First Birthday Gifts: 8 Great Toys for Your One-Year-Old

What do you get a one-year-old child? Yep, that’s the million-dollar question. The good news is that you can give them a cardboard box and they will probably be over the moon with it. But if you are after the best first birthday gifts that are a little more thoughtful and fulfilling than an empty box, you’ve come to the right place! 

We’ve consulted our baby shopping experts and uncovered 8 fabulous first birthday gifts for one-year-olds, all from Australia’s premium one-stop baby (and beyond) shop, Metro Baby!

We’ve got gifts of all shapes, sizes, and price ranges to entertain, educate and engage any curious tot. But best of all, these choices are designed to grow with your child. Because we believe the best first birthday gifts are the ones that will be enjoyed for years to come, not something that will just be played with once and then tossed in a corner. 

Whether you’re shopping for your own one-year-old or looking for first birthday gifts for a friend or family member, you can expect nothing but squeals of excitement when they open up any of these first birthday gifts: 

8 First Birthday Gifts for your Little Wonder

From big-ticket items to smaller choices, here are our top picks for the best birthday gifts for one-year-olds. 

1. Fardin Children’s Tipi

PRICE: $365
OUR PICK FOR: Quiet play 

This children’s tipi is sure to create the perfect little playspace. Source: Supplied

Is there anything more exciting to a one-year-old than cosying up in a little tent? Whether reading a book with mum or making a pillow tent with dad, there’s something so magical about tipis. Kids just ADORE them!

Bloomingville’s Fardin Children’s Tipi is about as luxe as they come. It’s incredibly easy to assemble and move around the house and great to take to the park or even the beach. 

Made of breathable cotton canvas with four durable metal poles, this stunning tipi will be a favourite space for years and years to come. Perfect for quiet play, snuggles, reading, resting and hiding – every little one needs a space to call their own. LOVE! 

2. Mini Chef Home Kitchen

PRICE: $249
OUR PICK FOR: Imaginative play

This Mini Chef Home Kitchen is a great first birthday gift idea. Source: Supplied

If a kitchen is on your first birthday gift list, then this is the ideal present to bring home. Tender Leaf Toys has a huge range of stunning wooden toys to choose from but we especially love their Mini Chef Home Kitchen. Not only is it a kitchen complete with an oven, cupboard and butler’s sink but it also doubles as a cafe complete with a blackboard for writing notes and menu highlights. 

The beautiful kitchen is perfect for little hands and big imaginations and also includes 2 cups and saucers, 3 utensils and a utensil holder, a tea towel, a kettle, soap and a sliced baguette. 

Like the tipi, a play kitchen is designed to last them more than just a year. One-year-olds will love learning how to pretend play and this passion will continue to grow as they turn two, three, four and five – a great investment for years and years of exploration. 

3. Explore and More Grow Along 4-in-1 Activity Walker

A Skip Hop activity walker is a great first birthday gift idea. Source: Supplied

PRICE: $179
OUR PICK FOR: Activity Walker

Activity walkers are perfect for one-year-olds so if your little one doesn’t already have one, add this to your list! Activity Walkers encourage all sorts of play – and independent walking – and this 4-in-1 from Skip Hop is a winner! 

It features four ways to play and will grow with your tot. Sit, cruise, shop and stroll, all the while fostering balance and mobility, sensory development, fine motor skills and more. It comes with songs, sounds and a busy board of things to discover including rotating gears, a spinner and even a piano.

But what we especially love about this product is that once your little one is walking they can still use it as part of their pretend play games. It makes a great pram for babies and is perfect for pretend trips to the ‘market’ or ‘shops’. The walker comes with an adjustable handle height too so it will grow with them, from 6 months all the way to four+. 

4. Garage and/or Train Sets 

PRICE: Garage $149, Various Train Sets $34.95
OUR PICK FOR: Car and train pretend play

Nothing screams imaginative play like garage and train sets. Source: Supplied

If your little one loves things that go, then a garage playset is a great choice. Janod’s Garage Set is a beautiful addition to any playroom and perfect for developing fine motor skills and role play in your child. The 4-level garage is robust, safe and eco-friendly and features four floors of fun, a geometric-shaped key, three cars, a helicopter, and several wooden ramps for hours and hours of fun – and a great one for older siblings to play with too.

Like all of our products featured on our best first birthday gifts list, this one is designed for both toddlers and preschoolers.  One-year-olds will love zooming the cars around but as your little one gets older, they will discover the more advanced ways to play. 

If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, then the Janod Sets are also perfect. They are $34.95 each and you can choose from several moving sets, all with magnets, fours carriages and various characters and animals. Choose from the Farm Train Set, the Firefighter’s Train Set and the Safari Set

5. Wheely Bug Ride-On

PRICE: $98
OUR PICK FOR: Active play

first birthday gifts wheely bug
Wheely Bug ride-ons are not only cute but great for active play. Source: Supplied

There are so many great active play toys out there but the Wheely Bugs get our pick for one-year-olds. Not only are they super cute, but they are great for little legs and encourage movement indoors and outdoors. 

