21 First Birthday Gift Ideas to Wow Your Little One
Your little one is turning one—toddlerhood, here you come! 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 one-year-old birthday gifts boast a mix of a few key qualities.
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 toys, textured toys and similarly stimulating playthings.
Of course, age-appropriateness is just part of the perfect present equation. 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 a product made custom for your kiddo. Ready to see what we mean? We’ve rounded up some of our favorite first birthday gift ideas for girls and boys below.
We’ve all seen textured kids’ books, but nothing’s caught our eye quite like this one. Baby will delight in grabbing the “unicorn tails” poking out from the pages. Each one looks or feels different, letting your tot learn with their hands.
Buy it: $17, Nordstrom.com
Plush toys are tried-and-true birthday gifts for one-year-old boys and girls. But while everyone else is buying bunnies and bears, feel free to think outside the box. This cuddly narwhal is just begging for hugs.
Buy it: $20, WorldMarket.com
First birthday gifts don’t have to be toys. Statement clothing is another excellent present option. This punny onesie (which says “_one_durful”) celebrates your newly minted toddler in style.
Buy it: Starting from $18, Etsy.com
Use your child’s first birthday as an opportunity to create a beloved keepsake. Whenever you see this sweet collage of baby photos on the wall, your eyes will well up with love.
Buy it: Starting from $29, Minted.com
Don’t underestimate first birthday gifts that look stylish enough to leave out on the regular. (We know cleanup is exhausting.) Buy custom blocks that spell out your child’s name in a beautiful custom color. They’ll enjoy stacking and toppling them; you’ll enjoy their aesthetic.
Buy it: Starting from $9, Etsy.com
Say goodbye to boring stuffed animals and hello to this quirky bird. The fuzzy, sparkly design is surprising in an amazing way. Don’t blame us if your kid doesn’t ever want to put the toy down.
Buy it: $25, Nordstrom.com
If baby doesn’t already have a favorite toy they carry everywhere, a doll is another foolproof choice. These fair-trade dolls come in all shapes and forms, but we’re big fans of the diverse mermaid collection. Bonus number one? Your purchase provides meals to children in need. Bonus number two? You can buy a coordinating nursery print featuring the character you choose. Bonus number three? The dolls are given “birthdays,” so you can pick one that shares a birthday with your child.
Buy it: Starting from $50, CuddleandKind.com
Memorable first birthday gifts grow with their recipients. This speedster plane 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: $175, TheTot.com
These genius toys “rev up” when they’re rolled back and then "drive"forward on their own. Not only will they go with (okay, surpass) all the other toy trucks your tot has received, but they’ll strengthen cognitive and motor skills as your child figures out how to make them go.
Buy it: $25, Amazon.com
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 like that they’re shaped like ducks instead of typical buckets.
Buy it: Starting from $15, Amazon.com
When do parents stop getting asked how old their children are? Not this year, that’s for sure. Consider first birthday gift ideas for boys that (hilariously) answer the never-ending question. This giftable onesie reads “If you mustache, I am one.”
Buy it: Starting from $14, Amazon.com
One-year-olds love anything on wheels. This minimalist car push toy is perfect for tots who live for the chase (and parents who appreciate durable wooden toys).
Buy it: $13, Nordstrom.com
About half of one-year-olds can stand unaided, while a quarter start to walk. Of course it’s A-okay if baby 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 steps, whenever they may be.
Buy it: Starting from $29, Etsy.com
We love birthday gifts for one-year-old girls that solve a parenting problem. If your little one is at the stage where she wants nothing more than to empty the contents of your purse, it’s time to distract her with her own handbag! This cute kit comes with everything from soft keys to a kiddy compact mirror.
Buy it: $25, Nordstrom.com
Appeal to the senses with one-year-old birthday gifts that take a basic concept and artfully execute it. Check out this jacked-up set, complete with blocks for visual, auditory and tactile development. Even better, they’re made sustainability. (It’s never too early to raise an eco-conscious kiddo.)
Buy it: $20, EarthHero.com
Make the most of baby’s penchant for sitting with first birthday gifts they can, well, sit on. This play pony has it all, from attached teethers to horse sounds. It all translates to hours of fun.
Buy it: $80, Nordstrom.com
Here’s how you can really embrace that simultaneous looking and listening thing. Storybooks are always thoughtful one-year-old birthday gifts, but this literature is next-level. As you turn the pages, different animals appear that start with the letters of your child’s name (for example, a lion for “L”). The rhyming book is designed to help your little one learn their moniker and (eventually) how to spell it.
Buy it: $40, Shutterfly.com
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: $33, Etsy.com
These may just be the cutest textured first birthday gifts on the market. They’re stackable stuffed farm animals in decadent fabrics like corduroy and velour.
Buy it: $49, PotteryBarnKids.com
Committed to making a lasting impression? Reusable presents are especially memorable first birthday gifts. This hoot-themed kit includes a plush owl, a kids’ party hat with interchangeable number stickers and a birthday-themed book to read. The set is designed for one-year-olds through 9-year-olds, so pulling it out will become a birthday tradition.
Buy it: $30, Amazon.com
Here’s a perfect example of unique first birthday gifts that keep on giving. This fill-in book prompts parents to record each and every one of baby’s 18 years of childhood. How’s that for memorable?
Buy it: $58, TheTot.com
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Updated January 2019