20 Best Baby Gifts for 1-Year-Olds
The home is a family's sanctuary. These toys and gifts for 1-year-olds are fun, educational and, of course, beautiful.
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A baby’s first birthday is a huge milestone. And we know just how tough it is to find gifts for 1-year-olds they will cherish. Since they’re more developed than a newborn, but not quite into toddlerhood, how do you know what toys, books and essentials are appropriate?
As a new mom, I choose toys that help build motor skills, enhance hand-eye coordination and support sensory development. I appreciate gift ideas that are easy on the eyes, too! The 1-year-old phase goes by fast, so it’s OK to spring for bigger ticket items like a play kitchen for them to look forward to as the months go by. Here are the best gifts for 1-year-olds, according to moms of little ones.
Personalized Bedtime Story
At 1-years-old, it’s safe to say their book collection is stocked up on the classics like Guess How Much I Love You and Goodnight Moon. But you know what they probably don’t have? A children’s book where they’re the main character thanks to Wonderbly’s story gifts for 1-year-olds. Perfect for littles 0-8 years old, The Little Girl or Boy Who Dared to Dream story empowers children to dream big because anything is possible so long as they put their minds to it. They’ll love snuggling up for bedtime and reading this personalized book with their parent for years to come.
“I just bought the adorably illustrated Our 12 Days of Christmas book for my baby nephew,” says Shopping Editor, Annamarie Higley. “I’m so excited to be part of creating a holiday tradition for my sister and her family.”
Lovevery Babbler Play Kit
For 1-year-olds who are finding their voice and are constantly on the move, we can’t recommend Lovevery play kits enough. Though there are a few different options for 1-year-olds, The Babbler kit is perfect for little ones 13-15 months, so they can enjoy it the minute it’s gifted.
“These play kits are perfect for toddler development and toy rotation,” says Senior Shopping Editor, Cher Checchio. “Each kit that my 22-month-old has received has helped with her fine motor skills and brain development. We love spending a couple of hours each day exploring different ways to play with the toys—and without screens.”
The 1-year-old age range is weird. Because they’re still growing out of toys and clothes at a rapid rate, it’s OK to gift something for littles to enjoy toward the 15 to 22-month age range when toddlerhood amps up. This balance bike is just the right gift for the occasion.
“What we love most about this ride-on balance bike is that it’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor use,” says Senior Shopping Editor, Cher Checchio. “My daughter started using this at 15 months old and loves riding the bike inside, but she recently started riding it outside and even takes it uphill. The bike is lightweight, easy to put together and fosters much-needed toddler independence.”
Donut Plush Toy
Sure, stuffed animals are cute, but these days, the kiddos are obsessed with Jellycat plush toys. With classic designs like a rabbit plush or weird and adorable picks like this donut plush toy, you really can’t go wrong with any gift from Jellycat. Please note that this is not intended for use in cribs, rather it’s a cuddle toy for playtime or use with supervision.
Personalized Baby Blanket
Baublebar makes the best blankets, including cuddle essentials for babies and kids. This neutral-toned blanket comes in a kid-appropriate size to last them well through toddlerhood and is personalized with their name for an extra sweet touch. Choose from beige, denim, grey and tan colorways. It’s one of our favorite personalized baby gifts.
We said it once and we’ll say it again: gifts for 1-year-olds are tough. Significant child development happens between the 12 to 24-month mark, so don’t fret over gifting a toy they can look forward to, like this play kitchen suitable for 18 months and up.
“I’m no cook but my daughter is, thanks to this play kitchen,” says Senior Shopping Editor, Cher Checchio. “She loves using the spatula to ‘cook’ on the stove or to ‘bake’ food in the oven. The kitchen comes with some pretend food and an apron, but the best part is the play sounds. The hood fan whirls and the stove simmers and boils to bring any toddler’s imagination to life.”
By the time they’re ready for the grown-up kitchen, they’ll already be a master at cooking pasta and baking cookies!
My Favorite People Board Book
Since most of our immediate family members live a flight away, this baby board book helps our little ones remember their faces outside our regular FaceTime calls. It’s such a sweet part of her bedtime routine, naming off all the people who love her while winding down for the night.
