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- The best award winning toys for 1-year-olds are recognized in a variety of ways, as child development experts, toy manufacturers, and parents weigh in on the best toys to meet the needs of children at this special phase in a child’s life.
Buying Guide: Features in Award Winning Toys for 1 Year Old Children
At about one year old, children are beginning to have greater control and precision in their movements. They start imitating behaviors using objects in the way they see others do it. They also start to apply things learned in the past to solve new problems.
At this age, children are beginning to express opinions, and their interests may change rapidly. Their favorite toy just a few weeks ago may no longer hold their attention. A toy that doesn’t engage them is quickly and decisively rejected.
In fact, their passion for everything they do, and want or don’t want, is one of the most remarkable things about this unique phase of life.
It’s a great age to foster those natural imitative impulses and the desire to seek new challenges, with toys, games, and activities that go beyond merely interacting with the world around them. You want to find toys and games that give them the opportunity to manipulate and play with intention.
Shapes, colors, and textures remain fascinating, but now they will also want to push, pull, squeeze, hammer, and make things on their own.
While it’s nice to see that a toy has won an award, it’s important to understand what these awards mean. Toys usually receive awards, accolades, and recognition in the following ways:
1. From groups that represent parents.
Every year, magazines, websites, surveys, and other organizations reach out to parents and invite them to nominate or vote on their favorite toys.
Some of these, such as the Parent’s Choice Award, the National Parenting Products Awards (NAPPA), and Parent’s Magazine Award, are quite prestigious and sought after.
2. From the industry itself.
As with every industry, the toy industry has trade shows, peer associations, publications, and various means of recognizing their achievements.
Among these, the Toy Insider Award and The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) awards are important, and the Toy of the Year Award is the industry’s highest honor, comparable to the Oscars.
3. From child development or education experts.
Perhaps the most important toy awards come from educators and child development experts. Most of these organizations are impartial and judged by professionals to be the best toys based on their specific criteria.
Keep in mind that awards are nice, but not all awards are created equal, and you may want to dig a little deeper to determine who is giving the award and what their criteria is. Ultimately, you’ll need to focus on what suits your child’s needs best.
The best toys for 1-year-olds are recognized in a variety of ways, as child development experts, toy manufacturers, and parents weigh in on the best toys to meet the needs of children at this extraordinary time.
Here are our picks for some of the best award-winning toys for 1-year-olds:
The Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone is the winner of the 2018 Cribsie Award of favorite first musical toy suitable for ages 12 months to 3 years, and it’s easy to see why. The bright, fun colors and multi-sensory play is excellent for small children.
- This multifunctional musical toy can be played independently as a xylophone, or as part of a bench to hammer balls down tinkling onto the keys, or simply allow them to play with the balls alone.
- It has durable construction and is made with water-based paint and non-toxic finishes.
- The xylophone is not tuned, making it difficult to learn or play specific songs
The Hape Walk-A-Long Snail Toddler Wooden Pull Toy has won the 2013 Play Advances Language Award, as well as the 2014 Parent’s Choice Recommended Award. This sturdy, cute pull toy has a cord that is the perfect length for toddlers to pull behind them as they explore.
- While the wheel rotates, the shaped toys rattle inside the snail’s shell, and the tail wiggles when it’s rolled for multiple stimuli.
- The shell can also be removed and played with separately as a shape sorting toy.
- It is made from sustainably-sourced wood, and features non-toxic, child-safe paints and finishes.
The Mega Bloks Big Building Bag offers endless potential for building nearly anything a child can imagine. The award-winning blocks are large and specially designed for little hands to use, being easy to stack, hold, and take apart. Building with blocks is a great way for a child to develop physical and cognitive skills while expressing their creativity.
- This kit includes 80 blocks and is fully compatible with all other Mega Bloks kits, so your collection of Mega Bloks can grow with your child.
- It has bright, fun, attractive colors, and an included durable bag to make storage and cleanup fast and easy.
The Manhattan Toy Put and Peek Birdhouse has won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal award for its imaginative and playful design. This bright, appealing fill and pour toy offers many different ways for children to interact with the birds and their playhouse, helping children develop motor skills and improve dexterity.
