The 10 Best Gifts to Buy for 1-Year-Olds in 2018

Delight the growing child in your life with one of these top picks

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The old adage is true: Time flies! It seems like you blinked and suddenly that teeny-tiny newborn is celebrating their milestone first birthday. Honor the special child in your life with a present that encourages creative play, is heirloom-worthy, or is something they’ll enjoy playing with for years.

Children’s interest in certain items—toys in particular—ebbs and flows, so you want to aim for a first birthday gift that has longevity, durability, practicality, and will last for many years. Here are our top gifts for a 1-year-old.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Top Bright Activity Cube

Top Bright Activity Cube

Courtesy of Amazon

This 5-in-1 activity cube, recommended for kids 12 months and up, helps your child develop their sensory skills. It’s interactive and promotes hand-eye coordination while encouraging imaginative play. This is a classic toy you can never go wrong with since it’s fun and entertaining for tykes and chock-full of activities to keep your kid busy.

This stimulating block has a bead maze, sliders, gears, a shape sorter, rotating pointers, and more that are all colorful and easy for small hands to grasp. With smooth edges, it’s also a safe toy you’ll feel comfortable with your child touching since it’s made of non-toxic, high-quality materials. It also acts as its own storage box as well, since it folds into itself for easy transport. Mom, dad, and caregivers will want to get into the playing action as well with this classic. 

Best Budget: Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Puppy’s Remote

As many parents quickly learn, children love cell phones, remotes, or anything with buttons. This toy remote from industry leader Fisher-Price has all the bells and whistles to keep kids happy and is recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years. It’s a budget-friendly, Amazon’s Choice toy that provides tons of fun. With just a few clicks of the colorful, plastic buttons baby learns numbers, letters, opposites, colors, and more, all voiced and performed in a “puppy” voice. The screen lights up a variety of rainbow colors and this remote also plays more than 30 catchy tunes.

What’s extra awesome about this toy is that according to reviewers, it’s not very loud thanks to the noise control button. Interactive, musical toys have their moments, but for many parents, a quieter, simple toy that’s not constantly beeping and chiming away is music to your ears.

Best Blanket: Addison Belle Swaddle Blanket

This completely organic blanket makes naptime extra cozy. It measures 47” x 47”, so it’s fairly large—larger than a traditional newborn swaddle blanket. It’s made with non-toxic dyes and high-quality muslin; which is a lightweight cotton. It will keep your child warm without being overwhelming or too hot on your child’s small body.

This blanket also has longevity: it’s a great option for your baby’s (eventual) toddler bed since it comes in eye-catching patterns such as pink floral, cacti, mermaids, and more. It’s also a nice heirloom gift that can be passed on from baby to baby. Just wash it very carefully; muslin is delicate, so this blanket may pill a bit in a traditional washer and dryer load.

Best Book: Dr. Seuss’s Happy Birthday, Baby!

When it comes to children’s books, Dr. Seuss is tops. His whimsical, rhyming children’s works of literature have been beloved classics for generations. They’re fun to read and his stories are all memorable. Besides, it’s never too early to instill in your child a love of books and reading.

Happy Birthday Baby is a 12-page, hardcover, interactive "touch" book that enhances your child’s sensory processing. Thick, colorful pages encourage kids to spin, smell, pull, touch something shiny, and more. This is a quirky and fun book to read to your child every year on their birthday and makes for a wonderful first birthday gift. One online reviewer suggested using it as a sign-in “Guest Book” for baby’s first birthday extravaganza.

Best Growth Chart: Miaro Kids Wood Growth Chart

You can go “old school” and record your child’s height against a wall or doorframe using a ruler or a pencil, or you can invest in this milestone-oriented product. This sturdy chart’s made of non-toxic pine and canvas and painted with safe paint that meets European toy standards for environmental protection—no icky fumes. It livens up any room and comes with a rope on top, making it easy to hang against a wall or door. It has easy-to-decipher black measurements; just draw a horizontal line at the top of your child’s head as they lean their back against this chart. This particular growth chart is an online bestseller

Budget-friendly, it measures 79” x 7.9” and is adorned with nice designs you can choose from, including a sweet flamingo and feather pattern. It rolls up nice and compact, making it easy to store and ship.

