Baby and Kids

The Best Toys and Birthday Gifts for 1-Year-Olds

Margot turned one last month and since I often find new moms asking for gift ideas or the toys she uses most, I thought I’d put together a list of our favorite toys for a 1-year-old. i’m including a few toys we already have and love, ones I have on my list (all recommended/researched), and gifts we’ve given friends. I’ve seen/tested/watched Margot play with everything except two of the ride-on toys, but they have really great reviews and I’ve heard good things about both of them.


Gifts under $50 (most under $30!)

Fat Brain Toys


This thing is brilliant and is basically the baby version of bubble wrap. It's recommended for 10+ months which is around when I got it for Margot, and she loves popping the pieces. It keeps her pretty focused for what feels like a pretty significant amount of time.
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Kids Concept

Car Racing Track

I bought this one a few months ago but Margot hasn't quite gotten the hang of it yet. Her older friends love it, though!
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Fat Brain Toys

Tobbles Neo

We've had these for months, too. They're recommended for 6+ months and also a hit with older kids. Margot loves knocking them over and spinning them, too.
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Pound Bench

We don't have this one but one of my friends does and it's a good one.
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Grimm's Spiel & Holz

Wooden Rainbow Tunnel

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Fat Brain Toys


I bought these for Margot months ago since they're colorful and recommended for 10+ months, but they've been a hit with 3 and 4 year-olds, too. Margot mostly chews on them and rolls them across the floor, but I imagine she'll start stacking them eventually.
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Margot is obsessed with her fluffies. They don't have any stuffing or buttons so I felt ok letting her have one in her crib at around 7 months, and we have a handful of them since they were always in the wash back when she used to spit up all the time. They've been a go-to for my friends with new babies, but I've also been giving them to my friends with one year olds, and everyone seems to live them.
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Stuffed Cat

Jellycat stuffed animals are soft and squeezable, and make for great nursery decor, too.
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Pat Zietlow Miller

Be Kind

My baby is OBSESSED with books. She loves them more than anything and will sit down while we read book after book. I am big on kindness books and this one is the best. It's all about what it means to be kind and is the sweetest most heartwarming story. Everyone needs it.
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Deborah Diesen

Pout Pout Fish

Deep in the water where the fish hang out lives a glum gloomy swimmer with an ever present pout. Yes, I know the entire book by heart. It's adorable.
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Le Papier Studio

Custom Silhouette Art

This is such a sweet gift both parents and baby will treasure forever.
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Little Sleepies

Bamboo Pajamas

These are the softest PJs ever. I was obsessed with Boody Wear pajamas for newborn days but if we have another baby, I'm just getting these. They are buttery soft and so, so cute.
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Shirred PJs

These are under $16 and so, so soft. A great budget-friendly gift that's perfect for sleeping and cozy days at home. We love them!
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Splurges for Parents & Grandparents (Over $50)


Toddler Play Kits

Margot has loved her Lovevery play kits, and the toddler ones look pretty amazing! My friend's son was born just a few months before Margot and he had the first one at his house, so we were able to test it out. She loved it!
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This ride-on seems like it's easier to use than most (twists multiple ways) and it's pretty cute. This is on our list for Margot's first ride-on.
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Flip Bike

This can be used 3 ways and was designed for ages 1-5! Love toys that are multifunctional and come on – it's pretty cute!
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Micro Kickboard

3-in-1 Scooter

Another toy that grows with baby, suited for ages 1-5! I haven't seen/tested this one but it has amazing reviews!
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Step 2

Water Table

I actually ordered a different one for Margot but the top piece would not stay attached so I returned it and ordered this one instead. Hasn't arrived yet but has great reviews and looks fun!
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Magnetic Blocks

I bought a mini travel set for Margot since we have some trips coming up but need to get her a bigger one. I loved legos when I was a kid so I'm hoping Margot will like building, too!
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Milky Bubble Kids

Ball Pit

Margot was actually terrified of the ball pit at first but her 4 year old buddy Connor loved it! She thinks it's the most fun now though!
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Crate & Barrel

Ikat Tent

I realize age one might be a little young for this toy but it's a toy baby would grow with. Such a fun little reading and play area!
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Pottery Barn Kids

Chelsea Kitchen

This is a definite (big) splurge but PBK regularly has sales for 25% off, it's so well-made, and it will be used for years (longer if you have more than one child!). It's really beautiful and would look nice in your living room, so if you're keeping things to a minimum or trying to blend baby/kid stuff with your decor, this is a lovely option.
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Lily & River

Pikler Climber

A few months ago, when I realized Margot barely had any toys, I bought this and a ball pit – two quality toys I knew would be around for a while. My friend's 2 and 4 year olds love both, and this has been great for Margot. She mostly uses it to pull up and climbs the slide, but hasn't started scaling it yet. I couldn't be less ready for that.
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Olli Ella

Stroller Basket

This is so cute and so sweet. It was a birthday gift for Margot from her Grandma.
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Push Car

I bought this one for Margot. It was a bit of a splurge but is SO cute, and I was hoping for a car that would work for a little sister or brother one day.
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