B&B’s Favorite Toys for One Year Old Babies

Finding toys for your one year old is a daunting task. Their personality is just blooming and you don’t quite know what their likes and dislikes; although clearly from their tantrums, they HAVE opinions.

With two children in tow and speaking to a lot of moms, here are my favorite toys. They are non battery operated (except for the piano) and foster creativity, innovation and independent play.

Cheer’s to baby’s first birthday and hoping they love these gifts!

PS: These are affiliate links. I may make a small commission (that doesn’t affect your cost) that keeps this site alive. Thank you! <3

Melissa and Doug Pounding Bench

Nothing beats pounding the daylights out of something. And you know your young toddler will go nuts for beating something – legitimately!

Push Prams

Several brands make push carts and strollers. Pick the one that fits your budget. On the easy wallet side, there is IKEA (though the cart itself is small) and Brio. For wood based strollers/prams, there is Moover ($177) and HABA ($149), both on the more expensive side.

You should also stop a Home Goods store and see what is in store in the toy section. I found several wooden push carts/prams for under $50; what a steal!

Baby Piano
If you have space for a small Yamama type keyboard, go for it. We have the Fisher Price Baby Grand Piano – it is absolutely silly but a LOT of fun. The music it plays isn’t annoying and you can flip the switch to play pre-recorded music or music notes. For something a bit more mature and more minimalist, the Melissa and Doug 25 key set is nice.

Tupperware
There, I said it. Find the tupperware or yogurt containers that you don’t want anymore and create a space in YOUR kitchen for them. This is the key, you need to sacrifice a cupboard to your toddler. They feel they get to be part of the kitchen while you get to interact with them. It’s a win win. I store unloved tupperware, a few old pans and spatulas we don’t use anymore in our shelf space.

Dresser Drawers
Again, it doesn’t take much to entertain a young toddler. They are on their feet for the *first time ever* and using those feet mean exploring! We have several dressers in the house (ALWAYS bolt them to the wall) and we keep two drawers available for the little one. Each drawer is in a dresser in a different room. This provides ample opportunity to move things from drawer to another, while working on gross and fine motor skills (opening, closing, picking up, walking, placing/throwing items).

I think my baby spent three months walking back and forth between the rooms just opening and closing the drawers. Be sure to keep an eye for safety reasons (climbing in) and for when your phone disappears (true story).

Grimm’s Large 12-Piece Rainbow Stacker

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This unassuming rainbow wood stacking blocks is magical. At first, we didn’t know what to do with it. Soon, we figured out how to stack them, mix them with other toys, and create art pieces. Made in Germany of solid wood, this is a present that will last years.

Montessori Infant Coin Box
This teaches a baby about object permanence. Your little one is well on the way of understanding object permanence, this coin box helps reinforce that idea. If you want to be very budget friendly, grab a shoe box, cut a hole and use a few blocks. Baby will go nuts! If you are feeling inspired by Montessori education, check out my post on Montessori toys for 0-4 years old.

Ball Run
Dropping a ball and watching it go down tracks doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing, unless you are a baby, then it is THE MOST EXCITING THING EVER. When looking for ball runs, make sure you find one that is age appropriate for age 1+. Most ball runs are in fact marble runs, and they are not safe for babies. My favorite ball runs that are for one year and up (but please double check before buying) are the Hape Derby Track, HABA build your ball run, Battat – Pound & Roll tower, and the Hape Switchback Racer (age: 18 months+).

Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 74 Piece Set

On the pricey side, magna tiles are awesome. Build in three dimension with triangles, rectangles, square, and trapezoids. A classic STEM/STEAM toy, your toddler, and their friends, will love these. For a budget friendly version, you can buy the off-brand tiles.

Knob Puzzles
Large and easy for small hands, the Melissa and Doug knob puzzles are a great way to get your little one started on the world of puzzles. Teach them about matching, animals, and shapes. My kids got into them around 15 months even though they were introduced them at 10 months, it was mostly throwing at that age.

Books:
Flip books
Any book that has flaps or lift up features will be a hit. Something about them enthralls young toddlers. Matthew Van Fleet books are always a hit, Moo, Dog, Cat, and Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings (so loved by my children it is in pieces, hehehe!) are just a few of his most popular.
Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go
by Richard Scarry

A classic paper book with all sorts of crazy cars, trucks, buses, and boats. For a baby, you can get the
Cars and Trucks, from A-Z.

