22 First Birthday Gift Ideas to Wow Your Little One

Your little one is now officially a toddler, and the milestone deserves a memorable gift. Here are some surefire winners.
ByThe Bump Editors
Updated
Aug 2020
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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 first 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.

Photo: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Unicorn Tails Book

We’ve all seen textured kids’ books, but nothing’s 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 with their hands.

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Buy it: $17, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Lovevery

Lovevery The Buddy Stroller

When it comes to picking from all the first birthday gift ideas out there, look no further than this cute play stroller. Your little one will love piling their favorite toys in it and strutting around. Made with sustainable wood and organic cotton, this mini stroller is built at the perfect height for your toddler’s arms and hands and encourages independent pretend play.

Buy it: $140, Lovevery.com

Photo: Courtesy World Market

Curly Plush Stuffed Narwhal

Plush toys are some of the best first 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 (a creature that’s seriously trending right now) is just begging for hugs.

Buy it: $20, WorldMarket.com

Photo: Courtesy Mason Dixon & Down

Mason Dixon & Down Onederful Onesie

First birthday gift ideas don’t have to be toys. Statement clothing is another excellent one-year-old birthday gift. This punny onesie (which says “one-derful”) celebrates your newly minted toddler in style. We also love that it’s customizable: You can mix and match both the background and the font colors to suit your little one.

Buy it: $15, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy Erin Deegan

Erin Deegan Baby’s First Year Custom Photo Art

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. You can even choose the size, color theme and frame you want to ensure it looks right at home in your child’s nursery.

Buy it: Starting from $29, Minted.com

Photo: Courtesy The Handmade Nursery Co

The Handmade Nursery Co Custom Baby Name 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 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 $8, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Medium Dazzle Pom-Pom Stuffed Animal

Say goodbye to boring stuffed animals and hello to this quirky bird. The fuzzy, sparkly design is super soft and huggable and comes in a variety of adorable colors. Don’t blame us if your kiddo doesn’t ever want to put the toy down!

Buy it: Starting from $46, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Wow Toys

Wow Toys The Turbo Twins

These cute race cars will delight your little car lover. With matching toy car drivers and eye-catching colors, your toddler will not only have tons of fun racing them around, but they’ll strengthen their cognitive and motor skills as well.

Buy it: $27, Nordstrom.com

Photo: Courtesy Cuddle + Kind

Cuddle + Kind Maya the Mermaid

If baby doesn’t already have a favorite toy they carry everywhere, a doll is another foolproof first birthday gift idea. 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 $52, CuddleandKind.com

Photo: Courtesy Baghera

Baghera Speedster Plane

For memorable first birthday gift ideas, look for playthings that grow with your child. 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

Photo: Courtesy Boon

Boon Stacking Boats Bathing Toys

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: Starting from $7, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy 7 Ate 9 Apparel

7 Ate 9 Apparel Baby Boy’s Mustache First Birthday One-Piece Outfit

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

Photo: Courtesy Plan Toys

PlanToys Penguin Wheelie Baby Toy

One-year-olds love anything on wheels, making push toys among the best first birthday gift ideas around. This cute rubberwood, organic-painted penguin wobbles as it moves, and will help develop your tot’s coordination and fine motor skills and stimulate their imagination. You’ll love that it’s durable and easy to clean.

Buy it: $13, WorldMarket.com

Photo: Courtesy Memorable Baby Shoes

Memorable Baby Shoes Golden Boy First Birthday Gift

About half of one-year-olds can stand unaided, while a quarter start to walk. 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 steps, whenever they may be.

Buy it: Starting from $29, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy 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 theme with six different bead runs and animal-themed gliders for hands-on learning. Not only is it excellent for developing your child’s fine motor skills, but it’ll keep them entertained for hours.

Buy it: $116, BuyBuyBaby.com

Photo: Courtesy PlanToys

PlanToys Activity Blocks

Appeal to the senses with a first birthday gift that takes a basic concept and artfully executes it. Check out these wood play blocks that will promote your child’s visual, auditory and tactile development. Even better, they’re made sustainably. (It’s never too early to raise an eco-conscious kiddo.)

Buy it: $20, Amazon.com

Photo: Courtesy Janod

Janod Rocking Elephant

Make the most of your little one’s penchant for sitting with first birthday gifts they can, well, sit on. This adorable elephant rocker puts a twist on the classic horse with its sturdy wood frame and soft seat cushion. There’s even a detachable safety guard for extra security.

Buy it: $165, Maisonette.com

Photo: Courtesy I See Me!

I See Me! My Name Is Personalized Book

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

Photo: Courtesy Songbird Canada

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 $18, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids Fun on the Farm Stacker

These may just be one of the cutest textured first birthday gift ideas on the market. They’re stackable stuffed farm animals in decadent fabrics like corduroy and velour.

Buy it: $59, PotteryBarnKids.com

Photo: Courtesy Home N Wood

Home N Wood Personalized Name Puzzle

This personalized wooden name puzzle has everything you’re looking for in a one-year-old birthday gift: It’s the perfect mix of fun and educational. Made from plywood and hand-painted, the 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 $17, Etsy.com

Photo: Courtesy Emily Rollings

Emily Rollings Birthday Letters to My Baby

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 your child’s 18 years of childhood. How’s that for memorable?

Buy it: $58, TheTot.com

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