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40 Gift Ideas for the 1-Year-Old in Your Life

Need some gift ideas for a one-year-old? We’ve got you covered with the cutest and sweetest toys.
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profile picture of Cassie Kreitner
Senior Editor
Updated
October 18, 2021
baby sitting on floor and playing with toys
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Looking for the best gifts for one-year-olds? Now that your little has a year of learning and growing under their belt, they’re even more interactive in their play—and enthusiastic about their toys. But determining which toys will truly capture their attention can be a little daunting. After all, toddlers are developing at warp speed, and their abilities and interests are constantly changing. At this stage of development, many children begin to pronounce their first words, grow increasingly attached to their favorite things and play simple games like peekaboo. With this in mind, items that help develop linguistic skills and sensory toys that they can pull, push and poke are always sure-fire hits (trust us, kids love repetition!). Another thing to bear in mind: children born during the COVID-19 pandemic may feel nervous around people outside of their immediate family bubble. Luckily, plush toys, dolls and loveys will help kids self-soothe if they begin to feel a little anxious in new social situations.

Ready to start your search? To help you narrow it down, we checked in with an expert to determine the types of playthings that are most engaging for tots this age—and included some awesome, shoppable gift ideas for one-year-olds you can toss into your cart.

If you’re shopping for kids of all ages check out our dedicated gift guides for newborns, 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds. Gifting made easy!

How to Choose Good Gifts for a 1-Year-Old

Young toddlers probably can’t tell you what toys they want, but watching what they do is a great way to brainstorm the best gift ideas for one-year-olds, since it gives you a peek into their developmental stage and interests. “At 12 months, your child is bursting with new skills,” says Christina Low Kapalu, PhD, a clinical child psychologist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City in Missouri. And given that toys are simply tools to help kids practice new abilities and learn about their surroundings, picking out a good gift for a one-year-old that encourages those newly gained skills is key.

While every child hits developmental milestones on their own unique schedule, at the one-year mark many toddlers can manage a pincer grasp (aka holding something between the index finger and thumb). That fine motor skill paves the way for a first attempt at scribbling with a chubby crayon—so toddler art supplies make for good gifts for one-year-old boys and girls.

Many one-year-olds also love taking items in and out of containers, which helps them hone those fine motor skills and spatial awareness—which is probably why so many toddler toys are designed around this action. Also, your mini mover-and-shaker might start to look for (and find) hidden objects incorporated into toys, and appreciate playthings that demonstrate cause and effect. It’s pretty thrilling to watch as the little one in your life realizes, “Oh! When I do that, this happens!”

Toddlers who have just hit their first birthday are typically all about tossing, shaking and banging two objects together–which, as you can imagine, can get noisy. “You can use their natural interest in being ‘noise scientists’ with toys that can be easily manipulated and make fun sounds,” Low Kapalu says.

She also notes that toys with high-contrast colors make for some of the best gifts for one-year-olds. “And soft toys, like stuffed animals, are great for your one-year-old to interact with, especially when you join in,” she adds. “Finally, books always make my list of gift ideas for one-year-olds. Reading to your child daily promotes language development.”

Now that you have some idea of what types of toys are perfect for this age group, it’s time to get shopping. Here, some of the best gifts for one-year-old boys and girls.

Best Gifts for 1-Year-Olds

Whether you’re shopping for a baby boy or girl, the greatest gifts for one-year-olds are those that engage their senses. From musical instruments to rattles, teethers and more—here you’ll find plenty of toys to peak their interest.

Image: Courtesy Jellycat

Jellycat Medium Odell Octopus Stuffed Animal

The beloved British brand Jellycat is known for its irresistibly tactile and oh-so-soft stuffed animals that make some of the best gifts for one-year-old girls and boys. This gangly octopus, sporting ribbed, floppy tentacles, is the ideal size for toddler hands to explore.