I will keep updating this list as time goes. For now, I hope you enjoy! If you have a favorite toy (rather your baby does), post below.

Montessori Marbled Bowls {DIY Art Project with Your Toddler}

I’ve been inspired with the marble “ring bowls” people have been making with Sculpey clay. I love the marble look of these bowls but I don’t have a purpose for them myself.

Since I have been looking to buy some classic Montessori/Waldorf toys, I thought if there was a way I could do an art project with my toddler, make a Montessori toy, and have something beautiful.

That’s how I came up these Montessori marble bowls with matching string beads.

Score!

I was so impressed with my son who followed the directions from this post. He’s almost three years old and the directions are simple enough to follow. There’s also no mess in coloring the clay or painting (I did the gilded edges myself).

There are several elements of learning your child experiences on top of the fun and satisfaction of making your own toys!
What your toddler learns:
Color sorting
Rolling dough
Making ‘snakes’
Mixing colors – color theory
Baking – adult supervision of course
Stringing beads
Creating something from start to finish

How to make Montessori inspired marbled colored bowls with matching balls

Here’s a video in hyperlapse speed – it’s my first ever video, so be kind!

What you need:
Scupley clay in different colors (affiliate links!)
Large block of sculpey clay in white, 8oz
Knife
Bowls to shape with – they should be oven safe
Gold pen or gold paint to paint the trim
Bamboo skewers to make the holes in the balls

1. With a knife, cut out a large block of white clay.
2. Cut out small blocks of 3-4 color clays. If you look at the video, I cut out a pretty small piece, 1/4in thick. You don’t need much color to give the bowl that beautiful marbled look.

I let the kiddo choose the colors and encouraged him to pick 2-3 similar colors and one contrasting color. We are currently in a phase where everything is “orange” or “green” even though he knows the colors are different. Hahaha!

3. Roll out each block of clay into a snake. Yes, that is the technical term.

4. Combine the snakes with the white clay into a super snake.

5. Roll and twist the super snake. Then twist the snake into a ball and roll it out again. I figured out to get that beautiful marbling effect is to roll out and squish into a ball a few times. If you look at the photo, we only lightly twisted the purple bowl – it has more of a mid-century modern look. You know, if you feel like work with 20th century art styles with your little one.

6. With a rolling pin, roll out the bowl to an 1/8th” thick.

7. Use bowl to trim dough.

8. Fit clay dough into bowl.

9. Bake according to the Sculpey instructions. It will be around 15-20 minutes.

10. Let cool down. You can paint the bowl to seal and gloss or leave it as it.

11. Paint the edges with gold, silver, or nothing at all! Up to you. You can see I haven’t done this yet, but I will!

The bowls are delicate, we already cracked one (but hey, there’s glue), but they are a hit in the house. Our son loves stringing them and cooking with them.

Have a photo of your project? Share it on instagram and tag with #bindisandbottles

Best Montessori/RIE Toys for Babies & Toddlers: 0-4 Years

As you have guessed by now, I love toys. I have a bit of an obsession with toys. This makes it very non-Montessori friendlyL lots of toys – not a minimalistic way of life. But, I do a lot of toy rotation and storage (for later donation).

One of things I have focused on in having in the household are real things (heuristic) and quality toys. Real things meaning scarves/fabrics, tupperware, spoons, and basically anything your baby will steal from your kitchen (because kitchens are awesome). And of course real things from the outside world, stones, pine cones, sticks, water, etc.

Our “quality toys” are usually wooden but we do have a few plastic toys like Duplo, Green Toys and Hess Trucks (my collection from childhood). What’s important to know that if you have a Montessori household, Montessori never advocated for toys – she wanted real materials for children to experience. Of course toys are a medium in which babies and children experience the world, but it’s not mandatory.

However, Montessori/RIE toys are always battery and lights free. It of course doesn’t mean your house should be 100% battery free, but rather the toys you have should stimulate active learning in children. I went through a phrase to try out a few battery toys and bought them on Facebook Marketplace (5 for $15 – score!). I bought them last year when my son was 20 months and mainly used them on a trip abroad. I won’t tell you the company names but they rhyme with StepBog and X-Mech. 😉

Pros: can entertain for long periods which are especially needed on long haul trips.
Cons: make a lot of noise, gimmicky, no learning or real entertainment.

