Buying gifts for a baby means that you’re really buying a symbolic gift for the parents. Because babies can have a ball with — well, a ball. If you’re trying to get in the good graces of mom and dad and win that first birthday, you might want to check out these hand-picked baby gifts. They’re unique (because you’re the thoughtful friend), ridiculously safe (because you’re the mindful friend), and come in a variety of price points (because you’re the friend who has an expensive kid of their own). Here’s a list of the best gifts for 1-year-olds.
It’s universally understood that 1-year-old kids love trucks. The fact that we’re all not just rolling around in semis and honking horns is astonishing. But while you’d never put any part of a Mack truck in your mouth, these toy trucks from Green Toys are 100 percent recycled plastic that is BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free.
Play-Doh is for philistines. Now, this — this is a lump of clay worthy of gift wrapping. True to its name, Eco-Kids uses earth-sourced ingredients that include plant, fruit, and vegetable extracts, and essential oils keep the dough soft and pliable. But can you extrude it in star shapes? (You can.)
Chicken — you can boil it, bake it, roast it, fry it. But as far as babies are concerned, the best use for this Folkmanis chicken puppet is playing with it. This puppet has fully articulated wings and an adjustable beak, so they can reenact their favorite scenes from Chicken Run. You know, if they were allowed to look at screens yet.
Plan Toys makes sustainable, wooden toys that give back to the environment as much as the gas-guzzling vehicles they’re modeled after take away. And because it’s made from non-toxic wood, this tiny speedboat is also as safe on the water as it is in a baby’s mouth. Sounds like a good excuse to play sea captain and Kraken on you 1-year-old’s birthday.
Lost My Name‘s computer machines create unique narratives and illustrations based on birthday boy or girl’s name and hometown. Once that kid sees their name in stars and their house from Santa’s perspective — does it matter how it works? The only downside: They might start assuming everything is personalized. Good luck getting Chuck E. Cheese to spell their name in pepperoni.
Most building blocks are about as square as their shape. Not that a baby cares about having the coolest, hexagonal, cantilever-able (Is it a word? Sure!) stacking toys to build their virtual cities — but their dad might. Make sure that when the parents unwrap this one, you look like a super-thoughtful architect.
This space-aged balance bug lets your 1-year-old toddler practice their newfound sense of balance (or gain a sense of balance). There are wheels under its rotund body, on top of which seats an comfortable seat. The front wheels move any way your kid points the bug as they hold the handlebar. And, by the way, the handlebar has two round balls on each side, so there are no pointy edges. The Twister comes in pink, black, and red.
Tegu’s block sets combined the aesthetics of handcrafted wood with the secure building capacity of plastic by ingeniously magnetizing each piece. Now it’s selling themed sets like Magnetron, which can be configured into all sorts of weird robots. Bonus points for the ability to blow some kid’s mind by making the robot arms move with a small magnetized block hidden in your hand. With great power comes … well, they’re one, so don’t worry about it.
So you want to teach that kid to make music and stack stuff? Well, has Naef got the birthday gift for you! The wooden arches are perfect for discovering different tones or building a rainbow in multiple configurations. Either way, it looks gorgeous, unlike that little xylophone on wheels you used to tug around as a kid.
Vertiplay Busy Woodpecker Wall Toy
Stick this woodpecker on the wall and let the fun begin. Press the bird’s tail, and its beak will knock on the wood and light up the tree.
Little Jammerz Plush Bluetooth Music Set
Each character in the Little Jammerz Plush Bluetooth Music Set has a Bluetooth speaker inside, so they can play your baby some tunes. It also includes the Lil’ Jammerz app for a bigger selection of music.
Joyin Toy 4 in 1 Wooden Educational Shape Color Sorting Puzzles
Help your kid learn colors, shapes, and develop fine motor skills. This set comes with four different wooden puzzles for kids from ages one to a half and three years old.