Turning 1 is such an exciting time for both babies and their parents. It’s all about growth and transformation for this age group. As his daily routine begins to shift to a more active schedule, the 1-year-old boy seeks out toys and items that welcome his development. When you are birthday or holiday shopping for toys for a 1 year old take a look at the concepts he can grow into as well as things suitable specific to his age. From pull and push toys and board books to walkers and blocks, this list will guide you to the best gifts and toys for 1 year old boys.
#1. VTech Musical Rhymes Book (for the rock-n-roller)
This musical book has just the right amount of stimulation for a 1-year-old. Bright colors and easy to turn pages, the VTech book has lovely musical sounds, songs and nursery rhymes including “Hey Diddle Diddle,” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” He will want to push all of the piano buttons which play music and introduce instrument sounds and colors. This is one of those toys you’ll keep around for a few years. 2 AAA Batteries are included with this toy.
The good: This toy has a two-in-one feature offering two different modes for use: music and instrument sounds and age-appropriate vocabulary. Plus for parents – there is volume control.
The not so good: The nursery rhymes aren’t played in full, rather snippets of each song.
Is it for you? He loves listening to music and with this toy he can eventually control what song will be played.
#2. Beach Basket Set (perfect for parallel playdates at the park)
Playing in the sandbox is an all-time kid favorite. Whether it’s at the park or on the beach, this sand toy set comes with 8 pieces including a basket, pail and shovel, 3 sand shapes (dolphin, octopus and whale) and a sand castle mold. The basket with a lid holds all of the pieces in one place, which makes it handy for parents to keep organized and transport back and forth.
The good: This inexpensive toy set is super versatile and can be used for sand or water play, on the beach or in the bathtub or pool.
The not so good: It’s inexpensive and plastic pieces are a bit flimsy.
Is it for you? He isn’t timid of playing with sand, water, and getting a little messy.
#3. The Learning Journey Early Learning Wheels On The Bus (for the one whose babble is actually singing)
“Wheels on the Bus” is a classic children’s song that parents should probably get used to hearing on repeat, which is why this interactive toy is a winner for 1-year-olds. Not only does it play the famous melody, the Bus also has a mode (with a switch of a button) for fun sound effects (“vroom,” and “beep beep”) and blinking lights. 2 AA Batteries are included.
The good: It has an on/off switch AND an automatic shut-off feature.
The not so good: When not turned off, “beep beep” can be annoying to the parent.
Is it for you? This 12 month old boy responds well to music and is amused by different sounds and sound effects.
#4. Color Me: Who’s in the Pond? Bath Book (for the water baby)
This beautifully illustrated bath book is perfectly befitting for a 1-year-old. The black and white foam book transforms into a colorful world when put into the water. The images introduce and bring to life who lives in the pond — frogs, fish, ducks, dragonflies, water snails and a swan. As he gets older he can dip a paintbrush into water to “paint” the images into color. A good bath toy of teaching cause and effect.
The good: Keeps baby busy and distracted while parents work to shampoo and wash him.
The not so good: This book will become part of his cherished night time bath routine, don’t misplace it.
Is it for you? This toddler is beginning to identify animal forms and sounds, and the book is aptly suited for this development stage.
#5. Kids Concept Baby Walker (for walking readiness)
Baby walkers are popular and much appreciated birthday gifts. This particular one from Kids Concept is a no-frills yet high-quality all wooden wagon. Just as he is taking his first steps, he can use the support that this walker offers. It is sturdy for the boy who is pulling himself up. Also the walker’s wheels have an adjustable braking system to prevent it from moving too fast for little ones.
The good: It can be used to hold other toys when not being used as a walker.
The not so good: This walker runs an expensive $80. Likely, you can find a cheaper version.
Is it for you? He is using the furniture to prop himself up and is cruising around. However, before he uses a walker, the parent must determine if he has the strength and development.
#6. Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks (for the one who likes to play drop and pick up games)
This colorful toy teaches sorting and matching, colors and shapes and strengthens hand-eye coordination. Little boys will have all the fun picking up each of the 10 blocks and putting them into the bucket and just to dump them out again. As skills get honed, he will show dexterity by figuring out how to put each differently shaped block into the shape sorted bucket lid. The good times don’t stop there — eventually he will learn to sort shapes and colors.
