The 9 Best Toys for 12-Month-Olds of 2022

Toys that introduce shapes and musicality top our list

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As your baby nears their first birthday, they will likely become increasingly more mobile and more curious, a milestone that will likely inspire and challenge you. With your little one quickly growing and demanding physical independence, finding the right toys that will be entertaining while ushering them through their milestones is essential.

Reviewed & Approved

Made from food-safe, 100% recycled plastic, the Green Toys Shape Sorter is good for the earth but even better for your child's growing fine motor skills through color and shape sorting. The Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Walker builds bilingual skills and literal muscle with the dually supportive Spanish jingles and easy-grasp handles.

The best toy specifically for your little one will depend on the star in the bunch that hones in on their specific interests. We considered childhood development experts' insights, engagement, and skill-building when reviewing the best toys for 12 month olds.

Here are the most entertaining and developmentally appropriate toys for your 12-month-old.

Best Overall: Green Toys Shape Sorter

Green Toys Shape Sorter

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Made of food-safe, recycled plastic

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Boosts fine motor skills

Cons
  • Includes only four different shapes

  • May be hard to open for some children

This toy pleases everyone: Mother Earth, parents, and infants. Made in the USA from food-safe, 100% recycled plastic (HDPE #2) milk jugs, this shape sorter is a fun, age-appropriate toy that has longevity but also comforting concern about your little one's health. (Little humans greet everything via the mouth. Big human customs haven't yet kicked in.)

Safe for kids 6 months old and up, younger kids will enjoy grasping the lightweight shapes while older babies can practice fine motor skills and color matching by sorting the shapes and placing corresponding shapes into the sorter. And both age groups will highly welcome the visually engaging colors and various tactile pieces.

Lastly, perfect for indoor or outdoor play, moms and dads appreciate that the pieces can be stored inside the sorter and the whole set is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. (That means quicker diving to a naptime after putting your tyke down for the nap, parents.)

Best Developmental: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Learn with Puppy Walker

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Learn with Puppy Walker

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Easy-grasp handles

  • Offers Spanish

Cons
  • Batteries required

  • Height is not adjustable

With two ways to play, this adorable puppy is the perfect pal for kiddos 6 months and up. Sitting and cruising babies will love the playful songs and phrases that include the alphabet, colors, numbers, and Spanish words that come from the puppy. As your baby flexes their muscles and begins to stand and walk, the easy-grasp handles provide sturdy support for a wobbly baby. Parents appreciate the budget-friendly price tag and three levels of learning content, depending on the baby's age and stage. 

Best Musical: Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Easy to clean

  • High-quality craftsmanship

  • Multi-level volume control

Cons
  • Only six songs provided

  • Black keys do not make sound

Parent reviewers praise the high-quality craftsmanship of this creative and musical toy. The wooden piano has two levels of play, giving your child the ability to create their own masterpieces or play along with some classic melodies. Three sheets of music encourage color matching to play along, perfect for older kids. Safe for babies 6 months old and up, the keys are flat, so they are easily wiped clean, and multi-level volume control makes the music sound just right.

Best Educational: Fisher-Price Rollin' Rovee

Rovee Interactive Musical Activity Learning Toy

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Learning content included (alphabet, counting, and more)

  • Includes lights and fun activities

Cons
  • Requires five AA batteries

  • English only

Give your one-year-old an interactive friend that has four play modes to keep them entertained from the infant phases through preschool. With learning content including the alphabet, counting, opposites, following directions, and more, your tot will love the added bonus of lights, music, and fun activities. Appropriate for so many phases, from sitting and crawling to dancing, and more, parents appreciate this educational toy for its longevity of use. 

Best Sit-to-Stand: Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 50+ sing-along tunes, phrases, and sounds

  • Three levels of play

  • Seat lifts up for storage

Cons
  • Batteries required

  • Height cannot be adjusted

A chair that teaches? Yes, please! This interactive musical chair activates songs and phrases when your baby gets on and off the chair. There are over 50 sing-along songs, tunes, and phrases that’ll help your kiddo learn first words, numbers, shapes, colors, and more. Parent reviewers are pleasantly pleased with this well-loved and simple-to-use seat. One common complaint is that there’s no plug-in power option, so batteries are required. Three levels of play ensure fresh and age-appropriate content.

Best Budget: B. toys by Battat B. Toys Stacking Rings Set

B. toys by Battat B. Toys Stacking Rings Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops problem-solving, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • Almost all rings have same texture/material (may be issue for those wanting different textures)

Help develop your baby’s curiosity and introduce the concept of problem-solving, fine motor skills, and hand-eye coordination with this budget-friendly twist on a classic stacking toy. The five rings are each made out of different materials and feature distinct colors and textures. Safe for babies 7 months old and up, your child will love touching, building, and even chewing on these rings. 

Best Montessori-Style: Hazelnut Kids Grimm’s 6-Piece Rainbow Stacker

 Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow Grimm's 6 piece Wooden Rainbow

Courtesy of Hazelnut Kids

Pros
  • Stylish

  • Made with non-toxic, water-based colors

Cons
  • Similar stackers they combine with are sold separately

Beautifully crafted and stylish on your playroom shelf, these rainbow stacking blocks are so versatile. Perfect for open-ended play, these colorful arches can be used as tunnels, houses, hills, rocking chairs for dolls, or more. These stacking blocks will accompany your child for a long time and can be joined with other toys time and time again.

