Learning Resources

The Best Sensory Toys for 1-Year-Olds That Promote Cognitive Development

Best Montessori Toys for 1-Year-Olds
Written by Arshad Yousafzai

Are you in search of the best sensory toys for 1-year-olds? Look no further! We’ve got you covered with a list of engaging and stimulating toys that will captivate your little one’s imagination and help with their sensory development.

At this stage of their life, 1-year-olds are curious and eager to explore the world around them. Sensory toys provide them with the perfect opportunity to engage their senses and learn about different textures, sounds, and colors. These toys entertain them and aid in developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, from soft and squishy toys to interactive and educational ones.

Our curated selection offers a range of options to suit every child’s preferences. Whether your little one enjoys tactile play, discovering new sounds, or exploring bright and vibrant objects, we’ve got something that will surely capture their attention. Join us as we explore the top-rated sensory toys for 1-year-olds, and give your child the gift of engaging and interactive playtime that will enhance their development and provide hours of fun!

What are sensory toys?

Sensory toys are designed to engage one or more of the child’s senses. These toys come in various shapes, sizes, and textures and are designed to provide different sensory experiences. They can include toys that make sounds, have different textures, are visually stimulating, or have interactive features. Sensory toys are typically made from safe and non-toxic materials to ensure the child’s safety during play.

Why are sensory toys important for 1-year-olds?

Sensory toys are crucial for 1-year-olds as they play a significant role in supporting their overall development. Here’s why sensory toys are essential for children at this age:

Stimulate Senses

Sensory toys are specifically designed to engage the senses of sight, touch, hearing, smell, and sometimes even taste. At the age of 1, children rapidly develop their sensory abilities and are naturally curious about the world around them. Sensory toys allow children to explore different textures, colors, shapes, and sounds, which helps stimulate their senses and expand their sensory experiences.

Encourage Exploration

Toddlers are in a stage of rapid exploration and discovery. Sensory toys offer a safe and interactive way for children to explore their environment and learn through hands-on experiences. These toys encourage curiosity, experimentation, and problem-solving as children manipulate and interact with various sensory materials and stimuli.

Promote Cognitive Development

Engaging with sensory toys helps promote cognitive development in 1-year-olds. By exploring different sensory inputs, children develop their ability to process and make sense of the information they receive from the environment. Sensory play encourages critical thinking, memory retention, and the development of problem-solving skills as children engage in open-ended exploration and experimentation.

Enhance Motor Skills

 Sensory toys often involve hands-on activities that require fine and gross motor skills. In young children, grasping, squeezing, stacking, and manipulating objects help develop hand-eye coordination, fine motor control, and muscle strength. Sensory play also encourages children to practice basic movements and gestures, such as reaching, grabbing, and crawling, which are essential for physical development.

Support Emotional Regulation

Sensory play can be calming and soothing to 1-year-olds, helping them regulate their emotions and relieve stress. Activities like playing with sensory bins, squishing sensory balls, or listening to calming music can provide sensory input that promotes relaxation and sensory integration. Sensory play can also serve as a form of self-expression, allowing children to explore and express their emotions in a safe and nurturing environment.

Benefits of sensory toys for 1-year-olds

Sensory toys offer a wide range of benefits for 1-year-olds. Here are some of the key advantages:

Development of Fine Motor Skills

Sensory toys often require small muscles, such as those in the hands and fingers, to manipulate and explore different textures and objects. Children can improve their fine motor skills by engaging in sensory play, essential for writing, drawing, and self-care activities.

Enhancement of Cognitive Skills

Sensory toys encourage problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills. Children learn to make connections and understand cause-and-effect relationships When they explore different textures, shapes, and sounds.

Stimulation of the Senses

Sensory toys provide opportunities for children to engage their senses and develop sensory integration skills. Children can enhance their sensory perception and processing abilities by exploring different textures, colors, and sounds.

Language Development

Sensory play often involves verbal communication and interaction with caregivers or peers. Through sensory play, children can learn new words, practice their language skills, and develop their ability to express themselves.

Emotional Regulation

Sensory play can help children regulate their emotions and reduce stress or anxiety. Engaging in sensory activities provides a calming and soothing effect, allowing children to relax and unwind.

Types of sensory toys for 1-year-olds

When it comes to sensory toys for 1-year-olds, there is a wide variety. Here are some popular types of sensory toys that are perfect for this age group

Soft and Squishy Toys

Soft toys that are easy to squeeze and manipulate are perfect for developing fine motor skills. Look for toys made from different textures, such as plush fabrics, rubber, or silicone.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys that respond to touch or movement are great for engaging a child’s senses. Toys that make sounds light up, or have buttons to press provide a multi-sensory experience.

