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30 First Birthday Gift Ideas Worth Celebrating

Once they hit the one-year mark, baby is officially a toddler—and the milestone deserves a memorable gift. Here are some surefire winners.
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profile picture of Martina Garvey
Associate Editor
Updated
July 28, 2022
first birthday gifts 2022
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Baby is turning one—toddlerhood, here they come! If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve squared away your party plans and maybe even organized a cake smash—now you just need to think of some worthy first birthday gift ideas. But it’s hard to know what to buy for the special occasion. Should you pick up something sweet, sentimental, fun or educational? As it turns out, the best first birthday gifts combine a mix of these key qualities. As hard as it is for parents to select something baby truly loves, it can be tricky for friends and family members too. Help them out by dropping a few subtle hints and suggestions—if you’d prefer wooden toys or practical gifts, just say so! Or you could go one step further and send them this gift guide (just saying).

Ready to start shopping? Whether you’re an aunt, uncle or friend looking for a small token, or a first-time parent searching for a show-stopping present, here you’ll find tips on how to choose the best gifts for baby’s first birthday—plus, a few of our favorite products for one-year-olds.

How to Choose Baby’s First Birthday Gifts

Once children pass the 12-month mark, they officially enter toddler territory. What does that mean? They’re more mobile, perceptive and exploratory than ever before. One-year-olds can sit, and sometimes even start to stand and walk. They’re curious about their surroundings and extra interested in tactile sensations. At this stage, they’re fine-tuning other senses too and enjoy looking and listening simultaneously. So when picking out baby’s first birthday gifts, find things that’ll spark their interest and encourage these skills. Some of our favorite developmental toys for one-year-olds include push-and-pull items, flash cards, textured toys and other stimulating playthings.

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Before you buy, make sure that the item in question is age-appropriate and safe. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), toys that can fit entirely in a young child’s mouth—or items with small removable parts—are a no go, as they pose a choking risk to children under the age of 3.

Best First Birthday Gift Ideas

For first birthday gifts to really stand out, they should be surprising and feel personalized in some shape or form. That could mean a really cool design or even a custom-made product. Ready to see what we mean? From personalized presents to trendy toys and party outfits, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite first birthday gift ideas for girls and boys below.

Image: Jellycat

Jellycat Jollipop Giraffe Stuffed Animal

Plush toys are among the best first birthday gifts. But while everyone else is buying bunnies and bears, feel free to think outside the box. This cuddly giraffe (complete with a party hat) is just begging for hugs.

Buy it: $20, Nordstrom.com

Image: Manhattan Toy

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure

Engage your little one with this super-interactive first birthday gift idea. The wooden activity center features a colorful tree with six different bead runs and animal-themed gliders for hands-on learning. Not only is it excellent for developing kids’ fine motor skills, but it’ll keep them entertained for hours.

Buy it: $88, buybuyBABY.com

Image: Wonderbly

Wonderbly Happy Birthday To You Personalized Book

Here’s how you can really encourage those perceptive eyes and ears. Storybooks are always thoughtful one-year-old birthday gifts, but this literature is next-level. Each page in this celebratory tale features a different animal to match the letters of baby’s name. The rhyming book is designed to help your little one identify their moniker and (eventually) learn how to spell it.

Buy it: $37, Wonderbly.com

Image: Wow Toys

WOW Toys The Turbo Twins

These cute race cars will delight your little car lover. With matching drivers and eye-catching colors, your toddler will have tons of fun racing them around, while strengthening their motor skills.

Buy it: $33, Maisonette.com

Image: ElfPersonalisedGifts/Etsy

Elf Personalized Gifts Birthday Letters to my Baby

Here’s a perfect example of a unique first birthday gift that keeps on giving. This fill-in journal has space to write a letter to your child each year. And it’s personalized with baby’s name on the front cover. How memorable is that?

Buy it: $19, Etsy.com

Image: BAGHERA

Baghera Speedster Plane

For memorable first birthday gift ideas, look for playthings that grow with your child. This push and ride toy isn’t just totally awesome in appearance—the older your tot gets, the more fun they’ll have, especially when they master the airplane’s functioning steering wheel.

