When choosing the best toys for one year olds, whether they’re for my own children or gifts for others, I am always considering LONGEVITY. I hate buying toys that have a short shelf-life. It is such a waste of money!

the best toys for one year olds

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So learn from my mistakes and toy faux pas with my three children and their many MANY toys.

Here is the short list of our absolute favorite toys for one year olds that have

  • stood the test of time
  • been enjoyed in the baby AND toddler stages
  • NOT driven me completely crazy with songs and sounds
  • been easy to clean
  • proven to be durable

Baby Einstein Musical Octopus

Our son’s all time favorite toy for 3 years running is this Baby Einstein Musical Toy (now renamed Baby Einstein Octopus Orchestra Musical Toy). Has an off, low, and high volume option and 2 modes for playing. My favorite is the orchestra mode where your baby can turn different instruments on and off during the song. This helps baby recognize the sounds of different instruments and make unique combinations of sounds. Perfect for the musically-minded baby!

Oombee Cube

Love this little cube! We purchased 3 of these from for our son and a couple of friends’ babies. This is great for that manual dexterity and fine motor development. Also great for teaching shapes and colors, and you can throw the whole thing in the dishwasher (top rack)!

I love that each shape is tethered to the cube with a short string. Shapes do tend to get a bit tangled during play, and younger children will need help untangling them. However, for older toddlers, the tangling provides a good problem-solving challenge.

Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

We love Spike! This toy is excellent for fine motor skills (go figure!) but also a couple of other things including hand-eye coordination and color/pattern/number recognition. This toy has SUPER longevity. Our 2 and 4 year old sons still love to arrange the spikes in rows of patterns and put a particular color spike in a particular number hole. Now that the older one can can pop the “shell” part of Spike off, he loves to push the spikes out from the inside (ingenuity!). And the baby just loves to hold and taste the spikes (perfect size for tiny hands). Again, this can all go in the top rack dishwasher for easy sanitizing.

Fisher Price Piggy Bank

We have a thing for Fisher Price toys in our house, and this piggy bank is one of our most favorite. MY favorite thing about this toy is that my baby can play with it and have a great time with NO SOUNDS. It’s just as fun to put the coins in and take them out 1000 times without sounds as it is with. Great for when mommy needs a little quiet! This toy also hits the mark on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and color/number recognition.

Fair warning: these coins fit REMARKABLY well in those tiny slits of the heat register covers. Ask me how I know.

Washable Stacking Cups

I mean just check out the Amazon reviews on these stackable cups. You can’t argue with that! I have purchased at least 6 sets of these for my own kids and for gifts. EVERY baby shower gift I give comes accompanied by these stacking cups. All 3 of my kids have enjoyed them, and my oldest still loves to play with them in the bath tub. (Read more about bath tub toy safety here). These are great for the bath because they have holes in the bottom and are super easy to clean.

Even if these are not destined to become bath toys, they will still be hours of fun on dry land. Flip them over to stack up a tower, or nest them down as shown in the Amazon photos. Each cup also has a number on the bottom and holes of different shapes. That makes these great for color/number/shape/size recognition along with the fine motor skills needed for stacking and nesting.

Mom on!

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