One-year-olds are excited to learn about the world, so your gift options are endless. Look for developmentally appropriate toys that involve tasks like stacking, sorting, playing music, pushing, pulling, reading and moving things in and out of containers. Here are 12 bright ideas to put a smile on a baby’s face, whether you’re planning your child’s birthday wishlist or are invited to a first birthday party.
Custom Board Book of Names & Faces by Pinhole Press
Here’s a book any one-year-old can read. This personalized photo gift book can be fully customized with the names and faces of friends and family members, pets, places, or things your little one cherishes. Just upload your photos and add text. The ultrathick paper and spiral-bound design make this album perfect for small hands.
Available from pinholepress.com, $39.99.
Felt ABC Blocks by Global Goods Partners
Looking for a gift that does a little good? These beautiful handmade blocks are crafted by female artisans in Nepal using fair trade principles. Funds go toward sustainable jobs for these Nepali women, who use felted wool and poly fill to construct each set of three educational cubes.
Available from globalgoodspartners.org, $32.
Stack and Build Cups by KidSource
Babies will stack, nest, build and topple over these colorful cups, all while learning about color, size and sequence. These easy-to-grasp cups encourage hands-on exploration, whether you’re in the playroom, rolling them around in the backyard, or filling and dumping them with water in the bathtub.
Available from amazon.com, $9.79.
Hello, World! My Body Board Book by Jill McDonald for Doubleday Books for Young Readers
A one-year-old needs plenty of books for their little library. Add to the mini reader’s collection with the Hello, World! series, books packed with basic nonfiction concepts such as body parts, the weather, the solar system, bugs, birds and dinosaurs. The colorful illustrations and simple text capture the attention of any busy tot.
Available from rhcbooks.com, $7.99.
Fit and Play by HABA USA
There are tons of shape sorters out there to choose from, but the Fit and Play takes the challenge up a notch by giving children the option of creating new shape windows by sliding colorful board pieces. One-year-olds can work on their motor skills and hand-eye coordination too.
Available from hababusa.com, $24.99.
Baby Walker with Wooden Blocks by JoJo Maman Bebe
If your one-year-old is interested in walking, this colorful wooden walker offers support and encouragement. It’s a multi-use toy with tons of fun blocks and rings to keep your wee one busy when they’re not wheeling around.
Available from jojomamanbebe.com, $79.
Yookidoo Pull Toy
Get your little one excited about walking with this classic pull toy made modern thanks to its whistling and singing features, and an extra activity bead roller. Watch the wheels turn in your child’s head as they realize the cause and effect of pulling their new friend.
Available from amazon.com, $18.69.
Peek-a-Boo Mini Storage Bin by Petit Pehr
These 100% heavyweight cotton canvas storage bins are as much a gift for kids as they are for parents. Not only do they hold a bunch of little toys and trinkets, but they’re sweet as can be with their pom pom-cheeked faces.
Available from pehrdesigns.com, $19.
Hoppi Box Subscription Service
A gift that keeps on giving, Hoppi Box is a subscription service that delivers carefully curated playthings right to your front door. Each box comes with 3 to 5 new toys and books from brands like Hape, Plan Toys, and Tegu, all specifically geared towards your child’s age and development. Sign up for a year and prepare for fun at the beginning of each new season with box deliveries in March, June, September, and December.
Available from hoppibox.com, $75 and up.
Rugged Recycle Truck Playset by Tonka
Tiny truck buffs will love this 25-piece recycle truck playset, with a rotating-wheels vehicle, trash bin, safety cones, a human figure, decal stickers, and 17 building blocks. This remote-controlled, battery-powered toy will ignite your child’s sense of make-believe with realistic lights and sounds that get the pretend play started.
Available from walmart.com, $29.97.
Egg shakers, drums, xylophones, even tiny tambourines and guitars. There’s no shortage of instruments small enough for busy little hands. But have you seen what a kid can do with an accordion? This mini version may be intended for an older child, but its durable design and wood construction make it a match for any one-year-old. The collection of buttons and push-pull mechanism give kids so much to do and hear.
Available from schylling.com, $31.99.
photo: DuPage Children’s Museum 110 via Flickr
A Yearly Membership
A single trip to your local zoo, aquarium, botanical garden or children’s museum can be costly, so buying a yearlong membership often makes sense, especially if you plan on going more than just once. This is an especially great gift idea for parents who don’t want their house overflowing with toys. Or for the baby who has everything!
— Whitney C. Harris
featured photo: li tzuni via unsplash