Best Ride-On: YBIKE Ride On Toy and Walking Buddy

YBIKE Ride On Toy and Walking Buddy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Safe for indoor or outdoor play

  • Promotes balance, coordination, strength, and more

Cons
  • Costly

  • Rides best on smooth surfaces

Accommodate your child’s developmental phases with this versatile walking buddy that’s useful for riding, pushing, sitting, and supported walking. Safe for babies 9 months old and up, this ride-on toy will get lots of use, indoors or out, and is best on smooth surfaces. Helping to promote balance, coordination, strength, confidence, and spatial awareness, parents appreciate how easy it is to assemble and how well it works for early walkers through toddlers. 

Best Active: VTech Count and Win Sports Center

VTech Count and Win Sports Center

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • 65+ songs, melodies, sounds and phrases

  • Basketball goal height is adjustable

  • Volume control

Cons
  • Requires batteries

  • May tip over easily

Toddlers will enjoy moving their muscles with this sports-themed activity toy. The soccer ball will exercise their little legs and feet while the basketball game will get tiny arms and hands working. Intended for toddlers between 12 and 36 months old, two adjustable heights mean this toy grows with your child. With over 65 songs, sounds, melodies, and phrases, your tot will be encouraged to learn while having fun. Reviewers appreciate how engaging this toy is and that it’s a great option for activity, especially during cold winter months when outside play may be limited.

What to Look for in Toys for 12-Month-Olds

Interests

At 12 months old, the transition from baby to toddler is in full swing, which means they’re opinionated and, if they haven’t started to already, it won’t be long before they shout “no!” at you when they don’t want to do something. So the more toys you can find that lean into their interests, the fewer tantrums you’ll deal with. 

While they are growing more and more independent, one-year-olds usually still need an adult to play with them. It’s great to find interactive toys that caregivers can play with their child. These interactions will not only be fun for the little one but will also present opportunities to help their development.

Occupational therapist Meredith Soucie tells Verywell Family that to help babies learn, adults should “encourage repetition of sounds, use gestures like waving and pointing, imitate animal sounds, talk about everyday experiences and use books to look at pictures and encourage language.”

Milestones

Caregivers are usually well aware of the importance of development for babies. Even though the pace of growth slows down a bit after the first birthday, 12-month-olds still need lots of support to continue to meet their milestones. A good way for adults to do this is by intentionally choosing toys that are age-appropriate and offer opportunities for learning.

  • Fine motor skills: “Fine motor skills can be challenged by stacking blocks, putting objects in bins, or taking toys out of them,” according to Soucie. With this in mind, the Green Toys Shape Sorter (view on Amazon) would make for an excellent toy for a 1-year old. 
  • Large motor skills: Around this age, babies are either working on standing and walking, or they’ve mastered it and are doing it constantly. Either way, the Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Chair (view on Walmart) is a good way to support this skill. 
  • In addition to walking and standing, 12-month-olds are typically sitting unassisted and sometimes still crawling, and the Fisher-Price Rollin Rovee Toy (view on Amazon) is designed to entertain little ones in all of these stages. 

Entertainment

A 1-year-old’s attention span is pretty short even when they are entertained, so if you get them a toy that isn’t entertaining at all, they’re going to lose interest very quickly. To avoid this, look for toys that will grab their attention and keep them engaged. Some engaging features to look for include sensory play, music, and toys with containers that they can put things in and out of.

According to Soucie, toys that “encourage mobility by providing a wide array of safe objects to climb on, under, or through” are also really good options because they are both fun and support development. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many toys should my 12-month-old have?

    This one is totally up to you! There's no rule on how many toys your 12-month-old should have. Whether they have an entire room full or only a few, as long as they're engaging and stimulating (not to mention safe for a 1-year-old), your baby will enjoy playing with them. Plus, babies' attention spans are baby-sized, so it's unlikely they'll get bored with them anytime soon.

  • How does your baby benefit from playtime with you?

    Although kids benefit from playing with their siblings and peers, there are special advantages that come from playing directly with parents and other familiar adult caregivers. This kind of play helps to develop their social skills and self-control, as well as their working memory, cognitive flexibility, emotional regulation, creativity, gross motor skills, and peer leadership skills. This is because you provide a more mature and diverse play environment. Plus, playing with your child benefits you too! It releases oxytocin, a happy hormone, which helps strengthen your bond.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of a 10-year-old son, a 7-year-old son, and a 3-year old daughter. Her best gifts for 12-month-olds are toys that have longevity (and avoid loud noises). Anything that can be used for years to come is good in her book!

Additional reporting by Ashley Ziegler.

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer, mom to a 1- and a 4-year-old, and has personal experience in researching and using infant carriers, strollers, and travel systems. Key considerations she focused on when selecting these products include personal experience, safety features, ease of use, and user reviews.

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3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. March of Dimes. Developmental milestones for baby.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: Your child by one year.

  3. Exchange Family Center. Connecting with your child through play: The surprising benefits of parent-child playtime.