Tactile Toys

Tactile toys are designed to provide different textures for children to explore. Look for toys with varying surfaces, such as smooth, rough, bumpy, or soft. These toys help stimulate the sense of touch and promote sensory development.

Visual Stimulation Toys

Visual stimulation toys, such as mobiles, light-ups, or toys with contrasting colors, can captivate a child’s attention and promote visual development.

Cause and Effect Toys

Cause-and-effect toys teach children about cause-and-effect relationships. Toys that require a specific action to produce a response, such as pushing a button to make a sound or dropping a ball into a chute, help children learn about cause and effect while engaging their senses.

Factors to consider when choosing sensory toys for 1-year-olds

When selecting sensory toys for 1-year-olds, several factors should be considered to ensure they are appropriate and beneficial for their development. Here are some essential factors to keep in mind.

  1. Safety: Safety is paramount when choosing toys for young children. Ensure the toys are made from non-toxic materials and accessible from small parts that could pose a choking hazard. Check for any sharp edges or potential risks.
  2. Age Appropriateness: Consider the age recommendations provided by the manufacturer. Toys for 1-year-olds are typically tailored to their developmental stage and safety requirements. Avoid toys that are too advanced or complicated for their age.
  3. Stimulation of Senses: The primary purpose of sensory toys is to stimulate the senses. Look for toys that offer a variety of textures, colors, and sounds to engage different sensory pathways. Toys with contrasting colors and varying textures can enhance sensory exploration.
  4. Developmental Benefits: Choose toys that offer opportunities for learning and development. Sensory toys should support the child’s cognitive, motor, and emotional development. Look for toys that encourage problem-solving, creativity, and imaginative play.
  5. Versatility: Opt for toys that can be used in multiple ways and adapt to different play scenarios. Versatile toys allow for open-ended play and can grow with the child as they develop new skills and interests.
  6. Durability: Toddlers can be rough on their toys, so durability is essential. Choose toys made from sturdy materials that can withstand rough play and regular use without breaking or becoming damaged quickly.
  7. Interest and Engagement: Consider the child’s interests and preferences when selecting sensory toys. Choose toys that capture their attention and encourage active engagement. Look for toys that spark curiosity and invite exploration.
  8. Interactive Features: Interactive toys that respond to the child’s actions or allow for social play can be incredibly engaging for 1-year-olds. Toys with buttons to push, knobs to turn, or movable parts can provide interactive feedback and encourage sensory exploration.

By considering these factors, parents and caregivers can choose sensory toys that are safe, age-appropriate, engaging, and beneficial for the child’s development.

Top 7 sensory toys for 1-year-olds

1-Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog: Toddler Learning Toys, Fine Motor and Sensory Toys for Kids Ages 18+ Months

The Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog is an ideal toy for toddlers and preschoolers that encourages the development of fine motor skills. It features colorful quills, which help children learn color recognition and sorting, and the chunky peg-shaped pieces are easy for small hands to grasp.

This toy is also great for visually impaired kids, as it helps them develop their fine motor skills. It includes 12 quills and a 2-piece hedgehog, which can be stored away after playtime.

This unique educational toy allows children to have fun while learning. It’s a perfect gift for birthdays, holidays, or just because.


– Develops fine motor skills

– Promotes color recognition and sorting

– Great for visually impaired kids

– Comes with 12 quills and a 2-piece hedgehog

– Easy to store after playtime

– Educational and fun

– Perfect gift


– Pieces may be too small for some children

2-VTech Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer, Yellow

The VTech Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer is an excellent toy for kids of all ages. Its handle can be pushed to roll the bulldozer across the floor, popping out balls from the chimney into the bucket.

Additionally, it has colorful buttons that trigger different learning phrases and motion sensors that activate fun tunes and songs when the bulldozer is rolled. The chunky handle helps with motor skill development, while the colorful balls help teach color recognition.

This construction push toy is a great way to get your child’s creative juices flowing and help them learn. It is made with safe and comfortable materials, making it ideal for your child to play with. The only downside is that this toy is made for children, so it might not suit adults.

The VTech Pop-a-Balls Push & Pop Bulldozer is a great educational toy to help your little one learn and develop. It’s an enjoyable and safe toy for your child to have fun with.


– Interactive and engaging play for both adults and children

– Durable construction and quality materials

– Colorful buttons that trigger learning phrases

– Motion sensors that trigger fun tunes and songs

– Chunky handle helps with motor skill development

– Colorful balls help teach color recognition


– May be too basic for older children

3-LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book

The LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book is a great way to introduce young children to the world of reading. With fun and interactive words, a cute animal character design, and more than 100 age-appropriate words, this book also offers educational benefits.

Kids can explore words and sound effects by touching the words on each page, and the book also offers a bilingual experience with words, songs, and instructions in both English and Spanish.

