The Best Gifts for a One-year-old

Hilariously, it’s taken me 6 months+ 9 months to write this guide to the best gifts for a one-year-old, because having a baby is super busy. I started this when he’d just had his first birthday, and although it’s massively out of date now, I still wanted to finish it as I think it’ll be really useful for people looking for the best gifts for a one-year-old.

I’ve added some 18 month updates to some of the items and added a few special bits from his Christmas presents too, because its only 2 weeks after his birthday, and it’s taken me this long to write, so why not make it longer?! 

Can you believe I have an actual one-year-old child?! I’ll be honest, I still don’t believe I have a baby at all, let alone one that I’ve kept alive for an entire year. I am working on a blog post about what I’ve learned over the past year of being a mama, but right now I am far too emotional to write that, so I decided that this is the post for today. I LOVE watching videos and reading blog posts of what people get for their birthdays – is it because I’m looking for inspiration? Maybe. But more likely that I’m just nosy AF. So, here are some of the lovely presents that Roo got for his first birthday, and where you can get them from too if you’ve got a 1 year old to buy for sometime soon.

(Some of these are affiliate links – it doesn’t cost you anything extra but I get. a little kickback)

Thomas Ride-on

This was an epic bargain because I got it second-hand on Facebook. All about that reuse, recycle life! It was in perfect condition and he loves it. He’s not that bothered about scooting around on it right now, but he loves lifting the seat and hiding things in it, and pushing it around the house, so for £10 it was perfect!


A grey and white tent, one fo the best gifts for a one-year-old

Ruben’s Nanna & Grandad got him this and it was set up with all his presents in which was really lovely. It had some cushions, books and cuddly toys in, because the plan is that it’s a reading tent as it’s lovely and snuggly. The one they got him was from The Works, but it doesn’t seem to be on there anymore, but this Amazon one seems lovely. I think this will really grow with Roo, and become a little den for him as he gets older which makes it such a great present. 

A baby with a christmas jumper on, with presents around him and a tent behind

Pull-back Cloth cars

4 push along fabric cars

Ruben’s Auntie & Uncle bought Ruben these and they are amazing. They can be pulled back to propel forward, but they are nice and soft, and squishy – perfect for little hands. The wheels can be taken off for washing too! Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact ones online anywhere, so here is a similar set from Melissa and Doug.

Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano

A wooden piano with coloured keys

Another Nanna and Grandad gift, this time for Christmas. This amazing piano is mostly made of wood, and the keys are magic-touch, so they react to your fingers touching them, rather than being pushed down like traditional toy pianos. It came with some music sheets where the keys are colour coded which will be really fun when he’s a bit older, but for now it’s certainly a favourite for us all as the quality of the sound is just so beautiful – very different from the plinky-plonk kind that we’re used to! 

Charlie the Lion Xylophone 

A xylophone with a lions head on it, one of the best gifts for a one-year-old

Ruben loves his music classes, and so I hoped this would be a hit but it really was one of his favourite gifts for sure! I won this at the BlogOnToys raffle and I am so glad. It’s a really lovely instrument, well-made and comes with a fun song-book that the adults in your life will enjoy trying to follow it. 

A baby playing a xylophone wearing a crown and birthday badge

Cath Kidston Dinosaur coat 

I can’t find the exact coat online because my Kidston-Addict pal Ellie bought this one in the sale when Ruben was literally days old. I’m glad he’s at an age where things will (hopefully!) fit him for longer than just 3 months! Would 100% wear this if it was bigger. 

Gruffalo mini library 

A Gruffalo? What’s a Gruffalo?! Weirdly, despite it being one of my favourites, we don’t have a copy of the actual Gruffalo storybook! But Ruben got these for his birthday from my sister and we love them. He loves little board books that he can “read” on his own. 

Quantum physics book

I actually learnt a lot from this book myself and Ruben loves looking at the bright pictures. There’s a few in this series and I want to collect them all. Perfect for the baby with nerdy parents. 

That’s Not My… books (Plane, Car & Robot)

When I worked at Waterstones at the age of 16, I loved these books, and it’s amazing that Ruben loves them too. They’re super simple, but lovely touchy-feely books and you can get them about anything (I recently saw “That’s not my baby” and I feel like that could be a little awkward! I grabbed these ones from Aldi when they were on sale but they are everywhere.

Toy story 4 – 3 piece tableware set

We’re big Toy Story fans in our house – it’s Steven’s favourite film! So this plate, bowl and cup set will be well-loved for years to come, I’m sure. (Note from 18 month old Ruben, Toy Story is now his favourite thing in the world, so this is even more popular!) 

Wooden cake

I thought this was a really sweet wooden birthday cake that we could use every year. It’s age 3+ so some bits have had to be put away to be just decoration for now, but I love that it’s something for him to keep and play with over the next few years. 

Very Hungry Caterpillar toy

As his birthday was Very Hungry Caterpillar themed, he got a very Very Hungry Caterpillar gifts which was really cool. This is a fab little pram toy, that has loads of bits to play with, different sensory textures and noises and a nice bit at the end to chomp those sore teething gums on. 

