Shopping for a one year old can be a very stressful process.
At such a young age it’s hard to know what items the child will actually play with.
You read countless gift guides urging you to shop but what happens after you click the link?
Will the toy be well loved? Cherished? Enjoyed so much that it gets passed down to future siblings and possibly even future generations?
As a mom of four kids I’ve had LOTS of experience when it comes to toddlers and toys and today I’m sharing THE best toys for one year olds and what I recommend as the perfect gifts for one year old girls as well as one year old boys!
Best Toys for One Year Old - One Year Old Gift Ideas
Buying a present for a one year old? Not sure what to get for your baby's first Christmas? Your nephews or nieces first birthday?
I'm a firm believer that all toys can be played with and enjoyed by both genders, but I also firmly believe that boys are more drawn and enjoy certain toys and that girls are also more likely to be drawn to certain types of items too.
I'm dividing this list into sections based on gender neutral, boys and girls!
I'm also including my own personal info on each item, why we love it and why I think your little ones will too 🙂
Best Gifts for One Year Old Boy Or Girl
These are the best gift ideas for a gender neutral gift. Perfect for to make sure the new favorite toy will be easy to pass down to future siblings without worrying about having something be gender specific!
I personally aimed to purchase a lot of gender neutral items for my first child, knowing that we had more babies to come down the line and many of these items are still played with 10 years later by my last baby.
In my opinion this is a must-have for every one year old! Santa brought one to each of my children on their first Christmas. I love having toys like this that can grow with my children. It's a great toy for encouraging relationship building between siblings. Older kids love pushing younger ones around in it and even at one years old toddlers love to just sit in the car and press the horn or turn the steering wheel!
Ball poppers are SO FUN! I love sitting with my toddlers and watching their joy as they place the balls in and see them pop back out. A great one for an almost one year old too as even infants get such joy over watching the balls as they work their way through the tubes!
This is a classic that I think we all owned as a toddler ourselves right? It's a great baby toy, I actually pull this out when mine are around 9 months old and they are able to sit well unsupported. I open up every door and the baby loves to shut them. As they get older they enjoy the different ways to open and close the doors themselves.
All of my kids become obsessed with "helping mommy" around the early toddler age. As soon as they are walking, they are wanting to get my broom. We own this little set and I love that it's basic and affordable and encourages my toddlers to help around the house and is a great way to start laying the groundwork for chores in the future.
None of my kids were walking by their first birthdays and a push toy is great for helping encourage walking. I love this one because the base can detach and can be used in the car or in a pack and play to maximize the usability of this toy. It's a great one for first starting independent playtime as well! The kids are also really drawn to the sounds - especially that cow!
Books always make an excellent gift but this one is one of my favorites for this age. Lots of bright colors and simple images with text. It's great to use when helping a toddler learn to talk and I like a good board book material so I can let my kids sit and read on their own too without worrying about the book getting messed up or ruined. This is also an excellent book to work on language development
Little People sets are EXCELLENT for the toddler stage. Totally safe and easy to hold in little hands. If your one year old decides to give them a good chew you don't need to worry about choking but they are also fun as they get older and are able to do pretend play.
Musical toys are always a hit in our home and this is a toy that my older kids enjoy just as much as my toddler. The drum sticks make it extra fun and this is a wonderful gift to encourage older siblings to interact with younger siblings.
Prior to my husband building our own ball pit in our playroom we had this set and it was GREAT. We used it as a ball pit and the kids loved playing in it and crawling through the tunnel. It's a great set to keep put away and pull out on a rainy day too!
Activity Cubes are great for helping train a toddler to sit still and stay focused on a task. These activities help develop motor skills as well. We also use this toy a lot with my speech delayed toddler. I sit with him and use the little doors to practice "open" and "close" and the beads for "up" and "down." All the bright colors keep his attention and the simple tasks are great for language development.
