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The Ultimate First Birthday Gift Guide

We had one main criterion while compiling our ultimate one-year-old gift guide: nothing too noisy or annoying to parents. Sure, the kids have to like the things included here—and, trust us, they will—but we also don’t want you shooting yourself in the foot with purchases you thought would be fun and then randomly make noise in the middle of the night when no one else is in the house. 

Are we speaking from personal experience with a phantom baby drum set? Yes, yes, we are. That drum was very quickly “edited” out of the toy collection. 

But, this list. This list is devoid of drums and *most* noise-makers. Bookmark it, send it to the relatives, attach it to your baby’s 1st birthday evite. From colorful wooden puzzles to their first bike, there are gorgeous 1st birthday gifts for every freshly-minted toddler—and for every budget.  


First Birthday Gifts Less than $25

Battat Wooden Shape Sorter

We love wooden learning toys, and this one is perfect: it has colorful numbers and shapes, so sorting and counting will be a breeze by the time your baby enters preschool. As your kiddo sorts and matches, they’ll be developing their shape, color, and number recognition skills while also improving their hand-eye coordination.


Melissa & Doug Poke-a-Dot Board Books

Babies are super-tactile at twelve months old, so these interactive books are the perfect gift for their first birthday. Read the fun rhymes as you poke the dots, count, and sing together! 


Hape Rainbow Pounder

Toddlers love a good hammering session, and this colorful set gives them ample opportunity to learn colors and numbers as they pound the pegs. The four wide handles on this toy make it easy for toddlers to carry around (to the other room, hopefully ;)), and the soft rings over the feet keep the bench from skidding while being hammered.


Melissa & Doug First Shapes Knob Puzzle

Jumbo-knob puzzles are so fun for little kiddos because they’re set up for success. You’ll see your toddler learn visual perception skills and hand-eye coordination from this extra-thick shapes puzzle that features bright colors and illustrations of a charming cottage comprised of an oval, circle, rectangle, square, and triangle. 


Pacific Play Tents 6′ Tunnel

Colorful, fun, and easy to store: three things we love in a toddler toy! Encourage muscle development as they crawl through this tunnel that features interior padding around a hardened spring steel wire structure for safety and playtime comfort. 


Banana Panda Match the Baby Puzzle

Get them started on the lifelong hobby of puzzles with this finalist for 2019’s Toy of The Year! This set includes twelve creative puzzles with large matching elements. It’s great for training logical thinking, developing concentration, and promoting hand-eye coordination. Plus, it’s portable and cute!


Tomy John Deere Hayride

Sweet little baby had a farm, E-I-E-I-O! This six-piece toy set includes a push-along tractor with connected wagons, a farmer, and four farm animals: horse, cow, pig, and sheep. Match each animal to the picture in the wagon and push down to learn animal sounds. When kiddos press on the farmer, they’ll hear, “Old McDonald Had a Farm!” 


Fat Brain Toys Inny Binny

As your babe pushes shapes through the neon elastic bands, they’ll hone fine motor skills, tactile exploration, and experimentation. The six chunky shape blocks are each designed with different textures that are sure to pique your little’s curiosity. There’s a cube, a diamond, a sphere, a triangle, a flower, and the happy Fat Brain logo.


Hape Push Along Musical Toy

This one is so cute, you won’t be able to keep from smiling as your toddler chirps past you while you’re making dinner. This colorful wooden toy features Lilly, a push-along bird that sings out the melody of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” as your little one meanders, which is great for developing coordination, balance, and motor skills. The stick is detachable for easy storage. 


SmartMax My First Magnetic Discovery Set

An early STEM toy that builds engineering skills, SmartMax helps toddlers safely discover the magic of magnetism. My First Sounds and Senses includes eight building pieces (four bars and four balls) that feature different textures for a tactile experience, different sounds for an audible experience, and different faces to learn about emotions. They’ll be immersed in putting things together and pulling them apart!


First Birthday Gifts Less than $75

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella

We love Baby Stella! Gently hug this lavender-scented Sleepy Times Wee Baby Stella to release its soothing scent. This playset includes a pacifier and bottle that attach magnetically, a bedtime book, and a plush teddy bear. Wee Baby Stella can be cuddled, snuggled, and held tightly, making her a perfect first baby doll.

Available in a variety of fabric skin tons and hair colors.


Fat Brain Toys Spin Again

You’ll all love this literal spin on a stacking toy! Drop the colorful discs onto the threaded corkscrew pole and watch as they spin fast until they settle onto the toy’s reversible base. Each disc is dual-colored (one on each side), and from largest to smallest, they form a colorful rainbow.

Make a rainbow, practice early engineering skills, and zero in on hand-eye coordination. 


Baby Einstein Magic Touch Piano

From Baby Einstein, one of our very favorite, reliably great toy brands, comes the Magic Touch Piano. This piano toy is crafted from wood and features magic touch technology, so no buttons or keys are needed to play. Your little one can practice color coordination by matching the color-coded notes on the sheets to the keys on the piano, make their own songs, and dance to the tunes they create. 


Panda Crate Toy Subscription

Panda Crate was created to help busy parents nurture their naturally curious and creative babies. Each crate is grounded in the science of early childhood development and designed to help babies learn by doing what they do best—playing, exploring, and most importantly, interacting with their favorite adults! Put in your child’s age, pick a plan, and set your little one up to get crates every other month.


Little People Friends Together Play House

Begin their imaginary play early with the Little People Friends Together Play House that inspires toddlers to act out their own fun playdates. This interactive playset is loaded with engaging play! Kids move the three best friend figures through the rooms of the home, as well as on the outdoor patio, swimming pool, and the tree swing (it is a lovely playhouse, indeed). 

