Their first year of life is full of growth – not just theirs, but yours. Getting to know your sweet little girl and watch her develop through her first year is something you’ll treasure forever, and celebrating her growing abilities with toys and gifts that are safe, fun and developmentally beneficial will keep her on the road to a healthy, happy toddler-hood.

We’ve taken a look at the milestones your baby is hitting and how they play into choosing age-appropriate toys as well as some of the best gifts for 1 year old girls, so read on for a little help with a perfect pick.

The Winners

#1

Summer 3-Stage Deluxe SuperSeat

Best Overall

Seats and play mats that feature wide arches with dangling toys are great for encouraging babies to reach and grab, boosting both motor control and hand-eye coordination. The Summer 3-Stage Deluxe SuperSeat has a sweet tropical theme, with a brightly colored toucan and mischevious monkey dangling overhead.

The rotating snack tray features even more animal friends, and both the tray and the bar can both be removed for easy cleaning. This seat also converts into an activity chair and a booster seat with straps, so it’s a versatile pick for parents that’s budget friendly.

Developmental & Play Insights Summer 3-Stage Deluxe SuperSeat

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#2

Radio Flyer All-Terrain Stroll 'N Trike

Upgrade Choice

Radio Flyer are experts at creating classic childhood toys that hold up to years of use, and they’ve thought outside the box with their All-Terrain Stroll ‘N Trike. It’s a hybrid stroller, steering trike and traditional trike, which means it grows with them, stays useful and is exceptionally budget friendly. A rear parent pouch, footrest, canopy and handle all make life easier when strolling your infant, but as they get ready to transition into real trike use, all of those features can be removed. It’s no one trick pony, and they’ll already be used to the feeling of steering once they’re ready to set out on their own.

Developmental & Play Insights Radio Flyer All-Terrain Stroll 'N Trike

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#3

Cossy Wooden Baby Learning Walker

Walkers are exceptional picks for encouraging balance and strength development in babies as they master bipedal motion. This Wooden Baby Learning Walker from Cossy is made from sustainably sourced, splinter-free wood and features rubber trimmed setback wheels to prevent harm to floors. Within the walker’s flat, recessed base are a set of building blocks featuring colors and pictures that encourage sorting, identification, problem solving skill, fine motor skills and hand eye coordination, making it a pick that rounds the bases as far as developmental opportunities are concerned.

Developmental & Play Insights Cossy Wooden Baby Learning Walker

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#4

Manhattan Toy Tree Activity Center

Large and in charge, this Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center from Manhattan Toy has a towering tree theme that’s both stately and cute, making a great accent to nurseries, bedrooms and playrooms. The bright, colorful puzzles and games at the standing activity center encourage their hand-eye coordination development and offer fantastic small motor skill boosts.

The activity center is divided into four unique play areas, which means this pick has multiple play opportunities and is also great for sharing with siblings or friends. The smooth wood construction also means it wipes clean easily in the event of a mess.

Developmental & Play Insights RDX Manhattan Toy Tree Activity Center

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#5

Manhattan Toy Musical Chicken Instrument

Rhythmic and musical toys are exceptionally good for babies at one year, as they’re developing the fine motor skills necessary to create percussion and the cognitive awareness to regulate their performance. This unique hybrid Musical Chicken Instrument from Manhattan Toy combines a bright and cheerful xylophone – a childhood classic – with a set of baby-friendly drumsticks. The instrument also functions as a maraca and a cymbal when shaken. The sweet hen theme of this toy is the cherry on top; we really love the old-world detailing of this design.

Developmental & Play Insights Manhattan Toy Musical Chicken Instru

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#6

Labebe Child Giraffe Rocking plush

Rocking isn’t just for KISS and horses any more. Meet the Giraffe Rocking  Plush, an adorable offering from the ride-on experts at Labebe. Extra soft and extra safe, this ride-on has a high-backed seat that keeps younger children stable as they ride, preventing falls. It’s durable and well constructed, with stitching that holds up to years of riding and a 160 lb weight limit that lets them continue using it as they grow. The easy-moving wheels are even rubber-wrapped, so they won’t harm your floor and it’s safe on any surface.

Developmental & Play Insights Labebe Giraffe Rocking  Plush

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
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#7

SKYFIELD Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzles

Simple wooden puzzles are ideal wooden toy picks for 12 month olds, who are learning to identify colors, shapes, patterns and objects. The bright colors and fun nature themes of this Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzles are just right for engaging babies, and the simple pieces fit neatly into place. There’s no image guide under the pieces, so it’s not too easy and won’t get boring for them quickly. This set comes with convenient carrying pouches for the puzzles, which is great for making sure the pieces stay together when not in use, as they are not magnetic.

