Best Toys & Gifts for 1 Year Old Boys (a VERY picky list)

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on April 18th, 2023

We only include products we know and trust. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Learn more about our review process.

Looking for the perfect gift or most appropriate toys for 1 year old boys? Look no further. We are both parents and nerds when it comes to researching and testing toys.

We follow closely the advice given by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organisation. They confirm how important it is to provide a varied selection of toys and activities which match and nurture your child’s developmental stage. Things to consider are body, hand and finger skills, and emotional and cognitive ability.

Our top picks of gift ideas for 1 year old boys


Our opinion

This Radio Flyer Scoot (check price on Amazon) is perfect for the little ones around your house. They can begin using it by scooting around on it until they are agile enough to learn to pedal. It’s very light and has rounded edges which mean it won’t cause ouchies during inevitable toddler tumbles!

And, for the parents, it is easily assembled and requires no tools to get it together. It is perfect for ages 1-3 and can hold up to 42 lbs.

Why He’ll Love It: It has a comfortable contoured seat and a cute addition is a covered storage bin that lets your little one take their juice or small toys with them as they play.


Our opinion

Your little guy can work on his fine motor skills as he spins, moves, and explores the four quadrants of this Tree Top Activity Center (check price on Amazon). All the paints are non-toxic, and there are enough mini-activities to engage your tot for more than just a few minutes.

The assembly can be a bit tricky, but if you can soldier through it, this activity center has plenty for your boy to explore.

Why He’ll Love It: The colors are bright, and the bird, bug, and flower images are sure to entice him into playing. This set also has quite a few different activities to keep his attention.


Our opinion

Surely the most delightful thing a 1-year-old will even own. This soft toy has no small parts, so there’s no need worry about it posing a choking hazard.

Designed to foster caregiving skills, your baby will love snuggling this toy (check price on Amazonduring the day, and tucking it into its little pea-shaped bed at night.

Why He’ll Love It: This toy comes in a variety of colors and is made from soft, cuddle-worthy fabrics. Its large size means it is fun to curl up with and easily grasped by tiny hands.


Our opinion

This ride-on toy is perfect for small toddlers. Powerwheels Thomas (check price on Amazoncomes with 18-foot of rail tracks so you can keep things interesting by setting up different shapes and sizes. If he wants more freedom, then you can take Thomas off and your little man can ride free.

Thomas has a 6V rechargeable battery, but note that you’ll need to grab some extra AA batteries for the train sound effects.

Why He’ll Love It: He’ll get to ride his favorite train in real-life.


Our opinion

As the name suggests, these are blocks that can be stacked together in various ways. They can be used to jumpstart critical thinking skills when used as a puzzle, and also teach motor skills and color recognition.

Better still, the Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker (check price on Amazonis made from sustainably harvested wood and colored with water-based stains that are non-toxic.

Why He’ll Love It: These blocks can be used to create a puzzle or for good old-fashioned free play. Between the two options, your baby will have plenty of ways to keep himself busy and entertained.


Our opinion

Ah, the classic childhood teddy bear. Everybody had one as a child; let’s be honest, some of us even kept them into adulthood.

This stuffed bear (check price on Amazonis soft, adorable, and made well enough to withstand the test of time. In fact, Steiff (a German company) is considered by many to be one of the world’s leading, quality teddy bear manufacturers in the world.

An additional benefit of this gorgeous bear is that it’s washable. Since I think we all remember what our own teddy bears went through, that’s something for which you can be grateful.

Why He’ll Love It: Your little boy can take this plush bear anywhere. It can even fit into the included little suitcase for easy travels.


Our opinion

Aside from providing an opportunity for your little guy to grow those fine motor skills, this is a great toy for introducing your baby to music, reading, and so much more.

The Musical Rhymes Book (check price on Amazon) does include 2 AAA batteries to start you off, but these are just for you to run the demo. To make this book part of your baby’s regular playtime, be sure to purchase a fresh set of batteries.

