Let’s face it: the first birthday party is way more about the parents than it is about the child. It’s more like a ”We Made It!” type-statement than anything else. But that doesn’t mean the cute little bundle of love won’t play with and thoroughly enjoy every gift on this list—it just means they most likely won’t remember them.
Stack carefully. Knock over. Repeat. Such is the agenda of a one-year old child with a nice collection of big, soft blocks at hand. With the occasional break for eating, getting the diaper changed, and fits of crying and/or laughter. These blocks are big, soft and totally kid safe.
On the one hand, this wooden toy is a great lesson in the universal rule of cause and effect. The child makes one peg go down, and another comes up. It’s a fascinating learning experience. On the other hand, it’s really just a blast to hit things.
Once you get them this playset, they’ll be set for years. Set it up in the back yard and that lucky one-year old will never know life without a climbing wall, swings, and an entire universe of play, right there waiting for them. Your house will be the go-to neighborhood playdate destination.
As a parent, you quickly learn that kids play with the simplest toys they can find, and sometimes ignore the fancy things with all the bells and whistles. Life tends to be more about wrapping paper and empty boxes. This balance board wins because it’s so basic and natural.
There’s nothing more fun for a kid than taking a jump into the unknown—as long as you, the parent, know that the landing is going to be one hundred percent safe and soft. This little pit of plastic balls will give a one year old hours of fun.
So a one-year old is still years away from reading books. That doesn’t matter. Parents have to get them started on the classics as early as possible. And we’re not talking about Shakespeare. We’re talking about the one and only Theodor Seuss Geisel, the best writer of anything ever.
Get the kiddo started early on real life lessons—like baking cookies and pie for dessert. This play kitchen is great because parents can reconfigure it as the kids grow. It starts out at the perfect height for kids twelve to eighteen months, and can grow with them until age three or four.
This cute little frog is exactly what the doctor ordered for a one-year old. No, really—it’s developmentally appropriate, and has features that will build fine motor skills and let them practice things like zipping zippers, tying shoes, and wearing out Velcro the way only children can.
Shapes, colors, manual dexterity—every little thing counts. You don’t want to get crazy with the learning at this age, but it can’t hurt to think through the toy selection a little bit. This toy is wonderful because it’s fun and exposes kids to basics of learning.
Forget the learning, let’s just knock stuff down! Plush bowling is ideal for a one-year old gift because it takes advantage of the innate desire to throw stuff into other stuff so it falls over. Pretty basic—but you have to remember: everything is basic for a one-year old.
They’ll take their little cars and follow the lines on this city street carpet, making vroom-vroom noises the whole time. Then when they get older they’ll be able to identify buildings, and they’ll actually understand what they’re doing. Carpets like these last for years, and protect the floors under them, too.
This scoot along tricycle is the perfect way to get a little one on the path that eventually leads to a bicycle. No pedals, no balancing, no pressure. They’ll want to get on this adorable little giraffe and zoom around the room with foot power, which will prepare them for pedal power in a couple of years.
Mozart could play the violin and keyboard by age five and began composing symphonies at age eight—so what are you waiting for? J/k! This cube will foster the love of music in a child’s heart, while keeping things nice and fun.
This basket of fabric vegetable will have them fascinated for years. They’re soft, big, and ready for elaborate feasts of the imagination. It will also get kids used to having vegetable on their plates. Parents of one-year olds, you want to get ahead of the curve on the veggie thing. Trust us.
When you have absolutely no idea what to get a little girl, get her some hair bows. No girl is too young for cute things in her hair, and no mother or father will say no to having a bunch of extras on hand. This set comes in seven fun colors.
Toys like this musical activity center are great because there’s so much going on. This one literally has all the bells and whistles you can imagine. One year olds can play with this toy sitting down, and use it to lever themselves up to standing. They may take their first step next!
This play house is made of durable plastic that’s equally suited for an indoor playroom or outside in the back yard. Kids can lose themselves in their imaginations in this little house for hours on end. They’ll explore opening and closing doors, playing peekaboo, and much more.