Developmental & Play Insights SKYFIELD Wooden Animal Jigsaw Puzzles

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#8

VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Truly the best of both worlds, this Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker from V-Tech helps her get up on her feet and start building stability and strength while also offering cognitive and small motor skill boosts through the removable toddler play panel. The wheeled walker has adjustable speed control, helping new walkers to avoid slipping. The learning panel, which is powered by two AA batteries, features over 70 songs they can sing along to as well as fun phrases and sound effects. It’s great for kids up to age three, with a telephone headset that makes it a fun part of pretend play for toddlers.

Developmental & Play Insights VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#9

Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

Building things is one way that the human brain develops logically and cognitively – this is true even of very young children, which is why large-sized, baby-safe block sets like this Big Building Bag from Mega Bloks are excellent gifts for 12 month olds. They’ll be refining their small motor skills and hand-eye coordination while placing, grasping, connecting and separating blocks, which can also be used for color-sorting exercises. They’ll also get cognitive boosts from experiencing cause and effect firsthand as they build their creations and make decisions about how to progress. The set comes in a zippered storage bag that makes cleaning up simple and helps to prevent lost pieces.

Developmental & Play Insights Mega Bloks Big Building Bag

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#10

Hape Elephant Wooden Push & Pull Toy

Hape is a trusted name in toys that promote healthy childhood development, and this  Wooden Elephant Push and Pull Toy has a place in any nursery. Simple and sweet, the wooden elephant is designed to be pulled by its cord or pushed and grasped with their hands using the comfortable handle. This helps them to develop balance and hand-eye coordination, and also encourages them to think and play creatively. The elephant’s rounded wheels are splinter-free and designed to avoid finger pinches, and the toy’s finish is non-toxic and child-safe.

Developmental & Play Insights Hape Elephant Wooden Push and Pull Toy 

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
Social

#11

Teytoy Soft Learning Book

By age one, most babies have progressed from occasional sounds to frequent babbling, including mimicry of the inflections and gestures they see used by the people around them. They’re trying to communicate and learn more about the world around them, and this Soft Learning Book from Teytoy can help them learn new words and associate them with colors, concepts, objects, people and animals. There’s serious evidence that reading to your child dramatically increases their vocabulary – we touch on it in our buyer’s guide below – which makes this book an especially good pick.

Developmental & Play Insights Teytoy Soft Learning Book

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Educational
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Cognitive
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#12

Organic Wood Montessori Styled Baby Rattle

Simple toys with developmental opportunities are excellent picks for 12 month olds, who don’t require much stimulus to stay engaged. In this case, a safe and smooth wooden rattle also features three wooden rings which slide easily along the center column, inspiring baby to grasp and play. This Wooden Montessori Styled Baby Rattle is colored with non-toxic milk paint and sealed with 100% organic virgin coconut oil, so it’s safe for baby to put in their mouth, and the wood is soft enough for the rattle to comfortably be used as a teething toy.

Developmental & Play Insights Wood Montessori Styled Baby Rattle

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#13

Silicone Elephant Teether Ring

There’s nothing fun about the months of teething for parents or babies, but a good teething toy can go a long way in mutually easing the pain. This Silicone Elephant Teether Ring is easy for babies to grasp and hold. It features multiple textured surfaces, which is ideal for teething babies – it allows them to choose the stimulus and pressure level that feels best for them at the time. Because it’s silicone, cleaning this pick is exceptionally easy. It’s non-stick and top rack dishwasher safe. It can also be tossed in the fridge or freezer to give your baby some extra cool relief when pain is severe.

Developmental & Play Insights Silicone Elephant Teether Ring

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Educational
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Cognitive
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#14

Fisher-Price Rattle 'n Rock Maracas

Grasping, shaking and banging are all parts of the essential small motor development your one year old is engaging in now. She’s learning what her body can do and building strength in all areas, and musical toys like Fisher-Price’s Rattle ‘n Rock Maracas will get her moving, shaking and learning. The blue and orange maracas feature colorful pom poms with cheerful patterns as well as rattling beads that are visible through a clear panel. She’ll love making her own music with this pick, which will help her develop gross motor skills through repetitive motion.

Developmental & Play Insights Fisher-Price Rattle 'n Rock Maracas

Entertainment
Educational
Physical
Cognitive
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#15

Manhattan Toy Soft First Baby Doll

Baby dolls are a classic gift for little girls, and soft and cuddly Stella from Manhattan Toy makes a great first baby for her to dote over. Baby Stella has embroidered fingers, toes, and even a belly button, making her sweetly realistic. Her outfit and diaper can be changed, and her pacifier is magnetic, so it will stay “in” her mouth when placed. Carrying and caring for dolls can help children to understand basic nurturing skills as well as the right and wrong ways to treat others – this means Stella isn’t just cute, she has some cognitive benefits to offer as well.

