Baby’s First Birthday Gift Ideas


This is an updated post from 2014;we love Sarah and her brilliant ideas, and thought we would make sure you didn’t miss the roundup of first birthday gift ideas!

A few weeks ago we celebrated my last baby’s first birthday. After all the festivities were over on a particularly gorgeous January afternoon, all three kids played in the backyard at the baby’s new water table (a replacement for an identical one that had been well-loved for several years and… um…no longer held water). As I looked around my backyard, I realized something: almost every piece of primary-colored plastic we own had been a gift for one of the kids during their first year or two of life.

There was the sandbox Santa brought the year my oldest was about 18 months. The Cozy Coupe had been my middle child’s first birthday present. The Radio Flyer wagon had also a first birthday gift. Between the first couple of Christmases and first and second birthdays, we’d managed to outfit our kids with some classic childhood pieces that have stood the test of time (and weathered some intense AZ summers).

When it’s your first baby, it’s hard to imagine what kinds of playthings you’ll want and need as you round the corner into his or her second year of life. For months your life has been about small, soft things: blankets and lovies, soft books and little rattles, Sophie la Girafe and Wubbanubs. But hard as it is to fathom, that first baby becomes a toddling child right around his first birthday, and is really ready for bigger stuff.

In the spirit of sharing what has worked for us, I looked around my own home and rounded up a list of great first birthday gift ideas. We own each of the products listed below, and none of this is sponsored (which means I don’t get anything for recommending this stuff).

Share with the grandparents, “Pin” for later, or start up your wish list for baby’s first birthday. Happy shopping!

first birthday, gift guide

Outdoor Fun

Here in Arizona, we get many months of outdoor play, so no matter when your baby’s birthday falls, it won’t be long until these backyard favorites will be put to good use.

Step2 WaterWheel Activity Play Table

step 2 water table

Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox … OR some Kinetic Sand!

sand box

Playroom Favorites

One-year-olds move quickly from rattles and soft toys to the big kid world of sorting, stacking, and make-believe. Don’t be afraid to ask for toys that seem a little beyond your 12-month-old’s ability right now. Big developments are just around the corner!

Fisher-Price Little People Fun Sounds Farm

little people barn

Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube

shape sorter melissa and doug

Something to Ride

These are classics that have lasted through all three of my kids’ baby and toddler years. If you don’t already have them, they’ll become favorites for years to come!

Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon

red wagon

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

cozy coupe

Juratoys Caramel Rocking Horse

rocking horse

Something to Push

Whether your birthday kid has been walking for weeks or isn’t even close, a push toy like these will make walking fun. I find that long after they’re walking on their own, young toddlers still love to push strollers, grocery cars, and traditional “walker” toys.

Little Tikes Mulching Mower

lawn mower

Corolle Mon Premier Small Stroller

doll stroller

Somewhere to Sit

Believe it or not, your “baby” has turned the corner into toddler territory! Soon he’ll be sitting in chairs and at tables just his size – and these are our favorites for indoor and outdoor seating.

Little Tikes Easy Store Picnic Table with Umbrella

picnic table

Land of Nod Executive Nod Chair

personalized chair

Something to Do

Finally, your new one-year-old can really start to enjoy some of the activities and experiences our area has to offer. Memberships and gift cards that give the gift of experience are always a great choice. These are a few local memberships or classes we’ve enjoyed with our kids through the years.

Music Together
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Phoenix Zoo
Imagination Avenue


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