Mommy SOS: Great 1st Birthday Gifts Ideas?

This mommy SOS was submitted by Lynn Monaco who asked:

My daughter’s 1st birthday is coming up and people are asking me for gift ideas. As this is my first child, I really have no idea what to tell them! What do 1 year olds need/want/like????

This is a great question, and one that I need the answer to myself!

One thing that I do know is that Jasper’s play has changed dramatically over the past few weeks as he’s finally mastered the idea of “sequences” that I read about in the wonderweeks book. This book basically outlines the major developmental leaps that babies undergo during their first year and the corresponding “fussy periods” that directly proceed those leaps.

The “sequences” leap that happens around week 46 means that baby now understands that one thing is followed by another and can now perform two taskst that go together, for instance sock goes on foot, keys get hung up on hook, toy goes in bin. This is really an amazing change to watch!

All this is to say that Jasper is now MUCH more interested in toys that challenge his budding intellect.. stacking toys, shape sorting toys etc.

The problem is that he’s interested in these things but gets EXTREMELY irritated because he can’t actually DO them yet. So I think it’s a tricky age because you want to encourage their development without inciting frustration.

One of his favorite things to do lately is put things IN other things and them spill them out, so something like this Fill and Spill from Melissa & Doug would be a cute gift:


He also REALLY loves cause and effect toys, like these pop up type toys:


Other than those observations I’m at a loss! So lets here from you:  Qhat are/were your child’s favorite things around the age of one? What gifts would you love or did you love for your 1 year old?

Pin It

Wall Display Templates for Photographers

You might also like

Putting a Lid on It Thank you for all the wonderful 1st birthday present ideas! I couldn't resist posting this little...
Mommy SOS: Great Gifts for a One Year Old I got this email over the weekend from Amy: Message: Hello!  I've been stalking your blog for awhile...
He’s Got Skillz I took so many photos of Jasper this weekend that I wanted to share but haven't had time to edit...
Jasper Making Car Sounds I am short on time, but long on videos, so here's another one (are you sick of them yet?) Now it's...
Kelly says:

My favorite first bithday gift is ‘Blanket Full of Love’ – a beautiful personalized book about a baby blanket that reminds the child how much she’s loved as she gets older. It is so cute, and so touching, and makes all my friends cry! You can get it at Check it out!

SarahD says:

We have three boys, and their favorites around one year were ride-on or push toys. They also loved keys on a ring with buttons that made noises, little toy phones. Books that come with their own cd are cool. Balls are a big hit. Bath toys. Water table to muck around in on the deck. Big diggers/dump trucks. A sand box. A kiddie pool.
Practical items like new bibs, washcloths, bigger sleepers, Robeez, sippy cups.

Lynn says:

Awesome! Thanks for all the ideas! :)

Ava says:

Ha! I just asked this of my local mother’s group. Here’s what they recommended:
– clothes
– books
– Ride on toys (tricycle, fire engine)
– Pull toys, anything with a string that can be pulled once – baby starts walking
– Bath toys
– Wheeled toys (trucks, trains, stroller yes even for a boy!)
– Simple puzzles (wooden ones from Melissa & Doug)
– Shape sorting toys
– “Cars” ride-on walker
– Flap books
– Stuffed animals
– Little chair (Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel or P’kolino)
– Ball popper
– Busy Gears
– Band in a Box by Melissa and Doug
– Egg shakers
– Shopping cart
– Blocks
– Stacking toys
– Melissa and Doug alphabet blocks
– Toys from Iplay (aka International Playthings)
– Toys from VTech

Hope this helps give you some ideas.

heartartz says:

Both my boys got a Brio 1st Train set. This is a very nice gift to get as a special memorable keepsake.
It is recommended for 1 1/2 year old…but that time will be here before you know it.
Their Grandparents bought the 1st and all subsequent sets and added to the collection every year
This one is especially nice
Till he is 18 months maybe it can be special play thing to play with someone (Dad/Grandpa) for a bit.
My sons are grown and the only toys they asked me to keep were the Brio trains..and the Legos.

Great post! I had two friends have children celebrating their 1st birthdays recently, and I was totally at a loss as to what to get for them (my little guy was only 4 months at the time).

Now that he is 7 months old, I’m struggling with what types of toys to buy him, so its good to get an idea of what is out there!

Dana J says:

both my girls really loved the ride on/push cars that had lots of buttons! :)

kari says:

GREAT POST and love the suggestions!

Another question:

Should the one year old open the gifts at the party or after guest have gone home?
I have been to parties both ways, and not sure which is appropriate….

Sara says:

3 of Lola’s favorite toys right now are
Pound-a-peg by Melissa and Doug

Playful Pals Piano by Iplay

Shopping Cart by Melissa and Doug

Pamela Levis says:

I love the Melissa & Doug Toys and the Parents Toys. The Parents toys have their own section at Target. My son really enjoys stacking stuff and knocking it down, anything musical, his water table, his swing. I am a big fan of classic toys…the ones that last 100 years and your great-grandchildren will be playing with.

Parents Teaching Tower with Bag

Parents Ready, Set, Go Car Set

Ali says:

My son who is 14 months old (our first) got a lot of great toys for his 1st birthday…and let me tell you that even in 2 months some are now less interesting than others. I am actually going to post about some toys on my blog ( tonight (it is already written–but will post at 6pm tonight). But here is a list of just those toys as well as some more that he got:

1. Sprig eco trucks. They are light-weight and he loves going “vroom” with them as well as placing objects in the loading parts.