Very Hungry Caterpillar blocks

I originally found these in Aldi on the magical middle aisle, but here they are on Amazon too. I love the openendedness of wooden blocks and these have letters, numbers and little illustrations on them so they’ll be great for recognition as he grows. I think these are one of. thebest gifts for one-year-olds that will be loved for years to come. (18 month update: Ruben is weirdly kinda amazing at building towers. He can stack around 9 blocks on top of each other before they tower too high for him and he knocks them down. I’m so glad I got these!)

Tuff tray

This was one thing I really wanted him to have, as I’ve seen so many amazing things you can do with Tuff Trays for messy play. I set it up nicely for his birthday and we’ve since done some different activities on it, which I might write another post about. This is the cheapest I found one for, and you can buy the legs separately in the future for when they’re older and want to do activities at a table, rather than sitting in the tray. 

Very Hungry Caterpillar Teddy

We got two of these and they’re the softest, squishiest things ever. They get more cuddles than I do and I get it, because they are lush. They’re lovely in the tent to lean against while reading, or to snuggle with on the sofa, and they’re bigger than Roo which is adorable. 

Bamboo plate set

I love these separated plates, as Ruben mostly has ‘picky’ type lunches. So I’ll put savoury bits on one side (sandwiches, cheese, breadsticks, veggie crisps etc) and then fruit in the other section. Or for dinner, he might have his main in one section, and sides in the other. They’re a perfect size and go in the dishwasher which is a big plus, so we have a few of them.

Knitted doll 

My Nanna got her neighbour to knit this for Ruben and it makes me so happy. It’s just a really sweet knitted dolly and he was so excited about him and gave him a huge hug (I mean Ruben hugged the dolly, not the other way around, that wouldn’t be cute. It would be terrifying). 

Toy train 

I can’t for the life of me find this train online, but it’s a lovely plastic toy train, with some buttons and bits. It’s great for pushing along (a skill Ruben has recently discovered and is enjoying so much!). It’s the kind of toy that will grow with Ruben as he gets more into imaginary play – a stage I am so excited for! 

Farm animal puzzle

Our lovely friends Jackie, Ryan, Eric and Ezra bought Ruben this wooden puzzle and it’s a daily favourite. It’s personalised which makes it extra special but the pieces are super chunky and easy for little fingers to get in. It also has animals with very distinct noises and Makaton signs, so it’s got so much learning potential too. The animals are so thick they can be played with as part of imaginary play too.  

Activity table

One of Ruben’s Guide Parents got him a gorgeous activity table and I can’t find the exact one but this is similar. It’s got loads of little bits for him to play with and it encourages him to pull up and stand. I think this is going to be something that gets a lot of use for a long time, and it doesn’t take up a lot of space which I love. The one he has is in lovely pastel colours with adorable woodland animals so it makes my heart happy.

Wooden Camper Van Walker

Another Aldi special, we ended up with the pink and purple version and again, it came with a load of blocks in complimentary colours and patterns. The sides are a little shape sorter and it has been used to store books, and to push around Elmo, so although he’s not walking yet, it’s getting plenty of use. 

Activity cube

These wooden activity cubes would be great for taking to a restaurant or somewhere where you need baby to be occupied in once place. There’s a shape sorting side, some beads to move, cogs, clock faces – loads of really fun ways for them to test their fine motor skills. This one is great as you can flip the top to make it into a lip so it’s easier to transport or pack away.

Wooden tools 

I got these from Sostrene Grene and they were only a few quid which I loved because wooden toys can be so expensive. They’re really lovely and I’m excited for Ruben to enjoy some role-playing with DIY, while watching me & Steven do little bits around the house.  

Jacques London wooden blocks

These wooden blocks are dreamy! Another set of Ruben’s Guide Parents got him them and there are so many different shapes that we can create some really cool structures. They’re amazing quality wood so I expect them to last for all our babies and beyond which is really lovely. 

Alpha prints 

Another set of Guide parents bought these for Roo and they’re the sweetest books, where the main picture is made up of a fingerprint, with collage-style elements creating the rest of the animal. I thinks that books are one of the best gifts for a one-year-old, and two-year-olds and almost-thirty-year-olds!

My first signs book

Recently I’ve taken my Makaton Level 1 course, but this book was given to us by one of Ruben’s besties’ and her parents because they know how much I love learning and teaching Ruben signs. It’s a lovely book where we can point to the different babies and talk about what they’re doing, and then do the sign alongside it which is really special. 

Music set

Ruben is all about music so this wooden music set was a welcome addition to our toy box. They’re all percussion instruments and we enjoy playing them together like some rock ’n’ roll Von Trapps. 

So there you have it, some of what I think are the best gifts for a one year old. I think all of these would suit a child of any gender, especially at this age and even almost a whole year on (I’m the worst!) he’s still playing with all of them! 

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