Whether it’s a birthday present, a gift for the holidays, or you’re celebrating a milestone; there are plenty of reasons to shop for a child. If a one-year-old baby is on your shopping list, it’s important to look for age-appropriate gifts that foster their developing young minds and bodies.
From classic toys, like rocking horses, puzzles, and building blocks, to non-toy gifts, like an annual pass to a local children’s museum, we’ve curated some of our favorite gifts for one-year-olds. With a little bit of inspiration from this list, you’re sure to find the perfect baby gifts for girls or boys.
1. Kid-Sized Tableware
One-year-old kids are just starting to feed themselves, so why not give them their very own toddler-sized dishes? They need plates, cups, and utensils that not only fit their small hands, but that can stand up to their rough and tumble antics, like throwing them on the ground or beating them on the table. They’ll love the pop of color at mealtime, and parents will love that they’re virtually unbreakable.
2. Know Your Shapes
Shape sorters are classic toys for toddlers—and make wonderful gifts for one-year-olds. They are a fun challenge for little ones, helping them learn to sort and categorize objects by shape, size, and color. At first, they’ll enjoy banging all the pieces together; then, they’ll eventually learn cause and effect—if they push a toy into a hole, it disappears—all while developing their hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills.
3. Stacking Toys
Nesting or stacking toys may seem very simple, but when it comes to a child’s early development, they make a huge impact. The act of picking up objects—like the various parts of a stacking toy—and putting them in place helps toddlers develop their fine motor skills. Stacking toys often consist of a center post and several colorful donut-shaped pieces that stack on the post. The toys also help kids develop hand-eye coordination, depth perception, and spatial awareness.
4. Give Them A Push
Popular examples of push toys include kid-sized grocery carts, lawnmowers, baby doll strollers, and tiny vacuum cleaners. They are a perfect present for little ones who are learning to walk. They help wobbly new walkers feel more stable and provide support for those who haven’t mastered their first steps yet. They’re also great for developing a one-year-old’s imagination and boosting their confidence while they imitate their parents by shopping, cutting the grass, or helping vacuum the rug.
5. Get Puzzled
Kids of all ages love to play with puzzles because they are a challenge. When it comes to little ones, they provide a learning benefit by building motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and problem-solving skills. Like books, a child can never have too many puzzles. Look for puzzles that have a few large pieces that they can easily grasp with their little fingers. While puzzles like this may present a challenge, it’s a great way for them to start maneuvering in new ways.
6. Make Bathtime Lots Of Fun
Turn bathtime into playtime by giving a set of bath toys as a gift. From buckets and balls and rubber duckies to floaty foam letters and numbers, when it comes to bath toys, the options are endless and often include an educational component. Whatever bath toy you choose, look for ones that are mold-resistant and easy to clean.
7. Pound Away
Wood or plastic, colorful or black and white, there are a variety of pegboard games available for children. Despite the different designs, the premise of a peg toy is the same—a board with holes that pegs fit into. While it sounds simple, peg toys and games teach kids how objects fit together. They’re a wonderful way to build motor control because the child must pick up a peg and fit it into a hole.
8. Hello Caller
Kids love to imitate their parents. That’s one reason a toy phone makes a fun gift for a one-year-old. You can find toy mobile phones that sing songs, make noises when buttons are pressed, light up, and ring just like the real thing. Not only are they great fun for kids, but they also can be learning tools, with built-in apps for learning letters, colors, and arithmetic.
9. Blanket Fort
A cozy baby blanket is the perfect baby gift when you want to give them something cozy to cuddle with. Your little one will love snuggling with it during naptime or while you read them a story. You can even use it to build an indoor fort to beat the boredom blues and give their imagination a boost.
10. College Fund
As the cost of college continues to rise, a popular trend in gift-giving is a donation to a child’s college fund. Start early with a gift of money, a savings bond, or a donation into an established college savings account. You might even plan to give this gift every year. By the time that one-year-old reaches their late teens, they’ll have grown a substantial amount of money to use toward higher education.
11. Board Books
One-year-olds can’t read yet, but they aren’t too young to understand when you read to them. Exposing them to books while they’re young helps them develop a better vocabulary as they grow. Board books are perfect to gift to a little one because they’re made with short stories and lots of fun, colorful pictures. They’re made with thick pages that are easier for them to turn and hard for their little hands to destroy.
12. Pull Toys
Just like push toys help develop a little one’s early walking skills, pull toys are the next step in a toddler becoming a full-blown walker. Pull toys can be made of wood or plastic, animal or vehicle-shaped, and most often include a string for the child to pull along as they walk. They help a new walker develop balance and coordination as they pull their toy friend around on new adventures.
13. On The Block
Building blocks are the quintessential kid’s gift—and for a good reason. They help develop a child’s motor skills and hand-eye coordination. The act of picking up the blocks helps strengthen their little fingers and hands. Stacking the blocks (and watching them topple over) enhances a kid’s logical thinking and teaches cause and effect.
14. My, How You’ve Grown
Celebrate a little life by gifting them a growth chart so they can look back and see how big they’re getting. Growth charts can be as simple as a wooden ruler hung vertically on the wall or an adorably decked-out piece of room decor. But, no matter what they look like, all growth charts serve the same purpose—showing how much a child has grown from one year to the next. Kids love seeing how tall they’re getting, and you’ll love having the memory of their childhood.
