I often see online posts from moms and family members asking what to buy for a one-year old, whether it be for a birthday or Christmas present. Finding a unique gift for a one-year old can be tricky because they’re just getting out of infant toys, yet they’re too young for some of the toddler toys. Developmentally, some kids are ahead of the curve, and some behind – which leaves you to wonder – what gift do you get a one-year old baby?
Lucky for you, I’ve compiled a short list of unique baby gift ideas that are great for a first birthday, Christmas, or any other occasion. As you’ll see by my recommendations, I encourage you to buy toys that promote development and creativity; that don’t use a lot of plastic; are good quality; and won’t quickly be outgrown.
To be honest, I wish I had purchased all of these for my kids and saved the money that I spent on some of the lesser quality/trendy toys.
My Top Toy Picks For A One-Year Old
Besides being a beautifully coloured wooden toy, the Grimm’s Rainbow is a great gift that helps babies develop fine motor skills and promote imaginative play Each of the rainbow’s arches can be played with individually, and then re-stacked into its originally shape. On its own, the Grimm’s Rainbow is a colourful addition to any bedroom; a beautiful toy that will stand the test of time.
Wooden blocks are a great gift that promotes open-ended play and helps develop fine motor skills. Children can build towers, or connect all the blocks end to end. You can help your child practice early counting skills as you stack each block on top of one another and then watch your little one smile as they all come crashing down!
I especially love these natural blocks from Birch and Bark, a local business that makes the most amazing natural wood toys. All I have to say is that I wanted to buy ALL the things when I stopped at their booth recently at a local sale. I walked away with an alphabet set for my school-aged kids; but secretly wanted to buy this cute natural wood set to play with myself!
Peg dolls have been around for a long time, but the ones I love have been hand painted and are absolutely adorable. They are great for little hands and encourage imaginative play. Use them in conjunction with wooden blocks to make a little house, or have your peg doll climb the Grimm’s Rainbow. Be sure to find a local maker that uses non-toxic paints and finishes so that you don’t have to worry about them making their way into baby’s mouth. These dolls by Tiny Kind Toys are so cute and hard to pass up, especially if you see them in person. They’re beautifully hand painted and come with the most adorable accessories. They can even be custom ordered as a family set. A great gift for any age, even adults!
One-year old babies are still pretty new to walking or have yet to master the skill. A push toy is a great gift idea to help baby’s unsteady feet move along as they learn to explore their surroundings. I love the Melissa & Doug Alligator Walker because it’s made of wood and has little interactive alligators that baby’s will love to play with. Another great pick for early-walkers is the Radio Flyer Walker Wagon. A throw back to the old style Radio Flyer wagon, this walker is my top pick because kids can throw their toys inside and push them around for years to come.
Baby boys and girls will love playing with play scarves. You can buy them in different sizes, fabrics and price points; any and all will do. Little ones will have fun using these to drape over things, as a cape, to play peek-a-boo, or simply to pull them out of a basket and put them back in. You can find a variety of scarves on Amazon, and from Sarah’s Silks, which are beautiful but a bit more pricey.
Who doesn’t love bean bags? They are a great sensory toy – nice and squishy – and can be used to balance, throw, stack, and more. Be sure to get good quality ones because they will get used a LOT over the years.
Bean Bags (Amazon)
Pom Pom/Soft Coloured Balls
Little ones just love pom poms. So soft, light and colourful, they add a ton of fun to daily activities. Watch them exercise their creative skills as they find new and fun ways to use them. You can play hide and seek, colour sort, toss them in a basket; the ideas are endless.
Jumbo Pom Poms (Amazon)
Cuddle And Kind Doll
I adore these dolls. If you’re looking for a beautifully handmade doll, you’ve found it. Their selection of soft pastel colours and characters are on point. The dolls come in two sizes and each doll purchased provides a meal to ten children. You’ll feel good about gifting a super cute doll that gives back.
Melissa & Doug Cutting Food Set (Amazon)
Tunnels are always a hit when we go to play centres and gymnastics classes. They can collapse to a reasonable size for storage at home and are a great toy to pull out on a rainy day and switch things up a bit. Throw balls through the tunnel and have babies crawl through to meet you on the other side.
These first birthday gift ideas are sure to be a hit and last for years ahead. I suggest skipping the cheaper plastic toys and making a more mindful purchase that encourages development and will last for many years.
If you don’t have time to hit the stores and want to stay away from big box stores and Amazon, I encourage you to shop our store for great gift ideas for babies one-year and younger. I’m happy to customize a baby gift box that’s perfect for the little one on your list.
If you’re a mom looking for something for your little one that’s special, you might also want to consider a lovey if you haven’t already introduced one. They help babies feel safe and secure, especially when mom and dad aren’t around – which tends to happen more around the one year mark – and when they’re alone in their beds. Take a look at this post where I talk about what to look for when buying a lovey for your baby.
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Thanks for sticking around until the end. I’m glad I was able to keep your attention and give you a few gift ideas along the way. Happy shopping!