Buy it: $210, TheTot.com

Image: Munchkin

Munchkin 1st Birthday Gift Basket

Searching for practical ideas for a first birthday gift? Look no further than this gift basket packed full of best-selling baby essentials. Each item—from a leak-proof sippy cup and teething-friendly utensils to bath squirters—has been specially selected for one-year-olds.

Buy it: $40, Munchkin.com

Image: Lovevery

Lovevery Play Kits

Take the guesswork out of playtime with this awesome toy subscription by Lovevery. Designed by childhood development experts, each box is filled with age appropriate toys and a guide that helps parents engage with baby through play. Oh, and did we mention that this pick has been a Best of Baby winner for a few years running?

Buy it: $80 per play kit, Lovevery.com

Image: Boon

Boon Fleet Colorful Stacking Boats Bath Toys For Toddlers With Drain Holes

For one-year-olds, there’s nothing quite like the look, sound and sensation of falling water. Bring playtime to the bathtub with this set of pour toys. We love that they’re shaped like cute little boats, come in a bunch of attractive colors and are stackable for easy storage.

Buy it: $10, Walmart.com

Image: Manhattan Toy

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella Doll & Accessories Set

A doll is a great first birthday gift, as a cuddly toy helps kids self-soothe when they’re overwhelmed with big emotions. This pick is extra-special as it comes with a crown, cake and a bib that reads “happy birthday.”

Buy it: $34, Nordstrom.com

Image: Melissa and Doug

Melissa and Doug Turtle Ball Pit

Imagine the sweet photo opportunities you’ll get with this totally awesome ball pit. Shaped like a friendly green turtle, baby can sit inside and play with 60 multi-colored balls that are easy to squeeze, grasp and roll. Once playtime is over, simply zip up the turtle for easy storage.

Buy it: $102, MelissandDoug.com

Image: 7 ate 9 Apparel

7 ate 9 Apparel Baby Boy’s Mustache First Birthday Onepiece Outfit

When do parents stop getting asked how old their children are? Not this year, that’s for sure. Consider first birthday gift ideas that (hilariously) answer the never-ending question. This giftable onesie reads “If you mustache, I am one.”

Buy it: $10, Amazon.com

Image: Little Tikes

Little Tikes Rocking Horse in Blue

Looking for first birthday gift ideas that offer serious bang for your buck? This classic rocking horse is hard to beat. It can be used indoors and out, and the intuitive design means it’ll soon become baby’s favorite toy. Not bad for $35.

Buy it: $35, Walmart.com

Image: MemorableBabyShoes/Etsy

Memorable Baby Shoes Golden Boy First Birthday Gift

About half of one-year-olds can stand unaided, while a quarter start to walk at this age. Of course, it’s A-okay if your child hasn’t done either, but there’s nothing wrong with a little encouragement! When it comes to birthday gifts for one-year-old boys, it doesn’t get much cooler than these personalized kicks. They’ll support his first step, whenever it happens.

Buy it: $34, Etsy.com

Image: Cassaro Kids

Cassaro Kids Etna Climbing Waldorf Playset

This playset combines a pikler triangle, rocker and slide to create the climbing frame of your little one’s dreams. It’s a great tool to support baby’s physical development, all while having fun. Made from natural birch wood, each piece can be used individually or together.

Buy it: $529, CassaroKids.com

Image: Jellycat

Jellycat Unicorn Tails’ Book

We’ve all seen textured kids’ books, but none have caught our eye quite like this one. Your little one will delight in grabbing the “unicorn tails” poking out from the pages. Each one looks or feels different, letting your tot learn and explore with their hands.

Buy it: $19, Nordstrom.com

Image: homeNwood/Etsy

Home N Wood Personalized Name Puzzle

This personalized wooden name puzzle has everything you’re looking for in a first birthday gift: It’s the perfect mix of fun and educational. Made from plywood, the hand-painted puzzle is customizable with your child’s name and features engraved numbers, removable shapes, rotating gears and a maze with moving parts. Your toddler will love playing with the pieces, and you’ll love knowing they’re developing language and cognition skills.

Buy it: Starting from $5, Etsy.com

Image: Skip Hop

Skip Hop Zoo 3-In-1 Ride-On

This clever ride-on toy has three play modes that adapt to kids’ current stage of development. Early walkers can enjoy it as a push-and-pull wagon, tots on the move can use it as a tricycle while older kids can take it for a spin in scooter mode. Bonus features include flashing headlights and fun sound effects.

