Are you looking for some gift ideas for a one-year-old? Here is our list of the best 1st birthday gift ideas, from entertaining toys to developmental must-haves.
Your little one has been busy this past year! After a year of growing and learning, your 1-year-old is ready for some more interactive, age-appropriate toys to keep the momentum and development going in the right direction.
Kids at this age change at light speed, so even if you’re a stay-at-home mom, it can be tough to keep up!
By now, your little one is building linguistic skills, playing simple games (like peekaboo), and becoming attached to their favorite toys. They want things they can push, pull, and otherwise manipulate to learn how the world around them works. But parents dread those “educational toys” that make tons of different sounds at random times (like the middle of the night).
A lot of people give toys a bad rap. While I agree that there can be too much focus (and money) spent on toys, they CAN also be valuable tools to help your 1-year-old practice new skills as they master new abilities and learn about their surroundings.
After thinking about our experience and what our kids loved as 1 year olds, here are some awesome 1st birthday gift ideas to help make that special occasion even more special, fun, and educational.
Say “happy birthday” with these great 1st birthday gift ideas. I’ve broken down this list of great gift ideas into boys and girls. There is plenty of crossover between the two groups at this age, though, so don’t feel confined by the items listed in either category!
(If you’re planning a first birthday party, you’ll also love this list of the best birthday traditions to start at one, and our list of fun games and activities for a first birthday party!)
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Best 1st Birthday Gift Ideas For Boys
Boys and girls begin to display differences around this age. Boys usually tend to be more active and focused on gross motor skills. That’s why these first birthday gifts are geared toward the child (boy OR girl) who wants to MOVE!
Does your little one constantly practice “jumping” when you hold him? Let him practice all he wants (and wear him out so he’ll sleep) with a doorway swing. It will help strengthen leg muscles and build core strength to prepare him for his next big milestone: walking!
Here’s the all-in-one perfect 1st birthday gift idea: a hands-on fine motor skill development toy that rolls on wheels. It’s the best of both worlds and will entertain your 1-year-old for hours with a bead maze, 1-9 number board, teaching clock, bead mazes, and more. Say “hello” to the hit toy of your child’s first birthday party – all the kids will want to play with it.
Studies have shown that listening to music is great for helping a baby’s brain develop. What’s more, it makes them want to move (every tired parent knows that a tired baby is a baby that will SLEEP).
This piano mat makes the cut of the best first birthday gifts because it’s made of high-quality, smooth, waterproof fabric that’s non-slip, stable, and won’t harm your kid’s feet. Young kids and older kids, alike, need a musical instrument. Let the dance party begin!
Encourage shape and color recognition, imaginative play, and exploration through play. This shape sorter cement truck will also help your child develop hand-eye coordination and spatial recognition skills. A great push toy or pull toy, your baby boy (or little girl) can open and close the door, play with the driver, and add shapes to the barrel of the truck.
Have you got an athlete in the family? This sports-themed 1st birthday gift includes different plush toys for various sports to get those feet moving. I love the handy carry bag to keep all the balls contained!
You can pick from several different themed sets of soft toys, including a tackle box, vet bag, baking set, or toolbox.
If you like to spend time outside, this is one of the classic best 1st birthday gift ideas for a reason! Every child needs a ride-on toy. While your kiddo won’t keep up with you while walking yet, give them time in this car, and you’ll be trying to keep up! So many versions are available now, from the pink princess car to the off-roading truck.
My kids have a black and white “police car” version of the Little Tykes Cozy Coupe and it has been LOVED. We’ve kept it around even though they are 4 + 5 now. They STILL get into it and push each other around and have a blast. This was a first birthday gift idea that we REALLY got some value out of, lol.
Best 1st Birthday Gift Ideas For Girls
At this age, young children also find a huge interest in activities that work on fine motor skills (ex: moving beads around). Cause-and-effect relationships are big too (ex: “oooo, doing this makes a loud noise, and mommy jumps!”).
If you have a baby girl, you’ll notice that she focuses on these skills more than her gross motor skills. These baby’s first birthday gifts develop fine motor skills and spatial relationships and appeal to both girls and boys!
Soft, cuddly, and so. Much. Fun. My #1 requirement for stuffed animals is that they are SUPER soft, and this irresistible octopus fits the bill! Its ribbed, floppy tentacles are the perfect size for little hands to grab and manipulate. You can also grab a stroller version of this great toy that you can attach (without picking it up 983 times as you go for a walk)!
My kids have three of these Jellycat stuffies – a monkey, an elephant, and a bunny – and they are FAVPROITES!
I’m a huge fan of letting kids explore with their hands and bodies at this age. Thankfully, this colorful toddler activity center won’t take up a lot of space in your home. It’s packed with spinning dials, springy flaps, and more to provide tons of fun fine motor skill development time.
Multi-activity toys like this one are terrific space-savers and provide hours of entertainment and learning. This activity cube includes worm-catching, whack-a-mole, gear rotation, carrot harvest game, playing the xylophone, and number & time cognition to work on fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and cause and effect learning.
Introduce problem-solving skills early as your child works to figure out how these shapes fit together in each puzzle. Children learn best through play (don’t we all?). This toy makes the list of the top 1st birthday gift ideas because it hones in on developing hand-eye coordination and attention span. If your child loves animals, grab this animal puzzle set instead for your baby’s first birthday!
Kids will have so much fun learning color, shape, and counting using the 5 different bright colors and shapes of these blocks. As they work to stack the blocks, they’ll thrill in learning fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, matching, and more without even knowing it.
This deluxe fidget toy never gets old and will become must-have sensory toys for car trips! The simple design, fun colors, and additively satisfying popping sound delight the senses and encourage sensory exploration and cause-and-effect understanding. It’s also a great way to improve fine motor skills!
1st Birthday Gifts That Excite And Teach
The best birthday gifts for toddlers are the ones that engage the senses and encourage learning simultaneously and in different ways. Remember that this list of gift ideas is by no means exhaustive. Other items such as bath toys, a play phone, a baby doll, or a water table can be great options to encourage pretend play.
If you’re hunting for the perfect gift for a one-year-old, this list of the best first birthday gift ideas will keep you from wasting time and money on items they’ll play with once and ignore forever.