This is an excellent toy to keep toddlers busy while you get dinner cooked! It is meant to be used on the fridge but I like to put mine on the dishwasher as it's easier to reach for little ones and more out of my way when trying to cook. This is another toy that is excellent to take when traveling and a great way to introduce letter recognition and letter sounds at a young age. I love that each letter can be independently selected to focus on one at a time and not be too overwhelming.
Bath toys are an EXCELLENT gift for a one year old. Bath time can be fun orrrr it can be a total pain with a wiggly toddler. Toys help keep 'em distracted and enjoying bathtime. I always look for bath toys that won't gather mold and I love this set of boats. They can attach together, can be stacked, and come in fun colors perfect for boys or girls.
These blocks are fantastic - but so is the bag they are stored in! Even our older children still play with these on a regular basis and this block set is perfect for travel too! I know lots of people love the Lego Duplo but I like to wait for a bit older for those sets as they are smaller pieces and can be more frustrating for the wider fingers on younger toddlers.
This is an excellent inexpensive yet very thoughtful gift to give for a first birthday or first Christmas gift. I have one of these for each of my children and fill it with photos of our family and close friends to help them learn names and face recognition. This is an item I keep in our church bag as it's a great thing to look through during worship services!
We are hardcore when it comes to not allowing our kids to play with adult items. They don't play with our phones or our remote controls and having a toy option on hand really helps reinforce those rules. This is a toy that I like to keep in the diaper changing table as it's a perfect size for the kids to hold during a diaper change and features so many buttons and lights and colors that they aren't likely to toss it on the floor right away 😉
As I mentioned, we don't let our kids play with our phones or other adult items - like keys. I love having a play phone for my kids and think it's so fun to watch them put the phone to their little ear and say "hello!" over and over. It's also fun to pretend to be a customer and "call" your toddler and talk back and forth on the phone together.
I know a common infant toy is a key ring teether but I really love a key set that has fun buttons and makes realistic sounds. Both of these items are also ones I like to use during a diaper change or in the car!
We have this exact quiet book and I'm so glad they still make it as we got it back when our oldest was one and he's now 10! This has held up to the test of time and is the PERFECT item to bring to church or doctors appointments when you need your toddler to sit still and be quietly and happily entertained. It also works those fine motor skills with the buttons and zippers.
A shape sorter is a must-have for every toddler. It's so rewarding for both child and mom when they first make that conneciton to fitting the shapes in the proper slots! A very affordable gift as well for anyone on a budget!
Another must-have toy is a set of stackable cups. Don't need to get fancy here, this set is under $5 and makes an excellent stocking stuffer or like an add on with a box of diapers to give for a first birthday. These also make excellent bathtub toys as kids love to put water in and pour 'em out.
Yes, I really love the Cozy Coupe but there is also a great value in a ride on scoot toy too (great for gross motor skills!). My kids love racing around the house on these and enjoy walking behind them and pushing them too. I love this super simple design and love the quality that it will last for future siblings as well as for future generations.
I have an older model of this table and y'all it has held the test of time SO WELL. It's been a very favorite toy for every single one of my toddlers and is excellent at that age where they are cruising and learning to stand up but need that extra support as well as that motivation to stand and walk! The legs also come off and it can be enjoyed by infants too on the floor for fine motor practice!
We have a pool in our back yard yet I still adore having a water table. There are times when you just don't want to get in the pool with your toddler. Hello, water table! I'm picky about our water table as well. I know so many designs come with sand and I always think WHY?! What mom wants to deal with cleaning up a sandy wet toddler? NOT ME. Keep it simple and basic and affordable! This is easy to store in the winter months too.
This is a great first Bible for a toddler. We teach our babies to "pat pat" their Bibles and to be gentle with them but let's be real - toddlers can't always be gentle. I like having a Bible option that I can let them "read" unattended without it becoming damaged.
A one year old milestone is learning to stack blocks. One year olds love to stack the blocks and knock them over. This is a very basic set that stores nicely in a bag. I love the colors and letters and numbers and it's an easy set to pull out to work on a variety of skills at once!
