Sensory Toys for 1-year Old: How to Activate Your Child’s Senses Through Sensory Play?

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Nowadays, online and physical stores provide plenty of options for children’s toys that it’s kind of overwhelming to pick the right one for your toddler. Just like me, you may have been wondering what’s the safest toy that you can give to your little one. 

You want to know what particular toy can serve the dual purpose of educating and entertaining them. Enter the world of sensory toys. Sensory toys for 1-year-old and up are considered game-changers as they are meant to serve a bigger purpose aside from entertaining your kids. 

With their ability to stimulate each of your five senses – hearing, taste, smell, touch, and sight, you are sure that these items make really great investments. You can also pick from its different sounds, colors, and textures and they serve as great toys for neurodivergent and neurotypical kids. 

Let’s explore more about the different sensory toys for one-year-olds and even two- to three-year-olds through this article.

An Overview of Sensory Toys for Kids

A sensory toy is a kind of toy that allows babies, toddlers, and even older children to have a creative playtime experience while at the same time introducing them to interesting sensory experiences designed to enrich and add color to their tiny worlds. 

The toys in this category focus on stimulating your child’s senses, especially sight, hearing, and touch. Among the most popular sensory toys for toddlers, around the ages 1 to 3, are soft baby books that feature crinkly edges, squeezable sand, spiky massage balls, squishy putty, water beads, and gooey items, such as scented slime.

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    Note that since kids are still young, their primary means of interaction is through their five senses. You can also see them engaging in their tiny world through balance and movement.

    With the help of their senses, they get to see and experience the world around them and you can further encourage such learning through proper sensory toys for their age.

    Sensory Toy Benefits: What Can They Get from Sensory Play?

    Note that the first three years of your child’s life is the stage wherein they experience rapid growth and development. The reason is that this is the time when they act like a sponge, having the ability to absorb as much information and details as possible and transform the absorbed information into working knowledge regarding the world.

    Through sensory toys for 2-year-old and 1-year-old, you can give your child a great chance to get themselves involved in the world and environment around them in such a way that their growth and development will also be supported. With these toys, they can build connections inside their brain that can support even tasks and thoughts that are seemingly complex.

    One more thing that sensory toys for two-year-old and one-year-olds can do is provide kids with the opportunity to develop not only their language and gross and fine motor skills but also their cognitive ability. In addition, the toys promote better engagement with peers and social interaction.

    There are even sensory toys out there that can improve your child’s mindfulness abilities. This makes it effective in calming them down whenever they feel angry or anxious.

    5 Recommended Sensory Toys for 1-year Old

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    If you have a one-year-old, then here are among the top options as far as sensory toys are concerned. What’s good about these items is that they also act as good sensory toys for 2-, 3-year-olds, so your child will surely enjoy these items for a long time:

    #1 – Sensory Balls

    As much as possible, pick sensory balls covered in nubs or spikes to give your child a better tactile sensation, which they can’t obtain from smooth balls. Once your child gets older, you can see them rolling and tracking the balls, which is extremely useful in boosting their fine and gross motor coordination.

    One thing to love about these sensory balls is there are plenty of options in terms of colors. You can even see sets with neutral palettes or balls with a see-through feature. Just make sure to get one with texture as it can help improve your child’s grip.

    #2 – Sensory Tissue Box

    This may look like a simple toy but it can give your young toddler a fun experience. These tissues are designed in a way that they have various patterns and colors, thereby engaging your child’s sense of sight. 

    The tissues also crinkle, which will engage their sense of hearing and touch. Expect your toddler to have a fun experience as they pull out tissues and learn how to return them to the box. This toy is also great as it teaches them letters, numbers, and shapes.

    #3 – Pull String Toy

    This sensory toy features cords that are textured, soft, and flexible, making it ideal for toddlers who are still practicing to pull and grip. It can develop their brain as they hear and feel the cords producing vibrations. This toy also has a sliding button and poppable bubbles that can further increase its ability to stimulate their senses.

    #4 – Wooden Activity Cube

    Aside from being appropriate for 1-year-olds, the wooden activity cube is also one of those sensory toys 2-year-old that can entertain. Go for a cube that features several sensory games – among which would be a trolley, bead maze, and xylophone.

    The wooden cube is not only meant to give your child a nice sensory experience but also an educational form of playtime. It teaches them math and counting skills and helps them recognize shapes, patterns, colors, and audio. It’s also a big help in honing their fine motor skills.

    #5 – Balance Beam

    This type of toy does not only teach your child balance but also encourages brain activity. Each time your toddler tries to learn how to walk across the beam, they are also activating their brain. The balance beam will require them to shift weight and cross their body’s midline repeatedly, which is fantastic for their growth and development.

    Best Practices and Advice for Sensory Play for 1-year-Old and Up

    Make your child’s sensory play even more fun and interesting with these simple tips and advice:

    Give them a play area, which is not only safe but also inspires creativity 

    You can set it up in one corner of your room and fill it up with pillows, blankets, and cushions. Another option is setting up a table and some chairs that will act as their playhouse.

    Just a reminder, ensure that your chosen play area has no danger and is child-friendly. The space should also inspire them to cooperate, share, and be creative.

    Integrate visual supports 

    A few examples of these visual supports are schedules, visual timers, and social stories – all of which can help your child understand transitions and routines in their surroundings. These visual supports also contribute to improving communication and reducing anxiety.

    Choose sensory-friendly materials 

    This means you have to fill your child’s play area with the right textures and materials that do not cause irritation. With that said, do not use harsh surfaces and fabrics in the area. Choose lighter and softer fabrics, like cotton, cashmere, velvet, and silk. All these materials can induce a strong tactile sensation.

    Include your child’s favorites 

    You have to be one hundred percent aware of what your child likes in a toy as well as their preferences. Know their favorite shape, food, animals, colors, activities, toys, and games, so you can integrate all those in their play area.

    With that, you can raise their enthusiasm to play while improving their retention period. By considering the things that interest them, it is possible for you to make their playtime not only fun and enjoyable but also interactive.


    You really have plenty of options when it comes to sensory toys for 1-year-old. As much as possible, fill their play area with a wide range of toys, activities, and games as their young age makes them prone to getting bored easily. By giving them a wide range of options, they can combine things and make their playtime interesting.