Happy Birthday to your 1-year-old baby! If you’re a bit like me, the past year has been simultaneously the best year of your life, mixed with some of the worst (I'm mostly talking about anything related to night feedings, and 4-day-hair). But it’s time to think about a perfect gift idea for your 1-year-old. Whether it’s a 1 year old baby girl or 1 year old baby boy, I’ve compiled some of the most unique gift ideas to get you set for the year!
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If you’ve been following along with any major milestone checklists (and here’s one from the CDC) your child can do a number of incredible things. Their little brains are expanding and developing alongside their bodies and they’re working hard on those gross and fine motor skills.
Your baby can likely wave peekabo, say a few words or string a small sentence together. Your 1 year old may still be shoving any and everything in their mouth (don’t worry this will end soon!), along with throwing and shaking and hitting toys on any and everything that makes a loud (pleasing to your baby) noise.
If you’re looking to encourage this development you’ll likely want to find toys and activities that help expand your babies capabilities and keep them on the right path for growth.
Before You Buy
If you’re a budget conscious momma (aren’t we all these days) you’ll want to be sure you have a few things available to you to get the best deal.
I’m sending you to Amazon for most of these toys and gift ideas. Use Ebates to get an even bigger discount.
If you don’t already have an Ebates Account, click below.
You’ll receive anywhere from 5 - 10% cash back on things that you are going to buy ANYWAY.
There’s also a chrome extension so even if you totally forget about it a little pop up will trigger you to activate your cash back (Or another discount!)
Click the link below to sign up with Ebates and get cash back on so many things!
About This Gift Guide for 1-Year-Old Babies
As I compiled this list of gift and toy ideas for 1 year olds, I took into consideration 3 qualifiers:
Must have multiple uses or can “grow” with baby.
Toys aren’t cheap and clutter is annoying so having a toy that lasts and keeps on keeping on well after they’ve worn it out is a sweet spot in my house.
Baby and toddler gift ideas that are safe and sturdy and help encourage their mental and physical development.
The Bonus Category of - “Does not Come with Batteries,” or can easily be turned off if it gets too forking annoying (and let’s face it, as a mom of boys who go to a Montessori daycare I’ve seen first hand how quickly they tire of battery toys and how long toys that inspire imagination to continue to last.
These are some of the best gift ideas for a 1-year-old for their birthday, Christmas, Hannukah, or just because.
I know I just said I want you to avoid toys with batteries but this is the one exception:
The v-Tech Sit to Stand. My boys are 3 and almost 5 years old and THEY STILL PLAY WITH THIS THING!
They love to push it around as fast as they can in the back yard.
Back when they were babies, this was also a huge hit.
It allowed them both the stimulation of playing with the activity on the panel in the front of the toy, while also providing a bit of a “walker” for the baby to practice taking steps.
Fair warning - we recently gave one to our neighbor’s 1-year-old baby girl and I heard that within minutes she took to it like a fish to water. And was suddenly walking everywhere.
This sit to stand walker is also great to help them develop their hip and leg and foot strength (rather than walkers where the baby sits inside and just pushes along - sort of like a go-cart).
If you don’t already have a set of stacking cups this is one of those toys that lasts and lasts and lasts and promotes so much creativity and imagination.
My boys still use the ones they had as babies to collect mud and make “mud pies” when it rains or in the outdoor water table. (More on water tables in a hot hot minute)
These cups are great to stack in a tower, collect, and at one point my boys even were collecting different sized rocks in them.
A Water Table (or Two!)
This water table is the best $45 we’ve spent on our kids.
I’m not even kidding.
We got it as a 1st birthday present for our second baby, when his big brother was still 2 years old.
They played with it with legit water (those stacking cups) and a number of other things ranging from balls to cars to dinosaurs to legos.
They’ve piled mud in it.
They’ve added rocks to it.
They will sit and stand and play with this water table for hours while we sit and drink a cocktail (or three).
If you're living in an area that doesn’t quite have the ideal weather for this - don’t fear!
Setting up an indoor water table play station (complete with towels underneath) is a great alternative for your kiddos.
Better if you have tile floors though…
Mega Block Toys for 1-Year-Old
These are the ultimate gift for a 1-year-old. Classic stacking and helps with fine and gross motor skills!
