The 13 best birthday gift ideas for a 1-year-old

From books to musical toys, here's what to get a soon-to-be 1-year-old.

ByMargeaux Baulch Klein KTRK logo
Friday, May 17, 2024
best gifts for 1 year old
Here are the best gifts for your almost toddler.

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If there's a one-year-old's birthday coming up on your calendar, you may be trying to figure out what to buy them. With so many options to choose from, we reached out to several experts to get their input on what types of toys and accessories make for the best first birthday gifts.

What to keep in mind when shopping for a first birthday gift

Prioritize safety:

Any gifts intended for a 1-year-old should be age-appropriate and not contain any small parts or pieces that could pose a choking hazard, cautioned child experts Dr. Amanda Gummer, a child psychologist and founder of The Good Play Guide, and Dr. Erynne Bowers, a pediatrician with Orlando Health. For toys, look for the manufacturer's recommended age range. It's often listed in the product description or on the packaging.

Opt for sensory toys:

Since 1-year-olds are just beginning to explore their environments, toys that can stimulate their senses are great gift ideas.

"I love toys with soft, fuzzy, rough or smooth surfaces, like textured fabric books or sensory blocks. Musical toys that produce sounds are also great choices that will not only entertain little ones but will help them learn about cause and effect and what happens when they touch or press certain things," said Dr. Gummer.

Consider toys that foster developmental skills:

Toys that help nurture developmental skills make great gifts, too, said Dr. Bowers. For example, books can help develop a 1-year-old's fledgling communication skills, while puzzles, stacking blocks and crayons can help young toddlers work on their fine motor skills.

Don't overlook physical development, either. Around the 12-month mark is when many toddlers begin to take their first steps, so consider gifts that help encourage standing or walking.

With this criteria in mind, here are some of the best first-birthday gift ideas for the soon-to-be toddler in your life.

The best first birthday gift ideas


Baby Einstein Curiosity Activity Table

  • $50

    This Baby Einstein art and science activity table is the perfect toy to help inspire 1-year-olds to stand up and move around as they play. It features an assortment of colorful hands-on gadgets for toddlers to explore and develop their fine motor skills. What's more, it can play songs and introduce vocabulary words in three different languages.


    Jellycat Fuddlewuddle Lion Stuffed Animal

    • $30

      For a high-quality and durable stuffed animal that can last for years, look no further than Jellycat, a brand that's well-known for their especially soft and cuddly plush toys. They come in a variety of designs from lions to dinosaurs, bears, rabbits and dogs.


      Customizable Wooden Name Puzzle

      • $9

        Any chunky puzzle can help a 1-year-old develop their fine motor skills, but this personalized wood one makes for an especially great present since it can be customized with a child's name and their favorite animals, dinosaurs, vehicles or sports. Choose from over eight color themes and 100 puzzle characters to create a one-of-a-kind gift.


        Mega Bloks Block Toys

        • $20

          These Mega Bloks can inspire open-ended play, as young children explore how to connect and build with them. Plus, their jumbo size makes them easier and safer for 1-year-olds to play with than traditional Legos.


          Chuck Taylor All Star 2V Rainbow Print Sneaker

          • $40

            Available in both baby and toddler sizes, these miniature Chuck Taylor sneakers are a perfect first shoe for beginning walkers. They feature grippy rubber soles and two Velcro straps to help support 1-year-olds as they gain confidence in their walking skills.

            Barnes & Noble

            Bright Baby Touch & Feel Boxed Book Set

            • $15

              Not only does this colorful book set help teach a 1-year-old all about different types of animals, its built-in touch and feel sensory experience allows toddlers to explore the books with their hands.


              Crayola Egg Crayons (12-Count)

              • $34

                These washable, jumbo-sized crayon eggs are designed to be easier for young toddlers to grasp than traditional crayons. The egg-shaped ergonomic design fits perfectly into the palm of their hands, allowing 12-month-olds to create their first works of art while developing their hand strength.


                Skip Hop 3-in-1 Baby Activity Toy

                • $52

                  This three-in-one dog-themed scooter can grow with your child, transforming from a toy that a 1-year-old can push or pull with their hands to a ride-on or stand-on scooter that an older toddler can power with their feet. In addition, the toy's headlight has a button for toddlers to push to hear music as well as fun sound effects, like a horn.


                  Amazon Basics Shape Sorter and Rainbow Stacker Toys

                  • $16

                    Help a 1-year-old master stacking and sorting with these toys that teach colors, shapes and sizes. Made with durable wood and plastic materials, this set includes two classic toddler toys, a shape sorter and a ring stacker, for the price of one.


                    ABC What I Can Be! Personalized Children's Story Book

                    • $27

                      From an astronaut to a zookeeper, this softcover ABC-themed book explores all of the different types of careers a child might have when he or she grows up. Plus, it can be customized with a 1-year-old's name, home state, photo and more, making it a truly personalized and special gift.


                      LeapFrog Musical Rainbow Tea Party

                      • $25

                        This tea party set will engage all of a child's senses. It features a light-up teapot that can play seven songs and say over 50 phrases, including colors and numbers. The set also comes with six matching cake slices to foster imaginative, pretend play.


                        Infantino Stackables Activity Playset

                        • $20

                          This 18-piece set of squishy balls, rings and toys provides a variety of textures, shapes and colors for a 1-year-old to explore. Plus, the durable silicone material allows the toys to be played with both in and out of the bathtub.


                          Fisher-Price Little People Big Yellow School Bus Musical Learning Toy

                          • $25

                            1-year-olds can have fun with this Little People yellow school bus toy in several ways. They can play with the four included figurines both on and off the bus, or they can make the bus move by pulling it around with the attached handle while they walk. They can also push the four buttons on top of the bus to hear stimulating music and sounds.

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