As a mum of two, I know myself, that it can be tough to find great toys for a one-year-old, especially ones that don't just get played with for a few minutes, and then the interest is lost!
From crawling to walking, from babbling to chatting, from tummy time to real fun—a lot has happened this year! So this first birthday is a big milestone and the start of a new season of discovery and joy as your baby becomes a toddler. Between now and their next birthday, your Munchkin will learn and grow so much.
Here is a list that I have created based on my own direct experience as a mum and as a qualified early educator.
A lovely way to keep them engaged using a variety of different sensory experiences. These can easily be made or there is a large vairy you can choose, varying in price greatly.
My favorite is the below from Wee Gallery as its easily transported, lightweight, and not over stimulating
Peekaboo Pets Activity Pad - 168.00 AED
Toys that can be pulled are important. Moving around the room promotes gross motor skill development while tots flex their fine motor skills as they hold onto the toy’s string. The pull toy also teaches them that their movement and actions can affect those around them; they see their own hand pull the string and an item moves as a result.
I particularly love the below pull-along snail, as it also serves as home décor fitting in harmoniously with any room.
Pull-Along Snail - 99.75 AED
There’s a DIY angle here, too: if you have a small shipping or shoebox hanging around, poke a hole at one end, pull a piece of string through it and knot to secure it. Then hand your toddler the end of the string and watch them take off running!
At the start of walking, and for months after that milestone is reached, a toy that your little one can push is important. This helps them gain confidence in walking and provides lots of fun. You can also use a sturdy wood doll stroller to fit this need. From a simple push wagon or charming doll stroller to a sensory walker that features activities, moving balls and so on at its front (as pictured), there are so many options in this category and something for every baby—and every budget.
My pick is the below from Kinderfeets, the height and stability is perfect for a little explore and it will be continued to get used as they transport items back and forth
Toy Cargo Walker - 603.00 AED
A great present/investment as the design of a balance bike encourages kids to use their arms and lift their legs when moving forward. This not only helps them to build up their strength, it also helps them to fine-tune their motor skills, coordination, and agility.
I absolutely love the brand Kinderfeet and their range of pushbikes, they have a variety of different options and colors.
Balance Bike - Natural - 577.50 AED
Play-acting as Mommy or Daddy starts young, even before 12 months. Your 1-year-old will benefit tremendously from having a baby doll or human-inspired stuffed animal to tenderly care for.
The doll shown below, from Miniland is incredibly life-like, and you will find a wide range online which helps comprehend the concepts of family, population groups, the basic rules of relationships and coexistence, respect for racial and sexual diversity.
Baby Doll - Caucasian Boy - 187.95 AED
Jellycat rabbits are another good option.
Wooden Building Blocks
A simple wooden set of blocks can often be found in Montessori and Waldorf classrooms, these can be played with on their own or combined with others to create imaginary city scenes with bridges and buildings or simply allow for experimenting with texture and gravity.
I love the below building blocks as they add a whole new dimension to play with - this beautiful wooden set of various shapes and colors that children can see right through! Made with lovely bright colors that are designed to attract toddlers' attention. These sturdy blocks feature transparent acrylic windows in 4 bright colors plus smooth hardwood frames that are perfectly scaled to unit blocks-so it's easy for kids to stack and build.
Wooden Rainbow Light Sensory Blocks - 24 Pieces - 199.00 AED
They’re a great way to get those developmentally important bright colors in! Stacking was a parental favorite for me because they’re easy to store and don’t take up much space, but they’re likely to be an even bigger favorite for your newly minted toddler as they discover the joys of stacking, building, and knocking down structures they build with their own chubby hands. Wooden or soft blocks are also good for 1-year-olds, as are traditional ring stackers on a pole.
I like the below because you can use this in later years to educate your little one about shapes and they are learning colors/different shades at the same time.
Geometric Stacker - 119.00 AED
If you are on a budget you can also find objects in the home for stacking, too; assorted small gift boxes and plastic measuring cups are fantastic.
Physical play is important for so many reasons, from brain stimulation and gross motor skills to plain old tiring them out before naptime. An indoor rocking animal or vehicle is a perfect way to bring the world of active play inside while creating a special corner of their room or playroom that inspires and delights.
My kids specifically love this rocker that can be used as a seesaw and you turned over to create a climbing arch.
The Arch: Wooden Rocker /Seesaw and Climbing Ramp - 1299.00 AED
Crawl tunnels are a thrill for this age and get big giggles, to be sure, but they also help young toddlers with spatial awareness and a better understanding of object permanence. Older kids and adults know that the person whose face leans into and out of the tunnel is always nearby, but for a 1-year-old, these types of lean-in, lean-out peekaboo games genuinely help them learn about the way the world works. Says Dr. Sarah Roseberry Lytle, director of outreach and education at the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences: “You really want parents to be there playing with their children, following their lead, allowing them to figure out what happens.”