Developmental & Play Insights Manhattan Toy Soft First Baby Doll

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Educational
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Cognitive
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How to Pick the Perfect Gift for A-1-year-old Girl

Consider Their Developmental Stage

You’ve watched your sweet one-year-old grow from a swaddled, squirming newborn to an active baby who is growing and learning new things every day. By the time they’ve reached one year, most babies are able to reach sitting position without help, position themselves on their hands and knees, and crawl. It’s also likely they’ve been pulling themselves up on the furniture and stubbornly striving for those coveted first steps.

Their manual skills are developing as well; one-year-old babies can typically pinch objects between two fingers, bang two objects together to create a sound, and understands putting and taking. They’ll let go of objects on purpose, sometimes dropping or tossing toys simply to see the result. They’re also listening to the conversations of people around them more, and may be saying simple words and responding to verbal prompts, including the word “no”. It’s likely you’ll hear inflection in their babbling, as they attempt to mimic the cadence of regular conversation.

The best toys for 1 year old girls focus on their developing gross and fine motor skills, encouraging them to wobble through their first steps and coordinate the movement of their hands. Simple verbal toys that encourage repetition can be good for language learners, and musical toys give them an outlet for their newfound love of making noise through banging, tapping and motion. Soft dolls and comforting stuffed animals are also safe, fun playtime picks, but should be kept out of the crib when baby is sleeping.

Entertainment vs. Education

At one year, the best bet for babies is to choose toys and gifts that balance entertainment and education equally. They only understand so much, and a toy that isn’t entertaining will quickly find its way to the bottom of the toy box. Likewise, picking toys purely for entertainment value misses the mark during this essential developmental period, as healthy growth demands that babies have opportunities to build motor skills and hand-eye coordination – this is often done through play. Picks that engage them while also providing skill-building opportunities are best now.

They’re learning a lot at school right now, but their minds are also growing quickly. Providing unstructured safe opportunities for socialization gives him time to decompress, be himself and strengthen the friendships that are so important to his growing character. There are lots of toys and games that can add awesome bonding opportunities to that mix.

Physical vs. Cognitive vs. Social

Physical play is extremely important at one year, a time when refining their motor skills is a developmental priority. Babies need opportunities to play with their hands, grasping, holding and feeling objects. Toys that offer opportunities for them to develop fine motor skills are also often beneficial to their hand-eye coordination, making them extra helpful. They also need opportunities and encouragement to stand on their own two feet, quite literally, and play walkers offer them the opportunity to build balance, stability and gross motor skills.

At one year, babies are becoming increasingly aware of language. They’re more able to identify objects and imitate the mannerisms of others, which is both cognitive and social. Games and books that help them learn new words, match objects, identify colors and introduce new basic concepts are excellent picks, encouraging bonding time with parents while learning – in fact, there’s scientific evidence that kids who are read five books a day begin their kindergarten year already having heard over a million more words than kids who aren’t read to.

When it comes to socialization, one-year-old babies simply aren’t developed enough to understand social play. They crave the warmth and companionship of their parents and siblings, but may engage in little play or interaction when plopped down next to another tot. They’ll get there soon enough, but for now, social development will revolve primarily around learning language and communication. First things first, right?

Digital vs. Manual

As you might imagine, 12 months old is far too young for any kind of serious digital toy. It’s far more important that they focus on skill building the old fashioned way right now, but that doesn’t mean that electronic components shouldn’t be a part of any of their toys. Educational toys that offer both physical and cognitive developmental opportunities can make great use of audio, using speech and music to engage and teach babies.

Manual toys are particularly important, as we’ve already established. Picks that they can interact with using their hands are excellent, especially when they’re engaging in small motions like turning, pulling and grasping, as these are especially good at refining small motor skills. It’s also important for them to continue developing their burgeoning walking skills, so walkers and toys that encourage full body motion and leg muscle development are ideal.

Wrapping Up

If you’re feeling like the past 12 months have utterly flown by, you aren’t alone. You’ve poured your heart and soul into helping your sweet baby girl develop healthily and happily, and now it’s time to celebrate! By focusing on picks that help her build her growing physical and mental skills in engaging, safe, age-appropriate ways, you’ll be sure to choose a gift that’s both well-loved and beneficial.
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Quick Decision

Summer 3-Stage Deluxe SuperSeat – Best Overall
Seats and play mats that feature wide arches with dangling toys that’s great for  babies’  boosting both motor control and hand-eye coordination.

Radio Flyer Ultimate All-Terrain Stroll ‘N Trike – Upgrade Choice
It’s a hybrid stroller, steering trike and traditional trike, which means it grows with them, stays useful.

Cossy Wooden Baby Learning Walker – Best Budget Buy
Encourages balance and strength development in babies as they master bipedal motion on a budget friendly amount.

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Hannah H.

Hannah H.

Hannah is both a parent and a freelance journalist and author. You go, girl! She is an impeccable wordsmith and her warm and witty outlook on life makes her pieces a joy to read.

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