Must-Have Wooden Toys For Young Toddlers

Gift guide for young toddlers. Gifts that help children develop and practice new skills as well as foster creativity, sharing, and independent play.

What toys are best for my one year old?

It was our youngest son’s (nickname: Osito, Spanish for “little bear”) birthday at the end of June, which means for most families purchasing toys.  As a family with a minimal amount of toys, we only like to find gifts that help our boys develop and practice new skills as well as foster creativity, sharing, and independent play. We are looking for toys that can serve multiple purposes throughout their development. These are the criteria that we look for when picking toys out.

  1. Encourage development
  2. Used in a variety of way
  3. Can grow with your child
  4. Spark imagination
  5. Cross-generational play

Why a minimalist approach to toys?

Who wants to spend their extra time throughout the day picking up the scattered toys your child takes out for two seconds? Sometimes it seems kids would prefer to take things out of the toy chest versus playing with the toy itself. So why as parents do we still purchase toys? It is important to provide toys during playtime that can be used for interactive play with you as well as independently. Chose a few toys that you think fit your child and lifestyle. Find ones that can easily be stored while maintaining a low-stress environment. In the morning, we pick out toys we will have out for the day. Then, before our bedtime routine, we put everything away in the toy closet. Through this model, we simplify cleaning and reduce becoming overwhelmed.

These are some of the toys we enjoy including in our daily rotation for our one-year-old.

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

Toy Company: Hape

There are multiple ways for your child to hear the notes played by the xylophone in this pound and tap toy. The two different methods include letting the balls roll down the metal bars, or the xylophone pulls out to create a unique combination of sounds with the wooden mallet. (* The notes aren’t tuned to the correct octave scale if that matters to you as a consumer). This toy will help increase hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, and musicality. Other skills to work on include matching, cause/effect, and problem-solving.

The balls tend to make it into every corner of our living room as Osito enjoys chasing the balls around as they roll out. For him, it is an excellent fine and gross motor activity. Just explore.

Hape Totally Amazing Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing

Toy Company: Hape

The first marble run that you will be able to introduce to your child. Balls go down the tracks in and out of sight through the peek-a-boo holes on each side. At the end of the journey, it is fun to hear the chime of the bell when the ball finishes its run. Your child will be able to guide the ball at different speeds and push the balls through different holes, creating various reactions.

This is a great toy to continue to use as they grow. It will be an opportunity to talk to the little one about speed, direction, in/out, and more. When they outgrow this marble run, Hape carries a variety of marble runs for many age groups. Each one is a perfect opportunity to learn STEM principles.

Hape Fantasia Building Blocks Toddler Push and Pull Train Set

Toy Company: Hape

With the push and pull train, your child will first probably either take off all 17 pieces or drag the train along as they crawl. The pieces can be stacked in multiple combinations, mixing the patterns and colors. This toy’s design is for developing fine motor skills and stimulating the imagination. Recommended for children 2+, but I think it is a great toy to grow with from the age of one.

Osito likes to separate the train and push each section around separately as he scoots around. He didn’t become interested in trying to put the pieces back on until we kept demonstrating, then he began attempting and asking for help.

Hape Walk-A-Long Snail Toddler Wooden Pull Toy

Toy Company: Hape

As your child begins to gain confidence walking,  it will be fun to bring along this snail friend on their journey through the house. The adorable shape sorter shell spins as your child walks and then removes for stationary play. There are three shapes, including a blue triangle, a red circle, and a yellow square. As your child grows, this toy creates the opportunity to talk about color and shape recognition.

It is lovely to see our son walking around the house. Any encouragement to promote more stability and agility is encouraged. It is great to have him be able to use this for stationary play as well.

Melissa & Doug Chomp & Clack Alligator Push Toy

Toy Company: Melissa & Doug

The alligator push toy is our favorite walker for little ones. To encourage your developing walker, the alligators begin to “chomp” with each step, which gives an incentive for continual movement. The toy features a butterfly, dragonfly, and ladybug that can spin as an additional interactive component. It will promote your child to develop better balance and agility as they become better walkers. It is essential to understand this toy is for children who can stand and walk on their own.

Both of our sons have used this walker just as they were preparing to walk. They could stand on their own, but we guided them along. When walking independently, the alligators begin “chomping” at extraordinary speeds, or at least that is how it sounds.

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

Toy Company: Melissa & Doug

The geometric stacker includes 25 brightly colored pieces of rings, octagons, and rectangles. Each piece can be stacked on one of the three rods or lined up separately on the floor. It helps children learn to differentiate shape, color, and size.

Initially meant for children 2+, but that is what makes it a perfect toy to use throughout development. At one, your child will be able to focus on their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills through removing or slotting the pieces. It is an opportunity for them to be proud of accomplishing this task independently. As they grow, start teaching the various concepts through play while finding all the sorting and stacking possibilities—even layout the pieces to display other groupings.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Pounding Bench

Toy Company: Melissa & Doug

The pounding bench has brightly colored, non-removable pegs that go up and down as your child practices their fine motor skills. It will display the cause/effect action and can be used to take turns. Just make sure to supervise your child as they use the hammer.

Osito loved the old fashioned pop-up peg toy at my parent’s home. But we are always searching around the house for them, occasionally losing one or two for periods. It is terrific that these pegs are attached.

Melissa & Doug 20 Animal Magnets in a Box

Toy Company: Melissa & Doug

Melissa and Doug have a few different magnet sets. This set includes popular and familiar animals that your child will often see (pets, farm, and zoo animals). It is a great way to start talking to your child about each identifying name and their sound. The cow goes “Moo,” or the cat goes “Meow.” Make it fun and engaging.

We have a few different Melissa & Doug magnet sets, which are all very durable. As you engage with your one-year-old, it could be an opportunity to interact with an older child as well. If you have the magnet letters, have them work on spelling, phonics, or even letter matching with the animals you are using.

Battat – Wooden Activity Cube Discover Farm or Zany Zoo

Toy Company: Battat

With this activity cube, your child will adventure through many different fine motor activities that are great for tiny hands. There are the open and closing doors, spinning animal letters, zig-zag paths, spinning mix and match, and more. While working with fine motor skills, engage with your child about identification, sounds, colors, movements, and more.

Osito's favorite side is the open and closing of the doors or spinning the tile rack. It is excellent for generational play since our eldest enjoys interacting with the activity cube as well.

B. toys by Battat Hide N’ Sea Underwater Peg Puzzle

Toy Company: B. toys by Battat

Hide N’ Sea is the perfect starter puzzle for little fingers. There is an assortment of 9 colorful sea creatures with easy to grip handles. Under each piece, your child will be surprised to find baby sea creatures underneath. This activity increases hand-eye coordination and shape matching. As your child grows, talk about animal identification, counting, colors, and sorting.

With Osito, we can show him the “mama” or “dada” creatures with their “babies.” It is fun to work on language as well with this puzzle, try “hat,” “bow,” etc.

B. toys by Battat B. toys – Two-ty Fruity! Wooden Abacus Toy

Toy Company: B. toys by Battat

Ten rows of colorful fruit beads create the perfect way to introduce grouping and early math skills. Patterns, counting, and numbers are great ways to use this abacus starting now and continuing to use as your child grows.

Use for generational play as well if you have older children working on addition and subtraction of ten amounts. It can help them to visually see their work without drawing out the equation on a piece of paper. Great purchase to use for multiple children.


Affiliate Disclaimer: We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Share this article:

You might also like...