It’s hard to resist going crazy spending big bucks on fancy gifts for your little birthday girl or boy. But the reality is that with a one-year-old, often keeping it simple is best. They still know how to appreciate the simple things in life and they get so much entertainment out of natural toys.
When you begin building their birthday wishlist, I highly recommend staying away from anything with an electronic screen. Children should be completely screen-free for the first two years of their life. Also, make sure anything you gift to your new toddler is not a choking hazard and can be safely put in their mouth. Toys that are easy to wash is a big plus too.
Our Top 20 Favorite Gifts for Baby’s First Birthday
New Shoes - If your baby isn’t walking yet, they certainly will start soon! And with all that walking they’ll need new shoes. Especially when they start strolling outside of the house and in the streets. Best to look for shoes that have some grip on the bottom to prevent slips and falls.
Wooden Blocks - One of Scout’s favorite activities is to build tall block towers and knock them down. We are from California so we call it the “Earthquake Game”.
Baby Utensils - Stick to transitional utensils that are made of soft natural fabrications like bamboo or silicone. Avoid metals because at this point they are still mostly gums in their mouth.
Suction Bowls and Plates - When toddlers first start to learn self-feeding, one of their favorite things to do is to flip their bowls of food onto the floor. When you have tableware that sticks to the table, it helps to contain the mess and allows them to focus more on eating the food.
Their Own Chair - They see us sitting in chairs all the time and they like to have their own miniaturized version for themselves. They need assistance to get in and out of their high feeding chair, but with a little toddler chair they have some independence.
New Baby Bibs - As your child grows, so does the mess they make when eating. When you start introducing utensils you’ll need to upgrade to bigger bibs. Nowadays they make “catch-all bibs” to help prevent so much food from hitting the floor (scroll down to browse these bibs).
Swing - If you have room in your home, new toddlers love to swing. The movement is very relaxing for them, but you may have a hard time getting them out of it because they’ll want to swing for hours!
Growth Chart - Your baby’s first birthday is a great place to start annually tracking their height on a fun growth chart. As the years go on they’ll be so excited to see their own development.
Plant a Tree - We have a huge backyard in our home and for Scout’s first birthday we planted a few trees. That way she can grow-up alongside her green friends. It’s cool to know that she will always be the same age as the trees at our home.
Musical Instruments - I’m sure by now you are aware that babies and toddlers love to make noise. Help them perfect their sense of rhythm with shakers and drums you can play to accompany recorded music.
Busy Boards - When Scout got her first busy play set as a gift from her aunts, she had long stretches of time when she was completely self-entertained (which is great for parents too!). She still likes to play with it regularly, especially in the morning after breakfast.
Cooking Sets - They see us getting busy cooking in the kitchen and they want to help too. For her first birthday Scout got a mini cooking set complete with pans, vegetables and utensils. I highly recommend purchasing a pan set that comes with lids, they love putting the vegetables inside the pans and covering it up with the lid. I know it sounds so simple but it really makes a difference!
Books - Stick with fabric and board books because we’ve learned the hard way that toddler’s love to rip out paper pages from books.
Finger Puppets - Make stories come to life with fun whimsical characters that sit on the tip of your finger. Add fun voices and use these tools to work on language and speech.
Tools and Gardening Play Sets - Just like cooking, they see us working around the house and in the yard. Scout loves to go out into the garden with me and use her gardening tools to dig in the dirt just like mommy.
Bird House and Feeder - My daughter absolutely loves watching the birds in our yard. So we got a bird feeder to attract more of her little feathered friends. We sit on the back porch and watch them feed on birdseed… and occasionally a squirrel will join the party too!
Keepsake Box - It’s time to start putting all those precious baby things away, because now you’ve entered the toddler era. A keepsake box gives you the opportunity to purge all your baby stuff and pick out your favorites to save forever.
Stacking Boxes and Cups - Boxes and cups that fit perfectly into each other is like gold for your little one. Not only does it help with their development but it provides great solo play time.
Hand Kites - I didn’t even know these existed before I became a parent, but toddlers love these. It’s basically some colorful ribbons and streamers on a wooden ring. Put some music on and dance around, waving your hand kites in the air.
Bubbles - So simple yet they love them so much! Have a fun bubble party outside on a sunny afternoon.
Get in Personalized - One of the best parts about Etsy is that you can find sweet gifts that you can personalize with your baby’s name and birthday to mark the occasion. When they get older they’ll love to read their own name on their toys.
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