The best toys and the most thoughtful gifts

While 1-year-olds are full of wonder about the world around them, it can sometimes be difficult for adults to know what they’re thinking — shopping for a 1-year-old can therefore get rather challenging. “1-year-olds are curious about the world,”Laura Jana MD was a pediatrician and author of the book. “The Toddler Brain.” “They are just starting to master fine motor skills that let them start to explore the world intentionally.”

SKIP Ahead Get expert guidance about gifts for 1 year-olds

For 1-year-olds, toys such as sorting boxes and puzzles are key. Stacking cupsJana stated that toddlers can enjoy bead mazes, and other games with open ended rules. They don’t have to follow any rules or adhere to adult-made guidelines. To get a more specific idea of the best approach to gifting toddlers, we consulted child experts, pediatricians and authors — Jana among them — and found some of the best gift options that encourage exploration without frustration. Gifts or not, if you’re shopping right now, keep in mind that you should consider doing so sooner than later to avoid expected holiday shipping delays.

Top gifts for 1-year olds

1. LEGO DUPLO My first number train

Big chunky blocks, like the kind featured in LEGO’s DUPLO sets, are great for small hands. DUPLO blocks are recommended by Christia Sparrow Brown PhD, University of Kentucky psychology professor. “manipulative toys that help define motor skills.” This train, which lets kids learn numbers and colors when they’re ready, also has simple play features.

“It feels good to pull a train behind you just when you’ve learned to be mobile on your own,”Tovah K. is the director at Barnard College Center for Toddler Development and author “How Toddlers Thrive.”You can use a toy train for both boys and girls. If you’re also buying a gift for an older brother or sister, check out the Shopping guide on buying the best LEGO sets for every age.

2. Mushie Stacking Cups

Mushie brings modern flair to kids’ toys. Bring home some hygge — a feeling of coziness — with the Danish stacking cups. The plastic cups can be made into a tower or knocked down after they’ve been stacked. The bottom of each cup features a distinctive pattern that reinforces the shape. Some have holes and some don’t, making them perfect for pouring or storing water during bathtime, as well.

3. TOMY Toomies Hide & Squeak Eggs

This TOMY Discovery Toy allows you to easily separate and sort six plastic eggs. “There’s matching, sorting, colors, shapes and lots of learning in this unexpectedly wonderful little toy,” said Busy Toddler founder Susie Allison. “Plus it’s great for a kitchen play area or pretend picnics.”

Every egg’s base is unique. The egg’s base is marked with an area on the carton. They also can be opened and, when a child presses down on the toy chick’s head inside, they make a “cheep” sound. The best part is that you don’t need batteries.

4. Fisher Price Rock A-Stack

Fisher Price has been making toys for nearly 90 years and there’s a reason the Rock-A-Stack this become a daycare staple. Babies and toddlers alike can stack five hollow plastic rings around a yellow column using the plastic tower.

“The fun of putting them on and taking them off is exciting to the child,”Klein explained. The top ring has a translucent surface and is filled in with colorful beads.

5. Box with Button Size Sorting

The soft vinyl container from Lakeshore Learning is able to be used for both indoor and outdoor storage. There are four holes in the top that can be removed to allow for 24 buttons, including squares, triangles or circles.

Allison enjoys the way this toy helps with cognitive development. Allison may keep the toy around as long as she can use it. “by toddlers and preschoolers as they develop math skills.”

6. Original Toy Company School Bus

The Original Toy Company created this bright yellow wooden bus and it has wooden wheels. “This incredibly basic toy has years of play potential despite its simple look,” Allison explained. “The little pegs bounce as it drives for a really sweet effect. It doesn’t look like a show-stopping toy, but it is.”

Hidden springs enable each peg-person to appear when they push on their heads. This can be used to entertain both children and adults. It is also a great way to improve motor skills.

7. Melissa & Doug First Bead Maze

Wooden toys are the foundation of a brand Melissa & Doug’s First Bead Maze helps develop hand-eye-coordination and motor skills. “It is open-ended,”Klein pointed out this. “Children can play however they want and, at the same time, are introduced through play to colors, size and shapes.”

One year olds can slide, spin and maneuver three yellow plastic rings. They also have 18 wooden beads.

8. The Pigeon Wants a Pigeon Bath Book

Mo Willems’ joyful book is designed for bath time. Children can flip the pages and grab the pages to meet interactivity recommendations. The book also comes with a rubber pigeon — ducks no longer have a monopoly on bath time.

9. GUND Baby Tinkle Crinkle & Friends Arch Activity Gym Playmat

This new mat has eight toddler activities, as shown in the interaction box. The playmat includes five sensory-centric toys and a fluffy cloud. It also has a safe mirror for babies. It can be installed in as little as two minutes according to the company.

Gifts for children under 1 years old

To find the most suitable gift option for 1-year olds, we consulted specialists and looked through major retailers.

What to do with 1 year-olds?

“Exploring things at this age can mean putting things in your mouth,”Jana cautioned that one-year-olds need to be safe and discover when selecting the perfect gift.

Safety first: Safety comes first when sorting and stacking toys

It is best to avoid toys that might cause choking. Instead, focus on stacking blocks which can be used by small hands. “Take age recommendations on packaging seriously and make sure something doesn’t have small parts.”

Safety should be a top priority. Allison is the author “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting,”You should find toys that your child still enjoys playing with as they get older.

“Remember, they won’t be this age for long,”She elaborated. “A bag of blocks or set of buckets is going to have a long lifespan and won’t be obsolete three months or even three years from now.”

Stereotyping female toys characters is not a good idea.

If you don’t know where to start, it can be easy to get caught up in gender stereotypes, too, warned the University of Kentucky’s Brown.

“People rely on gender norms or stereotypes more because you can’t ask a 1-year-old what they want,”She elaborated. “People buy pink dolls for girls and big chunky trucks for boys.”Brown advised gift-givers not to limit their gender perception, but to think about the potential skills toys could help teach.

“Dolls are good for every kid because we want our kids to be empathetic and the early building blocks of empathy are dolls,”She spoke.

Players should be responsible for the game

For the Barnard College’s Klein, the key is to encourage discovery with “hands-on toys.” “Toys and materials that are open-ended are best at this age,” Klein said, echoing Jana. “They allow the child to decide what they want to do and there is no right or wrong way.”She advised that 1 year-olds search for toys that let them push and pull vehicles, move objects around in containers, stack blocks and remove them.

“The world is becoming more interactive for them,” Klein explained. “So hands-on toys with no set way to play encourages their curiosity and development.”

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The best toys and the most thoughtful gifts

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