6 of the Best STEM Toys for a 1-Year-Old

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It is never too early to introduce your child to STEM toys. The STEM fields are the fastest-growing fields in the modern world, and children at this age are sponges. Take advantage of this vital time of development by filling your child’s world with these high-quality educational toys.

The best toys are those that are multi-purpose and open-ended. Children should be able to do more than one thing with the toys you get them – stack up cups are a great example. Here are some of the toys we recommend for babies:

Related: Click here to see 5 STEM Toys for Babies for Cognitive Development & Motor Skills.

These nesting cups are incredibly simple, but provide unlimited learning opportunities for young children. They can be fit together, stacked on top of each other, or used to hide things. As your child plays, they’ll develop excellent motor skills and problem-solving skills. Each cup is brightly colored, helping draw your 1-year-old’s attention without noises or bright, flashing lights. Each container has a number on the bottom, making this educational toy a good option for introducing numbers as well. This set of cups also has small holes in the bottom for use in the bathtub or swimming pool.

These engineering toys are entirely open-ended, so they’ll grow with your child. Young children will enjoy placing each block inside the other, while older children will morph the cups into boats and practice counting. For slightly younger babies, another popular stacking toy is the Fischer-Price Rock-a-Stack.

This Hammering & Pounding Toy by Rolimate is a multi-purpose learning toy for 1-year-olds. The top of the toy has slots for three wooden balls. Young children will have hours of fun hitting the balls with the included wooden hammer to push them through the holes. When the balls fall, they hit a xylophone and roll down, creating a musical tune. This xylophone can also be removed and played with independently. Two xylophone sticks are included so your child can play music to their heart’s content. The side of this toy has variously shaped holes, allowing children to sort their shapes. Six shaped blocks are included with colorful patterns on one side and the numbers on the other.

With so many different ways to play, this education toy can teach your child many skills, including shape recognition, motor skills, and problem-solving skills. This toy is especially suitable for young boys who have already hit their destructive phase.

This classic STEM toy is a must-have for every baby. This wooden shape sorter includes twelve wooden shapes. Each shape is carefully crafted out of solid wood, and the edges are worn down so that they are not rough. Each block is painted a bright color, helping keep your child’s attention while also teaching color recognition. The lid slides off and on. Most one-year-olds should be able to remove and replace the top after being shown how. This wooden shape sorter even comes with a strap for easy transportation.

This educational toy helps children develop many different skills. Children will develop their dexterity and fine motor skills as they try to fit each shape into the right hole. They’ll also build shape recognition and sorting skills.

This activity cube includes many different STEM activities for your one-year-old to enjoy. Each side of the cube has a different learning activity, including a clock, shape sorter, and gears. These activities help children develop their fine-motor skills and problem-solving skills. The shape sorter provides an opportunity for children to get familiar with the shapes, while the clock introduces basic number. Each side is painted with bright colors, and the whole cube is made out of solid, sturdy wood. This heirloom toy is designed to last through multiple children.

This toy is topped with a 3D bead maze. This top section can be taken off and flipped upside down, storing the labyrinth in the center of the wooden cube. The blocks can also be stored away in this middle section.

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Balls are one of the most open-ended toys out there. They can be rolled down ramps, used to fill boxes, or used for color sorting. These giant marble balls by Grimm’s come in six standard colors, including red, yellow, green, purple, orange, and blue. Children will enjoy inventing new ways to experiment with these balls. From rolling them down an improvised ramp to fitting them inside different boxes, these balls as a simple way to provide your one-year-old with hours of educational play.

These balls are made of solid wood, giving them more heft than your average balls. Each ball is about two inches in diameter, which makes it easy for little hands to grab them. Each is carefully sanded and stained with a non-toxic stain.

We all know the importance of reading to children. Reading allows parents to introduce all sorts of concepts to their children. Take advantage of this opportunity by choosing a book that introduces your child to STEM concepts, like this Board Book set by Baby University. In this set of books, you’ll get Quantum Physics for Babies, Rocket Science for Babies, General Relativity for Babies, and Newtonian Physics for Babies. 

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These books explain these complex concepts at a level that tiny children can understand. By introducing your child to these concepts, they’ll be better prepared to tackle them later in life. The illustrations in this book are gender-neutral, so they make an excellent gift for both boys and girls. If there’s an older sibling around, our #1 tip is to have them read these books to your baby – what a great way to bond and learn together! 

What Educational Toy Should I Get for My 1-Year-Old?

Toddler playing with educational toy while mother is working online

A young child can never have too many learning toys. When it comes to choosing baby toys for your child, selecting a dozen high-quality toys is the way to go. Because babies are changing so quickly at this age, we particularly recommend toys that can grow with your child – like many of the ones suggested in this article. 

It would be best if you also choose toys based on your child’s interests. Does your child love whacking things? Give them something appropriate to hit with the Hammering and Pounding toy. Love books? Try the Baby University book set. Keep them stimulated and watch them develop!

Mark Coster, BSc(Hons) PhD MRACI CChem
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