Buy it: $49, Nordstrom.com

Image: Courtesy Finn + Emma

Finn + Emma Macrame Swing

No need to wait for the perfect weather to take baby to the playground. This handmade bohemian swing is perfect for a little one’s nursery or playroom. Plus, it can be used indoors or outdoors, making it one of the best gifts for one-year-olds that they’ll be able to enjoy for years to come (it’s good for toddlers up to 40 pounds).

Buy it: $99, FinnandEmma.com

Image: Courtesy KiwiCo

KiwiCo Panda Crate

How about a gift that keeps on giving? Introducing KiwiCo—the bimonthly toy subscription service for babies and toddlers. Designed for ages 0- to 24-months, the Panda Crate is packed with fun, educational projects created by child development experts to promote bonding, language development, math skills and more. Now that’s a clever gift for one-year-olds.

Buy it: Starting at $16 (pricing varies depending on the plan), KiwiCo.com

Image: Courtesy Radio Flyer

Radio Flyer Classic Wagon Walker

This tot-sized version of the iconic wagon can be set to roll easily or with more resistance to help beginner walkers build confidence. Bumpers ensure your furniture goes unscathed. Bonus: Since the sides come off, it can have a second life as a unique toy or book bin in your child’s room.

Buy it: $79, Walmart.com

Image: Courtesy SkipHop

SkipHop Silver Lining Cloud Baby’s View Activity Center

This activity center is a tried-and-true product—it’s won a Best of Baby award for a few years running now. Suitable from 4 months on, this activity toy adapts to suit your kiddo’s developmental stage. Infants will enjoy seated play, tots can use it to support their first teetering steps and the activity center can also be converted into a chalkboard table for slightly older kids.

Buy it: $140, SkipHop.com

Image: Courtesy Mudpuppy

Baby’s First Words Ring Flash Cards

A good gift for one-year-olds is something that will help them developmentally, like these colorful flashcards. Each of the 26 cards features cute illustrations that encourage tots to say their first words. You can separate them to hang on the walls, or your little one can carry them while in the stroller, thanks to the handy, easy-to-grab ring.

Buy it: $13, TheTot.com

Image: Courtesy Little Tikes

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

You likely had one of these toy cars growing up—it’s been an iconic present for one-year-olds for decades. While a newly-minted-toddler may not yet be able to drive themselves around independently, in a few short months they’ll be riding up and down the sidewalk. There’s also a princess version, if you’re looking for gifts for a one-year-old girl who’s mad about all things pink.

Buy it: $60, Walmart.com

Image: Courtesy Wonderbly

Wonderbly Your Treasury of Nursery Rhymes

Support baby’s blossoming language skills with a book of nursery rhymes. The sing-song rhymes will soothe and delight little ones at bedtime, all while laying the foundation for strong literacy skills. We love this personalized pick from Wonderbly, which features your child as the hero in 30 classic songs and stories.

Buy it: $35, Wonderbly.com

Image: Courtesy Hape

Hape Pound & Tap Bench

Unleash your mini maestro’s musical genius. This toy offers two ways to play: Drop the balls through the holes onto the keys, or remove the Xylophone and bang on it with the mallet. Musical fun and banging? You can see why we chose this among the best gifts for a one-year-old. This classic toy with a twist is primed to become a prized hand-me-down.

Buy it: $30, TheTot.com

Image: Courtesy Mega Bloks

Mega Bloks First Builders Big Building Bag

The easy-to-grab shapes and bright colors make this stackable block set one of the most popular presents for one-year-olds. With 80 blocks in different shapes and sizes, these building blocks give newly minted toddlers the perfect opportunity to get creative with their building.

Buy it: $25, Walmart.com

Image: Courtesy Lamaze

Lamaze Grab & Hide Ball

This squishy sphere makes a chiming sound when rolled. One-year-olds can “hide” and then “find” the cheery characters—but don’t worry, the critters are tethered to the ball so they won’t go missing. As one is pulled out in giggly glee, another slides inside.

