1 year old birthday

Turning 1 is an occasion to celebrate, which also means it's the perfect opportunity to give a special gift to a special little someone. Whether you're looking for just the right birthday gift for your own 1-year-old, or are shopping for a family member or friend's child, this list of best gifts and gift ideas can help steer you in the right direction.

We surveyed more than 4,000 Pampers Parents to find out which gifts they think are the best for a 1-year-old. No matter which gift you pick from this list, the lucky recipient will be eager to play with his brand new toy.

Tips for Buying a Gift for a 1-Year-Old

To help you choose a great gift, Pampers Parents recommend considering these things as you shop for the best gift for a 1-year-old:

  • Consider a gift or a toy that promotes learning or the development of certain skills. For example, there are toys that can help build motor skills, or can help develop problem-solving skills.

  • Choose a toy that can last and withstand some wear and tear. Remember that children (and especially toddlers) are apt to bang and throw their toys around. Also, you may want the toy to be passed on to other children, like a sibling at some point.

  • Consider those gifts or toys that are engaging and offer versatility. Look for toys that offer multiple ways to learn and play, like this educational farm animal puzzle.

  • Think about what materials the gift or toy is made of. Many Pampers Parents noted they prefer toys that are made from natural materials, and many of the gifts on this list are made from wood.

  • Look for toys that are manufactured without the use of harsh chemicals or anything that could harm little ones. All the toys on this list are made from materials that are safe for children. To read more about safety, jump to the section on safety considerations.

  • Look for gifts or toys that don't have small parts that can become a choking hazard.

  • Look for gifts or toys that are easy to keep clean, as 1-year-olds often put their toys in their mouths.

  • Make sure the gift or toy is age appropriate. You don't want a toy that is too simple or too challenging—and possibly unsafe because the toy is meant for an older child. All the toys on this list work for 1-year-olds, though some might be even more appealing as the second birthday approaches.

  • If you are buying the gift for another person's child, you might like to check that she doesn't already have a similar item. And, you might like to find out whether there’s a particular style of toy that might be especially loved, such as a musical toy or an animal-themed toy.

The 8 Best Gifts for a 1-Year-Old

More than 4,000 Pampers Parents voted on the best gifts for a 1-year-old, and gave some great recommendations as to why their choices make great gifts. Here are the reviews:

1. Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toy

Why pick this one? Encourage a baby's musicality with this adorable and super stylish wooden piano. Surprisingly, the keys aren't buttons at all—instead, the keyboard relies on magic-touch technology, which will delight any little one for many years to come.

A 1-year-old may certainly enjoy touching these special keys at random. But when she's older, she may pick up on playing tunes from the three double-sided sheet music cards, which feature six different songs. Or she might compose her own melodies! The sheet music cards (which can bend out of shape) and keys are color-coded for children to easily comprehend.

Highlights: The piano is made from durable, child-safe materials. You don't have to worry about disturbing anyone with loud music since the piano has volume control.

Price*: about $46.77 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

2. Melissa & Doug Large Farm Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Why pick this one? This fun wooden peg puzzle features seven popular farm animals—a chicken, duck, pig, cow, horse, sheep, and goat—plus the farmer, all in a big red barn. One activity you might try is to sing "Old Macdonald Had a Farm" while introducing the farm animals and Mr. Macdonald himself to your toddler. Little ones will enjoy placing the puzzle pieces on the board (and dumping them back out), which can help develop hand-eye coordination and cognitive skills. Each wooden puzzle piece is easy to grasp, with a thick sturdy wooden handle that can survive being bitten or chewed on. Unfortunately, the animals aren't labeled, which may have been a nice touch for learning purposes.

Highlights: Each puzzle is crafted by hand, and its colors and cute design make it particularly appealing.

Price*: about $17.73 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

3. Infantino Textured Multi Ball Set

Why pick this one? This set of balls features six differently sized, shaped, and colored balls that a toddler will enjoy holding, feeling, and playing with. To encourage play, you can roll each ball one by one toward your toddler, describe the texture and color of each ball, and see how he reacts. Eventually you can turn this into a game where you call out the color, and he rolls that particular one back to you—a fun learning activity! If you have a dog, keep an eye on Fido, who may be interested in taking one or more of these balls for a chew toy.

Highlights: It's OK if a baby chews on the balls, which are made of BPA-free material.

Price*: about $9.99 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

4. Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center

Why pick this one? This activity center is so much cooler than the ones you might see at the pediatrician's office. Shaped like a tree, it's packed with features that can help a 1-year-old put her fine motor skills to work. She can glide, slide, or spin different attachments with images of flowers and animals, play with springing flaps, run beads along the loops, and fit shapes into the cut-out holes. The activity center is highly colorful and graphic with details that can hold a child's attention and capture her imagination all the while serving as an educational tool. It would make a lovely gift for a 1-year-old who is learning to explore the larger world around her.