Why He’ll Love It: This book has pages that he can turn on his own, as well as buttons to push, fun music, a star that lights up on the side, and classic stories. With both visual and mental stimulation, your baby won’t tire easily of this toy.


Our opinion

This is an excellent way to get out and about with your baby boy while still keeping him entertained.

The car he sits in provides a bit of storage under the hood, and you and your son get convenient cup holders. When you push your little guy around, the wheels are quiet and provide a reasonably smooth ride. The Whisper Ride II (check price on Amazon) includes a safety belt, but not a harness.

Why He’ll Love It: Aside from the whole “I have my own car” thing, your boy will love honking the horn (which, according to most parents, isn’t too unbearable,) and pretending to steer as you push him along.


Our opinion

This organic wooden mushroom toy (check price on Amazonwith its screw is a perfect learning toy for young children. It teaches them dexterity with their hands and shows them cause and effect. The toy is made of out beech, covered with linseed oil, and will endure whatever your little one can put it through. As a bonus, mom and dad can use it as a nutcracker. Just put the nut in and start turning the screw and the nut will crack.

Why He’ll Love It: Your little one will like it because it will let him screw and unscrew from the mushroom. He can enjoy it non-stop and occupy him with its turning motion.


Our opinion

Is there anything better than being able to teach your baby valuable life skills without having to clean up a bunch of scattered toys? Aside from hitting the lottery, not really.

This Whoozit Cosmic Bead (check price on Amazon) toy is great at demonstrating cause and effect, as well as furthering your little guy’s motor skills, all while being neatly interconnected. The result is lots of fun with no mess or choking hazards.

Why He’ll Love It: With moving parts and vivid colors, your baby will have a blast manipulating the different parts of this toy. Since there is more than one activity to do, your little one won’t get easily bored.


Our opinion

This German made doll is perfect for snuggling and has enough stuffing so that it can sit up without having to be propped up.

Nickibaby Doll (check price on Amazon) is machine washable (can we get a hallelujah?) and made from soft, durable fabric.

Why He’ll Love It: Aside from being a great cuddle-buddy, the stuffing in this doll makes it easy and fun to pose. Your little one can grow his motor skills while enjoying lots of free play with this toy.


Our opinion

This flashlight introduces your baby to concepts that range from nature sounds and music to letters and colors.

This VTech Flashlight (check price on Amazonincludes batteries so your little one can begin to explore under the blankets straight away.

Why He’ll Love It: With all the colors, noises, music, and lights, this is a toy that will keep your boy entertained. It’s also easy for him to carry and, if the power ever goes out, he’ll be comforted by the fact that he has his very own flashlight to fight the dark.


Our opinion

The My First Number Train (check price on Amazon) comes with 23 pieces to entertain your little one. Included in the set are bricks with the numbers 0 thru 9 on them. The colorful and moveable pieces capture the attention of children and help them to begin recognizing all the numbers. Additionally, as your child gets older, they will be able to combine numbers to make larger numbers, learning the whole time.

Why He’ll Love It: He will be able to build a locomotive and three wagons. Your little one will find them fun to play with, as they are perfectly sized for his tiny hands.


Our opinion

The New York Times named “You Are My Happy” (check price on Amazon) one of the best-selling children’s books. The book stars a loving mommy bear and her cub. The words were written by Hoda Kotb, and the illustrations were done by Suzie Mason. This book is an excellent way to cap off any child’s bedtime routine.

Why He’ll Love It: Your child will love indulging in this story before bedtime each night.


Our opinion

The Wishbone Flip Rock and Roll Ride (check price on Amazon) is a two-in-one toy that will grow with your child, entertaining him from ages 1 to 5. The rocker/rider is made from sustainably harvested birch wood. It also boasts a bright red paint job and big eyes.

Why He’ll Love It: Your child will love cruising around on this adorable ride-on toy. The wheels swivel in all directions, making for a smooth, comfortable ride.


