What are the best gifts you could get a one year old? What toys or experiences will not only hold their attention, but give their parents a moment or two of peace?
From the big stuff to the small and meaningful, these have been our favorite gifts for our one year olds, pooling ideas from two moms of three (soon to be four) kiddos:
1) Montessori-Based Toy Subscription
The ultimate gift is an age-appropriate toy box with toys that are specifically designed for baby and toddler’s developing brains. We’ve been getting Lovevery toy box subscriptions (read my Lovevery review) since day one for our son, and I love how well made they are, how much he practices his motor skills with them, and how perfect they are for each stage of his development.
They were great when he was a baby, and now that he’s a toddler, the toy boxes come quarterly at a price of $120 per month. As a gift, you can just send one, or a few, or get a subscription for the family or one year old you have in mind. These are on the pricier side, but they can last through a whole family of kids.
We got a piano for my son when he was about six months old and over the past year, he’s gone from banging on it to going over to press a few keys, to learning how to dance and associating the sounds with the potential for music.
While not the ultimate gift for someone who likes a quiet household, I like it so much better than repetitive songs many kids toys play. Pianos encourage engagement rather than just pushing a button. Plus, it’s adorable. Browse here.
3) Montessori Busy House
A Montessori busy house is essentially a wooden doll house sensory board. Some of the activities, like the zipper and shoelaces, are beyond his abilities at one year old, but he can flip the light switches (a favorite activity), turn the wheels, and change the light colors. I looked high and low for a good one before we settled on this one. It’s well-made, and I see it being a toy he’ll keep using for years.
4) Ball Pit
We’ve had a soft ball pit and balls in our play area since my son was about 6 months old, and it’s the toy that keeps on giving. When he was about a year old, he’d happily sit in there and pull out and flip through his books. Now that he’s 18 months old, his favorite thing is grabbing the balls and throwing them out, then throwing them back in. It creates a bit of easy clean up, but such is life with a toddler, and it keeps him entertained! This is the pit that we have, and 250 balls fills it up about a quarter of the way. Still, we don’t feel we need more for him to have fun.
5) Small Backyard Pool
During the summer months, our son, whose birthday is in July, adored his little pool. It was the perfect way to finish out a summer afternoon and have a picnic dinner in the back yard. We just have a plastic one from Target, but this one actually folds up and can be easily stored or brought to grandma’s house. It comes in several sizes, too.
6) Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Food Truck
Fisher-Price’s creative food-truck-inspired kitchen set, which is targeted to children from 18 to 36 months, is one of those toys that lasts for years. Our one-year-old loves to poke her head out the food truck window, dance to the fun food-themed songs, and sort shapes into the double-sided recycling bin. The truck comes with more than 20 cooking accessories for pretend play.
7) Kitchen Sink Toy
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced gift idea for a young toddler, this Cute Stone Kitchen Sink should be at the top of your list. We use it often both indoors (with plenty of towels!) and outside. It has a battery-operated faucet that keeps water continuously running, as well as dishes and sink toys that change color when immersed in warm water.
8) Toy Vacuum
I think every toddler parent I know has a toy vacuum for their little one. Our Fisher-Price vacuum has been a big hit with both our kids throughout the toddler phase. It sings, lights up, and makes a pretend vacuum noise with multiple buttons and switches. We also love our toy cordless Dyson vacuum.
9) Toddler Tricycle
Twelve months of age is a great time to start with a beginner Radio Flyer Toddler Tricycle, like ours pictured above. These are great for pedaling around the driveway, down the sidewalk, or in the basement!
10) Fisher-Price Little People Farm
One-year-olds are starting to engage in more and more pretend play, and Fisher-Price’s Little People Farm is a great way to help them develop their imaginations. The farm comes with multiple animals and accessories to play with, and it has several action-themed sound effects and songs to keep toddlers engaged. The brand also sells additional farm animals and a singing tractor toy that our children love.
11) Barumba Play Couch
Play couches are great for littles on so many levels. They create a comfy place to read together, act as giant play blocks, and stimulate imagination as parents and kids can build forts together. I love hearing my partner and son in the evenings as he squeals with delight at going ‘boom’ on the cushions. They’re lightweight, nontoxic, and soft. The covers can be easily removed and washed as well. This is a ‘toy’ we’ll be using for years to come. Read my full Barumba review.
It always amazes my husband and me how long this Little People Garage by Fisher-Price keeps our one-year-old occupied. I would absolutely recommend it as a gift to any little one around age one or two. It comes with two cars that ride the elevator to the top floor and zoom down the curvy ramp. For only about $20, it’s a great value toy for boys and for girls.
Step2’s classic Push Around Buggy might not be the most stylish way to stroll with your little one, but it’ll get your young toddler excited about a walk around the block. Our daughter received this as a gift and loves to climb inside, honk the horn, and steer the wheel as her brother walks alongside her. The buggy also comes in red, yellow, and blue for a more gender-neutral option.
14) Rocking Horse
This bright magenta rocking horse by Little Tikes was a cherished first-birthday present for our daughter. Lightweight, sturdy, and easy to clean, it’s a great toy for inside and out in the yard. For other options, check out the B. Toys Rodeo Rocker at Target or the Musical Horse Plush Nursery Rocker at Pottery Barn Kids.
15) Musical Instruments
Whether they’re jamming along with their favorite songs (Baby Beluga, anyone?) or making music of their own, a set of musical instruments, a xylophone, or a drum set are all home-run gifts for one-year-olds.
16) Baby Doll and Stroller
There’s nothing sweeter than seeing our one-year-old show love and care to her baby dolls as she dresses them and feeds them their bottles. This adorable soft doll and durable stroller, or a smaller bath-friendly doll, make for excellent gifts.
17) Yookidoo Bath Spout Toy
This battery-powered bath hose and spout toy has been a lifesaver for bathtime in our house. It comes with three stackable cups and spinning gears. It’s an especially helpful gift for families bathing more than one youngster at a time. See our complete list of baby bath essentials for more favorite bathtime toys.
18) Water Table
Water play is always a favorite for kids around one year of age. We use our Step2 Rain Showers Water Table again and again when the weather is nice outside. It’s an enduring toy for young families that keeps both our one-year-old and three-year-old engaged for long periods of time.
19) Jumbo Crayons and Coloring Book
When our one-year-old gets her hands on the crayon box, somehow all the colors end up broken in half and scattered on the floor within minutes. These clever Crayola Jumbo Crayons (as well as this egg-shaped set) are easy to grab and difficult to break, and they make a cute gift when paired with one of our favorite first coloring books.
20) Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit
Our young toddler always surprises us by how long she plays with our Melissa & Doug Take-Along Tool Kit, which makes for a thoughtful and budget-friendly gift. The brand also offers a compatible tool belt, miniature tool bench, and larger work bench as options for expansion.
Keep in mind, if you’re buying a toy for a one year old’s birthday or for a family member’s child, something like bamboo clothes instead of toys might be desired as well. In my experience, it’s a great idea to ask parents what they need for their kiddos.
Tried, tested, and approved, these have been the favorite toys for our one year olds, and have made the best gifts that endured multiple kids and stood the test of time.
*Some links in this post are affiliate links that support us at no extra cost to you when you purchase through them. We only recommend products we love and use ourselves. Your trust always comes first!