Some Pampers Parents noted that the wood construction could have been more stable and smooth. It may be worth taking a closer look at the toy before giving it to a child, possibly even sanding any sharp edges.

Highlights: The activity center tree is made of wood and was manufactured with a water-based, non-toxic finish, making it safe for little ones.

Price*: about $75.99 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

5. Fat Brain Toys Dimpl Duo Baby

Why pick this one? Here's a gift that can help a 1-year-old explore different textures and shapes. The tablet features six shapes made out of silicone in different colors. Each shape is written out in words as well as in Braille. Learning about and playing with shapes, colors, and words is a benefit of this engaging toy. Plus, your toddler can have loads of fun popping the silicone bubbles in and out of the plastic frame. It's a gift that keeps on giving!

Highlights: The toy is made with silicone and BPA-free ABS-plastic, making it both safe and durable for little ones.

Price*: about $24.99 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

6. Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons Natural

Why pick this one? Many toddlers like to color with crayons, but regular crayons can be too small and thin for little hands to hold securely, not to mention they can snap in half easily. Honeysticks solved these issues by creating unique chubby crayons that are much easier for little hands to hold, and (almost) impossible to break. One of the best things about these sustainably produced crayons is that they are made from pure beeswax and come in 12 food-grade colors, making them non-toxic for babies. Since beeswax is a byproduct of honey production, these crayons smell as sweet as honey! These crayons would make a lovely gift for a budding artist. You might also like to give these Honeysticks crayons with some big sheets of paper or poster board so the art doesn't end up on the walls.

Highlights: With your purchase, you also receive a free coloring book that you can download as a PDF, which you can print out to include with the gift.

Price*: about $22.95 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

7. Manhattan Toy Skwish Color Burst Rattle and Teether Grasping Activity Toy

Why pick this one? This multisensory rattle isn't just fun to look at. It also encourages a 1-year-old to reach and grasp the toy, shake the beads to make a noise, move the colorful wooden beads, and squish the shape—all of which is great for developing motor skills and stimulating the senses. The rattle can also work as a teething toy. The toy is made from wooden balls that slide on the wooden dowels, with elastic ties that allow it—as the name suggests—to be squished flat. It always goes back to its original shape. How fun! If this toy is indeed used by a child for teething, it can be particularly difficult to clean, as many Pampers Parents pointed out.

Highlights: The rattle is made from sustainable wood with a water-based, non-toxic finish so it is safe for little ones.

Price*: about $13.99 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

8. Hape Butterfly Wooden Push and Pull Walking Toy

Why pick this one? This cute butterfly push-and-pull toy flaps its wings when someone walks or runs with it. It's a fun toy that encourages exercise and helps develop a child's coordination, balance, and motor skills. This gift might keep your toddler occupied for hours! When assembling the toy, make sure the dowels are securely screwed together, as some Pampers Parents noted the toy had a tendency to come apart during play.

Highlights: The toy is manufactured with wood from a forest that is managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is dedicated to environmentally responsible forestry. The toy is finished with water-based paint, and meets strict safety standards for children.

Price*: about $23.43 on Amazon.com

Pampers Parents pros and cons:

Safety Considerations When Buying a Gift for a 1-Year-Old

When you're buying a baby gift or a gift for a toddler, whether it's for your own child or a gift for a family member or friend's child, safety and age-appropriateness are two things you need to take into consideration.

Gift-Buying Dos

When buying a gift for a 1-year-old, there are some things to look out for before you make your final decision:

  • Check the gift or toy is designed for 1-year-olds

  • If the gift or toy is battery-operated, make sure that the battery compartment needs a screw to keep it securely closed

  • Check that the toy is not a choking hazard: If it fits into a toilet paper roll, it's a choking hazard (this means the object should be larger than 1-1/4 inches wide and 2-1/4 inches long)

  • Be very careful if you’re considering a vintage or handmade toy, as some handmade gifts, vintage toys, and hand-me-downs may not be safe to give to a 1-year-old. Loose, broken, or delicate parts on either a handmade toy or hand-me-down toy can be a danger to small children. Moreover, vintage toys produced before 1978 may contain lead paint.

  • Use your best judgment to determine if the toy you select would be able to withstand a toddler's chewing

  • Check that the gift or toy hasn’t been recalled.

Gift-Buying Don’ts

Avoid the following types of toys as gifts as they can endanger little ones. Say "no" to toys that:

  • need to be plugged into an electrical outlet

  • are motorized and can be ridden

  • have small parts that can come loose or sharp edges

  • can break or shatter if hit or thrown

  • have strings longer than seven inches

  • have small magnets

  • have springs, gears, or hinges that might trap small fingers, hair, or clothing

  • have been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Now you have some ideas for the perfect gift. Whether you've been invited to a first birthday party or a holiday gathering, or you want something unique for your own little one, these gifts are sure to please and entertain a 1-year-old, along with boosting his development.

Recall Notice

Before buying a product, always check that it’s approved and hasn’t been recalled on sites like the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

*Prices are correct at the time of writing.