Fantastic First Birthday Gift Ideas

Your little one may not remember their first birthday festivities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get them something meaningful that will provide hours of fun, spark their creativity, and stimulate their imaginations. From magnets to memory books, our members have suggestions to suit every baby and budget.

Shopping for someone on the older side? We have crowd-sourced Top Toddler Toys and Activities, plus the PSP Gift Guide: 3s, 4s, and 5s!


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LuLu’s: “I ordered everything online though local toy store LuLu's and did curbside pickup--it was super easy!”

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Puzzles: “We decided to get our baby this shape sorting cube because we don't have any puzzles yet, and it seems like it's time for her to explore them.”


“We have a puzzle chair/step stool for our oldest. Eventually when we have space again our son will get one. They are sweet and used regularly.”


Play cooking supplies: “For our first we went to Tarzanian West and got a cute storage basket with a handle and filled it with smaller-sized cooking utensils, she loved it then, and still plays with it now at age 5 (little sister, almost 11 months, is also super into the collection).  Over the years it's been augmented with various cooking/feeding objects that are from toy sets, but I think the verisimilitude has been key to its longevity.  For a long time we kept it in a bottom kitchen cupboard so she could pull it out to use while we were cooking.”


“We were given lots of great things for our 1 year old. The thing that she plays with the most is a play kitchen. There are tons of great options out there, and even small apt friendly ones.”


Building blocks: “I also saw this Lovevery set that I think our baby would like, but mostly he just likes moving chairs and random items around the house :)”


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Racetrack: “We received this racetrack from the German company Hape for a first birthday gift, and my son loves it. I like it too because it's small and it's wooden—it just looks and feels nicer than all the noisy plastic toys he has.”


Art supplies: “[We got] these palm crayons that I'm hoping she'll be able to use to make her first drawings.”


“I love the palm crayons!! We got them for our 1 year old (now almost 13 months), and so far she has just tried to eat them. But I'm confident she will figure them out soon!


We did also get some Crayola Washable Finger Paints which we played with for the first time today. It's messy and super fun. Be prepared for them to walk through the paint and track it everywhere, but it actually does wash right off for the most part. She doesn't particularly like staying still and prefers to run, but this got her to focus for like 10 minutes so that was positive. Highly recommend getting largeee pieces of paper. While I thought I got a big pad of paper, I feel like I'm stifling her creativity with it being too small!”


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Pikler Triangle: “The Pikler Triangle has been a hit in our house. Our son likes to spend most of his time pulling up and cruising, so it's been great!”


“We ordered from here. The construction is great. It does fold up, although still has like 5-6 inches of depth even when folded because it doesn't fold totally flat. So, for example, it easily stand up in a long closest, but won't slide under the daybed in our nursery.


A has really loved it! And it's saved us from walking round and round with him all the time, since he can just cruise.”


This is the one we have and it’s been a hit and folds up neatly”


Books: “A friend gave my son a copy of Dr Seuss’ ‘Happy birthday to you!’ with a message inside from her son. She said all the guests at her son's 1st bday signed a copy as a guest book. I'm going to do that also!”


“N. loves the books by Eric Carle. The very hungry caterpillar, Brown Bear and From head to toe are his favorites. Lately he’s also been obsessed with One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss.”


Magnets: “We also got her a bunch of wooden magnets--some alphabet letters and some farm animals--because she is obsessed with the magnets on our fridge.”


Balance bike, ride-on, or trike: “My FIL got that balance bike for my now 3 year old for his 1st birthday and it was a huge hit.  He mostly pulled to stand on it and played with it in his own way until about 15-ish mos, when he figured out how to actually ride it as intended.  We got a TON of play out of that bike.  I wouldn’t worry about falls- it’s really close to the ground.  Maybe he/she might cry a bit from being startled, but they’re unlikely to get truly hurt. I say go for it!”


“The Early Rider Spherovelo is a family favorite. Most of the other toys (other than books) she outgrew in a year or so or became bored with, but building blocks, our riding toy and music table continue to get a lot of use.”


“For our little guy, we're getting him his own little kids chair and the 4-in-1 radio flyer.”


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Create a memory book keepsake: “A different sort of idea: for my older daughter's first birthday, we skipped the toy buying ourselves since we knew she'd get so many from the relatives --  instead we created a simple, customized board book with photos of her favorite people. She loved looking through it and flipping the pages; it kept her attention for nearly a year and we still have it as a keepsake.  I'm planning to do the same for Jake's first birthday at the end of August.  There are good ones from Pinhole Press and Artifact Uprising.”


“When my older son turned one, we made him a custom board book with pictures of people he knows and loves. It was a big hit and still gets lots of use. His favorite picture was the one of his lovey...We did the same for #2, though it's not going to make it in time for his birthday!  Second children…”


“Another fun photo idea - pinhole press allows you to make board books with photos. You can make a ‘Daddy and Me’ book, or just a book for the baby with pictures of the baby doing different things - laughing, eating, etc. I did this when my older child was about one and he loved it, looked at it over and over. (If I ever have time, I'll do it again!)”


Write a letter to their future self: “How about a letter you write to him to be opened years later?”


“In ‘celebrities, they are just like us’ I recently saw this post from Reese Witherspoon's daughter. A letter her mom wrote her on every birthday for 18 years which she gave to her on her 18th birthday tied up with string. I love that they are hand written, but you could also do this by setting up a gmail account for your kid and sending them various emails (throughout the year too) on each birthday and handing over the password eventually to them. We set up a email, but have yet to use it... 


This obviously isn't a new or super original idea, but thought it was nice to see her kid actually appreciated the letters.”


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Go all-in and craft a time capsule: “I’ve been researching first birthday gifts and a time capsule to be opened at 18th birthday is an nice idea.  You can either DIY the box with verbiage including their name, date of birth etc or get it made (Etsy is a great resource) and then have fun filling the inside with keepsake items from their first year and a letter.”


Bottles to pop (much) later on: “Not exactly a baby gift but more of a keepsake, we bought a case of wine made in the year our son was born (its in our friends wine cellar in nj!) and plan to open a bottle at various special occasions (high school grad, 21st bday, wedding etc)”


“My mom and family friends who had a daughter the same year I was born bought a case of wine from that year, and we opened it at our high school graduations, weddings etc etc. I know someone already mentioned this, but it was a something special for everyone to enjoy together (even if we weren't 21 yet) especially as we entered ‘adulthood’ (ha!), so if you have the space to store it properly another great idea!”


Sponsor an endangered animal: “We ended up deciding that we'd sponsor her an animal from WWF every year, and get her the certificate and stuffed animal (as other folks have said, we knew she'd get loads of age appropriate toys from grandparents, aunts, uncles). So this year she sponsored a tiger and she loves her big stuffed tiger. And that way we have something that we give her the same every year and when she's 18 she'll have a zoo (of hopefully saved, animals that were near extinction?)”


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Memberships to local attractions: “A membership to the zoos/aquarium, botanical gardens or museums are also wonderful and helpful. Lots of places are linked up.”


Opening a college fund: “Starting a college fund. Not glamorous, but incredibly helpful.”


“Consider starting a 529 college fund. I believe there are ways to auto-deduct contributions via your employer. There's more info here.”


“When A. was born my godmother gave us a check and a form to open a NY529 savings account and since then I log in and send an email to all the family before every birthday and Christmas and we opened one for F. a few months after she was born. When someone contributes to it it always makes me so much happier than another toy or outfit :) 


I know the 529 has limits as to using the money later but I find it really easy to ask for a contribution to that as far as it being tactful. The website is”


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