Toddler Gift Guide for 1 Year Olds

As a child nears the end of infancy they start to develop a lot more interest in objects and toys. So much changes for children between 12-18 months and 18-24 months. 

With the right set of toys they can explore and learn things on their own. They go from crawling to walking, or straight to running, while developing all new skills and abilities. 

Your child may still seem young for some of these at first but their brain development grows so much by the time that they are 2 that you will soon find yourself looking for more ways to entertain them.

Toddler Gift Guide For 1 Year Olds

Gifts By Category

From personal experience of raising two toddlers through this stage and a little extra research, these are some of the main kinds of interests for this age. Including: musical toys, animal based toys, babies, books, anything with wheels or pull/push toys, board puzzles, bath toys, building blocks, crafts (ex: finger painting), shape sorter, walking toy, pretend play & dress-up, soft ball of indoor/outdoor use.

I combined a few of these into different categories to give you some more specific examples, although some toys fit multiple categories.

  • Musical Toys
  • Books & Puzzles
  • Building & Stacking
  • Pretend Play
  • Walking & Standing
  • Wheels
  • Balls
  • Clothes
  • Money
Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide for 1 Year Olds

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1. Musical Toys

Musical toys are great for a child’s exploration of sound. Every child needs musical therapy and you will soon find your children turning into total rockstars. Toys that make sound are great for the children but can drive us parents insane, so be considerate if you are gifting this to someone else.

2. Books and Puzzles

Board Books and Puzzles are some of my favorite kinds of “toys.” At this age not all children don’t tend to let us read to them but they are fascinated by pictures and flipping through pages and we can teach them a thing or two as they flip along. 

There are several kinds of board puzzles, some with animals, some educational, some with knobs some without, and further down they have jigsaw puzzles of different stages. They’re great because our children develop hand-eye coordination. 

My kids struggled with puzzles at first and now they do them very easily, in fact my 3 year old went from doing 12 piece toddler puzzles to 72 piece puzzles for 6 year olds in a matter of weeks! (Bragging rights LOL!)

3. Building and Stacking

Again on the hand-eye coordination. You may think your child is not ready for building Lego’s but those little fingers are picking up vegetables and eating them on their own. 

At first they may not be building cities but they’ll be fascinated by putting two pieces together, taking them apart, putting them back…and being entertained by just those two pieces for hours. 

My 3 year old builds a train with his Lego’s while his 1.5 year old sister sits nearby playing with two pieces.

4. Pretend Play

Every child likes to pretend they’re someone else, be it doctor, superhero, or putting on a backpack and saying they’re going to work or school. That’s pretend play. And every child does it their own way, with their own made up stories, or babbles at first. 

They learn so much from watching us pour our coffee, prepare a meal, washing our hands, and even using the bathroom that they start to imitate everything they do, and soon they’ll be narrating everything as well.

They love observing to learn how to do our household chores because they think it’s exciting.

5. Walking and Standing

This might be your first set of go-to’s for this stage as your child is starting to stand up on their own or already may be learning to walk, the age varies based on the child. These are probably the bulkiest of toys for this age but it is good to have at least one of these. And there are so many variations of each of these walkers, activity tables, and push-to-walk toys!

6. Wheels

Other than the Walking and Standing toys, these might be the first ones you get as well because some of the other categories are more appropriate a few months after the 1st birthday, whereas some smaller toys with wheels may be more appropriate for playing and crawling.

7. Balls

Balls may sound silly and generic but a lot like toys with wheels, children are fascinated by balls. Balls that roll, that bounce, that are squishy, make sound or that they can throw or kick. Balls with different shapes, textures, and colors. Some they can hold with one hand, some they balance with two. Some educational toys are even shaped like balls that teach numbers and the alphabet. And other balls are great for a ball pit!

8. Clothes

Kids go through crazy growth spurts, sometimes it just before or just after their first birthday that they go through one. The hard part is in the sizing so be sure to check with the parents and provide a gift receipt in case of needed exchange. 

I find that shirts last longer than bottoms, pajamas and socks when it comes to size. Sometimes buying a set that comes with more pieces and can be worn regularly is better for the parents than a more expensive formal outfit that will likely be worn a handful of time. But again, check with the parents on what is needed or wanted.

9. Money

Sometimes it may feel impersonal to not pick out a physical gift but oftentimes money is what parents need most to sustain the child with food, diapers, clothes, medical care, etc. Sometimes toys aren’t the best gift. 

Most parents have college funds for their children and this is a great way to give. Gift cards are great for parents treating their kids to what they want and need. Another form of giving in money, other than straight up cash, is in experience. 

Kid subscriptions for clothing, books, art boxes, or exploration boxes, are other fantastic options as well as tickets to a local zoo, aquarium, or membership to a children’s museum. 


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Ultimate Toddler Gift Guide for 1 Year Olds

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Wow thank you for such a thorough post on toys and breaking it down into categories! It makes it really easy to pick out the perfect gift. I especially loved the wheel category.

Melisa from Crushing Motherhood

These are such great toys! We have almost all of these and my boys have loved them. I would say you might think about the drum set. We got it as a gift and my kids turned the sticks into swords. (but then again, they do that with almost everything).… Read more »


Thanks for sharing! My niece is turning 1 and I was looking for gift ideas, looks like I came to the perfect place!


Great information and great toys options! Thanks, momma! My son LOVES to build and stack, right now, looking forward to Christmas shopping this year!

Kristina G

This is a fabulous list that includes so many great ideas! I am seeing this at just the right time. My great nephew just turned 2, so I need some Christmas ideas for him. I love all your ideas and recognize some from when I worked at a child care.… Read more »

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