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

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on April 18th, 2023
1 year old girl plays with toys

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Searching for a gift or toy for a 1 year old girl? Then you’ve come to the right place. Being parents and nerds when it comes to research, we’ve rounded up a selection of adorable options that she’ll love.

We took note of advice given by the American Academy of Pediatrics and have selected toys which are both appropriate for her hand and finger skills, and her emotional and cognitive ability. They are also reliably fun, meaning that they aren’t discarded after five minutes.


Our opinion

As activity centers go, the Manhattan Tree Top (check price on Amazon) one is both epic and tasteful, offering a huge array of kinesthetic learning opportunities. Made primarily from wood and decorated with non-toxic paints, this Tree Top Activity Center will keep your little lady busy whilst developing her fine motors skills.

The assembly can be a bit tricky, but come on parents! if you expect her to nail all its tactile puzzles, then at least you can figure out how to put it together!

Why She’ll Love It: There are four quadrants each with their own set of vibrantly colored puzzles, knobs, and “pully bits”!


Our opinion

Your little girl will love giving this stuffed doll plenty of cuddles. In fact, the Snuggle Pod (check price on Amazon) it’s designed to encourage caregiving skills as well as to bring comfort to your baby.

It is big enough for little hands to grab and has no sewn on buttons or other small detailing that could be a choking hazard.

The material is of high quality and machine washable so that this toy can withstand the test of babyhood.

Why She’ll Love It: The fabric is wonderfully soft and perfect for a good snuggle. She’ll also love being able to tuck the doll into its pea-shaped bed for naps.


Our opinion

The Grimm’s Rainbow Stacker (check price on Amazon) comes in pretty pastel shapes which can be stacked up in all sorts of fun ways. Sustainably harvested from Europe, the 12 arched blocks are hand colored with water-based stains. This toy is excellent for fine motor skill development, as well as for creative play and color recognition.

Why She’ll Love It: The pieces are large enough for little hands to manipulate into countless designs, and can be paired with other blocks for even more creative play.


Our opinion

This battery powered, rechargeable ride-on toy (check price on Amazon) is perfect for children aged 12-36 months. This Thomas Power Wheels comes with 18-feet of train track, so parents can get creative setting up different shaped courses. This helps to keep things interesting for your little lady. Thomas can also be ridden off the tracks, so she can take him for a spin around the house or garden. With a top speed of 2mph, she’ll stay safe and you can catch her up if she makes a break for freedom!

Why She’ll Love It: Ride-on toys tend to be a hit with toddlers, plus Thomas has sound effects too.


Our opinion

Lull your little princess into dreamland with Twilight Turtle (check price on Amazon). With the push of a button, it will create a visual dreamland-like oceanic display in her darkened room. Battery operated, it will automatically turn off after 45 minutes. It’s soft and squeezable with a hard plastic shell so you can introduce her to her new friend with a hug before turning it on.

Why She’ll Love It: She will enjoy the three colors cycle automatically equipped with long-lasting LEDs stay cool & extend battery life


Our opinion

This little Pound & Tap Bench (check price on Amazon) with vibrantly colored xylophone will keep your sweetheart enthralled with all the things it can do. She can explore the colors and sounds and teach her little fingers how to grasp the balls and use them to create their own music. Or, she can use the keyboard and xylophone to construct her own little symphony of sounds, movements, and colors.

Winner of the 2018 Cribsie Award, it’s made with non-toxic finishes and water-based paint and will last forever.

Why She’ll Love It: She will be delighted with her ability to grasp the shapes and create her own music.


Our opinion

This fun gadget comes with lots of ways to stimulate and entertain your baby without you having to worry about batteries.

The Lamaze Fifi (check price on Amazon) has rings for teething, as well as loops to clank together, a squeaker, and a little mirror.

If your stroller has a belly bar, you can clip it on so that your baby can play without you having to worry about the toy getting dropped or lost while you run errands.

Why She’ll Love It: The body of this toy is velour, so your baby will love touching its brightly colored belly. It also offers enough stimulation to engage her while being cute enough for her to consider it a buddy.


Our opinion

Duplo has been a part of children’s lives for over 50 years. This All-In-One-Box-Of-Fun (check price on Amazon) is the perfect set to start her off. Few toys can match Duplo in their ability to develop motor-skills, concentration, and imagination through play. In this Duplo box, there are 65 colorful pieces including a small child, a dog, and a car.

