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  • Writer's pictureLeah Mottishaw

Ten Excellent Gifts for a One-Year-Old

Updated: Feb 10, 2023

Here is my Top 10 list of excellent gifts for a one-year-old. It would have made my life easier to find advice like this, at least as a starting point, to find a nice gift for a first birthday. So I'm paying it forward by writing this blog post!

I have included a mini review for each gift to explain why it rates an "excellent" and to help you determine if it is the inspiration you have been looking for!

Context: All advice is coming from experiences in Vancouver, BC, Canada.


1. Wooden ball pounder

This entertains children well beyond one year of age. I found that kids didn't understand the concept of pounding until 18 months or beyond, but they loved the colourful balls and were entranced watching someone else pound the tower! It is a satisfying game for Mom & Dad, too!

Noteworthy Con: These are solid wooden balls and slightly older kids may be prone to throwing them and damaging ... something breakable.


2. Bath Squigglers

These bath bombs smell deliciously fruity, the colours are incredibly vivid and yet they won't stain your tub (or your children!) This is a consumable gift, which is especially nice to give to people who already have a lot of stuff or who don't have a lot of space.

Note: the bath bombs have small foam toys inside so one-year-olds should be closely supervised (or the foam toy taken out of reach once it is revealed.)


3. Wooden dolls

This set of nine wooden dolls is adorable and fits perfectly in one-year-old hands. They are tasteful, sweet and will be played with for years. This gift stands alone but if your one-year-old has a doll house, this set is a lovely add-on.


4. Mega Bloks

I recommend Mega Bloks with the caveat that not all newly minted one-year-olds will appreciate building but every child seems to get there eventually! Some little ones are building towers at 12 months old and others don't start until 24 months. But if your one-year-old isn't ready to build with the blocks yet, I am still confident they will enjoy gripping, carrying and chewing the pieces!


5. A small doll (less than 7 in / 15 cm)

What makes the "small" doll so wonderful is that a one-year-old can carry it in a single hand or cradled in one arm. The exact doll that was such a hit in our house is, unfortunately, no longer available at Walmart but I have linked something similar on Amazon's website (see right) and Walmart's website.

The bath doll is handy because one-year-old toddlers tend to put toys in their mouth and a water toy will stand up to that abuse. A soft doll is much more cuddly, though, so decide what qualities are most important to you when you go hunting a "small doll."


6. Customized photo book (ABC)

This will be a labour of love to create but it is a stunning and entertaining keepsake. This was the book we received and it is a joy to read together. Because we received a board book print (hard pages), it has lasted through many toddler-led readings.


7. Playmat

Pricey but worth it. Once you put this down on the ground, it will stay there for the next few years! Not only does it provide cushioning for adventurous toddlers but it protects the floor from stains and crumbs. It is nice to have a mat down no matter what flooring you have (eg. hardwood, laminate, carpet.) For parents, the mat is easy to clean and both sides are reasonably nice to look at.


8. Bubble Mower

I kid you not: on our local playground there were sometimes three bubble mowers present simultaneously because every walking child in the 12 - 36 month range wanted to push them! This toy is fun for the kids with or without bubbles and pro-tip: you can customize your mower with stickers (this will help you keep track of yours when you run into others on the playground sporting the same toy!)


9. Palette push/pop toy

Who doesn't love a silicone pop toy? It seems that even one-year-olds love pushing and popping these things! The Mushie palette is aesthetically gorgeous and of a high quality construction that makes it safe for one-year-olds to manipulate with their hands or their mouths (as one-year-olds tend to do). Pro tip: this is a great toy for keeping little ones occupied in their car seats!


10. Keepsake Scribble Pad

Sweet and cheap. This is a gift for the parents more than the child, at least in the short term. Pair it with crayons or stamps to make it a "bigger" gift.

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