Maybe you have a 1-year-old baby, niece, or nephew, or even a friend with a 1-year-old. Whether it’s the holidays or their birthday, eventually, you will have to find the perfect gift to give them. Now, what gift do you buy for a 1-year-old? So many cute things are available — way more than when we were kids. It can be tough to choose, but no worries! We’ve rounded up all the best gifts for 1-year-olds. We know they will love these items, and you will be proud to give them. Whether this is for your baby or you don’t have any children, this list will help you choose the right gift.
Best Gifts for 1-Year-Olds
Looking for the best gifts for 1-year-olds? Read on for awesome toys, non-traditional "experience" gifts, and great ways to gift your time.
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Best Gift Ideas for a 1-Year-Old
When shopping for a 1-year-old, it might be helpful to know what milestones they should be hitting and then decide on a toy that will encourage their development and be fun! We have broken down our favorite gift ideas into categories that help reach different milestones or promote ways a 1-year-old learns about their environment.
Best Developmentally Appropriate Gifts
Push and Go Car Toys
Mine to Love Jenna Doll
Baby's First Birthday Book
Baby Bear Board Book
Rainbow Fish Board Book
Baby Animals Board Book
Touch and Teach Elephant
Never Touch a Monster Book
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Book
Talking Flash Cards
LeapFrog Portable Book
Chomp and Count Dino
By 1 year of age, a child will start to enjoy the experience of having a parent or other adult play with their toys with them. They may begin to bring you things to play with, such as cars, baby dolls, or the beloved play phone (“ring-ring” — everyone answers the phone no matter what!). Storybooks with bright pictures, books with interesting characters, or “touch and feel” books are a great idea to keep the child interested all the way through. 1-year-olds enjoy peek-a-boo and patty cake, and there are plenty of toy options that sing or play games with them.
Best Toys for Cognitive Development and Motor Skills
Wooden Activity Cube
Laugh and Learn Wagon
Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog
Take Along Tunes
Wooden Baby Walker
Foam Letters and Numbers
Magnetic Doodle Board
Wooden Pound and Play
Fat Brain Toys Klickity
Multifunctional House Toy
Cognitive development is starting to take off at this age, as well. Cognitive development is the thought process of remembering, problem-solving, and decision-making.1 Children want to explore more on their own and learn every little thing about what they are playing with, such as what happens when you throw, bang, or shake an object. Handheld toys that are easy to grasp are perfect for practicing these skills!
Best Gifts for Facilitating Pretend Play
Baby Stella Doll
Unicorn Pet Carrier
Cutting Fruit Set
Farm Animals With Barn
Laugh and Learn Puppy Remote
Brilliant Baby Laptop
Car Activity Center
Wooden Hammer Toy
Playing pretend is also fun for young toddlers. Toys that facilitate pretend play include dolls, pets with pet carriers, doctor kits, camping sets, kitchens, shopping carts, play food, and playhouses. They want to play with everything that mimics what they see mom or dad doing daily, like remotes, phones, laptops, and tablets. Lots of these toys have lessons with songs and music to teach kids colors, numbers, shapes, and letters.
Practical or Useful Gifts
To go further with these ideas, pick something up to keep your chosen gift organized. When my boys get Play-Doh, I love it when it comes in a bin so I can store it neatly when they are done. That way, it’s all away and on the shelf, and when they want the Play-Doh again, I can just grab one bin. Similarly, they received a set of puzzles one year, and it came with a stand so that after they were done, we could slide each puzzle into the slot and put it up on the shelf, and everything was together.
Gifts That Encourage Outdoor Play
Outdoor play is essential for young children’s growth, health, and development.2 Encouraging kiddos to get outside and get their wiggles out is also vital for mom and dad’s sanity! Here are several unique gifts that will promote more outdoor adventures!
More Unique Gift Ideas
Here are some non-traditional gifts you can give to a 1-year-old and their family:
The Gift of Experience
If parents are opting for no gifts or more of an “experience” type of gift, passes to the zoo, a local water park or splash pad, Legoland, or a local indoor play park would be fun and something the whole family could enjoy. You could also ask the parents about upcoming vacations or classes and help with the fees or equipment needed. For example, if they plan to take a swim class, you could get them a new swimsuit or swim trunks, a cute towel, and a wet bag to throw their wet clothes in after class. It is helpful to the parents and fun to know you played a part in an activity they love.
Something To Make Mom and Dad’s Life Easier
A fun gift option for the parents is offering a couple of nights a year of volunteering for child care. You could wrap up cute coupons or a calendar marked with “date nights” written in. Whenever free child care is an option with people we love and trust, it makes for a much more enjoyable date night, and the trade-off of hanging out with a sweet little one isn’t so bad either.
Whether you opt for a traditional toy, a not-so-traditional “experience” gift, or just the gift of your time, I hope this guide on the best gifts for 1-year-olds has sparked something new for you. Hopefully, you’re excited to attend that birthday party or other event and have confidence in your gift choice!