40 Best Gifts for 1-Year-Old Kiddos of 2023
Looking for the best gifts for one-year-olds? Now that your little love has a whole year of learning and growth 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 bit daunting. After all, toddlers are developing at top 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 peek-a-boo. With this in mind, items that help develop language 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: some newly minted toddlers 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.
Young toddlers probably can’t tell you what toys they want, but watching what they do is a great way to brainstorm the best gifts 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 are a good choice for one-year-olds.
Many kids in this age range 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 (think: sorting cubes, bead mazes and other toys that encourage repetition). 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’ve 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,” Low Kapalu adds. Finally, books always make the list of gift ideas for one-year-olds. “Reading to your child daily promotes language development,” she says. Plus, bedtime stories are a great way to bond with your little one.
Now that you have some idea of what types of toys are perfect for this age group, it’s time to get shopping. Here, find some of the best gifts for one-year-old boys and girls.
Support baby’s blossoming language skills with a book of nursery rhymes. The sing-song stories 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.
No baby or toddler gifting roundup would be complete without a Lovevery play kit. This set has been designed with newly minted one-year-olds in mind, and is full of Montessori-inspired playthings to promote healthy development. Inside, you’ll find toys that will teach your child about cause and effect, spatial relationships and establishing routines. Plus, the kit comes with a guide to help parents have meaningful playtime experiences with their children.
This tot-sized version of the iconic wagon can be set to roll easily or with more resistance to help beginner walkers build confidence. Plus, bumpers ensure your furniture goes unscathed. Bonus: Since the sides come off, this push toy can have a second life as a unique toy or book bin in your child’s room.
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. For 50 percent off the first month's subscription of any KiwiCo crate, use discount code THEBUMP.
You likely had one of these toy cars growing up—it’s been an iconic present for one-year-olds for decades. While a young 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.
Kids of all ages love having a cozy hideaway, and this play tent by Babymoov certainly fits the bill. It’s colorful and comfortable, thanks to the included padded mat. Plus, the UPF 50+ fabric means it’s safe for outdoor play too.
What do babies who are no longer infants but barely toddlers love to do? Pull themselves to a standing position 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.
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 can hide it away when it’s not being used.
The best toys for one-year-olds grow with your child. Case in point: This fun farm wagon by John Deere. Initially, baby can enjoy it as a simple push-along toy. As your child engages in more advanced play, they’ll delight in the sing-along animal song and the built-in matching game.
Jellycat is known for its irresistibly tactile and oh-so-soft stuffed animals. This gangly octopus, sporting ribbed, floppy tentacles, is the ideal size for toddler hands to explore. Cuddly toys for a one-year-old don’t get much better than this.
Next up is a gift for one-year-olds that parents will appreciate. Crafted from Hanna Andersson’s signature cotton, these PJs are equal parts cute and comfortable. Better yet, the high-quality sleep suit won’t pill or fade, meaning it can be handed down to younger siblings. And get a load of that cute print!
Toddlers delight in repetitive tasks. Why? They help kids to learn about the world around them, understand cause and effect and refine motor skills. The Inny Binny is a simple yet ingenious toy that draws on this love of repetition. It comes with six textured blocks (in various shapes and sizes) and a large cube container. Kids can easily push the shapes through the elastic bands of the cube, for a frustration-free game that’ll keep them occupied for longer than you think.
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.
Introduce your child to science from a young age with this STEM-inspired gift for one-year-olds. The rolling shape sorter is modeled after a cell, and comes with a biology-themed board book to teach little ones about the building blocks of life. Tots will have so much fun sorting the wooden shapes, they won’t even realize that they’re improving their hand-eye coordination and color recognition skills as they play.
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 much-prized hand-me-down.
One thing all toddlers adore? Climbing, of course! Granted, it can be nerve-wracking to watch your mini scale the dizzying heights of a regular playset—but this mini climbing frame is designed for kids as young as 18 months. Kids can climb, slide and crawl on this outdoor toy and practice fine motor skills as they play with the put-and-take play ball maze.
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.
Curious about the world around them, one-year-olds love uncovering surprises—and yours will have crazy fun lifting up this fish’s crinkly scales to peep at hidden pictures. Plus, its tail squeaks when squeezed!
Toddlers are constantly on the go as they play and explore the world around them, which can result in sensory overload (hello, tantrums!). That’s why it’s important to give kiddos a safe space to unwind and relax. This chair can be used as a snuggle spot or as a fun play zone thanks to the removable activity tray.
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 tail doubles as a maraca!—this colorful wood activity stand is a great way to introduce children to music.
How about 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.
The eye-catching simplicity of this tactile 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 keep kids busy and preserve your sanity more than once during long car rides.
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.