Play Tunnel - 136.50 AED
A toddler's favorite teddy can also help with separation anxiety and the move from cot to toddler beds. Young children often use soft toys to project their own feelings – and then comfort them, encouraging valued qualities such as empathy, affection, and bonding.
FLATOUT Bears, below, make the ultimate comforter and companion for babies, through to toddler and big kid! Unlike traditional synthetic soft toys, FLATOUT Bears are made from 100% Australian sheepskin. Made from Sheepskin, a beautiful natural fiber that is known for repelling germs, self-cleaning and its anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic qualities. FLATOUT Bears make the most wonderful, natural soft toy that will last an entire childhood and beyond. If you're looking for an extra special gift - this is it!
Teddy Bear: Large - Latte - 220.00 AED
Free of distractions like colorful illustrations, simple wooden puzzles encourage concentration and help a young child focus on the task at hand. As they boost your child's cognitive development, puzzles work both fine and gross motor skills.
I personally love the collection of puzzles from Wee Gallery
Wooden Tray Puzzle - Woodland Animals - 126.00 AED
This beautiful six-piece Wooden Puzzle is perfect for so many kinds of play! Solving the sturdy tray puzzle is just the beginning. You can also use the adorable wooden animals as playtime characters in this themed Woodland set.
One of the most popular wooden toys. Great for little development and growth, perfect size to put in your bag and play on the go/outside of the home.
Peg dolls are great for early learning and development. Foundational skills like shape and colour recognition, numeracy, and understanding cause-effect are only some of the important skills to set your child up to learn more advanced concepts for when she starts going to school.
My personal favorites are these cute pastel ones
Wooden Rainbow Pretent Doll-like Pegs - Pastel - 155.00 AED
Without any doubt, role-play toys are my favorite and they will be played for years to come. They foster empathy, emotional growth, language, and communication development, children learn to sympathize and deal with different ranges of emotions. When role-playing as someone else, it encourages children to explore different social situations and how to interact with others. It’s a risk-free environment for children to use and explore new ideas. Role-playing encourages communication and when playing make-believe children often use words they learned from school or heard from their parents. This expands their vocabulary and helps them understand what certain words mean.
Of course, the list of role-play toys and play are endless from puppets to kitchen sets to marketplaces - it depends on your budget and space.
If I have to pick my favorite it would be a wooden workbench. The below is made to order and can be made to any specification.
Wooden Role Play Workbench - 1399.00 AED
While children are having fun pretending to make, turning, using tools, and hamming they are strengthening and developing motor skills, hand-eye coordination, social skills, and learning how to plan, strategize, and complete a project from beginning to end.
Sensory play is the work of a child. The sensory play explores sight, touch, smell, ears, and sometimes even taste to develop a deeper understanding of core math and science concepts.
Education guru Cynthia Aldinger suggests, if early learners do not get the chance to TOUCH, MANIPULATE, and INVESTIGATE sensory opportunities with their hands, they may lack the FOUNDATION they need later. We need to have our children deep in cloud dough and molding substances now to take what they will read later on to the next level. There is so much more to science and math than memorizing a vocabulary term.
However you have to remember that at One they are still very young, so start with the basics and don't overwhelm them. Think box filled with flour or oats and simply add cars or animals.
Below is one of my favorite setups I have done for my children but bare this is set up for 4-year-olds.
Space Exploration Kit - 150.00 AED
I have various PDFs on sensory kits, different setups, and inspiration - feel free to get in touch so I can share with you.
Personalized Toy Box
Now, this is less for them to play with but a beautiful gift that can be personalized, and last, years. If this is not your first child you will know that as they grow the amount of toys they have is constantly increasing so investing in storage is always a great idea.
This idea is always my top recommendation if you have grandparents looking to invest in something special. This is going to be a great practical investment but also something you/they can see every day and won't be thrown out in a few months or break.
Personalized Wooden Toy Box - 1599.00 AED
Development experts agree open-ended toys are best. Look for something that lets toddlers do what they want instead of following specific instructions.
Age-appropriate toys foster imagination, sensory stimulation, and physical development in ways that intrigue your toddler. So make sure as they grow you put away the baby toys and store away toys that are too advanced so they don't get frustrated and disheartened.
I hope you enjoyed this guide and it has helped you in some way - feel free to get in touch with me directly on 0564429917 if you have any questions.