As kiddos play, the Smart Stages learning content teaches the alphabet, counting, opposites, and more while encouraging them to play out their own imaginative stories.


Custom Board Book of Names and Faces

There’s just something extra special about personalized gifts. Have fun teaching your child the most important people, places, and things in their life with the customized book made just for them. All you have to do is upload your favorite photos from any device and customize the large, easy-to-read text. 

This board book was designed specifically for little hands: it’s made with rigid, durable pages that can handle lots of page-turning and pointing. 


Dena Large Neon Rainbow

This pretty, versatile rainbow truly grows with your child. It can be your newborn’s teether, toddler’s toy, and pre-schooler’s engineering tool. Versatile and safe, the dëna rainbow helps develop hand-eye coordination, provides a sensory experience, aids in cognitive development, and helps children use their imagination and problem-solving skills to create wonder after wonder. It also doubles as decor!


Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn On-the-Go Camper

Watch your little camper grow from sitting up and engaging with the busy activities, to walking and pushing along, to acting out imaginary camping adventures with this musical activity center. It has three Smart Stages learning levels loaded with fun songs, sounds, lights, and phrases about the alphabet, colors, counting, and shapes, as well as 15+ removable play pieces to bring the pretend camping action to life! 


Cuddle and Kind Doll

For a milestone birthday, it’s always nice to consider an heirloom doll. Cuddle + Kind creates fair-trade dolls that are hand-knit out of natural cotton by female artisans in Peru. For every doll sold, the company provides ten meals to children in need. 

Zoe the Unicorn comes with a birthday (February 5) and a story. She believes that miracles happen and that your baby is one of them. Watch your little hug this sweet, durable doll for years to come. 


Hape Scoot Around Ride-On

Toddlers aged one and older can enjoy this four-wheel foot-powered, wooden rider while reaping the benefits of increased muscle strength and improved balance. The rubber wheels will ensure that the scoot around does not damage floors and is super-durable while your kiddo is on their speedy escapades over any surface. We love its pretty green color, too!


First Birthday Gifts over $75

Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon

Classic, safe and versatile, this award-winning push wagon is a favorite for children and parents alike. The “resist push” feature allows beginner walkers to safely build confidence and balance. Removable wooden stake sides add to the fun, and the furniture-friendly bumper protects your home as your little one learns to walk. Even baby toy minimalists will love this wagon! 


Amazon Basics Corner Climber

The fun is endless with the Corner Climber set! There are four different color combinations for this four-piece indoor corner climber that offers interlocking hook-and-loop strips to secure the pieces together and a hook-and-loop bottom that helps keep it in place on carpet. This set helps kids learn gross motor skills and coordination, plus offers thrilling fun—for kids of all ages. 


Wooden Baby Swing

Whether you gift a child with this heirloom-quality swing for a birthday, holiday, or just because, it will be a cherished toy that can be handed down for generations. It’s versatile (can be used inside or outside), safe (chemical-free and suitable for kiddos up to 44 pounds), and beautiful (made from untreated, smoothed birch wood).

They’ll feel like they’re riding their very own pony as they fly into the air!


Labebe Plush Rocker

You’ll have a hard time deciding which rocker to get from Labebe, but we can assure you that no choice will be a bad one! Choose from a sweet pink deer, a spotted giraffe, a festive llama, and many others. These rockers are sturdy, soft, and easy to assemble and clean. Rockers can help kiddos improve their mobility and inspire both independent and group play.

Plus, they look adorable in any room.


PlanToys Rocking Pegasus

If traditional, full wood is your style, check out the PlanToys Rocking Pegasus. This rocking horse is equipped with a winged saddle, footrests, and backrest. It’s made from sustainable rubberwood with green standards. Chic and fun!   


Manhattan Toy Deep Sea Discovery Center

With four sections of hands-on activity toys for toddlers, the Deep Sea Adventure is packed with exciting features. It has bead runs, gliders, springy flaps, clacking clams, and spinning gears. Your toddler won’t even know they’re practicing early fine motor skills while investigating all of the fun!

This pretty, sea-inspired activity center will hold their attention longer than most, and you’ll love watching them problem-solve and hone their burgeoning skills. 


Ooh No Wooden Toy Pram

Another beautiful, minimalist option, this toy pram is just too cute for words. It is perfect for your child to haul all of their dolls, including plush toys and loveys. With the addition of a tiny blanket and pillow, you’ll have yourself the sweetest little bed on wheels ever seen.


Lily & River Pikler Triangle

We looked high and low for a beautiful, affordable wooden climber, and this is it! Made in the USA, this foldable Little Climber is a home playground that will enhance your children’s motor skill development, balance control, creativity, and so much more! It will grow with your little one up to 4+ years. A great option for babies with older siblings to play together!


Doona Liki Trike

For the kids who love modes of transportation, enter: the world’s most compact folding trike. Doona’s Liki Trike’s functionality and innovative design make for an uncompromising and safe ride. With its unique and patented small-fold mechanism, this ingenious trike simply folds and unfolds at the click of a button. It comes fully assembled and ready to use, straight out of the box.

Made from high grades of fiber-reinforced polymers, rust-free aluminum, and high-durability wheels, Liki innovatively brings Doona’s car seat and stroller safety to toddler trikes.

Grab something from this list? We’d love to see your littles enjoying their first-year fun! Tag us in your photos on Instagram and Facebook: @thriftylittles.


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The Ultimate First Birthday Gift Guide