Best Christmas Toys for 1-Year-Olds

For parents with kids cruising into toddlerhood, Christmas will be a whole new ball game. As your little ones start exploring the world on their own two feet, you can buy toys for them that are ever more interactive and educational—and, of course, fun. Here's a look at a few great options.

Educational Toys: Your child's exploring doesn't just involve speeding around and hiding in the nooks and crannies of your house. One-year-olds are also figuring out how to manipulate things with their hands, from beads on an abacus to food to door handles. You can encourage these tactile adventures with activity cubes and playsets. There are also toys designed to help kids this age start learning the alphabet and numbers. For toys that combine toddler-friendly music, learning, and interactive buttons, take a look at LeapFrog and VTech's offerings.

Wooden Toys: There are plenty of colorful wooden blocks on the market if you're looking for some traditional wooden toys for your toddler. But also consider the cool and modern manny and simon wooden push toys or Hape's push-and-pull toys. Melissa & Doug has a good selection of wooden puzzles. And PlanToys' musical instruments are beautifully made from sustainable rubberwood.

Outdoor/Ride-On Toys: For fun outside, consider buying an old-fashioned wagon to pull your toddler around the neighborhood. Toddlers who have been mobile for a while and have a little more coordination could be ready for balance bikes or trikes that are designed for use by children as young as 1 and can be adjusted as they get older.

Stocking Stuffers: Even when more interactive toys become age-appropriate, stuffed animals never go out of style. Check out Jellycat and Kaloo's sweet and super soft, huggable toys.

  1. Mom Tip:When looking for a toy for a one-year-old, you want something that will still be a big hit in a year and beyond. A toy that grows with a child is fully achievable, especially if you explore the category of music. They may not be mini Mozarts, but kids still love to make their own version of music and explore sounds. Fisher Price makes colorful toy maracas and a tambourine. Meanwhile, Hape has a xylophone that can be explored in a number of ways. That's why mom Anne Rossell called the Hape Pound and Tap Bench the number 1 toy for a one-year-old.

    "We received this as a gift for our toddler's first birthday. Half a year later, he still plays with it daily. Between pounding the balls with the mallet and watching them drop through their holes and roll down the xylophone (making music), playing the xylophone with the mallet, chasing the balls around the floor, throwing the balls and fitting them back into their holes, using the xylophone as a roof for his play animals or as a ramp for his cars and trucks, and trying to fit other oddly shaped toys through the holes of the frame, this gift is most likely responsible for increasing dexterity, creativity, motor skills, musical appreciation, and so on—but, more importantly, our child finds it a lot of fun."