Lovevery has the most gorgeous playsets for babies and toddlers and even have a subscription option that would make a fabulous gift. They send out playkits designed for a specific age and stage to encourage play and learning with gorgeous age-appropriate items for each developmental milestone!
This is the most gorgeous and well-made block set I've ever seen. ALL of my kids enjoy playing with it (even the 11-year-old!). I wish I'd gotten it for a first birthday or Christmas to have more years to enjoy it! A brilliant, practical system of solid wood blocks for building spatial, language, and problem-solving skills. 70 heirloom-quality pieces that work with each other in more than 20 stage-based activities. Years of learning through play, crafted by child development experts.
Best Gifts for One Year Old Boy
Having a little boy is so much fun! Both of my sons were more naturally drawn to sports related toys, vehicles, and tools. My girls enjoyed these toys too but when given a choice my children all stuck to more gender stereotypical toys.
These little vehicles are awesome. I keep them in my purse for on the go moments as a toddler can drive a little car up on a random chair leg or doctors table or restaurant high chair. They work everywhere! No concerns about choking and provide tons of fun.
A great thing about this toy is it offers skills working with both hand eye coordination as well as foot eye coordination. We have owned a similar set but one that had a baseball theme and it wasn't nearly as much fun to play with as the basketball and soccer combo has been. With options to play basketball or soccer, even older kids will be wanting in on the fun. Our 4 year old played with this a TON when it was a first birthday gift for her little brother. I love that it can be enjoyed from the sitting position as well. Our son wasn't yet walking when he received it and he loved sitting in front of it and putting the ball in the hoop over and over. It's also a nice size and easy to store when not in use!
As I mentioned, I adore Little People toys. Some of the first sounds my boys made were vehicle type noises and the ability to put the toys in and out of the airplane makes it extra fun for little guys!
I'm a big fan of purchasing gifts for my kids that are aimed a bit older than their current age. This, for example, is best suited for ages 18 months and up but makes a great gift for a one-year-old. It's so cute to keep outside and let him help Daddy mow the grass!
Scout is one of my absolute must-buy toys for each of my children. I love that they each have their own Scout and that it can be personalized to say their names. Every one of my kids got a lot of love and joy from their Scout!
Best Gifts for a One Year Old Girl
Just like with the boy toys, these toys can be played with by either gender. However, my girls were both more drawn to "typical girl toys" even at just a year old. Dolls, purses, everything pink and girly and they were after it!
Both of my girls have always LOVED little bags to put things in and out of and to carry around with them wherever they go. Toy phones are always. ahit and this little set got a lot of love in my house and is a favorite gift to give to a little girl on her first birthday too!
The same toy as the Scout but the girl version is named Violet and I love her so much I felt like she deserved to be well represented. She can be personalized and has so many fun song options to keep little ones happily entertained!
My girls have LOTS of baby dolls, even super nice American Girl brand ones. Yet time and time again they both chose this baby doll over all of their others. I think she's super cute too and is a great first baby with her soft body. She also has an open mouth which makes her a great toy to grow with your daughter as once they start getting into that pretend play she's the perfect baby doll to "feed."
I know it's common to buy an infant girl a completely soft baby doll as their first doll but personally neither of my girls ever played with that type of doll so I'd recommend not spending that money and just getting one of these instead!
If you were like me then you probably had a very similar doll stroller growing up. In fact, I STILL have my version of this stroller from childhood and my girls both LOVED it. It's a great first stroller as it's all plastic. No worries about something breaking. It's great to help with walking too as it's sturdy to push without it toppling over. A gift she will love now and save for her daughter someday too!
Imaginative play really starts around 18 months old and a cute little tea set is so fun to sit and play with a little girl! A great lead-in to pretend play food and I like that this set doesn't use actual liquid. No one year old needs real tea in their teacups!
Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.
My work has been featured on Love What Matters, Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.