Why She’ll Love It: It’s colorful, tactile, and provides endless creative possibilities.


Our opinion

This YesIndeed (check price on Amazon) balance bike just might be the softest tricycle you have ever seen. Everything is rounded and padded so there’s no chance of your little sweetie hurting herself. Underneath all of that cushion is a solid iron frame for durability. The two padded front wheels will make it easier for her to learn her balance and eventually guide the tricycle. It’s even ergonomically designed for her comfort!

Why She’ll Love It: She’ll love using it to help her to stand up on her own and you’ll love the look of accomplishment on her face when she does it!


Our opinion

It’s hard to think of a classic childhood without having the image of a stuffed bear somewhere in the picture. Crafted to withstand almost anything that comes its way, Fynn (check price on Amazon) is a cuddly buddy for your daughter. He’s also washable which, let’s be honest, is a feature to cheer for when you’re dealing with stuffed toys and babies.

Why She’ll Love It: This bear is soft, adorable, and will make a great friend for your little girl. Maybe one day, she’ll even hand it down to her own child.


Our opinion

Kathe Kruse makes the “A-Grade” of baby dolls. They are top quality and adorable. This Pappa Plush Doll (check price on Amazon) measures 14 inches from head to toe. The fabric of the body is cotton, with polyester wool used as stuffing. The head is vinyl, so watch that your baby doesn’t bonk herself with it if she’s a rough player. Designed in Germany, this doll has a cuddle-worthy body and a beautiful, realistic face. It is ideal for encouraging free play.

Why She’ll Love It: Your little girl will find a great companion in this doll.


Our opinion

Getting in some quality outdoor time can be tricky with a baby in the house. This Whisper Ride (check price on Amazon) little car provides a place for your daughter to sit in the driver’s seat while you push her along. You both get cup holders, and there’s some storage under the hood for any extras you want to bring along. Although this car doesn’t have a harness, it does have a safety belt.

Why She’ll Love It: Your little girl can honk the horn (which, don’t worry, isn’t too loud) as she enjoys riding in her very first car.


Our opinion

This will keep your inquisitive little girl busy and engaged. Aside from working as an actual flashlight, it features over 50 phrases, songs, and sounds. The Vtech Spin and Learn (check price on Amazon) can also help her learn colors and numbers. For your sanity, it comes with a volume setting and will automatically shut off after 45 seconds of non-use.

Why She’ll Love It: This toy is easy for tiny hands to use and comes with enough activities to keep your kiddo engaged. Plus, when the lights go out, she’ll be happy to have her own flashlight for comfort.


Our opinion

Learning through motion and repetition is the name of the game for your one-year-old, and she’s already observing you as you spend time grooming in the mirror. This sweet first vanity Laugh & Learn Magical Musical Mirror from Fisher-Price (check price on Amazon) is a pretty pastel pink, featuring a round mirror with orange lights that illuminate when the toy is in use. She’ll have fun playing with a baby-safe powder puff, comb, lipstick, and easy-to-wear plastic bracelets, and can open and close the “compact” to play songs. When she’s not listening to tunes, she can benefit from the toy’s learning mode, which features audio lessons on letters, colors, greetings, and determining opposites.

Why She’ll Love It: It’s bright and fun and features satisfying textures, sights, and sounds that will keep your one-year-old engaged


Our opinion

Letter and number blocks are classic teaching tools for young children. Melissa & Doug are experts when it comes to well-made wooden toys that are also exceptional learning tools, and their ABC Wooden Block Cart (check price on Amazon) benefits your one-year-old in multiple ways. Not only will she be learning letters and numbers as she plays with her block, she’ll also be learning colors — the blocks are red, blue, yellow, and green in addition to their natural wood tone.

She’ll also be improving her motor skills as she grasps, holds, and places the blocks, as well as when she pulls the block cart by its safely-attached string. It’s a great set for early alphabet learning that stays useful as she gets older and begins to learn the spelling and writing of simple words.


Our opinion

Making music is something that most kids find fun and satisfying — it speaks to their love of experimenting with sounds and volume, and at age one, simple instruments can be a gateway to motor skill improvement. Amy & Benton’s toy piano (check price on Walmart) has a precious design, modeled after a white grand piano with a lifted lid. The piano features 24 keys, including eight percussion instruments, four other instrumental tones, rhythm options, and 22 demo tunes.