They’re also super long lasting too and my kids still continue to play with them years and years down the road.
These Tegu Magnetic blocks are one of those incredible toys that I wish I had discovered earlier.
My boys love building things and creating worlds with these blocks and will sit and play TOGETHER with very minimal fuss.
Please be careful though.
If your baby is still shoving things in his mouth you may want to supervise his play with these as there have been very rare cases of babies chewing on the magnetic pieces (and causing unintended harm).
Pull Toys for Baby
I don’t know what it is about pulling toys, but when my boys were both 1 year old, they loved to take little toys for a walk. Our house has a bit of a circle layout in that you can make one big loop around the house and that’s what they did then, (and still my youngest just turned 3 and he found one of his pull puppy’s and took it for a walk).
Here are a few that are amazing:
We have a crocodile just like this one:
This one makes a bit of noise (but doesn’t require batteries): https://amzn.to/2M30NBB
This melissa and doug board just made it into our garage finally after 3 good long years of play. Both my boys loved working with it and my oldest actually taught my youngest how to use it.
Boards like this are great to hang up at baby level so they can stand and work, or in the case of ours, we had it on a low bookshelf and they could pull it out anytime they wanted to work with it.
A sensory board is also another option kind of like this one:
Montessori Toys at Home for a 1 Year Old Baby Gift
My boys go to a Montessori daycare and I’ve seen first hand just how LITTLE they have to play within the classroom, and how that has stimulated and benefitted their growth and curiosity with creative play.
When you’re looking for Montessori toys, in particular, try to stay away from plastic or noisy toys (or anything with a battery).
Wood is ideal, and products that can perform multiple tasks or be played with in several different ways are intended to get your child thinking and playing outside of the box.
If your child can’t play with a toy without the batteries, then it’s not a Montessori toy.
This board is great for your toddler to grow and learn how to do the things it takes to get dressed.
In Montessori, the entire philosophy is “teach me to do it myself” and this board is perfect for that:
A shape sorter is great as your 1-year-old baby continues to build fine motor skills and recognize shapes:
This Rainbow Nesting Puzzle is ideal for stimulating creativity and developing hand-eye coordination.
My boys still use this at least once a week - if they spill something they go grab the broom and the brush and try to clean it up. Sometimes they just like to “play” clean. (I know, what?).
My youngest was OBSESSED with sweeping for nearly two years of his life and as soon as he could walk he was pushing a broom or a Swiffer around the house.
I have pictures of abandoned brooms in almost every room of the house.
A Classic Rocking Horse
As your baby grows and you go to other people’s houses for playdates...odds are good you’re going to find this baby there too.
It’s a classic for a reason and this updated plastic version from the old toys of our childhood will keep your babies entertained for hours.
If you have more than one child consider buying two of these (you’re welcome).
Cars and Race Track Toys for 1 Year Old
Cars and race tracks are kind of a big deal in my house. My boys have amassed quite a hot wheels collection.
Your one year old may not be ready for that level of toy (yet - I was nervous about small parts at that age) but here are some clever alternatives to help them play and race and as my 3-year-old says “vroom them.”
This is another category of toys where I think it’s okay to invest in something a) with batteries and b) that will stimulate that part of your baby’s brain that loves to bang and hit things on the floor or the wall to make sweet beautiful noise ( I mean music)
If you get any musical toy for your 1 year old baby let it be this.
The Mozart music cube was a HUGE hit with my babies. And they still engage with it today. It’s sort of a “mixing board” for young DJ’s (or conductor) to test out different combinations of instruments, sounds. They can isolate a violin or a piano, or have the whole orchestra chime in.
The fact that it’s Mozart is supposedly great for their budding baby brains (although there is an ongoing debate on this).
Personally, I do love the music of Mozart. I find it calming and kind of stimulating to MY brain, so when it comes to hearing it over and over again because my 1-year-old has been playing with it, I don’t mind it so much.
Pick up your Music Cube here:
This Toddler percussion set has a little bit of everything. Sorry momma, your ears may be ringing after this but at least you’re stimulating the part of your babies brain that needs a little stimulation with actual instruments instead of your pots and pans and a ladel.
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