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.

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This is my youngest when she was learning to cruise on her own.

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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, which include: 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

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.

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!)

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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. Another form of giving in money, other than straight up cash, is in experience. Tickets to a local zoo, aquarium, or membership to a children’s museum are fantastic gifts as well.

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You can also check out all of these and more in my Idea Lists on Amazon.

Readers:

What kinds of toys do your 1 years olds love? Leave a comment below and share with your friends!


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Charley

I absolutely love this! Our girls loved musical toys, puzzles, books, activity table, and sensory balls! 🙂

Simplefficientmama

Wow! What an extensive list! Love that they are broken down into different sections. Musical toys are what my kids are into and so I tend to go that way in presents. But this helped because not everyone necessarily likes too much noise in their house ;-). Thanks for sharing!!

jennpohlman
jennpohlman

Wow! So many great ideas here that range through so many interests! I’m probably just going to print this out and send with my child’s 1st birthday invites! Very comprehensive – thanks so much for this!

Danielle
Danielle

Love all these ideas! Especially the walker options. Kids at the age love to start cruising so that would be a great gift!

itsahotmess04

We have that puppy robot toy and our now 2 year old loved it. Even better, is we made a ball pit in her rooms using a kids swimming room.

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