- The variety of surfaces and textures on the soft, plush birds gives a range of texture and sensory input, and it’s made of soft, washable fabrics, so it’s easy to clean.
- The durable, built-in handle means that this toy will be fun and easy for children to carry as they learn to crawl and walk.
The Playskool Explore N’ Grow Busy Ball Popper offers hours of fun and learning, as a multi-sensory toy with fun interactivity. Powered by 4 D batteries, children start the fun by pressing on the fun face button. They then drop balls down the ramp, only to have them unexpectedly pop back up into the air with a gust of air and start over again.
- It has rugged construction and durable, colorful balls for lasting enjoyment
- It has 8 fun songs and plays sound effects.
- It comes in recyclable, frustration-free, protective packaging.
- Requires batteries
The Earlyears Squeak ‘n Stack Blocks Baby Toy are a fantastic toy for supporting a baby’s early development. They squeak when squeezed and can be easily stacked for building and further development as babies grow, without the hard shapes and sharp edges of traditional wooden blocks.
- Bright colors and appealing design are fun and safe, with a soft, rounded shape.
- Made of phthalate-free vinyl
- Develop sensory awareness as the colorful, embossed characters on one side are augmented by textured shapes on all sides of the cube, promoting exploration.
- Are too soft to truly stack and build something.
- Older children won’t get much enjoyment out of these
The Fat Brain Toys Oombee Cube has won the Parents’ Choice Award Silver Honor, for an innovative shape-matching game where no pieces get lost. The six rubbery shapes are attached at the corners, inviting hours of play and exploration. This gender-neutral toy is fun and educational.
- The attached strings are long enough for experimentation, but short enough to be safe, and there are no pieces to lose.
- The shapes are textured and squishy, offering exciting tactile experiences, and safe for teething.
- Made of food-grade, BPA-free silicone, the materials are safe and durable, as well as easy to clean
- Comes in frustration-free packaging
- No negatives to point out
The Fat Brain Toys Dimpl is a sturdy sensory toy that has gotten rave reviews from the Parent’s Choice Foundation. The five vividly colored bubbles are soft and flexible and can be poked, prodded, and pushed out the other side.
- It is BPA free, with an ABS plastic frame and bubbles made of food-grade silicone, so it’s safe for little hands and mouths.
- It’s a durable, portable educational toy with no pieces to lose, and it promotes fine motor skills and cause-and-effect learning.
- Easy to clean
- Comes in easy, frustration-free packaging.
- As a child gets older and wants more stimulation, they may quickly outgrow this toy
The Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Toy is a classic toy for babies and small children and has won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award. The brightly colored loops are irresistible, and easy to grab, clutch, and hold with one or two hands.
- The soft inner cube has a quiet rattle to add more sensory play and keep babies engaged for hours.
- The loops are safe, durable, and BPA-free.
- It can easily be hand washed
- Can be placed in the refrigerator to help cool sore, teething gums.
- Not a great teething toy, but it’s not explicitly designed for that.
This Educational Ball Drop Toy for Kids is a great value, with two sets of 5 layer ball drop towers that can be played with separately or combined for a single tall tower 9 layers high. The ball drop tower provides hours of entertainment, and the bright colors and durable construction are fun for kids of all ages.
- The balls are activity balls, made of strong, durable phthalate-free acrylic plastic.
- The balls have exciting spinning, rolling, and rattling sounds, and are fun toys by themselves.
- The sets stores easily when playtime is over.
- No negatives
The Sassy Wonder Wheel Activity Center has a lot of ways that babies and small children can play, spin, bat, and interact with this fun toy. With multiple brightly colored, durably constructed components that can spin, rattle, and rotate, it easily captures a child’s attention and keeps them engaged. It even has a small mirror, for extra visual and cognitive stimulation.
- It strengthens fine motor skills, improves visual tracking, and encourages tactile exploration.
- The sturdy suction cup base means that it can be easily attached to any hard, flat surface for fun, safe play.
- May get water inside during cleaning
Child development experts, industry professionals, and parents have recognized these toys for their ability to engage, stimulate, and delight children. These thoughtfully designed toys will appeal to kids at this age and help them grow up.