Overall, this book is an ideal choice for any little one wanting to explore reading or learn a second language. With fun illustrations, interactive sound effects, and age-appropriate words, this book will help children learn and play simultaneously.


– Fun and interactive way to explore words and sound effects

– Bilingual experience with words, songs, and instructions in both English and Spanish

– Educational benefits with more than 100 age-appropriate words

– Cute animal character design

– Fun illustrations

– Durable construction


– Not suitable for all ages; only intended for children ages 0-3

4-Melissa & Doug Old MacDonald’s Farm, 1 EA

Melissa & Doug Old MacDonald’s Farm is a great interactive board book for learning and playing. It has 20 pages with buttons to press and “pop” on each page as you count from 10 cows to 1 rooster while singing the Old MacDonald’s Farm song.

This board book also encourages language development, counting, and fine motor skills. The dots make different clicking and popping sounds depending on how they’re poked. This product also makes a perfect gift for birthdays, showers, and special occasions.

Overall, this is a great toy for little ones. However, it may not be the right choice for you.


– This board book is interactive and engaging, with buttons to press and “pop”.

– It encourages language development, counting, and fine motor skills.

– It makes different clicking and popping sounds depending on how they’re poked.

– It’s perfect for teaching little ones the Old MacDonald’s Farm song.

– It makes a great gift for birthdays, showers, and special occasions.


– It does not have a battery powering the interactive aspect.

– It is not suitable for children under 3 years old.

5-ECR4Kids SoftZone Tiny Twisting Climber, Beginner Playset, Assorted, 5-Piece

The ECR4Kids SoftZone Tiny Twisting Climber is the perfect beginner playset for babies and toddlers to explore and develop their coordination, balance, and other gross motor skills through physical play.

This playset is designed with a dense foam core covered with vegan leather and features a non-slip base for added stability. The stay-put fasteners make it easy to assemble and help keep it in place while in use.

Plus, it is certified safe for indoor play, as it is GREENGUARD [GOLD] Certified for low VOCs, CPSIA compliant, and meets CAL TB 117 requirements. With its comfortable, safe, and durable design, this playset is great for classrooms, daycares, homes, and playrooms.

In short, the ECR4Kids SoftZone Tiny Twisting Climber is a great way to introduce soft play in early childhood environments and help your little ones develop their gross motor skills. It is an excellent choice for parents looking for a beginner playset for their little ones.


– Constructed with a soft and durable material

– Non-slip base for extra stability

– Cushioned core covered in vegan leather

– Certified safe for indoor play; meets GREENGUARD [GOLD] and CAL TB 117 standards

– Easy assembly with stay-put fasteners

– Introduces safe, soft play for early childhood development

– Great for classrooms, daycares, homes, and playrooms

– Perfect starter playset for babies and toddlers


– Could have more activities for older toddlers

6-hand2mind ColorMix Sensory Fidget Tubes, Fidget Toys for Kids, Kids Anxiety Relief, Occupational Therapy Toys, Play Therapy Toys,

The hand2mind ColorMix Sensory Fidget Tubes are an excellent tool for kids to learn to control their emotions. These colorful tubes feature three different levels of movement, allowing kids to focus on the movement and the colors swirling inside.

This helps slow down their heart rate and respiration, calming them. The tubes are also great for fine motor skills, as kids can shake, flip, and press buttons to practice quiet focus.

The hand2mind ColorMix Sensory Fidget Tubes are an excellent way to help kids manage their emotions positively and provide comfort and safety while learning social-emotional skills.


– Features three levels of movement for kids to focus on

– Great for slowing down heartbeat and respiration

– Helps kids control their emotions in a positive manner

– Aids in improving fine motor skills

– Provides a safe and comfortable way to practice social-emotional skills

– Great sensory tool for kids with autism, ADHD, or other special needs

– Easy to clean and durable


– It can be challenging to clean the tubes with small items stuck inside them.

7-Infantino Press & Stay Sensory Blocks for Babies Age grade 6m+ , 24-Piece Set, Multicolor

The Infantino Press & Stay Sensory Blocks for Babies Age Grade 6m+, 24-Piece Set, Multicolor are an excellent choice for your little one’s learning and playing needs! These blocks are made of ABS plastic and easy to clean, so you don’t have to worry about messes.

They are simple to assemble and pull apart, so your baby won’t get frustrated while playing. The blocks can be stacked and built sideways with bright colors and exciting textures.

They are comfortable and safe for your baby and will keep them entertained for hours! The only downside is that these blocks are meant for babies, so they won’t be suitable for children of a different age.


  1. Engaging sensory exploration.
  2. Easy to assemble and pull apart.
  3. Safe ABS plastic material.
  4. Colorful and textured for tactile stimulation.
  5. Promotes motor skill development.
  6. Easy to clean for convenience.
  7. Suitable for babies aged 6 months and up.


