The coolest first birthday gifts: Toys and keepsakes for 1-year-olds

Coolest first birthday gifts: Curated developmental toy boxes from Love Every Baby

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.

Coolest first birthday gifts for one year olds | Lovevery baby developmental toy subscription gift

Curated toy subscription box by developmental stage

($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.)


Coolest birthday gifts for one year old: Freshly Picked x Star Wars baby shoes

Platinum mini sole mocs from Freshly Picked: Cool first birthday gifts

A pair of cool toddler shoes

($60-65, Freshly Picked)

Whether they are toddling around in smiling Chewbacca booties from the Freshly Picked x Star Wars moc collection or sporting chic platinum metallic mini sole mocs, they’ll be the coolest kid on the playground.

(Psst, another great resource is the collection of Tiny TOMs first walker shoes with all kinds of colors, patterns and designs. Check to see what’s new and cool right now.)


HC Woodcraft personalized wooden stacking toy | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Personalized wooden stacking toy

($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.


Colorful board book sets by Mudpuppy: The Little Feminist, Scientist and Artist sets | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

A modern board book set

($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.

Tegu magnetic train building blocks | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Tegu magnetic train building blocks

($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.


Custom name prints from Ida Pearl: Coolest first birthday gifts | cool mom picks ultimate birthday gift guide

Custom children’s name prints

($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.

3-in-1 ride-on toy from Wishbone | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Wishbone Mini Flip Mix n Match 3-in-1 ride-on toy

(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.


Meaningful gifts for kids: Donation to a 529 fund with a Gift of College gift card

A 529 fund donation

(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.


Beastie Boys t-shirt | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts


Star onesie dress at Nununu | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

The one cool clothing item that makes you the cool gift giver

(Prices vary)

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.


Cool first birthday gifts | Crayola's washable finger paints made for toddlers

Washable toddler water paint set

($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.


Shape-sorting house by Kid O | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Shape-sorting house by Kid O

($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.


Baghera Speedster Plane | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Baghera speedster plane

($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.


Disney's It's a Small World alphabet blocks | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Disney’s Small World wooden block set

($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!)


Lego Duplo Mickey and Minny sets | Cool first birthday gift ideas

My First DUPLO Mickey or Minnie Mouse

($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.

Personalized wooden toy crate at Smiling Tree Toys | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Personalized wooden toy crate

($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.


Felt birthday crown at Little Blue Olive | The Coolest First Birthday Gifts

Handmade birthday hat or crown

(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!


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