Whether it’s your own kid or somebody else’s, buying a present for a 1-year-old is no easy task—they’re in that tricky in-between phase where they’re no longer babies yet have barely entered toddlerhood. The ideal gift is something that’s stimulating, age-appropriate and sturdy—and, most important, won’t drive parents crazy. That’s why we tapped real moms for their favorite picks. Here, five toys that fit the bill.
The 5 Best Gifts for 1-Year-Old Kids on Amazon
Editors’ Pick: Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano
- Made from wood
- Comes with three sheets of music
- Includes volume control buttons
Encourage your budding musician with her very first piano featuring “magic touch” technology (i.e., no buttons or keys). Made from wood, this toy instrument has two different modes—freestyle or play along with melodies. “This toy appeals to 1-year-olds but also feels chic in your playroom given the bright color scheme on the keys,” one PureWow editor tells us. “But it also is easy to use and gives your child the option of listening to pre-recorded tunes (via three pages of sheet music) or the chance to plunk along on their own.” You’ll also love seeing if your mini can match the color-coded notes on the sheets to the keys on the piano. And there’s no need to worry about waking up the neighbors since there’s a handy volume control button. Extra bonus? This toy is super easy to clean.
Best Value: Fisher-price Linkimals Musical Moose
- Interactive toy that teaches numbers and counting
- Plays more than 25 songs and sounds
- Compact size ideal for travel
Budget-friendly toys usually don’t come with a lot of options, but this educational pick features more than 25 songs, sounds, phrases and tunes. It’s a firm favorite in one PureWow editor’s house: “My daughter is at that age when she loves to push buttons (literally and figuratively), so she loves pressing the moose’s stomach to watch him light up and play all kinds of songs—which, warning, will definitely get stuck in your head later. The cheery little bobblehead is small enough to easily travel with, and he can be paired with other Linkimals toys so they can interact, adding another layer of fun for my daughter as she gets older.” And the soft antlers are fun to touch for curious little fingers.
Splurge-worthy: Alex Discover My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube
- Five sides of games
- Solid wooden base
- Easy cleanup
This award-winning toy features five sides of fun for exploring hands: curvy wire rides, peekaboo doors, spin-and-match animals, turn-and-learn ABC word tiles and racing rollers. A sturdy base means that it won’t topple over easily. “I have three girls, and each of them (with totally different personalities) loved playing with this cube,” says one PureWow staffer. “It promotes fine motor skills, manipulation and imagination, and it kept their attention long enough for me to do the laundry.” Even though this engaging toy has multiple parts, they’re all attached to the cube, which makes cleanup a breeze.
Customer Favorite: Fat Brain Toys Kids Spinagain Toy
- Encourages hand-eye coordination
- Fun for ages 1 through 4
It’s a simple concept: A corkscrew pole and six brightly colored disks that spin down it. And yet, 1-year-olds (and children up to age 4) love it and can stay occupied for aeons, working on their hand-eye coordination, motor dexterity and cause-and-effect learning. Plus, even though it’s made of plastic, it still feels chic enough to leave out in the living room. (Those are just some of the reasons this clever toy won the Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award.)
Runner Up: Plan Toys Dancing Alligator
- Made from nontoxic natural materials
- Makes rhythmic clapping sounds
- Fun wiggling body
Kids will love walking this pet alligator that chomps its mouth and shimmies its body. “My boys would giggle endlessly as this wiggly, noisy alligator followed them all around the house. It makes for a great game of chase, the faster the kids run and the more kids added. Just beware of downstairs apartment neighbors, as they will not be huge fans of the toy!” says one PureWow mom. Made from organic rubber wood, this silly toy also scores points for being eco-friendly.