Buy it: $27, Amazon.com

Image: Courtesy Fat Brain Toys

Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Interactive Toy

The eye-catching simplicity of this tactile hand-held toy is what makes it completely captivating—and a good gift for one-year-olds. Jewel-tone silicone bubbles push through to the other side with a satisfying pop. (Basically, it’s the fidget toy of your dreams.) Trust us, it’ll preserve your sanity more than once during long car rides.

Buy it: $13, FatBrainToys.com

Image: Courtesy Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug Classic Toy Bead Maze

Here’s another gift that’s an updated take on one we all likely had as kids. This colorful maze is a good gift for one-year-olds because it packs a lot of early learning opportunities (colors, shapes, movement and more!) into a compact space—no cleanup required.

Buy it: $38, MelissaandDoug.com

Image: Courtesy Fat Brain Toys

Forest Friends Discovery Tree

What do babies who are no longer infants yet barely toddlers love to do? Pull themselves to standing, and then explore. This stylish, gadget-filled activity table gives them a spot to do just that. The ecosystem of this toy tree is populated with spin and slide butterflies, ladybugs, birds and more friendly faces, all ready to play. We’ve seen plenty of good gifts for one-year-olds, but this is among the most exciting.

Buy it: $75, FatBrainToys.com

Image: Courtesy Melissa & Doug

Melissa & Doug Flip Fish Baby Toy

Curious about the world around them, one-year-olds love uncovering surprises—and yours will have crazy fun lifting up this fishie’s crinkly scales to peep at hidden pictures. Plus, its tail squeaks when squeezed!

Buy it: $22, MelissaandDoug.com

Image: Courtesy Put Me in the Story

Sesame Street: Just One You Book

Send a newly minted toddler off to dreamland with this personalized bedtime story. The whole crew from Sesame Street has joined forces in this sweet tale that celebrates your little one’s individuality. Personalize the book with a name, photo and a special dedication message.

Buy it: $25, PutMeinTheStory.com

Image: Courtesy Munchkin

Munchkin DuckDunk Bath Toy

Parents will think this is an ingenious gift idea for one-year-olds because it makes cleaning up toys part of the fun. The hoop suctions to the wall and you can use the drawstring to open and close the net for when bath time is over. It also comes with three balls that squirt water.

Buy it: $9, Munchkin.com

Image: Courtesy Sophie la Girafe

Sophie la Girafe Soft Maracas Rattle

Not sure what to get a one-year-old? You can’t go wrong with anything from Sophie la Girafe. Designed with an ergonomic handle that’s easy for little hands to grasp, this rattle is filled with colorful balls your little will love to shake back and forth. Plus, the rattle has a textured ball at the base for added sensory stimulation.

Buy it: $18, Maisonette.com

Image: Courtesy Lovevery

Lovevery The Organic Cotton Play Tunnel

Best known for baby items like the subscription play kits, Lovevery is making waves in the toddler space too. They’ve expanded their line to include some of the best presents for one-year-olds, like this fun play tunnel. Toddlers will have a blast inching their way through the nearly 4-foot tunnel, or playing peekaboo with someone on the other side. It even comes with its own carrying case so you can bring it to the grandparents’ house.

Buy it: $50, Lovevery.com

Image: Courtesy Lily & River

Lily & River Birch Wood Climber

This beautifully made wood climber is a good gift for one-year-olds who are already showing an adventurous spirit and those who could use a boost when it comes to balance and motor skills. Adjust the height and add different attachments to keep your tot engaged all the way up to 5-years-old. The best part? It’s foldable, so parents won’t have to keep it out when not in use.

Buy it: $579, TheTot.com

Image: Courtesy SkipHop

SkipHop Explore & More Egg Shaker Baby Toy Trio

The shape, size and weight of these mini musical instruments make grabbing them irresistible to toddlers. After all, shaking stuff is something one-year-olds are really good at. The fox, owl and hedgehog each make a different sound.