The good: Topped with a handle, he will love toting his blocks around.
The not so good: While it’s normal for toddlers to have frustrating moments, this toy at first may seem to ignite some frustration, but later ensue confidence.
Is this for you? For the one year who is focused on his hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
#7. Dinosaur Storage Stool (for the kid or parent who might be obsessed with dinos)
The Triceratops storage stool is such a cute accessory for a boys room. Offered in a few different fabric choices, the dinosaur stool is just the right size for the birthday boy. Comfy to sit upon, the memory foam padded and hinged stool top opens right up to store the little guy’s blankie or dino dolly.
The good: The foundation and frame of the stool is created of solid ash wood and comes with birch wood legs detailed with floor protection pads.
The not so good: Although so adorable, this gift is over $100, with a 2 month delivery arrival time.
Is it for you? The friendly side of Jurassic Park is your all-time favorite theme.
#8. Animal Travel Pillow Blanket (for the snuggler)
The animal travel pillow blanket combo is a sweet birthday or holiday gift for the 1-year-old. It’s a great accessory to have on hand when the family is traveling or he’s sleeping out with his grandparents. It makes for an ideal transitional object. Made from cotton, the blanket set comes as an elephant, owl or piggy.
The good: It offers a sense of security for him when he’s not at home.
The not so good: Just under $50, it might be considered pricey.
Is it for you? If he is spending time away from home or taking a trip soon then this blankie pillow combo is yummy and cozy for when he’s feeling insecure.
#9. Ravensburger BRIO Pull Along Duck (because he can say quack quack)
The Pull Along Duck encourages the little boy to pull and walk at the same time. It’s a very cute wood duck made of solid Beech, which has multiple coats of non-toxic paint. As the duck is pulled along it flaps its wings and nods its head. It’s tech-free, giving the child a classic toy experience exciting his imagination.
The good: It’s made of solid wood and it will encourage his walking skills.
The not so good: Parents must be vigilant to make sure kids don’t play with the pull string.
Is it for you? He’s recently learned to walk independently and is in awe of his ability to pull along his new duck friend.
#10. Dinosaur Costume (for the extra cuteness Instagram post)
What a sweet October birthday gift for this baby dinosaur – the vibrant blue velour jumpsuit is a dual action gift: Halloween costume (quality material to keep him warm on a chilly evening) and dress-up play. The hood of the costume features baby friendly soft horns, bright eyes and silver horned nose. It comes with cute booties which have anti-skid soles.
The good: The costume offers multiple size options so you can size up so the boy can grow into the costume and play for many months.
The not so good: If you are purchasing this as pajamas note that it is not intended as sleepwear.
Is it for you? A fun gift for the kid who will enjoy playing dinosaur-style as he starts to use his imagination during play time.
#11. My First Library 12 Board Book Block Set by Baby Einstein (for the future reader)
This library set offers little guys a hands-on experience as they begin to recognize objects and colors. It includes 12 mini board books each dedicated to an assortment of themes such as Jungle Safari, At The Park, Bath time, Things That Go, Fruits and Vegetables, colors and numbers. Organized in a lightweight travel case, the books are also used to develop those early motor skills of taking things out and putting things in.
The good: The books are 6.5 in x 8.5 in and very easy to hold and manage.
The not so good: Books are made of cardboard and will begin to peel if your baby boy uses them as a teether.
Is it for you? As a 12 month old begins saying first words, parents are eager to help expand his vocabulary.
#12. OombeeBall Sensory Toy (for clever hands)
OombeeBall is a unique gift for the 1 year old boy. The ball is exciting and interesting to play with. It has lots of fun-to-touch textures such as dots and lines and swirls. When the child opens the outer shell he will find another ball nested inside, and another ball inside that one, and so forth. Each ball layer is a different color and the balls are all connected.
The good: There are multi-ways to play with the OombeeBall which encourages tactile learning, fine motor skills, sensory discovery and more.
The not so good: Baby may need help nesting and un-nesting the balls until he gets a little stronger.
Is it for you?: This determined new toddler has a firm grip to manipulate various sized objects.
