Motor skills include Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills.Gross Motor Skills is using big muscles to move the whole body

Gross Motor Skills Milestones:

  • Stand-alone and Walk without support.
  • Climb up and down.
  • Feed himself and Stick out their arms, legs, and feet to help to dress.
  • Walking up stairs.
  • Squat down to play


Fine Motor Skills is using smaller muscles for little things.

  • Pick up objects like raisins or other small things with thumb and one finger (known as “pincer grasp”).
  • Point, poke and maybe even pinch
  • Put toys into a bucket and take them out again.
  • Scribble with a thick crayon or marker by moving the entire arm.
  • Turn knobs and handles.
  • Builds a tower of four blocks or more.

Cognitive Development

Toddler at this age spends a tremendous amount of time observing the actions of parents. Your toddler will imitate others and will become much more imaginative, especially during play time.

Most one-year-olds begin to:

  • Understand and respond to words,Start following simple directions such as “blow me a kiss” or “sit down”.
  • Identify objects that are sorting by shapes and colors.
  • Recognize themselves in the mirror and smile or make faces at themselves.
  • Imitate the actions and language of adults.
  • Interest in hidden-object toys.
  • Learn through exploration,Know the use of everyday objects, such as a spoon, a toothbrush or phone.
  • Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, touching, banging, throwing, dropping).
  • Combines objects with other objects-makes simple block structures, uses simple stacking toys, does simple puzzles.


From the age of one to two years, the use of language begins to grow considerably.

Baby can tell the first words in life. Sometimes They will mutter and say that some adults can’t understand, and often talk to themselves.

Most one-year-olds can:

  • Understand basic commands such as "come here, nod your head".
  • Use "mine" to indicate possession of objects.
  • Start to speak simple daily languages clearly.
  • Often use some words that are less clearly spoken and only mom can understand.
  • Babble in a way that sounds like talking and try to “talk” with you.
  • Babble in a way that sounds like talking and try to “talk” with you.
  • Can express their emotion of happiness, sadness, and frustration with different sounds or cries.

Choosing the Right Toys & gifts for 1 to 2 years


Push & Pull Toys

The most suitable toy for a baby who just learned to walk is pushing toys and pull toys. The purpose of the push toy is to make the baby walk more stable.

From walking to stabilizing, to learning to turn, to avoid obstacles, Push toys are a good choice. Pull toys can better develop the coordination of the baby’s hands and feet.

Although the toddler can walk, they are still unsteady on their feet and they often lose their balance.

So Push & Pull Toys for 1-year-olds should be:

Push & Pull Toys for 1-years-old

Ride-on toys

The baby who learns to walk will become more active. They hope to constantly walk, climb, or even run, jump to practice the new learning skills, and feel the sense of speed brought by the increasingly developed muscles. Giving them a toy car that can ride across can help the baby learn to use the legs alternately.

Children become capable of using ride-on toys after they learn to walk with some steadiness. One-year-olds cannot yet pedal,they can only push with both feet when they propel the ride-on.

Ride-on toys must be stable enough to keep the child safe.

The height of the toy should be appropriate. When the toddlers are seated, their feet should be flat.

So ride-on Toys for 1-year-olds should be:

Ride on toys for 1-years-old

Sports Equipment

Sport equipment suited to this age group is the ball.

At the age of 1-2, you can practice to let the baby pick up balls. The series of movements of bending, squatting and squatting can exercise the muscles and bones of the baby’s upper and lower limbs. Throwing the ball is also a way to promote your baby’s full body movements. Shooting the ball can be used to exercise the flexibility of the upper limbs and hand-eye coordination.

Balls for 1-year-olds should be:

Balls for 1-years-old

Gym Equipment

1-year-olds like climbing anywhere.

Climbing can develop the grip of the toddler’s hands and arms, and can also make the toddler’s body movements more coordinated and flexible through a small pull-up.

Climbing can also train your baby to concentrate and make your baby braver.

Basically, a one and a half-year-old toddler can practice climbing.

Climbing toys such as slide (indoor), Play Tents & Tunnels are a good choice for 1-year-olds.

The slide is also an essential toy for 1-2 years old toddler. The whole movement is divided into climbing and sliding for the baby.

When the toddler is walking relatively stable, you can consider developing the waist and leg movements, such as drilling the tent hole:

Gym Equipment for 1-year-olds should be:

Gym Equipment for 1-years-old

Manipulative play


At this stage, the baby playing blocks is mainly stacking up. The stacking blocks exercise the child’s hand-eye coordination and the ability to cooperate with each other. It is also the formation of the original space concept.