Best Birthday Party Onesie: Bump and Beyond Design’s First Birthday Bodysuit

This onesie may look basic, but in pretty gold cursive, it’s allowing baby to "shout"…errr….babble…out to the whole world that she has turned 1-year-old and wants everyone to know it!

When it comes to baby gifts, you can never go wrong with a onesie, especially since they’re so easy to snap on and off to change baby’s diaper. This onesie is made from 100-percent cotton and holds up well after many washes and wears. It’s available in size 6 to 12 months, or 12 to 18 months and great for baby to wear to her first birthday party or for a professional photo shoot to celebrate this special “I’m 1!” milestone.

Reviewers called this onesie super cute, say it washes well, and the cotton is soft and thick. The word "One" is a decal that holds up nicely and doesn’t fade easily, so no need to worry about actual glitter chipping off.

Best Toy: Kleeger Plush Talking Animals

This is an Amazon’s Choice plush toy collection, so you know it’s a first birthday item both parents and toddlers gravitate towards. Your 1-year-old will be Queen or King of the Jungle with this gift that allows their imagination to run, well…wild!

It comes with a carrying case shaped like a tree, and four little stuffed animals that make noise when hugged or squeezed. As your little one enjoys their toy, they’re not only developing their imaginations and tapping into their creativity but enhancing their fine motor skills and learning about colors and sounds. The plush tiger and lion "roars," the elephant lets out a trumpet-like squeak, and the monkey makes a "boing-y" sound.

Reviewers say the sounds are realistic, which they didn’t expect initially, so keep that in mind when handing over to baby for playtime. The carrying case/tree comes with a Velcro handle, making this gift item easy to transport.

Best Puzzle: Melissa & Doug Farm Animals Wood Puzzle

Puzzles are a fantastic gift for children. They teach hand-eye coordination, increase a child’s visual spacial awareness and encourage problem-solving. Not to mention, they keep a child’s developing mind stimulated. Puzzles also teach the art of patience and reward—it’s sweet to see that excited feeling kids have when their puzzle is completed.

This “first puzzle” from Melissa & Doug features bright, familiar farm animals, is visually appealing, and contains eight jumbo-sized, smooth wood pieces made specifically for little hands to grasp with ease. In the spot where you place the coordinating puzzle piece is an identical picture of the piece that goes "in"—this makes it easier for kids to match.

This puzzle is a nice “stepping stone” gift for youngsters to cherish until they’re ready for more advanced puzzles. It’s made of high-quality, thick, durable wood that lasts—and the paint is non-toxic.

Best Picture Frame: Pearhead “My First Year” Frame

There are so many special milestones in your baby’s first year. From the day of their actual birth, to their first tooth, to their first steps, and eventually their first birthday, you’ll want to find a beautiful way to celebrate baby’s memorable moments. They say time flies when you’re a parent, and while your baby can’t stay a baby forever, you can keep your sweetie forever young with a beautiful photo frame.

This wooden one holds 12 smaller photos and one larger, 4” x 6” photo. It’s a great way to display baby’s first 12 months of life. The frame is made of smooth, white wood and looks elegant in any nursery. It’s acid-free and has silver stamping that reads My First Year. It’s a simple gift item to give to parents as a first birthday gift for their child. It’s available in two sizes: horizontal and vertical. You can perch this frame on a dresser with the enclosed easel or hang it on the wall using the included wall mount.

Best Blocks: Mega Bloks First Builders

When it comes to baby toys, sometimes the basics really are the best. Babies develop differently and at different stages, and at 12 months of age, there’s a chance your baby enjoys holding blocks, cherishing their texture, smoothness, color, and size. Mega Bloks make a great first birthday gift because they’re just so easy and practical, long-lasting, and provide babies and toddlers with hours of construction fun.

An Amazon’s Choice item, these blocks, which come in a carrying case, are recommended for children ages 12 months to 5 years of age. This collection comes with 80 colorful, sturdy plastic blocks that can be stacked together and combined with other Mega Blok sets. The larger pieces make it easy for baby’s small hands to grasp. Get your little one started on block building today and watch their creativity flow.

Our Process

Our writers spent 8 hours researching the most popular gifts for one-year-olds on the market. Before making their final recommendations, they considered 10 different gifts overall, screened options from 10 different brands and manufacturers, read over 50 user reviews (both positive and negative), and tested 3 of the gifts. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.

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