Our opinion

It’s hard to look past the endless slew of plastic toys and not feel guilty about your occasional indulgences. Green Toys (check price on Amazon) makes it possible for your little one to enjoy their toys without adding new plastic to an already bogged down ecosystem. This toy is made from 100% recycled plastic and all-natural inks. It’s small enough for a 1-year-old to pull around the yard or house.

Why He’ll Love It: Your 1-year-old will love toting their favorite toys around in this eco-friendly wagon.


Our opinion

Foster your little one’s love of music with the lovely Remo Kids Percussion Floor Tom Drum (check price on Walmart). Children are very in tune with rhythm. These soft mallets and the drum’s fabric rain forest print will give them even more reasons to make music.

Why He’ll Love It: Your little guy will want to bang on this drum all day. Its lovely rain forest print will bring a smile to his little face.


Our opinion

Every little boy enjoys playing with a dump truck. The Green Toys Dump Truck (check price on Walmart) happens to be made of environmentally friendly materials and biodegradable inks. This toy truck is suitable for both indoor and outdoor play.

Why He’ll Love It: Your little guy will love driving his little yellow dump truck through the sandbox. He might even appreciate that his toy is good for the earth.


Our opinion

Kids love interacting with this little yellow chair. It’s sort of as if Chairry from Pee-Wee’s Playhouse received a child development degree. The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair (check price on Walmart) has three levels of play to help harness your baby’s interest as they learn and grow. It also has a built-in flipbook and a light-up remote control.

Why He’ll Love It: Your child’s easy chair just became the foundation of his education. This yellow chair will respond each time he touches the cushion.


Our opinion

Your young animal lover will be thrilled to snuggle up with this super fluffy Large Plush Highland Cow (check price on eBay). The details on this stuffed animal are very realistic.
Living nature currently makes over 120 different stuffed animals. This snugly beast just happens to be one of their most adorable creations.

Why He’ll Love It: What child doesn’t want to cuddle up to a shaggy highland cow? The horns may be realistic, but they are still suitable for hugs.

What to expect from your 1 year old boy

Your little darling is getting ever more interested in the world around him. His hands and fingers are getting more skilled and he’s taking delight in exploring the touch (and taste) of everything he can grab.

Here’s a taster of some of things that a child will start doing between the ages of 1 and 2. (You can see a complete list if you’re interested.)

Body, hand and finger skills

  • Walks up stairs (with help);
  • Climbs on furniture;
  • Builds towers of 2-6 cubes (and gleefully knocks them down);
  • Holds cup or spoon;
  • Scribbles;
  • Begins to remove clothing, eg, socks;
  • Starts to run or walk whilst carrying large teddy;
  • Enjoys turning knobs and pressing buttons

Emotional development

  • Flips between fierce independence and desperate attachment (usually to mom);
  • Can often want mom or dad to be close by all the time;
  • Shows sense of “me” and “mine” (often strongly);
  • Imitates grown ups;
  • Follows simple requests (if you’re lucky!);
  • Plays alone or next to other children, but not with them;
  • Starts to enjoy role play and mimics real life situations

Cognitive development

  • Understands “no” (but probably ignores you!);
  • Shakes head to indicate “no”;
  • Starts gaining words, normally nouns, and then starts to string two together (“more juice”);
  • Enjoys simple stories;
  • Points to things to indicate what she wants

Wrapping up

Your 1 year old boy is a treasure. He’s growing up so quickly and it seems that almost every day he is developing new skills, words and facets to his personality. Choosing the perfect gift means finding something that matches his evolving mechanical interest without being too far ahead of his capabilities. It also means playing to his emerging use of language and being sensitive to his burgeoning sense of self. We hope that our ‘top picks’ have made choosing such a gift super easy. Please let us know how much he loves them!

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on April 18th, 2023

Pin for later

1 Year Old Boy Plays with Toys