They begin to have the ability for representational or symbolic thinking during the 19- through 23-month old. So the children can use a stack of blocks to represent a tower, a castle, an elevator, or a tree. They begin their true construction play using blocks.

They also enjoy knocking down the building they construct.

Once a tower of blocks is built, they want to knock it down with their hands or feet right away.

Therefore, appropriate blocks are Cardboard blocks and thick foam blocks with lightweight and easy to stack. These children can easily build with them and knock it down with no hazardous to them.

So block for 1-year-olds should be:

Block for 1-years-old


At this stage of the baby, there is a preliminary concept of the puzzle, but you can only play some simple puzzle which the number of pieces generally no more than 3-5.

The puzzles suitable for this stage of the baby is wooden chunky puzzle and peg puzzle. Shape sorters and other similar activities can be given to this age group. But these children still approach grasping them, mouthing them, banging them, and throwing the pieces. So the puzzle should be smooth surfaces and are washable. Children at this age approach the puzzle through trial.

As they approach 2 years of age,they have the ability to deliberately match angles and fit a square piece into a square hole. Shape sorters, nesting toys, and form toys are suitable for this age.

So blocks for 1-year-olds should be:

Puzzles for 1-years-old

Other Manipulative play toys

Primary Lacing Beads, Fun Cutting Food Toys, Hammering & Pounding Toys, Sand and Water Play Toys are also suitable Manipulative play toys for 1-year-olds.

Primary Lacing Beads

Children at this age can string large beads on shoelace string.

The beaded blocks have different colors and shapes, which can train the baby to distinguish between different shapes and colors.

When the toddler is lacing the beads, holding the rope in one hand and holding the beads in the other hand, they need to be aligned to get in, and they can also exercise the fine motor skills of the baby’s hands and the coordination of the hand and eye.

Fun Cutting Food Toys for 1-years-old

Fun Cutting Food Toys

In the beginning, you can use your hands to pry the fruit apart, and you can exercise the flexibility of your baby’s hands and the stability of your shoulders.

When the baby cuts the fruit, one hand holds one end of the fruit and the other hand holds the knife and cuts it. The two hands are doing different actions, this series of actions is exercise hands movement planning.

Fun Cutting Food Toys for 1-years-old

Hammering & Pounding Toys

A very accurate tapping of an object is a higher level of hand-eye coordination than Stacking rings. Knocking on objects is the ability to use tools

In the beginning, the baby may not be able to knock, but it will be better to guide it slowly.

Hammering & Pounding Toys for 1-years-old

Sand and Water Play Toys

Playing sand and water is the nature of the child. Sand and water are open-ended toys. They can be used in a variety of ways to inspire your child’s imagination.

Sand and Water Play Toys for 1-years-old

Pretend & Role Play

Dolls & Stuffed Toys

1-year-olds, the toddlers start to engage actively in imitative play with dolls and stuffed toys. They enjoy playing the role like mother and baby. They are interested in mid-size (10 to 16 inches) dolls and stuffed animals that offer simple cause-and-effect functions.

Toys with push buttons that produce simple sounds or phrases, lights, and actions are appealing to the 1-year-old toddler. They are interested in dolls and stuffed toys with rich vibrant colors and with simple accessories like a baby bottle or blanket.

As they approach 2 years of age, toddlers can speak basic words and phrases and engage in simply pretend episodes. Therefore they are attracted by dolls and stuffed toys that speak simple phrases or sentences.

Dolls and stuffed toys should be easy to grip and not too weigh for them.

Because these children still like mouthing toys a great deal, dolls and stuffed toys are washable and no fur hair.

Also, appropriate dolls and stuffed toys with no removable, loose, or projecting parts.

The dolls and stuffed toys suit to 1-year-olds should be:

Dolls and Stuffedtoys for 1-years-old

Play Scenes & Puppets

1-year-olds, the toddler may explore short, simple, sock-like puppets.

But they are not yet ready for true pretend play with objects. They enjoy cuddling and carrying around small people and animals or putting them into cars.

They are interested in puppets that portray familiar characters or have simple detail and contrasting facial features—especially eyes. They can only manipulate puppets with large enough openings.

At 19 months, toddlers start to manipulate simple sock-puppets and play scenes, as well as large accessories (2 to 4 inches), as they conduct simple pretend play.

They begin to enjoy simple, realistic (though not detailed), familiar play sets and miniature models.