Buy it: $9, SkipHop.com

Image: Courtesy Gund

Gund My First Sports Bag Play Set

You’ll be a real winner with this sports-themed gift for athletes-in-training. The soft velcro gym bag includes everything littles need to get their hands and feet moving. There’s also a similar bag in pink.

Buy it: $25, Bloomingdales.com

Image: Courtesy Lalo

Lalo The Play Kit

We’re big fans of Lalo, especially this fabulous play table and chairs that boast a Scandinavian-inspired design. Made from sustainable beechwood with an easy-to-clean surface, this set is a great practical gift idea if you’re wondering what to get a one-year-old. The table and chairs can be purchased individually, or you can gift The Play Kit, which includes a table and two chairs (matching or not—your choice!).

Buy it: $250, MeetLalo.com

Image: Courtesy Step2

Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table

If you’re shopping around for gifts for one-year-olds, you’re going to love this two-tier water table. It comes with plenty of toys for little hands to splash around and play with—plus, an umbrella so toddlers can stay cool and comfortable out of the direct sun.

Buy it: $86, Step2.com

Image: Courtesy Brushies

Brushies Full Set with Book

Toothbrushes as gifts for one-year-olds? Absolutely, when we’re talking about these funny finger puppets that double as pearly white polishers. Made in the US, each toothbrush comes with a matching book starring the monkey, piggy, whale and dinosaur characters, all extolling oral hygiene in the cutest possible way—because good habits start young.

Buy it: $30, Maisonette.com

Image: Courtesy BusyPuzzle

BusyPuzzle Wooden Alphabet Name Puzzle

Classic gifts for one-year-old boys and girls—like this personalized toddler puzzle—are hard to beat. Made with primary color wood pieces, this puzzle will help a little one learn their name, numbers, colors and shapes.

Buy it: Starting at $58, Etsy.com

Image: Courtesy Manhattan Toy

Manhattan Toy Musical Lili Llama

This award-winning toy is a clever gift idea for one-year-olds. Packed with all the bells and whistles from head to tail—the llama’s removable tale doubles as a maraca!—this colorful wood activity stand is a great way to introduce children to music. Plus, llama baby gear is super-trendy right now!

Buy it: $54, Maisonette.com

Image: Courtesy Fisher Price

Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth Musical Infant Toy

If you prefer Sloths, this dancing dude is one of the best toys to encourage your child to get grooving (aka polishing up on gross motor skills) by clapping and bobbing to music. It features a variety of tunes—plus, your little one can activate learning games with the press of a button.

Buy it: $30, Walmart.com

Image: Courtesy SkipHop

Skip Hop Zoo 3-in-1 Ride on Toy

This colorful multi-use wheeler has three modes of play, making it one of the best gifts for one-year-old girls and boys, since it’ll last them throughout toddlerhood. Whether they still need the assistance of a walker or are teetering around on their own, kids can use this ride-on toy to boost motor skills for walking, riding and, eventually, scooting around the house.

Buy it: $60, SkipHop.com

Image: Courtesy Honeysticks

Honeysticks Beeswax Crayons

One-year-olds are just starting to make their mark, so to speak. Encourage your toddler’s artistic side with a set of these chubby first crayons. The shape makes them easy to use but hard to break—a hallmark of the best gifts for one-year-olds! They’re made from New Zealand beeswax (a natural byproduct of honey production) and food-grade colors. They even smell sweet!

Buy it: $23, Amazon.com

Image: Courtesy Little Bird Told Me

Little Birdie Told Me Moonbeam & Rae Rocking Horse & Stuffed Animal

Many adorable rockers are actually intended as gifts for kids age 2 and up. But with a sturdy base and plush seat, this one can be used earlier. The starry-print unicorn rocker comes with a cuddly teddy bear, making it a great gift for one-year-old boys and girls to help improve their balance and coordination—while still being able to horse around and have fun.