15. You’re A Member
Looking for a great gift that keeps on giving? Encourage family time and a sense of adventure by giving a child an annual pass to the local wildlife rescue or a membership to a fun museum. More than just another object for their toy box, you’ll help them create lifelong memories and fun with the family.
16. Kid-Friendly Magazines
Believe it or not, there are quite a few magazines that cater to one-year-olds. Even though they can’t read yet, these magazines are published with the early development of little kids in mind. Jam-packed with short stories, colorful pictures, and simple rhymes, they are perfect for toddlers and parents to read together. A monthly subscription to a kid-friendly magazine is a creative gift that keeps on giving.
17. Have A Ball
All kids can benefit from bouncing, throwing, dropping, rolling, catching, kicking, and tossing a ball. In fact, when it comes to one-year-olds, balls are a must-have toy. Playing ball with a child—by tossing or rolling it back and forth—is a fun way to develop a social bond and also teaches the little one cause and effect. Choose a ball that’s large enough that it isn’t a choking hazard and light enough that it won’t do any damage if it’s thrown in the house.
18. Piggy Bank
It’s never too early to teach little ones about the value of money. They’ll learn all about goal-setting and saving their pennies with the gift of a piggy bank. Whether you choose a modern bank that digitally tracks their savings or pick a classic simple jar with a coin slot, a piggy bank makes an excellent gift for a child. Get them started by adding a few coins to the bank before you wrap it.
19. Rocking Horse
Classic rocking horses have been inspiring kids’ imaginations for generations. Not only are they fun and foster young ones’ creativity, but they also help them improve their basic motor skills, coordination, and balance. Choose from the classic wooden horse to a faux fur horse or even a unicorn or zebra—the choices are endless.
20. Color Me Happy
The ability to create art and express themselves is one of the best gifts you can give a small child. A budding little artist learns important developmental skills, like problem-solving, cause and effect, recognizing shapes, patterns, and colors, and self-confidence, to name a few. When a child creates art, it’s the process that matters more than the final product that will grace the front of the fridge. Look for paints, markers, and crayons that are non-toxic, washable, and created specifically for tiny hands.
21. Dear Baby
Here’s another unique gift idea that’s not a toy. Send a journal so mom and dad can write special messages and letters, document all the precious moments, and jot down little milestones. When the child grows up, their journal will become a cherished memento. They’ll flip through its pages and reflect on their childhood.
22. Sensory Play
A wonderful way to engage a young mind is through sensory play. This includes activities that stimulate a child’s senses—touch, taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Some great toys for sensory play include slime, squishy toys, play dough, foam, and goop. For mess-free sensory play, contain the toys within a bag or bin.
23. Mommy And Me
Foster the unique bond between child and parent by gifting them with a class or activity they can do together. A music class, arts and crafts, yoga, or swimming lessons are all great examples of classes a parent and baby can take together. They provide much-needed socialization for new parents and teach new skills to toddlers.
If you’re shopping for baby gifts for a girl, she’s never too young for her very own dollhouse. Even when it comes to one-year-olds, a dollhouse gives a child a form of self-expression and fosters their creativity and imagination. When choosing a dollhouse, look for a simple one that’s built with a toddler in mind with basic furniture, bright colors, and accessories that are too big to be a choking hazard.
25. Kid-Friendly Concert
From listening to a concert of kids’ songs to seeing their favorite characters in person, tickets to a live event can be a unique and exciting gift for a one-year-old. If they love to sing and dance at home or in the car, a live concert will take their favorite tunes to a whole new level. Concerts that are meant for kids usually cater to their needs, like softer music for sensitive little ears and earlier start times so they can be home by bedtime.
26. Music To My Ears
Making noise is extremely fun for one-year-olds! But that’s not the only reason musical instruments make wonderful gifts for little ones. Studies have shown that children who played musical instruments had increased development in speech, reading, and listening skills. Whether you opt for a xylophone, tambourine, keyboard, drum, or guitar, you’ll inspire a child’s development by giving them a musical instrument as a gift.
27. Sorting Games
Learning to sort and organize is a developmental stage kids go through around the age of one. A sorting game will teach your toddler to notice similarities and differences and helps develop their memory skills. Examples of sorting games include color matching games, memory games, or a color scavenger hunt, where the child hunts for objects that are a specific color.
28. Let’s Get Busy
Busy boards are activity boards that help develop a young child’s motor skills. They are unique in that they’re made with everyday objects and not toys. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you can build a busy board by attaching locks, doors, knobs, rope to tie knots, buttons, switches, caster wheels, clips, buckles, and anything else you can think of to a wooden box or cabinet door. At first, the child will enjoy touching all the different items and will eventually learn how to operate them.
29. Now I Know My ABCs
Learning happens more quickly if it’s fun. And, while your one-year-old isn’t ready to read just yet, exposing them to the alphabet and numbers early with toys and games will make learning easier as they get older. You can find a variety of toys that teach letters and numbers, from magnets, cookie cutters and dough, stickers, or any number of digital and electronic toys.
30. It’s The Pits
Kids absolutely love ball pits, but parents might be hesitant to let them play in public ball pits for safety reasons. Luckily, it’s really easy to DIY a homemade ball pit. Just fill a kiddie pool, play tent, or portable crib with a few dozen colorful plastic balls, and the little one will have instant endless entertainment.
No matter if you give a classic kids’ toy or a unique gift, it’s important to choose something that’s age-appropriate and helps them with their crucial development skills—and it should be fun for the child to play with, too. If you’re also shopping for a new baby, check out some of our favorite baby shower gift ideas.