Birthday Gift Ideas for a One Year Old

As my son’s first birthday approached, my friends and family began asking me what was on his birthday wish list. As a first time mom, I was unsure. My speech-language pathologist instincts told me he would enjoy books, things that roll and puzzles. All of these items are fantastic to support language development but not tremendously exciting. I also asked for pajamas. My son needed 12-18 mos sized pjs. I’m slightly obsessed with baby pjs. Now looking back reflecting upon the birthday gifts he received and the ones he continues to show interest in and play with, I now know what to recommend. Here’s a list of birthday gifts you can’t go wrong with when buying for a one year old.

Birthday Gift Ideas for a One Year Old:

Note: This post contains affiliate links to items I personally find useful. I have not been compensated by the manufacturers for purchasing or promoting any of these products. I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase using my link at no cost to you. If you do, thank you!!

Ride along- Ride alongs are great for developing gross motor skills in preparation for walking. This Vtech 2 in 1 Learn and Zoom Motor Bike is one of my son’s favorite birthday gifts and it is a good one. I’ve watched him progress from learning to get on it by crossing his leg over it to sit, learning to balance on it, to now scooting it wherever he wishes to go. This was an unexpected but very entertaining birthday gift. We are thankful to our friends for it.

Activity walker Definitely recommend this if your little has not taken off on two yet. My son was given this Vtech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker. It has lots of lights and music. He’s a big fan of it.

Shape sorter- I bought this for him. I use shape sorters in my speech therapy sessions all the time, they are always a hit. My son seeks his Fisher-Price Baby’s First Blocks out daily and plays with it independently. It’s also great for joint play, turn-taking, visuospatial skills and shape learning. Babies love putting things inside of containers. This is a great toy for one year olds.

Chunky puzzles- Chunky and knob puzzles are very age-appropriate for one year olds. My son received several for his birthday and he plays with them throughout the day. I prefer Melissa and Doug Puzzles. I use them in therapy and they hold up well. Check out my tip for keeping up with puzzle pieces here.

Pots & pans/kitchen tools- My son’s grandparents gave him these Melissa and Doug Pots and Pans. What a great idea! Yes they are loud and noisy, but dearly loved and frequently played with. They will grow with him as he begins pretend play as well. I give the grandparents kudos for these!

Board books with flaps- No they don’t stand up well to a one year old’s wrath, but they love them. My son looks at his Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell and Karen Katz’s lift-the-flap books multiple times a day. You can’t go wrong giving books. Sign and give a book instead of a card!!

Balls, trucks and cars- Anything that rolls is attractive to most one year olds and makes for a good gift. Sensory balls with different surface textures are fun. I was excited that my son got this School Bus with students. We sing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ most everyday while playing with it.

Bubbles- Who doesn’t love bubbles?!?!

Stacking cups/blocks- My son loves stacking and knocking down things which is very typical of one year olds. Most any toy that stacks is going to be fun for this age. I bought my son these Melissa and Doug Nesting and Stacking Blocks. You can often find them at TJ Maxx.

Musical instruments- Yes, I said it. One year olds love movers, bangers and shakers. My son enjoys playing with this Melissa and Doug Band in a Box that he received. You can usually find these at TJ Maxx as well.

Jack-in-the-box- If you can get your hands on a Jack-In-The-Box get one. My son was given one and the element of suspense keeps his attention and him coming back for more.

Ball popper- Not sure why, but my son is a big fan of his Fisher-Price Corn Popper. It is a fun gift that I wouldn’t have bought myself.

There you have it. These gifts are developmentally appropriate, tried-and-true and one year old approved. Do you have any other gift ideas that you recommend for celebrating the big ONE? I hope you found this helpful, please share if you know someone who may benefit.

Peace & Love,


Respect, kindness and love begin with babies…we must show them the way!



13 thoughts on “Birthday Gift Ideas for a One Year Old

  1. I have been getting this question a lot lately! I really hate mindless toys that fall to the bottom of a toy box and never get played with. I always stayed ahead of the toy game with my older one. Such a pet peeve of mine! Probably because I also hate the clutter. My go to answers have been the, touch and feel books, wooden puzzles, trucks, and stacking/building blocks. We have some of the push toys/ride alongs already and she loves them!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing! This is very timely as my baby is turning one tomorrow and I procrastinated on getting him something! Looks like I will be making a trip to Target tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My little girl is about to turn one. She already has many of the gifts you mentioned and especially loves balls of all kind. She plays with my husband’s guitar so I bought her a musical instrument set for her birthday & Christmas. I didn’t think of a ride-alone – what a good idea! I’m also grateful you didn’t gender-separate any of these gifts.

    Liked by 1 person

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