Toys and Apps to Support One Year Old Development

August 27, 2015 Published by

At a year old, babies are developing quickly! This can be both an exciting and challenging time as children reach some big milestones, including saying their first words and taking their first steps. Play is a fantastic way to encourage this development, and playing together will help build a strong attachment between you and your baby.


The Plan Toys : Owl Sorter can help 1-year-olds develop their logical thinking skills

Cognitive development

Babies around this age are becoming aware of what is known as ‘object permanence’ – the knowledge that being unable to see something does not mean it no longer exists. They will still enjoy a game of peekaboo but will also now look for hidden objects, which is great for developing memory and concentration.

You can try playing a game of hide and seek together by hiding a cuddly toy and helping them find it. 1-year-olds may also be able to attempt shape sorters, growing their logical thinking skills. 


The Tech-Too Kooky Keys let children copy their role models

Personal, social and emotional development
At this stage children will usually play next to each other, rather than together, and are unlikely to share their toys. They will also want to copy their role models, and enjoy playing with household objects such as keys and phones – try introducing replica toys like the Tech-Too Kooky Keys or Peppa Pig’s Flip and Learn Phone.

Babies will be laughing a lot more now – try tickling your child to get them in a fit of giggles! They may also seek emotional support from a favourite cuddly toy.


The Chunky Knob Dinosaur Puzzle from Masterkidz has handles to help little ones pick the pieces up

Physical development

Don’t worry if your child does not show an interest in walking yet – many children do not begin learning until they are nearing their 2nd birthday.

1-year-olds will mainly developing their gross motor skills, strengthening larger arm and leg muscles. Encouraging movement at every opportunity will help with this development and help build coordination, balance and stamina. You can do this with baby walkers like this Walker Jumper– this one is particularly good because it also has lots of interactive features to play with.

Although fine motor control is not yet developing, children are progressing from picking up objects with their whole hand to using a pincer grip. This dinosaur puzzle is good for this because the pieces have chunky handles to make it easier for little hands to pick up.


Spot Goes to the Farm is a lovely animated eBook to help encourage speech and listening skills

Speech, language and communication development

1-year-olds will be communicating with short words, such as point at a cup and saying “milk” to ask for a drink. You can encourage language learning by repeating their request back as a sentences, e.g. “Please can I have some milk?”. Children usually have a few favourite words – “No!” is quite a popular one!

You can further promote speech by talking to your child often, such as describing where you are both going for the day and what you’ll be doing. Reading is another a great way to familiarise your child with speech, while supporting a love of books and developing listening skills. There are also eBooks like Spot Goes To The Farm which are narrated and have fun animations.


The Rhythmic Set from HABA lets 1-year-olds explore music


Babies at this stage will be becoming aware of rhythm, and may even start dancing to a beat. Musical toys are a good way to encourage musical creativity – this preschool music set includes different instruments, allowing children to try out different sounds. There are also apps like Musical Trees where children can tap on different objects to hear a huge range of different sounds. Of course theres always pots, pans and wooden spoons too! Repetitive songs and rhymes can also help introduce children to music, and are also good for speech and listening skills.

While fine motor control won’t have developed much yet, children are able to use a whole hand grasp to pick up and use chunky crayons, and do some scribbling. It’s good to encourage this as early mark making is the beginning of learning to write. Introducing other materials will add variety for your child – chunky chalk pieces are brilliant for drawing on the ground in the garden, and finger paints offer a great sensory experience.

Also see:

More on 1 year old developmental milestones

Good toys for 1 year olds

Good apps for 1 year olds

Play ideas for 1 year olds

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This post was written by Anna Taylor

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