40 Gift Ideas for the One-Year-Old in Your Life
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 bit 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: 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 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 are a good choice for one-year-old boys and girls.
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 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,” 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, some of the best gifts for one-year-old boys and girls.
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 pique their interest.
Jellycat Medium Odell Octopus Stuffed Animal
The beloved British brand 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.
Buy it: $50, Nordstrom.com
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 can hide it away when it’s not being used.
Buy it: Starting from $485, TheTot.com
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 nursery or playroom. 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
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. Plus, 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
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 tail 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: $58, Maisonette.com
Fisher-Price Linkimals Smooth Moves Sloth
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. Over a thousand glowing reviews mark this out as one of the best gifts for one-year-olds.
Buy it: $30, Kohls.com
Balu Organics Large Velvet Ball Pit with 400 Balls
Searching for standout gift ideas for one-year-olds? Check out this mini 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 the classic black style will be the easiest to keep clean.
Buy it: $329, TheTot.com
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 $17 (pricing varies depending on the plan), KiwiCo.com
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
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 much prized hand-me-down.
Buy it: $30, TheTot.com
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
Hanna Andersson Baby Zip Sleeper In Organic Cotton
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 caterpillar print!
Buy it: $44, HannaAndersson.com
Small Foot Bear 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 Small Foot gets added brownie points, thanks to its colorful bear-themed design and built-in block set that enables open-ended play.
Buy it: $100, Maisonette.com
Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Interactive Toy
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.
Buy it: $13, FatBrainToys.com
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
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, BooksaMillion.com
Manhattan Toy Rock 'n Roary
Many adorable rockers are actually intended for kids ages 2 and up. But with a sturdy base, contoured seat and adjustable safety harness, this one can be used earlier. The plush dinosaur rocker even has a chime in the tail for added musical fun.
Buy it: $130, Maisonette.com
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
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: $30, Bloomingdales.com
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 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.
Buy it: $54, Walmart.com
Sesame Street: Just One You Book
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.
Buy it: $25, PutMeinTheStory.com
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
Step2 Play Ball Fun Climber
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.
Buy it: $150, Step2.com
Melissa & Doug Classic Toy Bead Maze
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: $40, MelissaandDoug.com
JandEKids Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle
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 kiddos favorite animal to this unique wooden puzzle.
Buy it: Starting from $46, Etsy.com
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
LouLou Lollipop Taco Teether Set Gem
Although teething usually starts around the four- to six-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
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.
Buy it: $8, GreenSproutsBaby.com
Shop Flower Lane Custom Birthday Crown
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.
Buy it: $42, Etsy.com
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
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 bathtime is over. It also comes with three balls that squirt water.
Buy it: $9, Munchkin.com
Step2 Spill & Splash Seaway Water Table
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.
Buy it: $100, Step2.com
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 fish’s crinkly scales to peep at hidden pictures. Plus, its tail squeaks when squeezed!
Buy it: $23, MelissaandDoug.com
Meri Meri Russell Dog Large Toy
Still searching for the perfect present? Meri Meri creates heirloom-quality plush toys worthy of becoming your child’s constant companion. Russell the dog is made from knitted organic cotton with stitched features for added safety. And get a load of that sweet striped jumper!
Buy it: $48, MeriMeri.com
BabymoovTeepee Tent with Play Mat in Blue
Kids of all ages love having a cozy hideaway, and this tent by Babymoov certainly fits the bill. It’s colorful and comfortable, thanks to the included padded play mat. Plus, the UPF 50+ fabric means it’s safe for outdoor play too.
Buy it: $60, buybuyBABY.com
John Deere Animal Sounds Wagon RideGrow with Me Toy
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.
Buy it: $20, Walmart.com
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
Wonder & Wise Baby Activity Square 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 chair can be used as a snuggle spot or as a fun play zone thanks to the removable activity tray.
Buy it: $229, ModernNursery.com
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’ 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
Fat Brain Toys InnyBin
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.
Buy it: $26, FatBrainToys.com