#13. Busy Baby Deluxe Walker (for the kid on-the-go)
The one year olds who can’t sit still are going to have a ball using this walker to explore their new worlds. The new walker can also sit or kneel to play with the walker’s activity center equipped with a xylophone and mallet, blue, green and red gears for turning, a mirror, counting beads and spinning blocks. The sides of the walker offer shape-sorting and a squiggly racetrack to move the car blocks up and down. There is also an area for him to store his toys and cart around.
The good: Its wheels are rubber-lined which makes it effortless for the toddler to push along any surface at home.
The not so good: This walker does not come assembled. However, tools and instructions are included.
Is it for you? If he wants to be upright all the time, this walker will get him where he wants to go while building muscle strength.
#14. Push Powered Trucks (for the boys who like to make things go)
A traditional pastime for boys is playing with cars and trucks. This set is a great first truck set and is similar to a push car toy. It comes with four colorful push vehicles, which include a tractor, dumper, bulldozer and cement mixer. A good set for small hands, and for developing hand-eye coordination when the child pushes the truck forward and watches it go.
The good: No batteries needed.
The not so good: The trucks are mini sized (estimated from 3 1/2 inches to 9 inches width by 3 inches to 6 1/2 inches height)
Is it for you? He can sit up on his own and when he learns to push the cars he can crawl or run after them. It’s just one of the best toys for 1 year old boys.
#15. Burt’s Bees Baby® whales footed pajama (for the one who sleeps through the night)
Babies are constantly outgrowing their clothes, which is why a new set of pajamas is always appreciated. These Burt’s Bees Baby® organic cotton footed pajama are ideal for anytime during the year. Available in gray featuring whales and other ocean life, striped rugby blues and in purples and blues illustrating shooting stars and planets.
The good: Pajama is a one piece with a full zip front for convenient early morning diaper changes.
The not so good: Footed pajamas are not for everyone especially if your baby boy runs hot in the night.
Is it for you? He only wears 100% organic, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified cotton.
#16. Manhattan Toy Baby Boy (for the new big brother)
In today’s parenting landscape, boys are encouraged to play with baby dolls. The Manhattan Toy’s Baby Stella collection features a diverse assortment of soft baby dolls including this blonde baby boy doll. He comes with a removable diaper and a magnetic pacifier that attaches to his mouth. The Baby Stella dolls are soft and huggable.
The good: He is machine washable.
The not so good: Is it possible for your son to love his doll more than his new baby brother?
Is it for you? He is curious about other babies, especially with a new little sibling at home.
#17. Melissa & Doug Sports Bag Fill & Spill (for the good sport)
It’s always the right time to introduce sports to kids. With Melissa & Doug’s sports ball bag set, the toddler will become acquainted with a plush soccer ball, baseball, football and basketball. Each one rattles, jingles or crinkles, which amplifies his auditory and tactile development. The sports shaped balls are carried in a plastic “all-star” sports bag. The sports storage bag has an opening at the top for kids to put balls in and take them out.
The good: The balls are soft enough to throw them and play catch.
The not so good: Are you ready for him to play ball in the house?
Is it for you? He is interested in grasping and is animated by all the things balls can do.
#18 Melissa & Doug Turtle Ball pit (for extreme ball time)
A ball pit of his own is just about 100% pure kid heaven. This Melissa & Doug ball pit is packaged up in a bigger than life snappy turtle. The little one can climb in and sit inside this giant turtle amid 60 brightly colored squishy plastic balls (balls are included). The turtle features a non-slip bottom and holes to push and pull the balls through.
The good: When it’s not in use, parents can zip up the turtle’s shell to keep balls at bay.
The not so good: The $70 price tag is discouraging.
Is it for you? This boy squeals with delight when he plays with balls.
Today’s parents seem to desire more quality than quantity when it comes to entertaining and teaching their babies. Keeping this in mind, less is more. Remember to take into account that 1-year-olds are exploring their worlds, developing gross motor skills like walking and toddling around the house, playing with water and sand, learning animals and their sounds, dancing and babbling to familiar melodies, growing their vocab, learning independent play and so much more. There are some great innovative and educational toys that don’t need to flash, jingle or run on batteries. This gift guide gives you a strong array of options that both the child and parent will appreciate.