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Babies are often awash with toys and clothes by the time they reach their first birthday. So, if you want to buy a birthday or Christmas gift for a one-year-old and are a little stuck for ideas, why not think about giving a practical gift? Practical doesn’t have to mean boring, especially if you choose one of the perfect gift ideas from my curation.
I decided to focus on non-toy gift ideas in this roundup. You can check my roundup of brilliant developmental baby toys for the first 12 months if you really want to buy a toy.
The gifts on the list are all gender-neutral, so they are perfect for both baby boys and baby girls. I’ve included several gifts that were given to my daughter when she was one year old, so I can absolutely vouch for how perfect they were.
THE ULTIMATE PRACTICAL GIFT GUIDE FOR ONE-YEAR-OLDS
Choose one of these brilliant practical gifts to give as a birthday or Christmas gift for a one-year-old.
1. FIRST PAIR OF WELLIES
Is there anything cuter than seeing a baby who has recently started walking splashing through a puddle in their wellies?! So gifting a baby’s first pair of rainboots is a really meaningful gift alongside being a really practical gift.
Is there anything cuter than seeing a baby who has recently started walking splashing through a puddle in their wellies?!
2. BABY’S FIRST PUSH-ALONG TRIKE
A push-along tricycle is a brilliant birthday gift for grandparents to give. I know this because this is one of the gifts that our daughter received for her first birthday.
It’s even more practical if you give a push-along tricycle that converts into a trike or bike as the child grows.
This trike goes from a push-along to a trike to a bike, perfect for 10 months - 3 years old. Plus it is foldable (great for travel and storage).
3. BABY BACKPACK AND REIN
One of the first things we did when our daughter started walking within days of her first birthday was to buy her a toddler backpack with safety rein.
I know there is some debate about safety reins for toddlers. In my experience, they are really useful, both for giving a child a sense of freedom and for parents to keep a reassuring amount of parental control.
The key is to have a rein that attaches to a backpack rather than a wrist, so the child doesn’t feel tethered and there is more stability in the connection.
My daughter had this Bee backpack. The bay rein is attached to the backpack, which is by far the best way to use a bay rein. She loved the freedom it gave her, and we loved that she was still reassuringly attached! Also comes in a ladybird design.
4. NEXT STAGE CHILD CARRIER
We also received a toddler carrier backpack as a gift from one of our daughter’s grandparents for her first birthday. It proved invaluable once we were past the front carrying stage, but our daughter still needed plenty of carrying.
This backpack carrier is great for short walks or longer hikes. The child seat is anatomically shaped, and the carrier is ergonomic for parent and child.
5. WATERPROOF BATH BOOK
A one-year-old may already be well-equipped with bath toys, but how about a waterproof book? Bath books are great for encouraging quieter bath times and have that added bonus of getting one-year-olds used to holding books for themselves.
The Colour Me series of waterproof books change colour in the water, which is great for encouraging a calm bathtime at the end of a long day.
6. CUTE HOODED TODDLER TOWEL
It’s usually about time to upgrade baby towels after a year or so of constant use. There are some gorgeous hooded towels around, with lovely bright colours and soft fabric to swathe freshly bathed one-year-olds in.
There are four animal designs - dinosaur, monkey, penguin, and panda - that are as great for imaginative play as they are for wrapping squirming wet one-year-olds in their super soft bamboo fabric.
7. SIPPY CUP AND SNACK BOWL SET
By the time babies turn one, they are usually adept at picking up their own food and want to hold their own sippy cup. So a cute-looking snack bowl and sippy cup set make a cute but also a practical gift.
This silicone snack and sippy cup set comes in green or pink and is perfect for one-year-olds as they explore eating and drinking independently.
8. LEARNING TOWER
Separation anxiety can first kick in for babies between the ages of nine to 18 months, so parents can often find themselves with a baby glued to their side.
One way to make sure parents can get stuff done whilst also allowing their child to be close by is to use a learning tower.
Learning towers give a one-year-old chance to get busy doing their own thing right next to mum or dad.
There are many learning towers around, but I love this both for its safety and its chalk board on the side.
9. FIRST RIDE-ON
I might be biased by I think a Wheelybug ride-on is a right-of-passage gift for a one-year-old. They are beautifully made, as huggable as they are comfortable and fun.
This is the smaller size, suitable for 1-3-year-olds. My daughter was given one of these by her grandparents for her first birthday, and we still have it as a family heirloom today.
10. PLAY TABLE AND CHAIR
You may think it’s a little early to buy a play table and chair for a one-year-old, but if you choose the right set – where the chair has arms and is nice and secure for keeping a one-year-old upright – it is a great way to give a one-year-old the chance to sit and occupy themselves for short bursts of time.
Most one-year-olds will happily sit and scribble with chunky crayons, indulge in some finger painting or use a busy board, all of which are great for developing their fine motor skills.
This set is great for one-year-olds because the chairs have arms to make a secure seat. The set is perfect for smaller spaces as the chair slides neatly flush with the table.
WHY PRACTICAL GIFTS ARE GREAT FOR ONE-YEAR-OLDS
One-year-old birthday parties are as much about the parents as they are about the one-year-old whose birthday it is. In fact, I challenge anyone to remember their first birthday party!
I can also remember many a first birthday party I’ve attended, where the birthday child has been far more interested in the packaging, the rustle of wrapping paper and the scrunching of cardboard than any of the gifts.
So when it comes to buying a birthday gift, it’s a great opportunity to buy something practical that the parents will find of use in the months ahead.
I would go so far as to say, don’t buy any toys unless you know it is a toy that the child specifically needs or their parent has asked for.
The beauty of giving a practical gift is that parenting is an expensive pursuit, and any help parents can have towards the cost is usually very gratefully received.
So, opt for gifts that are high on the parents’ wishlist of things they actually need and would otherwise need to go out and buy for themselves or a high-end practical gift that they wouldn’t otherwise spend money on but will absolutely love you forever for giving it to them.
And, if you are a parent frantically looking for gift ideas for your baby’s first birthday, how about this idea: Buy them one super-special gift, something personalised or something beautiful that they can play with but keep forever. Then focus on spending your gift budget on practical stuff you need for your child.
As I mentioned before, one-year-olds are far more interested in gift-wrapping and packing, so wrap everything up and enjoy them tearing into their gifts on their birthday or Christmas day.
Related: Gorgeous wooden toys for Three-year-olds
Luci is the founder of Mums Make Lists (Est. 2011). Over the last decade or so, she has used her experience as a mum to create useful guides to organising family life. During that time, she has found the most joy in creating lists of ideas and inspiration to make it easier for busy parents to plan and host kids’ parties and find great gifts. Read more.