2. Plan Toy Shape Sort. Miles LOVES this. It took him some time to catch on to the release bar, but he easily figured out how to “sort” the green shape. He still has trouble with the triangle and square, but even turns it upside down and puts the shapes in (along with other toys). In general, all Plan toys are pretty great! (

3. Melissa and Doug Pound and Roll Tower. Another great toy. Miles loves putting the balls on top, but has figured out how to put the balls in the side to get them to roll down. (

4. Green Toys Cookware. We actually just got this, but I wish we had gotten it earlier. He obviously doesn’t do imaginative play, but he loves to put the dishes in and out of drawers and plays with them while I get his dinner ready. The company has a great mission, too. Plus, they have other neat toys (tools, garden accessories, trucks, etc) (

5. Freight Train BIG board book. This is a really short, but simple book…and there is something about it that I think babies (toddlers!) around 1 really are attracted to. (

6. From iTunes, download Ziggy Marley’s newest children’s album, Family Time. AWESOME! My brother is a children’s musician and for Miles’s first birthday made a 4 CD set of GREAT children’s music. I love having lots of custom CDs to choose from when we are at home and in the car. ( There is so much great children’s music out there–much of which not many people know about (feel free anyone to contact me if you want an extensive list of the more obscure, but amazing children’s music that is adult palatable, too!)

And of course, wrapping paper, cards and bows are fun “toys” for the days following the party.

Good Luck!

I wonder what Wes will love at 1! I’m very much looking forward to that time.

When I look at toys for that age group, I’m always drawn to wooden blocks and stacking toys, some sort of walking/push wagon, knob puzzles and maybe something musical like a xylophone, but I’ll just have to wait and see what things he’s drawn to.

Wes is going to his first birthday party this weekend, for our friend who’s turning 1. I can’t wait to see what she loves.

HamiHarri says:

My nephew just turned one and he love, LOVES musical toys. He has the dancing gene, so when he hears music he rocks out to it and giggles like crazy – so cute!

I bought him some of those cause and effect toys, and although he enjoyed them…it was almost like he was annoyed he had to work for his entertainment…rather then pressing a button and hearing a song and see lights flashing. I’m not sure what’s better for development (something tells me the cause and effect toys!), but if you just want to get him something he’ll love…those musical toys are a hit!

Alicia says:

Owen jumped for the first time last night – both feet actually clearing 1 solid inch off the ground. He was soooooo pround of himself. I think that milestone probably should have happened ages ago – not sure – but he’s 32 months old and a first-time jumper.

What does that have to do with your post? Absolutely nothing.

Hmmm… 1st birthday gifts. I like to be the dissenting voice in the crowd most of the time – so I’m gonna go with: wrapped empty boxes of varying sizes (he’ll have fun tearing off the wrapping paper and playing with the boxes), a bag of plastic spoons and straws (cheap playthings that keep a 12-month endlessly fascinated), and lots and lots of paper towel and toilet paper tubes (angain, cheap things that they can play with and destroy and slober on which can easily be replaced!)

jbhat says:

Books. Vans slip-on sneakers. A little table and chairs set. That’s what we got for our kiddo when he turned one. Oh, and at the party we had guests write him a note that we put into a little time capsule for him.

My mom also got him a first edition copy of the book for which he is named after one of the main characters. That was a very special gift, and means a lot to me now, and hopefully to him, someday.

Simple wooden puzzles are great–almost every baby loves them. Other ideas are for toys that will hold interest for more than a few months: wooden blocks, big Duplo Legos and books are the best ideas I can come up with.

Keri says:

That’s so funny that you brought up sequences. Just last night, Hadley learned to put a little plastic ball into a plastic cone. She did it over and over again and couldn’t get enough. I’m loving this new type of play! As far as toys, she loves balls right now, so we are going to get her one of those ball poppers where the balls shoot around a loop and fly out the top. Other than that, I’m at a loss, too!

Melanie says:

Zoe has an increasing interest in books now. Board books are great so they don;t rip the pages.
Wooden puzzles with the big nobs are great.
Little People by Fisher Price. She got the Busy Day Home as a present and loves it!
She still uses her musical table every day. She’s loved that thing since she was 6 months old, so if you don’t have one, that is a great gift!
Music toys like maracas, drums, tamborines.
Stacking rings, cups, etc.
toys that correspond with a favorite character. She loves Mickey Mouse and Elmo, so we got some themed toys, stuffed dolls, etc that she likes.
The Fisher Price Learning Kitchen or Learning Home, both are great for this age.
A ride on toy for indoors.
And then of course clothes! A baby can never have too many clothes!

chantal says:

Annora’s party is on the weekend, so I’m not sure what she’ll be getting besides some books. I also don’t have a lot to offer to this conversation since it’s my first time with a one year old. But she does love music, so any toy that plays a song is a huge hit with her as she’ll dance with it in her hands and if it’s a plush toy she’ll hug it as she dances. She loves books and stacking toys – she’s had some nesting cups for a while and they’re very popular with her.

Kimberly says:

James is 1 today!!! :)
When people ask what we want for him, I often tell them books… James loves being read to, and we are starting him a nice library. Other developmentally appropriate toys are, as you said, anything in the cause-effect category… things that make noises or light up when baby does something like push a button, etc. However, in order to really be effective at teaching baby cause-effect, the reaction has to be immediate and short… so anything that plays a whole song if baby pushes a button won’t teach them that concept as well. One of James’ favorite toys right now is the Leap Frog Learn & Groove musical table. He also loves his set of nesting/stacking cups that also snap into balls… FP Stack and Roll cups. Blocks, shape sorters, nesting cups or blocks, simple wooden puzzles, etc. are all appropriate for this age. As a child development specialist, I tend to favor toys that don’t DO a lot electronically (music/lights/etc.) (but I do love that musical table) but that baby has to explore and examine and figure out what he can do with it. James is also getting a sandbox from Grammie, and I think we’re getting him drumsticks. Daddy’s idea. ;)