As much as I’d really like to remain in denial, it’s time to acknowledge that my little guy is nearing his first birthday at what seems like light speed. I’m in the midst of planning his first birthday party and I’ve been thinking about how my gift giving to my children has changed over the years.
With my first child, more was better. We purchased piles and piles of toys and noisy gadgets for her, basking in the depths of our ability to spoil her rotten. We quickly realized that we had been a little over zealous. Many of the toys that we’d been so thrilled to bestow upon her were abandoned in the furthest reaches of the toy box, rarely to be seen. Some of the more loud counterparts were eventually put away by a mom who was tired of hearing the same beeping or music over and over again.
As the years went by and we added to our family, I began to rethink my gift giving strategy. I started choosing more carefully, looking for items or toys that had lasting value beyond the child’s current age, were sturdy and high quality without breaking the bank, and had an educational aspect. Play time doesn’t have to be mindless and I’d rather my children be gleaning something from it.
Now as our fourth child approaches his big day, I’ve decided to share with you my top ten favorite quality educational toys that are appropriate for a one year old.
10 Educational Toys for 1 Year Olds
We snagged this set from a friend who was clearing it out of her toy stash. We only paid a few dollars for it, but it’s been a big hit in our household for ages now. I can’t tell you how many band jam sessions and concerts have featured these cute little instruments. Toddlers especially like to shake and bang them.
These are a traditional stacking toy featuring bright colors and numbers. I like this set better than the usual stacking cups because the bowls can be stacked and hooked together to form balls.
I saw this in a store when my oldest (now 8) was about to turn one. I fell in love with it and decided that it would be the perfect gift for her on her birthday. She loved it every bit as much as I did and still gets in the floor with it from time to time. Each of my four children has now enjoyed this fun musical toy.
Shape sorters are great for hand and eye coordination, motor skills, spatial awareness, and lots more. I like to have a wooden one for durability.
This toy is similar to the now hard to find LeapFrog Fridge Farm Magnetic Animal Set. You can mix and match the animals for fun, learn animals sounds and names, and sing songs.
This was a gift to our third child when she was one. She spent many days twirling and turning the letters to see the corresponding pictures on the opposite side of ever square. It also showcases numbers and number words up to ten.
Little ones get fine motor practice as they turn locks, twist latches, and use hooks to open and close the doors on these wooden puzzles.
I’ve never been sure what was quite so fascinating about these bead mazes, but all of my children have adored them. Even when we visit doctor’s offices or children’s attractions that feature larger versions of them, my kids flock straight to them. They are simple, but entertaining to wee ones.
I love that these blocks are not hard, so if they tumble on to little heads or feet, it won’t hurt. They can be chewed or gummed and can also double as bath toys.
Every child needs a xylophone and a pounding bench! This toy combines the two classic toys into one. Great fun is to be had with this!