Buy it: $140, Nordstrom.com

Image: Courtesy Balu Organics

Balu Organics Medium Premium Ball Pit

A ball pit is one of the best gift ideas for one-year-olds. Made from super-cushy fabric, designed to prevent bumps and bruises, this particular model is safe for young toddlers to dive in and explore. Plus, the crush-proof balls are light, durable and just the right size for your little one’s hands to grasp.

Buy it: $229, TheTot.com

Image: Courtesy B. toys

B. toys Snail Ride-On Buggly-Wuggly

Here’s another awesome ride-on toy for one-year-olds. This adorable little bug vehicle squeaks and beeps as your kiddo rides along, while holding on to the two light-up antennae. Push your child or watch as they happily scoot around the house, then lift up the seat to reveal a hidden cubby to store treasures. All this for $26? What a steal!

Buy it: $26, Target.com

Image: Courtesy Munchkin

Munchkin Bath Beats Musical Bath Toy Gift Set

Combine baby’s love of water and music-making with this melodious bath toy set from Munchkin. It includes a drum, xylophone and two starfish shakers. Musical instruments support baby’s cognitive and emotional development while splashing around adds a sensory element to playtime, meaning this gift for one-year-olds is sure to hit all the right notes.

Buy it: $27, Munchkin.com

Image: Courtesy Parachute

Parachute Hooded Baby Towel

Once baby exits the bath, wrap them up in the supreme softness of Parachute’s hooded baby towel. Made from 100 percent Turkish cotton, this lightweight robe is gentle on baby’s sensitive skin and keeps them warm from head to toe. Who says luxury towels are just for grown-ups?

Buy it: $29, Parachute.com

Image: Courtesy Pottery Barn Kids

Pottery Barn Kids My First Ivory Bear Anywhere Chair

Toddlers are constantly on-the-go as they play and explore the world around them, which can result in sensory overload (hello, toddler tantrums!). That’s why it’s important to give kiddos a safe space to unwind and relax. This plush kids chair by Pottery Barn Kids is the perfect spot for reading, relaxing or snuggling. It’s got comfy cushions but is still lightweight, meaning you can move it to any room in the house.

Buy it: $155, PotteryBarnKids.com

Image: Courtesy Green Sprouts

Green Sprouts Sprout Ware Stacking Cups made from Plants

Matching, sorting, stacking! Tots will exercise critical thinking and fine motor skills as they explore this set of six stacking cups. Each cup has holes in the base, meaning they make excellent water and sand toys too. Burgeoning color-recognition skills will also get a workout, especially when you join in the play. Plus, this set is made from sustainable materials so it’s an eco-friendly (not to mention affordable!) gift for one-year-olds.

Image: Courtesy Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson Counting Sheep Baby Bundle Outfit

Next up is a gift for one-year-olds that parents will appreciate. Crafted from Hanna Andersson’s signature cotton, this outfit is equal parts cute and comfortable. Plus, these high-quality separates won’t pill or fade, meaning they can be handed-down to younger siblings. And get a load of that sweet sheep print!

Buy it: Starting from $24, HannaAndersson.com

Image: Courtesy LouLou Lollipop

LouLou Lollipop Taco Teether Set Gem

Although teething usually starts around the 4- to 6-month mark, sometimes teeth can come in as late as 12 months. That’s why we’ve included this quirky toy in our list of the best gifts for one-year-olds. Made from food-grade silicone, this taco teether features a nubby texture on both sides to offer soothing relief to sore gums—plus, it has a bean-shaped cutout for easy grasping. Holy guacamole, that’s cute!

Buy it: $26, LouLouLollipop.com

Image: Courtesy Pottery Barn Kids

Plan Toys x pbk Baby Walker

A walker is among the best presents for one-year-olds. Why? Because they help toddlers take their first steps and master the art of balance. This wooden version from Pottery Barn Kids gets added brownie points thanks to its superior craftsmanship, adjustable handle and built-in block set that enables open-ended play.

Buy it: $139, PotteryBarnKids.com

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