My Hess Trucks on the other hand, are also battery operated, where the truck lights up. I have many great memories from those toys and I love my son playing with them (to be clear, my son sneakily found one of the trucks in a box – these are really for 5 years+ old)

Back to business, if you are looking for making your household less battery operated, these baby to young child toys are perfect. PS – This post contains affiliate links.

Haba Color Fun Play Gym

Wee Gallery Animal Alphabet Cards, High Contrast for Visual Development

Hape Color and Shape Wooden Block Sorter
Age range: 8 months – 2 years
Rainbow colors of nine pegs with 3 distinct basic shapes – triangle, circle, square

Plan Toy Solid Wood Drum
9 months – 3 years old

Ring Stackers
6 months – 12 months – teething, throwing around
12 months – 18 moths – stacking
Wooden Ring Stacker Toy | Fisher Price Self Correcting Ring Stacker | Grimm’s 11 Piece Ring Stacker | Grimm’s Nesting Rainbow Bowl Stackers | Pyramid rocking with Top – this you need to paint and varnish

Hape Roller Derby Wooden Marble Racing Toddler Toy
Age range: 2-3.5 years old
From an Amazon review: “Why I think it’s great: there is just enough color to pull them in and get them playing, but the toy is neutral enough that I don’t feel cluttered by it. The ball ramps are on both sides, so my children can easily play together. Each one had their own side. The developmental benefits of this toy are numerous. What I would change: I wish the little yellow starting platform was a bit bigger. My 22 month old struggled to get the ball started. ”

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
Age range: 1-3 years old

Amazing Tracker Ball Maze
Age range: 1-4 years old
It’s large and with a hefty price tag for a child’s toy ($88 on amazon), but it is amazing. Standing nearly two feet tall, the older babies and toddlers will get endless entertainment from it.

Galt Toys Wooden Retro Pop Up Toy
From an Amazon review: “I bought this to replace the original one that I owned over 20 years ago! It is such a perfect toy to have for small children. each of the coloured peg people bob about easily in the holes and are the perfect size for little hands hold easily – it is great for their dexterity! the colours enable early colour recognition and matching. A simple, well made classic toy that I highly recommend having in your child’s first toy box!”

Little Climber Pikler Triange
Age range: 8 months – 4 years old
Foldable for Flat Storage | Includes Climber, Reversible Accessory, and Board Book

Guidecraft Peekaboo Lock Boxes (Set of 6)
Age range: 18 months – 3 years old
Good for fine motor skills, color matching, shape sorting
Amazon review: Wonderful quality, super sturdy and well made. I was a bit sceptical because of the prize, but just like other reviews said, we’ll worth the money. My 2 year 4 month old daughter plays with it every day. The locks are just difficult enough to keep her thinking and exploring, but doable so she doesn’t feel like it’s impossible. So many options with the blocks, the color base to sort the colors, count, stack, etc.”

Grimm’s Stacking Rainbow
21 months – 5 years old

Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Natural wood Six Piece Chunky Shape Puzzle |

Stringing Beads
Age Range: 12 months – 3 years old

Pounding Peg Boards
Age Range: 10-18 months
Plan Toys Pounding Bench | Melissa & Doug Deluxe Wooden Pound | Hape Little Pounder
The Hape one has music. All three brands are similar except for sizing and number of pegs.

HABA Palette of Pegs – 32 Piece Wooden Pegging & Arranging Game
Age range: 12 months – 2 years old

Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon

PlanToys Plan Preschool Walk N Roll, Push and Pull

PlanToys Dancing Alligator

Plan Toys Stacking Tree

BeginAgain Cat Family Puzzle
Age range: 2-3 years old
What makes this puzzle great: Kids learn colors and their names. Play with pieces individually, use them as stencils and in storytelling, or complete the children’s puzzle. Each piece has the color name in English on one side and Spanish on the other to build kids’ bilingual language skills. Handcrafted from plantation-grown, sustainable rubberwood. Comes with storage tray.

IKEA Kitchen
18 months – 5 years old
Wood based, simple, no logos, brands, and ‘stuff’ on the kitchen set. You can IKEA hack it as you please. The fabric food, metal pot set, and ceramic tea set are also worthwhile.

Little Partners Learning Tower Kids Adjustable Height Kitchen Step Stool for Toddlers or Any Little Helper

Plan Toys Cone Sorting

Remember, it’s not about living the Montessori way 100% of the time – it’s about fostering independence, exploration, and curiosity about life.