This gift for one-year-olds will make cruising a walk in the park—especially if they tend to get fidgety and bored in their usual stroller. The 4-in-1 trike promotes balance and coordination in kiddos, while still allowing parents to give them an extra boost when needed. Use it as a push tricycle (or a stroller tricycle) with your one-year-old to get them ready for a big-kid bike down the road.
Send tots 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.
No need to wait for the perfect weather to take your kiddo to the playground. This handmade bohemian swing is perfect for a nursery or playroom. It can be used indoors or outdoors, and holds up to 40 pounds, making it one of the best gifts for one-year-olds that they’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
At this age, toddlers are taking in their surroundings in a whole new way, which often is expressed through pretend play. A baby doll can help little ones feel a sense of responsibility as they mimic their parents’ behaviors—plus, they allow tots to self-soothe when they feel anxious. This plush option is perfect for cuddles and also comes with a removable diaper and a magnetic pacifier.
Once baby exits the bath, wrap them up in the supreme softness of Lalo’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?
Best known for baby items like the subscription play kits mentioned earlier in this article, Lovevery has plenty of standalone toys 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’ tunnel, or playing peek-a-boo with someone on the other side. It even comes with its own carrying case, so you can bring it to the grandparents’ house.
This dancing dude is one of the best toys to encourage your child to get grooving (aka polishing up on 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. Thousands of glowing reviews mark this out as one of the best gifts for one-year-olds.
When shopping for the best gifts for one-year-olds, you can’t go wrong with a multipurpose toy that they can enjoy for years to come. Take this adorable option from Skip Hop, for instance. The 3-in-1 design can be used as a wagon, a ride-on toy or a scooter, depending on your child’s developmental stage. Plus, it has fun sound effects that your tot is sure to love—beep, beep!
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.
Classic gifts for one-year-old boys and girls—like this personalized toddler puzzle—are hard to beat. Choose a custom color scheme and add your kiddo's favorite animal to this unique wooden puzzle.
With this gift for one-year-olds, your tot will be able to cruise around to their heart’s content. The balance bike will improve their steering and coordination, while preparing them for a bicycle with pedals when they reach big-kid status. Plus, this option is equipped with slip-resistant wheels, soft handlebars and a cushioned seat to keep your child comfortable and safe as they zoom.
Simple yet delightful, these bath toys for one-year-olds are sure to captivate your kiddo. The set consists of five colorful pipes that stick to walls via suction cups. Your child can experiment with pouring water into them to create a splashy chain reaction—plus, when your tot gets a bit older they can rearrange the pipes independently, familiarizing them with engineering concepts.
Does your tot always want to help out with household tasks? Then this is the gift for them. The play kitchen sink encourages little ones to become more confident when it comes to real-life activities, like washing the dishes. The toy even has a working faucet that your water-loving toddler is sure to enjoy.
Want to celebrate your kiddo’s new toddler status? Check out this custom birthday crown. Handcrafted from linen and other natural materials, it can be personalized with your little king or queen’s name. The best part? The headwear is adjustable, meaning it can be worn year after year.
One-year-olds are just starting to make their mark, so to speak. Encourage your toddler’s artistic side with a set of these ergonomic crayons. The shape makes them easy to use but hard to break—a hallmark of the best gifts for one-year-olds!
Searching for standout gift ideas for one-year-olds? Check out this plush ball pit. Made from super-cushy fabric, designed to prevent bumps and bruises, this particular model is safe for young toddlers to dive in and explore. The crush-proof balls are light, durable and just the right size for your little one’s hands to grasp. It comes in a few different color combinations, but this rainbow print option is our current favorite.
We get it—there’s a surplus of toys on the market, making it difficult to determine which playthings are the best fit for your family. To streamline your decision-making process, our goal is to do the bulk of the research for you, so you don’t have to spend hours scrolling through online retailers. We do this by considering a list of criteria when sourcing gifts for one-year-olds, including developmental benefits, durability, value and, last but definitely not least, safety. This way you can count on getting the best bang for your buck, while also having a dependable toy that’ll delight your little one.
To decide which gifts for one-year-olds are the best options on the market, we leverage our familiarity with leading toy brands to make sure items are from reliable manufacturers. We read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these products work for kids, and typically don’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating. And since many of us are also parents, we rely on our writers’ and editors’ experience using items with their own families. Finally, to make sure we’re highlighting products that are safe and effective, we spoke with a clinical child psychologist to understand essential features and safety considerations to keep top of mind when you’re shopping.
Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.
Christina Low Kapalu, PhD, is a clinical child psychologist at Children’s Mercy Kansas City in Missouri. She received her PhD from Washington State University and completed her fellowship in pediatric psychology at Children's Mercy Kansas City.