Infant Educational Toy Ideas for 1 Year Old (Ideas Needed)

Updated on September 29, 2008
A.T. asks from Beaverton, OR
16 answers

I am looking to purchase some toys for a 1 year old, do you have any great suggestions? Thanks in advance!

What can I do next?

  • Add your own comment
  • Ask your own question
  • Join the Mamapedia community
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Seattle on

I found a great website that sells safe non-toxic toys. Most of them are wooden toys that have food safe paint on them. It is called My son is nearing one year and I bought some great things for him.

M. Z

Edit My Answer
1 mom found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Portland on

The BEST toy I've ever given to my grandboy, when he was one, was a set of Boomwhackers, hollow plastic tubes in various colors with which you can actually make music. Over the past year and a half he's found dozens of imaginative things to do with his set: tunnels for small toys, bats for hitting balls, obstacle courses, trumpets, balancing devices, and much more. They are still a favorite of his. We may even get around to making music with them, too. A five-star recommendation!

Check out these videos of Boomwhackers in action:

There are lots more videos, too. These are the ones I enjoyed the most.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

This age child LOVES to immitate Mom and Dad -- so - toys that will allow baby to pretend to clean, cook, rake, mow, drive, -- DO. ''To give a child joy, give them something to do''' - and the more real the better. Rather than a 400 dollar elaborate play kitchen that talks, sings, asks questions and has 600 little pieces --- MUCH better a simple wooden kitchen with a few real plates, cups, small silverware ( and of course it has to be carefully chosen - so baby wont get hurt if something breaks)

Duplo blocks are super - ride on toys - books that YOU love to read aloud -

Enjoy - life with a little one is so incredible.

many blessings,
Old Mom ( Mom, grandma, and pre-school teacher)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I would look at "The First Three Years of Life" by Burton L. White (the library has a copy, but it's a great book to own). He and his teams spent *years* in people's *actual homes* observing what worked and what didn't--for play, for discipline, etc. He has fabulous, detailed descriptions of how baby's physical and social skills unfold, and very specific toy recommendations for each stage. Generally, these toy recommendations have nothing to do with expensive "educational" toys or major brands. Also, his observations on what kind of interactions lead to more- or less-delightful toddlers are priceless.

Enjoy that little babe of yours!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I think any toy that fine tunes their motor skills is great. My daughter loved stacking/nesting blocks and the shape sorter thing. Also, books are a great thing. It allows you to interact with your child. My daughter loved and still loves books more than any other toy. I'd highly reccommend Usbourne books. They are colorful and durable. They have a website or you can find a rep in the area that sells them. I discovered them at the fair this past year.
As for educational toys, I just feel that kids learn best thru play and their parents. Kids learn when they have fun so anything with buttons they can push that say things like the alphabet or numbers are great. We had the Learn and Groove table and it was tons of fun, but also educational I guess.
I hate to spend money on toys, etc because they are so costly. Really take the time and check out your local thrift store or value village. They have tons of toys at reasonable prices and most just need a good wipe down with a little clorox or lysol.



answers from Seattle on

Discovery Toys are awesome, see if you can find a dealer and host a party for yourself and your friends and then you can get a discount too! They are sold like Tupperware that way - the advantage is that you can see/hold/and let your child play with the toys so you see what really interests him.

They have some of the neatest educational toys I have seen, and most are designed so that they can be enjoyed and played with differently as they child grows, instead of just used one way for a very short period of time.


answers from Seattle on


We got a LeapFrog drum that does the ABC's, 123's (to 10), and just makes rhythms too. We got that for my son and he still loves it, he's 5. My 18 month old daughter also has a blast with it.

I'd go with Leap Frog anything, Fisher Price anything, anything that lights up and makes noise. We also have a Little Tykes bug piano/xylophone that both my kids love to play with. The 1 inch wooden ABC blocks that you probably played with as a child make great teethers, just beware the projectiles as little one throws it.

Hope this helps,



answers from Portland on

Like you, I put my career on hold to be a SAHM. Below are a few additional ideas for toys that my daughter loved and in some cases still loves (and has evolved the way she plays with them). They are simple toys and not very pricey.

By the way, another FABULOUS book, and good read, is "EISTEIN NEVER USED FLASHCARDS." Written by two PhD Moms who based their studies on the plethora of existing research on child development rather than creating some new study. Good discussions of what they found the research shows regarding how kids learn at different ages, and great suggestions on how parents and care-givers can enhance learning experiences. Of course, it is all about play, but also how to really engage in play with your kids (which I certainly feel I benefited from!)