This walker is just the right height to get a kid who’s on the verge of walking from the falling down stage to taking full steps across the room. The key is to get them distracted, standing, leaning, and playing, and before you know it, they’ll just let go of the walker and then…they’ll be walking.
Bath time is the best time. Warm, bubbly, fun. At age one, kids still need their parents with them in the bath tub, and these shapes will make bath time more fun for everyone. They’re totally kid safe, because there’s no doubt that the little one will try to eat them.
Ah, life on the farm. This playset includes an entire set of toys that a one-year old will love. From the farmer to the tractor to the crops and all the livestock, there’s years of play packed into this one little set. And it all packs up and it ready to take anywhere, which is a parent’s dream.
Parents, listen: you cannot stop them. You cannot control them. You can only hope to contain them. This modular play pen lets you keep your adventurous one-year old in a specific while you do things around the house or yard. As cute as they are, they just can’t really help rake or do dishes.
There’s no way a kid can make it through life without having at least one rocking horse—and this is one rocking horse. It’s made totally of wood, so it’s good for the Waldorff set, and it will last for years, which is good for any parent.
We’re getting the band back together…wait, they’re getting their first band together. This musical set for toddlers has everything the little ones need to get started on a life making music. There’s a xylophone, a drum, and three shakers for the backup dancers.
It’s not a doll house. That wouldn’t do it justice. It’s really a doll mansion. This play center has four floors of wonder, eight rooms, and thirty five pieces of furniture to mix and match. This one will grow with a child from age one all the way through elementary school.
Mix them and match them, make a jungle and then start all over again. These wooden magnets are painted with bright animals and will teach kids exactly what animals looks like. They’re made from safe materials so when the kid starts nibbling, there’s nothing to worry about.
There’s more to this tea set than meets the eye. It’s interactive and educational. That’s what most toys claim, but this one really delivers because it’s very well designed. It comes with songs, asks kids questions, and all parts are durable and snap-fit into their places like they’re supposed to.
HABA makes really great toys. They’re all wood and all natural, they don’t need batteries, and all of them serve some developmental or educational purpose. This set of musical eggs will get the little tykes shaking, rattling and rolling all day long.
If you’re the kind of uncle, friend, or grandparent that want to get a one-year old a gift that will stand the test of time, this dump truck should be high up on your list. It’s well-made from solid wood, and is fun on many levels.
This is an octopus with skills. Hug it, it sings a melody. Squeeze its parts, and it tells you what they are—in English, French, and Spanish. On top of all that, it’s totally cute and cuddly. Get this for a one-year old, and remember: don’t get jealous of the octopus just because it’s smarter than you.
Sports fans cannot wait to get their kids involved with their favorite sport. This kit is perfect for the ultimate set up. Line them up, and watch carefully: will your child pick the football, the baseball, the basketball, or the soccer ball? And just which one of those sports has the highest salary?
This one is really a gift for the parents and the kids. It’s an eating set made of bamboo and printed with an African safari theme. It’s all natural, free of toxins and dishwasher safe. This is a great first eating kit for little kids, but mom and dad need to be there when they use it.
Right in line after the hair bows is a set of cute little girly socks. A little girl can never have enough, and moms and dads will thank you. Because one thing is true: the missing sock phenomenon is even truer for toddler than adults. It’s almost impossible to find a matching pair, especially when you’re in a hurry.
Get all your ducks in a row with this perfect family of rubber ducks. This is a magical bathtub toy without equal. The momma duck shelters the four baby ducklings behind a mesh screen. They won’t take on water, and they’ll last for years of bath time fun.
You may wonder why you see these wire mazes in every single doctor and dentist office you visit with your child. The answer is simple: kids love them. That something so deceptively simple can keep them occupied for hours one of the great mysteries of the universe.
Yes! Too cute. You gotta have a little baby wool cap to keep that little baby head nice and warm in the winter. Remember the old Scandinavian saying: leave them in the cold for a couple of hours—when you come back, they’ll be beautiful. Disclaimer: we’re not saying leave kids unsupervised. It’s a folk saying!
Toys like this are great because they really teach kids while engaging their mind and imagination. Little humans are natural problem solvers, and this shape cube is loaded with solvable challenges that teach kids logical thinking, coordination, and strengthen their fingers and hands. Winning all the way around.
