Before having a baby I had absolutely no idea what to get as a 1st birthday gift. What starts out as a fun task quickly turns into a panic, as you don’t know what toys 1 year olds actually use or what the parents want for their child.
I spent relentless hours researching online going from blog to blog, and department store to Scandinavian boutique, looking for something a bit special. You don't want to be the 10th person to give them a White Company hamper or personalised bath towel! (no judging if you have these in your cart at the moment).
Now my daughter is about to turn two, I thought I would share items that we were given or bought at the 1 year milestone that we still use every day. The brands listed are just personal preferences and are in no way linked to any affiliate commission, ads or sponsorships. There are other brands available which you can find through searching online or in stores.
1. Personalised Fabric Photo Album
This 1st birthday gift idea goes beyond getting a normal book that will probably collect dust as babies LOVE looking at photos - especially of themselves. They are made from a soft fabric which can means they can be used for the smallest hands and they are hand-washable. SO easy to make online, they come in a number of pages so you can choose how many images to use and what to messages to write.
2. Toy Pram
This does sound very stereotypical and will depend on the preference of the child, but Maeve LOVES babies and takes them in her pram wherever we go. We found out it a great walking aid but also we knew she would get a lot of use out of it. You can get ones from £10 to hundreds of pounds but we settled on something quite small and lightweight so we could easily take it in the car with us and down to the park. The main things to keep in mind are the height of the handles, if it folds easily and the functions. Maeve loves putting the hooded cover up and down.
3. Baby Tricycle
A great transportation toy which is exactly what 1 year olds love and will spend more time using. The child sits on them and uses their feet to push the bike along. If they can’t reach the floor yet it’s no problem as they can lift their legs and be pushed around. It also helps develop their balance and steering skills while also burning some energy.
4. Backpack from Tibi + Marl
I know many mums that have used the larger ones of these as their baby bags since birth, but we bought a smaller one that we have used when she was 1 year and older. You find that the older they get, the less you actually need to carry with you and the smaller one is the perfect size for some nappies, wipes, change of clothes, snacks and dummies. These bags wear really well and can take dragging through car parks and messy hands. We use this when she goes to nursery and any time we head out the house. We bought the silver bag, but they are constantly bringing out new prints.
5. Shape sorter
These are great as they help babies' development and hand-eye coordination. Maeve actually crawled for the first time reaching one of these toys across her play mat. We are still using it now to learn colours, shapes and improve fine motor skills. So many of these available on the market, but these are just a few that we have used or know other kids are using.
- Good for travel - Melissa & Doug £19.99
- Also makes noise - TOMY Hide and Squeak £7.98
- Picnic basket style - Leap Frog from £22.99
- 5 in 1 activity cube – VTech £35.19
6. Hippychick Ladybird Wheely Bug Ride-On
These come in various sizes and animals – so you can make it more personalised to the child you are looking for. At 1 year old we would recommend the smaller one. You do pay for the quality but we do think it’s worth it as it’s well made, sturdy and really cute! The wheels turn in any direction, is a great toy to develop coordination and a good stepping stone to eventually getting a bike. Just a note that it does work best on smooth indoor flooring and not well on carpet or outdoors.
7. Tickets to a zoo or an activity
The 1-year milestone was so much fun as they become much more aware of their surroundings, interested in animals and begin to walk. We were constantly looking for things to do with Maeve, so when we were gifted some tickets to zoos and Peppa Pig World it was nice to have something other than toys or clothing. It was also nice to have something to look forward to if they want to wait until their child is 18 months+ or when the Covid-19 lockdown has finished. A very memorable and worthwhile 1st birthday gift!
8. Silk baby dress
We wouldn’t be being honest with ourselves if we didn’t highly recommend our 100% silk baby dress to you. This statement dress can be worn matching with our mum’s dress or on it’s own. Made in London it’s silk fabric is hypoallergenic so the perfect fabric for little ones’ skin. A showstopping gift that will make you the favourite guest at the party.
9. Personalised toy chest / bench
My sister bought this for Maeve and is now one of the most used things in our house. Not only does it fit a decent number of toys or books inside, Maeve loves to sit on it and of course open and close it.
10. Luxury Playmat
We now have 2 of these and they have been an absolute god send!! Our house is 100% tiles and is over 2 floors, so from the moment we realised we were pregnant we began to worry about the dangers of a baby in our house. These came recommended from a friend and after we bought our first one, we quickly bought another. The typical playmats that you see in jigsaw shapes come apart all the time and also collect so much dirt. They don't wear well and look shabby after a few weeks. Out Totter + Tumble playmats have pretty much lasted a stampede, hurricane and flood... and they are still in impeccable condition. They have really cute prints and are printed on both sides, so if you get tired of looking at one side - you just flip it over.
11. Ball pit
Without a doubt one of the best things in our house for Maeve and for when she has other kids over. Has been used every single day since she turned 1 and still looks brand new.
12. Indoor slide / climbing frames
They will need to have the space and you probably want to check with the parents first, but these are beautiful pieces that look great in the home. Makes a rainy day easier to spend inside and such a game changer when they have other kids over. There are many other brands you can be, but we love the aesthetic and quality of Scandibørn.
*All prices and links are correct at time of publishing.