First birthday gifts can be particularly special for parents and grandparents (i.e. the givers, not the getters) who want to preserve the memory of the big milestone. Because admittedly, most one-year-olds would be perfectly satisfied with a slice of gooey cake in front of them as a first birthday gift — and probably miles of gift wrap to play with too.
Whether it’s a keepsake gift a child will hold onto for years, decor that helps evolve their room from nursery to kid’s room (sniff) or a beautifully made, developmentally appropriate toy that they can play with well into toddlerhood, we’ve rounded up some of the coolest first birthday gifts for any budget.
Be sure to see our full list of the coolest birthday gifts for kids by age
All gifts have been editorially determined by our staff, there is no compensation in exchange for picks.
CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate. That means we may receive a small commission from certain purchases to help us remain independent and support our staff.
($36/mo and up at Love Every Baby)
Order 3-12 months of play kits for toddlers 12-24 months around developmentally appropriate stages. Educational as they are fun — and so gorgeously and smartly curated. (Also shown at top.)
($27 at HC Woodcraft)
This mom-and-pop Etsy shop offers up an update of the classic stacking toy which swaps out plastic for wood, while keeping all the vibrant color with quality non-toxic paint, then finished in beeswax polish. It’s the ultimate developmental toy, allowing toddlers to try to and get all the rings on the base in order. The personalization makes this an extra-special birthday first birthday gift all for under $30.
($14.99 each at Amazon)
Count on them getting duplicates of the classics, and instead opt for sets like the Little Feminist, Little Artist, and Little Scientist. You can even grab all three sets for one of the most special gifts at any age: growing a child’s library.
($39.99 at Amazon)
We love Tegu’s beautiful made, magnetic block sets and now they’ve added this fabulous train set rated for 12 months and up. It’s the perfect size for little one-year-old hands to take apart and push around.
($98 unframed, $115 framed from Ida Pearle)
We’ve long loved Ida Pearle’s exquisite custom name prints which are based on her original cut paper artwork. Choose from any of the 26 designs from her Alphabet card series then add a child’s name — she can even customize the skin tone and hair color.
(from $129.99 at Amazon)
What’s better than a cool-looking walker for baby? How about one that can easily be changed into a gentle rocker and a sturdy ride-on toy as your child grows.
(varies, Gift of College)
They’re still so little — good time to make those important donations to college before they start expecting toys. Gift of College offers gift cards or compare your own best options.
The one cool clothing item that makes you the cool gift giver
Looking for a trendy first birthday gift? Try hip new clothes that will make them the coolest toddler on the block. We love Rowdy Sprout and Nununu as fabulous baby boutiques to get you started. The Beastie Boys raglan tee ($41, Rowdy .Sprout) and the tough-and-tender Nununu sleeveless star onesie dress ($43 on sale) are favorites.
($11.97 at Amazon)
Crayola’s My First Finger Paint set is the perfect sensory art activity for a one-year-old birthday gift, and the price is terrific. Paper is included — clean-up is not. But since the paints are washable it won’t be a nightmare either.
($23.70 at Amazon)
If you want a single toy for a first birthday gift, remember that one year olds are curious and more dexterous, ready for more complex toys than rabbles and clutch balls.We love these bright-colored pieces — and the fact that this toy is so sturdy, it can take a beating without ever looking beat up.
($175 at The Tot)
Looking for a splurge first birthday gift? A child’s first silver speedster plane by the French metal-toy car maker Baghera will get a lot of mileage. Ha.
($69 at Pottery Barn Kids)
Hand-painted to honor the artwork of Disney artist Mary Blair, whose iconic illustrations have captured hearts for generations. (Sorry if we got the song stuck in your head!)
($9.99 each at Amazon)
We love finding great gifts under $10, and these are just the right size for little hands to handle. Each set even comes with a change of clothes that can mix and match with other DUPLO bricks.
($35+ with personalization, Smiling Tree Toys)
Each birthday means more stuff to store, and we love this gorgeous, handcrafted, personalized toy crate which remains one of our favorite handmade toys for back-to-basic gifts for kids.
(from $19.95, Little Blue Olive)
Make those zillion first-birthday photos even more special with one of these. There are loads of colors to choose from and you can even go fancy with glitter. Hey, you only turn one once!