Choose from a bee, ladybug, pig or tiger, each with a bright friendly design and a padded body for a comfortable ride. Wheely Bugs are safe and easy to use for children who are learning to walk, and continue to be fun and engaging right through the post-toddler years.

6. Noah’s Shape Sorter

PRICE: $69.95
OUR PICK FOR: Shape Sorter

Shape sorters are great first birthday gifts, especially Noah and his ark! Source: Supplied

Shape sorters are incredibly popular toys for one-year-olds but what we love about this particular shape sorter is that it’s more than just your basic rectangles and stars. This beautiful product from Le Toy Van encompasses the story of Noah’s Ark with a brightly painted ark shape sorter and seven pairs of cute wooden animals, plus Noah and his wife.

Little kids will love learning how to sort the animals through the shapes but will also love role-playing with their very own boat of colourful animals – a great gift for all animal lovers! 

Plastic-free and perfect for pretend play too, it’s the ideal toy to inspire your little one to develop their sensory, motor, and coordination skills by slotting the shapes into the corresponding holes. 

7. Cocoon Stacking Stones

PRICE: $69.95
OUR PICK FOR: Stacking toys

These Janod stacking stones are great for building patience and dexterity. Source: Supplied

Another extremely popular toy for one-year-olds is a stacking toy such as building blocks. But we love these colourful and beautifully designed stacking stones even more! They promote open-ended play and develop fine motor skills but are a much more unique option than the traditional blocks. 

Stack them in various ways, follow a colour pattern or create your very own rock castle – there’s no limit to the ways they will play. What’s also great about these smooth stacking stones is that they look nice in any nursery. They make a lovely piece of ‘artwork’ for their play area and are made by Janod, which is known for its high-quality wooden toys.

8. 1-10 Car Puzzle 

PRICE: $24.95

Great for teaching colours and numbers, these make a great first birthday gift. Source: Supplied

Kids of all ages love puzzles, including clever one-year-olds! Sure, they may need a bit of help still but puzzles are so good for building those ever-important cognitive skills! Kiddie Connect’s 1-10 Car Puzzle is our top pick for puzzles and the best first birthday gift under $25 too! 

Made of wood and designed for tots who love their cars and trucks, this educational puzzle encourages colour and number identification and also assists with hand-eye co-ordination. Match the number dots to the numbers on the cars or match the car colours to the colour on the truck.

A great puzzle for open-ended play, one-year-olds will also love stacking the cars up and vrooming them around the house. So many ways to play! 

Additional first birthday gifts and toys for one-year-olds

1. ANYTHING FOR THE BEACH: Goggles, swimsuits and of course, sand toys! Check out the IZIMINI range – they make some high-quality products that you won’t need to throw away after a weekend of muddy sand play. 

2. SCOOTERS, RIDE-ONS OR BALANCE BIKES: One-year-olds are just starting to get the hang of walking so trikes and bikes are probably still a while off. Ride-ons, balance bikes and three-in-one scooters are ideal for this age though. Globber is a great choice – their Go Up is perfect for one-year-olds all the way to preschoolers. 

3. ANYTHING WATER RELATED: One-year-olds LOVE water play so bath toys are quite popular. We also love water activity tables for children this age as you can set them u in the backyard and let them discover the many wonders of water. 

4. PLAYMATS: You may already have a play mat for your little one, but, if not, this makes a great first birthday present too, especially the playmats that not only act as a soft space for play, but also feature something to inspire pretend play, such as a road or a city. 

Assorted first-birthday-gift-ideas
Metro Baby have all the awesome first birthday gift ideas! Source: Supplied

5. MUSICAL PLAYMATS:  While they can be slightly annoying for parents, one-year-olds LOVE music and sounds, especially when they can make their own noise. Xylophones, drum sets, recorders, guitars – all so much fun (well, for the kids at least). 

6. ANYTHING EDUCATIONAL: We mentioned shape sorters and stacking toys above, but other good choices include books, traditional puzzles, and abacuses. 

7. ANYTHING THAT ENCOURAGES MOVEMENT:  Pull-along and push toys are great for this, but you will find heaps of other great movement toys out there – play equipment, trampolines, etc. 

There are a lot of options when buying toys for one-year-olds which is great, but it can also be overwhelming. We hope our best first birthday gift guide helps make this decision a little easier.

Be sure to check out the entire range over at Metro Baby. They stock a curated selection of specialty products ranging from baby to preschooler. Toys, clothes, furniture, prams – you name it – and you’ll find everything you need for your baby’s first year and beyond. 

This is a sponsored post for Metro Baby

Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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