  1. Limited age range applicability.

Safety considerations when using sensory toys

When using sensory toys, ensuring safety is paramount, especially for children like 1-year-olds who are still exploring their environment and developing their motor skills. Here are some essential safety considerations to keep in mind when using sensory toys:

  1. Age Appropriateness: Always choose sensory toys that are age-appropriate for 1-year-olds. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations to ensure the toy fits your child’s developmental stage. Avoid toys with small parts or components that could pose a choking hazard.
  2. Non-Toxic Materials: Opt for sensory toys made from non-toxic materials that are safe for children to handle and explore. Check the labels or product descriptions to ensure that the materials used in the toys are free from harmful chemicals or substances.
  3. Avoid Sharp Edges: Check sensory toys for sharp edges, points, or rough surfaces that could injure your child. Smooth and rounded edges are safer for young children, reducing the risk of cuts or scratches during play.
  4. Securely Attached Parts: If the sensory toy has movable parts, ensure they are securely attached and cannot be easily pulled off or swallowed by your child. Loose parts pose a choking hazard and should be avoided, especially for 1-year-olds prone to putting objects in their mouths.
  5. Supervision: Always supervise your child when playing with sensory toys, especially ones that contain small parts or sensory materials like water, sand, or beads. Promptly remove any broken or damaged toys from their reach to prevent accidents or injuries.
  6. Cleanliness: Keep sensory toys clean and hygienic by regularly washing them with mild soap and water. Pay special attention to toys that come into contact with food, water, or bodily fluids to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria.
  7. Allergen Awareness: Be mindful of any potential allergens in sensory materials such as latex, certain fabrics, or food-based substances. If your child has known allergies or sensitivities, choose sensory toys that are allergen-free and safe for use.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Sensory Toys for 1-Year-Olds

What are sensory toys, and why are they essential for 1-year-olds?

Sensory toys stimulate a child’s senses—sight, touch, sound, taste, and smell. For 1-year-olds, these toys promote cognitive development, fine and gross motor skills, and sensory exploration.

How do sensory toys benefit a 1-year-old’s development?

Sensory toys engage a child’s senses, fostering cognitive growth, improved coordination, and enhanced problem-solving skills. They also encourage language development and social interaction as children explore and share their sensory experiences.

What types of sensory toys are suitable for 1-year-olds?

Soft-textured toys, teething rings, musical instruments, and bright, contrasting colors are ideal for 1-year-olds. Toys with various textures, shapes, and sizes provide diverse sensory stimulation.

Are sensory toys safe for a 1-year-old?

 Yes, safety is a top priority. Ensure that sensory toys are free from small parts that can be choking hazards. Opt for toys made from non-toxic materials and avoid those with sharp edges. Always follow age-appropriate guidelines provided by manufacturers.

How can sensory toys help with teething?

Sensory toys with different textures can provide relief for teething discomfort. Soft, chewable materials soothe sore gums and encourage mouthing, a natural part of oral exploration for infants.

Can sensory toys help with sleep routines for 1-year-olds?

Some sensory toys can promote relaxation and comfort, aiding in a smoother bedtime routine. Soft plush toys or those with gentle lullabies can create a calming environment for better sleep.

How can I choose sensory toys that match my 1-year-old’s preferences?

Pay attention to your child’s reactions during playtime. If they show interest in specific textures, colors, or sounds, choose toys that align with their preferences. Rotating toys regularly can also keep playtime exciting.

Are there any specific safety tips for using sensory toys with 1-year-olds?

Always supervise playtime, especially with small toys. Regularly inspect toys for wear and tear and replace damaged items promptly. Follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the longevity and safety of the toys.

How can sensory toys support social development in 1-year-olds?

Sensory toys encourage sharing and interaction. Choose toys that can be used collaboratively, fostering communication and social skills. Group play with other children can also enhance social development.

Where can I find high-quality sensory toys for 1-year-olds?

 Look for reputable toy stores, both online and offline, that specialize in early childhood development. Ensure that the toys meet safety standards and are age-appropriate. Reading reviews and recommendations can also help in making informed choices.


In conclusion, selecting suitable sensory toys for your 1-year-old can significantly impact your developmental journey. The 10 best sensory toys recommended in this guide are curated to engage and stimulate your child’s senses, fostering cognitive growth, fine motor skills, and social development. As you explore these top-rated options, prioritize safety, age-appropriateness, and your child’s unique preferences. Investing in high-quality sensory toys not only ensures fun and enriching playtime but also contributes to the overall well-being and growth of your little one. Elevate their play experience with these carefully chosen sensory toys designed to spark joy and encourage exploration during this critical stage of development.


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