Buy it: $65, SkipHop.com

Image: Gladfolk/Etsy

Gladfolk Custom Name Wooden Blocks

Some of the best first birthday gift ideas are ones that look stylish enough to leave out on the regular. (We know cleanup is exhausting.) Buy custom blocks that spell out baby’s name in beautiful maple, cherry or walnut wood. They’ll enjoy stacking and toppling them; you’ll enjoy their aesthetic.

Buy it: Starting from $12, Etsy.com

Image: Finn and Emma

Finn and Emma Boho Bundle Swing & Toy Basket

Here’s another good-looking gift for one-year-olds: a trendy macrame swing and storage basket. Handmade in India, these pieces are the perfect addition to a chic nursery.

Buy it: $164, FinnandEmma.com

Image: SongbirdCelebrations/Etsy

Songbird Canada Wild One First Birthday Outfit

We can’t get enough of first birthday puns. This unisex outfit (which includes a bodysuit, a bib and leggings) creatively gives a nod to your toddler’s age with a “wild one” slogan.

Buy it: Starting at $19, Etsy.com

Image: B. toys

B. toys Pounding Bench & Xylophone

Musical toys are always big hits with tots. Why? Kids love repetition (and causing a racket, of course). This cool toy combines both interests. Little ones can use the hammer to pound balls through the bench, and listen as they bounce off the xylophone.

Buy it: $16, Target.com

Image: Uncommon Goods

Roxy Marj Baby Astrology Board Books

Introduce baby to their zodiac sign with these beautiful board books. Based on the unique traits of each star sign, each tale boasts wonderfully whimsical illustrations alongside a few words of wisdom.

Buy it: $8, UncommonGoods.com

Image: Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper In Organic Cotton

First birthday gift ideas don’t have to be toys. A cozy pair of pajamas will always be welcome—especially if they happen to be from Hanna Andersson. Crafted from organic cotton, this sleep suit is just one great option available from the beloved brand.

Buy it: $42, HannaAndersson.com

Image: HarmonyPaperDesign/Etsy

Harmony Paper Design Personalized 1st Birthday Gifts for Baby

Baby’s first birthday is a great opportunity to create a beloved keepsake. This mock newspaper celebrates their first 365 days on planet earth with fun facts, figures and news from the year they were born. Plus, it’s personalized with baby’s picture, name and date of birth. One thing to note is that this is a digital artwork, so you’ll need to print it off yourself.

Buy it: Starting from $13, Etsy.com

Image: Little Feminist

Little Feminist 0-2 Year Old Book Club

Kickstart a love of literature with a book subscription that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Each monthly box includes one picture book or two board books, plus bonus activities and discussion cards. Oh, and did we mention that this service is a Best of Baby award winner?

Buy it: Starting from $19 per month, LittleFeminist.com

Image: Pottery Barn Kids

Foamnasium x PBK Blocksy Mini Kids Couch

Make the most of your little one’s penchant for sitting with first birthday gifts they can, well, sit on. This kids’ couch—upholstered in easy-to-clean performance fabric—has a modular design, meaning the cushions can be configured in multiple ways. Use it as a cozy sitting area, a fun fort or even a padded play area for early walkers. Buy it: $189, PotteryBarnKids.com

Image: Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys Rockin’ Light Up Guitar

Get the party started with this rockin’ first birthday gift idea. The light-up guitar is small enough for little hands to grasp, has adjustable volume settings and boasts three musical modes: classical, electric or rock.

Buy it: $24, FatBrainToys.com

Image: The White Company

The White Company Baby Elephant Hooded Towel

Thought luxury towels were just for grown-ups? Think again. Made from 100 percent cotton, this hooded bath towel is embroidered with a sweet elephant motif. Talk about a winning first birthday gift.

Buy it: $39, TheWhiteCompany.com

Image: MEGA BLOKS

MEGA BLOKS Big Building Bag

Searching for a first birthday gift baby will actually play with? Go for a classic block set. Stacking the easy-to-grip bricks, clicking them together to make new shapes and knocking them down with a satisfying clatter will provide endless entertainment.

Buy it: $25, Amazon.com

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