The appropriate play sets include one or two large areas that are easy access and two to six people, animals, vehicles, or accessories. Simple kitchens, farms, gas stations, airplanes, pop-up scenes like fire trucks are popular.

They prefer ones with salient features, such as painted faces, plastic hair, or hats.

So play Scenes & puppets for 1-year-olds should be:

Play Scenes & Puppets for 1-years-old

Small Vehicle Toys

Because they have been closely observing older peers play small vehicles. 1-year-olds start actively engaging in imitative play with substitutes of these objects.

They are interested in small vehicles that include small boats for the bathtub, simple cars, motorcycles, trucks, trains without tracks, and flying machines. The materials for these toys are best to plastic, hard rubber, or lightweight wood.

The appropriate small vehicle toys that are simple, easy to recognize, and of one-piece construction, though the wheels may spin.

They may mouth objects, so small vehicles should be washable or easily cleaned, and do not have removable or loose small parts.

Small vehicle toys for these children are large enough for easy grasping and lightweight to manipulate easily.

In order to prevent the toys from breaking or pulling apart, small vehicles have thick, rounded edges

They enjoy simple trains, constructed of molded plastic or wood and capable of being rolled on either fixed or easy turning wheels.

As children approach 18 months, they enjoy small vehicle toys that have cause-and-effect functionality, like pushing that produces sound, lights, or movement, pulling on a cord, or pushing buttons on a simple remote control to produce simple actions.

Relatively large, simple, workable parts—like hinged doors or hoods, dumpers, rudders, and propellers are appealing to these toddlers.

So small vehicles toys for 1-year-olds should be:

Small Vehicle Toys-for 1-years-old

Creative Play(arts, crafts, music)

Art and Craft Materials

Toddlers from 12 through 18 months of age have increasingly good balance to make marks on the wall or an easel. They scribble either by imitation or spontaneously, and can make circular marks.

Between 19 and 23 months, the toddler begins to have representational and symbolic thinking. they can draw to represent something to these children and not recognized as representational by adults.

By 2 years of age, some can draw simple angles.  They like to experiment and their behaviors are goal-directed. They can express themselves by scribbling which provides them with a non-verbal means of expression.

Furthermore, they can develop muscle control as they scribble.

Suitable art materials are appropriately sized to children’s grips, and are lightweight but sturdy. The toddler may draw on skin, clothing and anywhere, so the art materials should be washable colors. They enjoy large easy-to-grip crayons and markers, large sheets of art and construction paper. They also can use easels to scribble.

Since children of this age may explore objects by mouth, paints are not recommended.

So Art and Craft Materials for 1-year-olds should be:

Art and Craft Materials for 1-years-old

Musical Instruments

1-year-olds the toddlers are working on fine-motor coordination.

they are capable of controlled pulling, squeezing, patting, poking, shaking and turning instruments.

They play with musical instruments in functional/exploratory ways.

Musical instruments appropriate for toddlers of this age range include hand-held rattles, bells, chimes, and small-scale tambourines.

Musical instruments should be fit appropriately into infants’ grasps, small and light enough for the toddler to handle, rounded edges, and are washable and sturdy.

They are attracted by musical instruments with simply cause-and-effect relationships and sensory elements are not too loud or otherwise extreme.

Rhythm instruments are most appropriate for this age. They also enjoy interactive toys and smart toys that have musical features such as pounding on drums or bongos.

So musical instruments for 1-year-olds should be:

Musical Instruments for 1-years-old

Educational & Academic Play


Children at this age are interested in exploring novelty.

They enjoy tactile books and cause/effect books that can interact with them.

Books that have rhymes, rhythm, and repetition are suitable for aiding the children to develop their language capabilities.

During the 19- through 23-month, the child can turn pages carefully and work to not tear them. They can realize that the book has a front and back and that pictures have a top and a bottom.

They enjoy naming and pointing to familiar objects in books, particularly enjoy listening to nursery rhymes and repeating them with adults.

At this age these children still like mouthing objects. So the materials of books for one-year-olds regularly are cardboard, fabric, and non-toxic plastic which are sturdy and washable.

The books can endure wetness without tearing or falling apart.

They are interested in the books that colorful and contain simple pictures of things the child recognizes from the world around them, such as cats, dogs, and birds.

Therefore, picture books, simple picture/story books, nursery rhyme books, and simple ABC and number books are appropriate.

By around 19 months, children are ready for “touch me” and other tactile books, and books with heavy paper pages. Books containing 5 to 10 pages are sufficient for this age group.

So the books suit to 1-year-olds should be:

Books for 1-years-old


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