Melissa & Doug's Cardboard Brick Blocks. GREAT for building towers, castles, forts for herself or her animals, knocking down, tossing, stacking, grouping by like kind, understanding basics of size, spatial orientation, gravity,... physics stuff really!

A simple indoor tent/play house and tunnel. HOURS of entertainment for hide-and-seek, peekaboo, general crawling and goofing around. You can get these very economically at Toys-R-Us or at resale stores.

A great water table (or sand/water table)- we have Step2's which is great fun year-round

Stackers and sorters. We had a Fisher Price star stacker that lights up and plays a song when fully stacked. Simple, educational and entertaining.

Push toys, pull toys - these last for quite a while. Don't get the popcorn pusher unless you're up for all the noise it makes!!!

Puzzles - Melissa & Doug make great ones for little tots, but there are sooo many. And, you can get these used very economically (resale stores, garage sales, craiglist, etc). In addition to the great basic puzzles our there, Melissa&Doug makes one with fish and a fishing pole (magnetized). Very fun coordination skill. Just supervise with a 1 year old (and remove the fishing rod when you are not with him) so that the magnet tip doesn't end up in the mouth.

Of course, books, books, books. Lift the Flaps are a favorite at this age. Fisher Price makes some great toddler books with nice characters and flaps.

For a bit older (2-3) - there are so many great toys, but here are a couple of my daughter's favorites. She is now 3.5

Tinker Toys - HUGE HIT (Costco sells the large bucket at the best price).

Cranium's Hullabaloo

A basic Bingo game

Hope that helps!!



answers from Spokane on

One of the things I gave to my son at that age was his first set of wooden blocks. These are the plain maple blocks. They are fun to stack, to bang, to chew on, etc. and they can't be broken or hurt in any way. The beauty of buying your child a really nice set of blocks is that they will play with them for MANY, MANY years. We now use them to build train stations or homes for the dinosaurs. In time, they can be used to explain math concepts as well. This is a toy that will serve you well throughout childhood. And when your child is done, they can be kept as heirlooms for grandchildren or passed on, still in great condition. (If they get dirty or colored on, a light sanding will restore their original beauty.)

There are some lovely sets that can be purchased over the internet. Be aware that a really good set can be expensive, but you never have to replace them and they don't need batteries!


B. W.



answers from Portland on

Hi A.!

I was a bit skeptical to buy learning toys, but I bought this for my first and it continues to be fun for both him and his sister over two years later! Never had to change the battery or anything! It is the fridgephonics from LeapFrog - durable, fun, and they both can say their ABC's b/x of it (not even three yet).



answers from Seattle on

We've had great luck (and fun!!) with our toys from Discovery Toys. Another mom friend of mine sells them ( and we really like the measure up cups.

Other ideas:
Fisher Price little people (toys r us has them on sale right now)
Books!!!! (Target regularly has them for $1 near the front)
Fisher Price Bouncing Zebra
A ride on toy (chicco quatro is good!)
Parents brand cars (set of 4 is about $15, they rev when pulled back and are very cute and soft)
Empty boxes (shoe, shipping, cracker, etc.)
Eebee's adventures (they are a whole line of educational play)


answers from Portland on

This is around the time your son is beginning to walk and toys that help like pull or push toys are a good choice. I sell a wooden pull duck & dog at my store Gossamer. and I also recommend Speilwerk in Sellwood for great good quality toys. They are in the process of opening a new store in N. Portland too.



answers from Portland on

Things that my kids have loved are: Any toy where you place balls on top of a circular hole and they hammer (or push) it through. Kids can play with this almost endlessly and aside from losing the balls frequently it's awesome. The other one I like is the one where it has 5 pop-up doors and they can open them by pushing a button or twisting or flipping a switch. At one, he's a little young to open them himself, but he will love closing them. At around 18 months or so he'll be able to do both. It's another one that can be entertaining for a long time.



answers from Seattle on

Things that they can hear, put in mouth--but not swallow, touch with various textures, things with bright colors, things that they can hold in their hands.



answers from Portland on

plain old wooden blocks or balls



answers from Seattle on

I am a Mom and a childcare provider who has worked with lots and lots of toddlers over the years, and the favorite toy with this age at my house seems to be the "Hammer Away" from Discovery Toys. The infants I care for like to play with the colorful pieces, then as they begin to grow they are able to put the balls into the holes on top. Later, they can push the balls down and watch them roll down the side. Eventually, they are able to hammer the balls in and watch them roll. Even the preschoolers like this one. Blessings to you and yours! :)

Next question: Toy Suggestions for a 13 Month Old for This Christmas