Young Toddlers (1 Year Olds)

All Toys


  • Children prefer action toys, toys that produce movement or sounds by child's own effort:
    • toys need not be highly detailed but should be realistic looking.
    • toys should be lightweight for easy lifting, carrying.
    • bright colors preferred.
  • In play, child always on the move - large muscle activities such as running, climbing dominate over small muscle activities such as exploring objects, constructing.
  • Child beginning to combine, put together objects.
  • Beginning of imitative play.
  • Toys should meet safety regulations for age:
    • sturdy, unbreakable; not likely to break into small pieces and strong enough for child to stand on or in.
    • non-toxic materials.
    • no sharp or points or edges.
    • too large to be lodged in windpipe, ears, nostrils.
    • no detachable small parts.
    • no parts that could pinch or entrap fingers, toes, hair.
    • not put together with easily exposed straight pins, sharp wires, nails.
    • no electrical parts, unless supervised by adult.

Active Play


  • Push and Pull Toys
    • push toys with rods (rods with large handles on ends).
    • toys to push on floor - simple, sturdy, with large wheels.
    • special noise and action effects.
    • for steady walkers, pull toys on strings (broad-based to tip less easily).
  • From about 1 1/2 years old:
    • simple doll carriages.
    • wagons - low, open, big enough for child to get in.
    • small rocking horses - confined rocking arc, stout handles rather than reins, knee height on child.
    • push/pull toys filled with multiple objects.
  • Ride-On Toys
    • ride ons propelled by pushing with feet - no pedals.
    • stable ride ons - 4 or more wheels, spaced wide apart, child's feet flat on floor when seated.
    • ride ons with storage bins.
    • ride ons that make noise, look like animals.
  • Outdoor and Gym Equipment
    • all gym equipment needs adult supervision.
    • low, soft climbing platforms.
    • tunnels for crawling.
    • swings (pushed by adult) - seats curved by body shaped of energy-absorbing material with restraining strap.
  • From about 1 1/2 years old:
    • simple, low climbing structures.
    • low slides with handrails.
    • outdoor play equipment with stationary rather than moving parts.
  • Sports Equipment
    • soft lightweight balls, especially with interesting visual effects, noises, unpredictable movement.
    • chime balls, flutter balls.
    • large balls (easier for child to maneuver).
  • All balls given to this age group should be at least 1-3/4 inches (44mm) in diameter; however, if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth, keep it away from the child).

Manipulative Play


  • Construction Toys
    • small lightweight stacking blocks (15-25 pieces).
    • before 1 1/2, most interlocking mechanisms are too difficult.
    • from about 1 1/2
      • solid wooden unit blocks (20-40).
      • large, hallow building blocks.
      • large plastic bricks (2-4 inches or 50-100mm) to press together.
  • Puzzles
    • simple pre puzzles or form boards - 2-3 pieces, each piece a familiar shape.
    • from about 1 1/2:
      • 3-5 pieces puzzles with knobs easier to use (knobs firmly attached).
  • Pattern Making Toys
    • peg board with a few large pegs.
  • Manipulative Toys
    • activity boxes attached to crib or playpen or freestanding - simple action mechanisms (doors, lids, switches).
    • hidden object toys.
    • simple pop-up toys operated by pushing a button or knob.
    • nesting cups - round shape, few pieces.
    • simple stacking toys - few pieces, no order necessary.
    • shape sorters - a few common shapes.
  • From around 1 1/2.
    • fit-together toys of about 5 pieces.
    • activity boxes with more complex action mechanisms- turning knob or dial, turning simple key.
    • pounding/hammering toys.
    • nesting toys - square or other shapes.
    • stacking toys of 4-5 pieces.
    • simple number/counting boards (1-5) with large pegs.
    • jack-in-the-box toys (adult supervision if toys spring back quickly).
    • toys with screwing action (child can usually manage only 1 turn).
  • Simple nesting cups.
  • Stacking ring cones (few rings and safe stick).
  • Graspable (unbreakable) mirror toys which can be held and played with.
  • Loses interest in crib gyms and toys suspended above when can sit up and move about (crib gyms can create a strangulation hazard; stop using when child can push up on hands and knees at about 5 months).
  • Dressing, Lacing, Stinging Toys
    • large colored beads (fewer than 10).
  • From around 1 1/2:
    • lacing cubes or board with thick, blunt spindle.
  • Sand and Water Play Toys.
    • simple floating toys - 1-2 pieces, easy to grasp in one hand.
    • sponges; small shovel and pail.
  • From around 1 1/2 :
    • nesting tub toys.
    • bathtub activity centers.
    • funnels, colanders.
    • small sandbox tools (rake should have blunt teeth).

Make Believe Play


  • Dolls
    • soft-bodied or all-rubber baby dolls.
    • simple dolls with no hair, moving eyes, or movable limbs.
    • dolls to fit easily in child's arms, or small dolls (5-6 inches).
    • simple accessories for care taking - bottle, blanket.
    • simple doll clothes, need not be detachable.
  • from around1 1/2:
    • large peg people.
  • Stuffed Toys
    • very soft, lightweight, easy to hold.
    • slender limbs on toys for easy grasp.
    • for safety reasons no whiskers, buttons, bows or bells.
  • Puppets
    • puppets operated by adult.
  • Role-Play Materials
    • toy telephone; full length mirror.
    • simple housekeeping equipment.
    • simple doll equipment - carriage, bed.
    • from around 1 1/2:
      • simple dress-ups; hats, scarves, ties, shoes, jewelry.
      • role-play toys that can be pushed and make noise - (TOY) mower, vacuum
      • child-sized equipment - oven, fridge, sink, table, chairs.
  • Play Scenes (Including Small Figures)
  • All figurines should be at least 1 3/4 inches (44millameters) in diameter: however if any object appears to fit easily in the child's mouth keep it away from child.)
  • Before 1 1/2
    • child may enjoy handling, carrying around figures.
  • From around 1 1/2:
    • familiar, realistic scenes - farm, airport, garage - not overly detailed pieces (4-6 pieces)
    • prefer scenes with moving parts or that make noise.
  • Transportation Toys
    • lightweight vehicles of a size for easy handling (not too small) and with secure wheels.
    • push or pull cars and trains.
    • first train- 1-2 cars, no tracks, simple or no coupling system.
    • from around 1 1/2:
      • more detailed vehicles - doors, hoods that open.
      • trains with simple coupling system - large hooks, magnets.
  • Projectile Toys - not suited to age group

Creative Play - Arts, Crafts, & Music


  • Musical Instruments
    • rhythm instruments operated by shaking - enclosed bells, rattles.
    • from around 1 1/2:
      • rhythm instruments, operated by banging - cymbals, drums, xylophones.
  • Art and Craft Materials
    • large crayons.
    • sturdy, large-size paper.
  • Audio-Visual Equipment (Adult Operated)
    • records, tapes, or CDs (gentle regular rhythms, lullabies).
    • hand-cranked music box, worked by child if crank is large and easy to turn.

Learning Play


  • Games - not suited to age group
  • Specific Skill Development Toys - not suited to age group
  • Books and 'Peek-a-Boo' Books
    • sturdy cloth, plastic, cardboard books with few pages.
    • picture books, nursery rhymes, stories with repetition.
    • books to be held and read by adult can be more fragile, with paper pages.
    • from around 1 1/2:
      • touch-me or tactile books.