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Ava’s Favourites: 5 Best Toys to buy a 1 year old

by | Aug 19, 2018 | Gift Guides, Just Kids | 0 comments

Our little Ava is one and for her 1st birthday we celebrated with a beautiful party (more coming soon) and her own room. A cozy space all to herself wasn’t the only gift she got. Ava received a few wonderful presents and I taught it would be handy to share them with you seeing as I always get moms, aunts and friends asking; “What are the best toys to buy a 1 year old?”

1. Books

You can never go wrong with books. We buy all of the girls a book for every birthdays and asked guests to bring a book instead of a card to Ava’s 1st birthday too. It didn’t have to be age appropriate.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

A current favourite of ours is the “Little People, Big Dreams” series by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara. Age appropriate autobiographies on all our favourite female heroes. The stories are easy to follow and the illustrations beautiful and fun. Coco, Frida, Audrey and Marie are the perfect additions to our ever growing library of must-reads. We’ll be adding some other ladies soon.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

The smaller, hardcover, short edit editions are best for tiny hands.

Buy yours at

2. A Soft Play Pit

At first I only thought of these foam pits as ball ponds but after seeing Cherry Dot Studio market them as ideal play pits / play pens I realised the value. These are amazing for gross motor development with Ava climbing in and out all day.

Adding knotted bell balls, plastic play balls, shredded paper, blankets of different textures etc. provides the perfect sensory play space too.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

Playing peekaboo and throwing items out and into the pit is another game Ava never grows tired of.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year oldJust a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

She also loves having all her toys in one space. We regularly find her peacefully playing in her play pit with whatever item she has thrown in.

Even Eliana and Lia can’t resist this cozy nest. Curling up inside, nestled in the padded cocoon together. I predict many more years of play in this pit.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

Bonus, it’s the perfect toy storage basket after play is done.

Order online at

3. Rocking Horse

Simple, elegant, a classic…

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

We found this pretty wooden rocking horse on sale at Oh My Baby SA in Menlyn. I added a few personal touches and presto, Ava had a pony to ride back and forth improving her balance, core strength and getting her to use every tiny muscle in her perfect, little body.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

The rocking motion works well at calming Ava and it’s just the cutest thing seeing her place her bears or dolls on her horse giving them a turn too. Being wooden means it’s sturdy. Designed with small toddlers in mind this rocking horse has no sharp edges to its design and it’s low, close to the ground ensuring no serious injury when Ava falls off. She also finds it easy to rock herself, giving mom a little break.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

For enquiries contact Oh My Baby SA.

4. Tiger Lily Tots Wooden Toys

Whether you go for a stacker, bell ball, chime doll or rattle… Every wooden toy from Tiger Lily Tots is a keepsake that will last a lifetime, easily passed on to the next generation.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

These toys are so pretty you’d think they were purely decorative. NOT TRUE.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

I hear Ava happily rolling and trying to knock over her bell ball and chime doll. The sound they make has her giggling with joy and I can’t help but smile along. The touch of the wood is therapeutic and your little one won’t be able to leave these toys alone. From fine-motor skills, perceptual development and cause and effect. Young toddlers will be kept delightfully entertained.

Add a special touch by personalising these items with your baby’s name and customising the colour to whatever you prefer.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

See all the beautiful toys and decor available from Tiger Lily Tots online at

5. Leap Frog Chat & Count Smart Phone

Intended for toddlers ages 18+ months. Learn all about numbers and phone etiquette with Scout or Violet pup. Ava is already captivated by bright colours, fun music and easy to press buttons. She doesn’t pay much attention to the numbers or even the display screen yet, but she knows exactly which button plays the songs she likes dancing to.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

Seeing her press the dial button and then bringing the phone up to her ear, cutely saying “hello” is one of the most adorable things ever. As Ava becomes older she’ll enjoy more of the 25+ activities available on the Chat & Count Smart phone but for now the basic will do.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

I’m equally impressed by how easy the phone is to handle and it’s durability too. Ours has been dropped on many occasions and still works perfectly. Another feature worth mentioning is the adjustable low / high volume switch on the side – very important when buying noisy toys.

The entire Leap Frog range is proudly distributed by Prima Toys and available at Toy Kingdom, and most leading toy stores.

Just a Mamma 5 best toys for a 1 year old

This is our, and by our, I mean Ava’s – 5 best toys to buy a 1 year old. It’s the 5 toys she simply cannot get enough off and the 5 toys that keeps her happily playing, learning and occupied.

Does your little one have a favourite toy? Please feel free to add it to our list in the comments below.

PHOTO CREDIT | Anje-Ilana van Dalen from Madison & West.


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