As little ones become more independent, bath time gets more playful. Get them pumped up for their favorite evening ritual with this five-piece toy set featuring a spill n’ fill whale and sea creature friends. The bath will be their ocean in no time.
Music and Lightbox
The gift of restful sleep? Now that’s something parents and their 1-year-old will thank you for every. single. day. thanks to this immersive music and lightbox. The bedtime companion sparks the imagination with stories, synchronized light projections, melodies and soothing white noises to promote peaceful sleep. Plus, it comes with an illustrated book to follow before bedtime. They’ll explore the ocean, forest, space and village universes with this enchanting gift.
This gift may make you the auntie or uncle of the year in the eyes of a young child—because…ball pits! Now that we’re all germ-conscious, a personal ball pit feels less gross than a community ball pit. The pit and BPA-free balls are both neutral-toned (with a splash of turquoise or pink, of course), which blends well into any home.
Personalized Name Puzzle
Fitting various shaped pieces into their places requires fine motor skills, and puzzles are a popular old-school toy that helps babies develop this skill. This beautiful custom puzzle is small enough to store and is beautifully designed, so parents won’t tuck it away in a toy box.
Gift their very own cozy hideaway with a play tent they’ll enjoy well through their toddler years. Suitable for littles 12 months old and up, it’s their safe space, play area and imagination corner all in one. Plus, the natural canvas and beechwood are ideal for parents who are big on aesthetics.
The possibilities for creativity are endless with playsilks. As a baby, our child loved the sensory experience of the silk brushing up against her skin. Your little one can also use it as a cape, a fort or whatever else their imagination comes up with. This one makes an excellent baby shower gift, too.
Known as the original STEM toy, building blocks are great learning toys that kids can use for many years. At the age of 1, babies start with stacking, and they eventually create larger towers when they begin to learn the basics of physics like cause and effect, gravity, force and velocity. Soon, they will line up the blocks—an exercise in precision and patience. As kids get older, they play more creatively with blocks, creating tunnels and other structures. These blocks by Uncle Goose come in 25 different languages, from German to Arabic and Japanese.
Bubble Bath Set
One of the best gifts for a minimalist family is something perishable—and it doesn’t have to be food. Bath time is a treasured bedtime routine, and this rainbow of bubbles bath set not only smells amazing—it encourages experimentation, too. Packed with shampoo, body wash and bubble bath, the set also features a recipe book and mixing bowl for little ones (or moms and dads) to channel their inner chemist by mixing scents. A mom created Dabble and Dollop bath products to adhere to strict standards for quality and purity. They are also free of known allergens and are a great sensory experience because they smell amazing!
Playing with musical instruments is so valuable to the developing brains of young children. And, all parents know that if that musical instrument makes a sweet sound (as opposed to an annoying one), all the better! This gorgeous sandalwood ukulele will be loved for many years to come.
Baby Pool Float
Get them pumped up for summer fun with a stylish pool float to ride around in all season long. Available as a unicorn, golf cart, convertible and airplane, it’s hard to choose just one design (the unicorn is our fave). Pool play is right around the corner!
The Pikler helps babies and toddlers develop gross motor skills, balance and strength, and promotes creative play. This Lily & River Pikler comes with a non-toxic finish, is made in the US, folds flat to store and is compatible with more attachments. Since this is a bigger item that takes up lots of floor space, be sure to give parents the chance to choose if this is something they want and have space for in their home.
This busy board teaches all the motor skills a child will need to independently get themselves dressed for daycare or school in the morning. It includes zippers, different types of buckles, buttons and shoelaces. Like a fidget toy, it can help children with restlessness, anxiety and agitation by keeping them preoccupied. But unlike a fidget toy, it teaches skills that will help little ones develop independence. I love that it’s super lightweight and can occupy small hands while traveling.
Bamboo Footie Pajamas
These Kyte baby pajamas are hands down one of the best baby gifts we’ve received. The two-way zipper is key for late-night or early-morning diaper changes, and the stretchy fabric makes it usable for a longer period than most pajamas. Plus, the super soft bamboo fabric is great for sensitive skin, including babies with eczema. The colors and designs are also great for the design-conscious family.