It’s durable enough for her to have fun playing the keys as a young child, but has cool features that older kids and adults can enjoy, like an external MP3 player, play-and-record karaoke options, and a small microphone equipped on top of the toy piano.

Why She’ll Love It: It’s a chance for her to create her own music, and it’s not just for babies, so she’ll have fun with it as she gets older too


Our opinion

When you’re drying your sweet baby off after bath time, it feels good to wrap her up in something soft and cozy — the kind of towel you’d want to use. A great pick like this super-soft fun bear-themed Bamboo Baby Hooded Towel (check price on Amazon) will dry her off and keep her warm and comfortable. One thing to love about this pick is that it’s not baby-sized at all; at 35 x 35 inches, she’ll be able to continue using it up until about age five.

It’s a great pick for kids with problem hair, frizz, and flyaways, as the soft bamboo material is less likely than standard terry cloth to cause unsightly damage to the hair shaft if hair is tousled dry in the towel. Uniquely, this towel is accompanied by an eBook featuring 10 sweet bedtime stories and somnolent lullabies to share with your baby.


Our opinion

When your girl is ready to rock, rocking horses are a classic toy that encourage motor skill development, including balance and proprioception. If you’re looking for an upgrade, however, this pink Labebe Rocking Unicorn (check price on Walmart) has all the skill-building benefits of a rocking horse in an adorable design sure to be beloved by little girls. The unicorn’s iridescent horn is soft to the touch, and her cheerful face greets young riders as they approach.

For her comfort, safety, and posture, the ride-on features a high-backed seat with safety straps. The sides of the seat are decorated with pink, white, and silver heart-adorned wings, and the bottom glider is made of durable, splinter-free solid wood.

Why She’ll Love It: It’s an awesome upgrade to traditional rocking horses, and the high-back seat and safety straps make it a great pick for very young riders who are still gaining balance


Our opinion

Exploring textures, colors, and sounds is part of how babies interact with their world, and simple toys that encourage them to grasp, hold, pull, and push are an important part of their motor skill development. PipSquigz by Fat Brain Toys (check price on Fat Brain Toys) check both boxes, using high quality, extra durable silicone to create colorful blue, red, and green toys with textured, squeezable center balls and suction cups that can adhere to most smooth surfaces.

Why She’ll Love It: They’re colorful, textured, and make an extra-satisfying popping noise that little ones love — in other words, they’re great at engaging your baby’s senses


Our opinion

Playing with blocks is developmentally beneficial to kids throughout their development, but the kind of blocks they’ll need to play successfully varies by stage. Even Duplos can be tough for one-year-olds, who may have more success with the ridged blocks in the Press and Stay Sensory Blocks set by Infantino (check price on Walmart). The colorful, high-contrast blocks are covered in soft plastic bristles that press together and stay connected easily, letting your little one create sturdy stacks with ease. 24 textured blocks are included in the set, which is ideal for boosting your one-year-old’s developing motor skills — there’s no frustration here, as they’re so easy-to-connect that they can even be built sideways.

What to expect from your 1 year old girl

Your tiny angel is absolutely fascinated by the world around her. Her little hands and fingers are exploring everything she can reach, usually before popping it in her mouth!

Watch out for some of these milestones in her development (Source):

Body, hand and finger skills

  • Holds smaller toys, eg, plastic cutlery;
  • Can toddle upstairs;
  • Climbs the couch;
  • Begins to run;
  • Removes own socks;
  • Builds towers of 2-6 blocks;
  • Loves turning knobs and pressing buttons

Emotional development

  • Has a sense of “me” and “mine”;
  • Imitates adults;
  • Follows easy instructions;
  • Plays by herself, sometimes near other children, but not with them;
  • Wants to be near mom or dad most of the time;
  • Begins role play games, eg, cooking or dinner parties with teddies

Cognitive development

  • Enjoys simple stories;
  • Understands “no”;
  • Words start popping a bit like popcorn. She even starts stringing two together;
  • Points to things she wants

Wrapping up

Your 1 year old girl is growing and developing fast. It’s incredible to watch! Her personality is also starting to shine through, helped by her blossoming vocabulary. The best toys will suit her little hands and fingers. They will allow her to explore in a tactile way and they won’t be too advanced for her abilities.

We hope that our ‘top picks’ have made choosing such a gift super easy. Please let us know how much she loves them!

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