Okay, okay: maybe this particular Radio Flyer is a little bit extreme for a one year old, but we’re just saying. Somebody in this kid’s life needs to get him or her a bangin’ red wagon, and it needs to happen sooner than later. This one is the all-terrain model, made for some serious backyard adventuring.
These dolls will spark the imagination, because there’s room for the imagination. All a kid needs is an excuse to jump into the world of fantasy and play. These dolls don’t do all the work for them. They’re simple, functional, and inspire children to do what they do best: play.
Because giant six foot sock monkey! That’s why! The manufacturer’s recommended age for this big guy is three years and up, but we’ll leave it up to discerning parents and family members to decide. Keep him in your room for supervised play—but how can you resist the giant six foot sock monkey!
This foam floor mat is a blessing for kids and parents alike. It’s great for kids because it’s fun, colorful, and free of toxic chemicals like BPA’s and phthalates. It’s great for parents because it teaches kids while saving the wear and tire on carpet or wooden floors.
Toys made by Grimm are well-known for their high quality, durability, and elegance of design. These nesting shapes tick all three of those boxes. They’re carved from one piece of wood, so they fit together perfectly, and they also teach kids about color, shape, and relative size.
These cards have bold shapes and that will capture a child’s attention. Each one is simple and evoked the spirit of the animal. They’re a great extra gift for a one-year old you know is going to get a bunch of fancy stuff from the grandparents and everyone else—but we bet these will be favorites.
Finger puppet fun, farm style. These ten finger puppets are tailor made for singing and laughing to endless rounds of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Kids can make all the noises while wiggling the right animal on their finger, and there’s even a farmer and farmhouse.
Every kiddo needs a soft and cuddly teddy bear to keep them company at bedtime, and go on adventures with them all day. With this one, you can also give the kiddo a philanthropic start in life. When you buy one of these organic cotton and hemp bears, the company will donate one to a child in need.
When parents of older kids see a pair of Robeez on someone else’s toddler, they automatically say “Awww, I miss these!” And it’s true. Robeez are cool. Get these for the one-year old in your life, and remind the parents to cherish the days of easy, cute, slip-on shoes.
The title says it all: First Slide. Remember when nothing in life was more important than going down the slide? And nothing was worse than not getting your turn? Well, put this slide in the little one’s back yard and they’ll always be first in line.
8 DIY Gifts for 1 Year Olds
When you’re heading out to a one-year old’s birthday party, just remember: the parents and the grandparents are going to cover all the major stuff. If you’re not one of them, why not do something different, like make the kid the fun bath paints in this cool DIY tutorial?
Faaaabulous, darling, absolutely faaabulous. Every little girl needs to stay one step ahead of the fasion curve. You can keep the one-year old lovely in your life on the cutting edge by making her this super cute headband. She’ll be the envy of every toddler on the block!
Kids love Elmo, there’s no doubt about it. Something about this little red fella just speaks to all their best instincts. This DIY shows you how to make any Elmo9 tee for the toddling one-year old who has your heart. The best part about this one: it’s no sew—so it’s super easy.
If you want to show up with one of the coolest gifts at the party, then take a moment and check out this DIY. In 9 basic steps it teaches you how to make a wooden camera that the little one will love playing with for years.
This DIY is super-detailed and just perfect for a one-year old gift. It’s a step-by-step set of instructions on how to make a pair of dinosaur shoes that look like they come from a designer baby boutique. These are the kind of shoes the parents will save as part of a keepsake box.
The kiddo is going to need a smock for all the art projects coming up in life. They may be limited to finger-paint variations for a while, but you might as well get them their own work apron for it. This tutorial takes some sewing skill.
This fun project will give that little one-year old a head start on the outdoors lifestyle. Not that they’re going trekking in Nepal anytime soon, but they’re coming up on the age when a campout on the living room floor is just as good.
Ready, set, commit! To making the best DIY gift for a one-year old, ever in the history of gifts. This twelve step DIY shows you how to make an awesome indoor swing that the little lovely can hang out in for at least a year. You need sewing skill, and you need all the materials on the list. You. Can. Do. It.
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