Present Ideas For A One Year Old

Little has just turned one and we have a lot of toys, but what does she love playing with most? Which toys did her big sister use most? Here are my suggestions for the best presents to buy a one year old.

Shape Sorter

Little loves putting things in boxes and then emptying the box again. While she would be happy playing with the washing basket one of the toys she is really enjoying at the moment is a shape sorter. She isn’t yet at the stage where she is able to select a shape and intentionally put it straight in the right hole, but she loves to put things in the box and carry them around. She has started to attempt to put shapes in the holes, over the next few months she will start being able to match the shapes.  

A red box with a yellow lid with shaped holes cut out and a number of bright shaped pieces to go in the wholes
Fisher Price Shape Sorter

Bath Toys

Like many babies Little loves the bath and splashing about in water so bath toys make a great gift. I prefer toys where water can’t get inside and which are easy to clean (ideally by going in the dishwasher). Boats, ducks and anything which can pour water are a lot of fun.

I love this Lili bath toy and the Plui rain cloud (which opens to clean and drips out rain).

A baby sitting in a bath playing with a bath toy which looks like a lily flower floating on the bath
This Lili has 4 pieces which come apart, they are easy to clean and it's beautiful

A white plastic rain cloud held against a white background
This rain cloud can be filled with water and then rain on baby.


Anything small with wheels is great fun to push around the room. A car which has space for something to go in it is even more fun. This Wow Taxi fits in 2 people (or other objects big sister has left around) and has a friction motor to help it move further when pushed.

A toy black taxi and 2 tourist looking figures
Ted the Taxi from Wow Toys

Stacking toys

At the moment Little is more interested in knocking things down than building them up, but the building skill is one which will develop over the next year so stacking toys will last a while. Many can be nested inside each other for storage space, and some can go in the bath too.

A collage of 3 images showing the stacking cups in the packaging, nestled together and stacked. The cups are pale blue, green and purple and are starfish or flower shaped
This Green Toys stacking cup is made from recycled milk cartons

Character Toys

Little inherited some Happyland toys from her big sister and she loves to play with them. Yes many of the figures do get chewed on, but she has also learnt to make the roundabout go round and push a swing. For her birthday Little received a playset of her own, the challenge is trying to stop her big sister playing with it. A nice character playset with large enough characters for a 1 year old can last a long time as they start playing with it in different ways.

A baby girl in a pink dress and a 5 year old girl in a green dress sitting on a brown wooden floor playing with toys including a number of plastic houses
Happyland village and a few other bits

Activity Table

Like most 1 year olds Little can stand up quite happily with support. This makes activity tables great fun as they can stand at them and play. For a birthday in the Spring a water play table is great as they will be able to use it in the summer as they start to be able to stand more independently, for the winter an inside activity table like will have more immediate use (unless you are happy to have water inside).

A blue water table with a tower and a number of colourful attachments
Little Tikes Spinning Seas Water Table

A plastic tree shaped table with activities on top including buttons and a shape sorter
Vtech Discovery Tree Activity Table

Personalised Books

Reading with children is really important and books always make a great present. A personalised book makes the gift extra special and we love this book we were sent from Penwizard. Little loves In The Night Garden and this book features a character named after Little who is having a party. This hardback book has the right amount of repetitive text and lots of bright pictures making it great for a one year old. As well as In the Night Garden they do personalised Peppa Pig and Ben and Holly birthday books (and a large selection of other books). At the beginning of the book we even have a special message printed.

The Front Cover of a book saying "Little's Birthday Party", and showing characters from In The Night Garden and an extra new character
A personalised birthday book from Penwizard

Inside pages of the book with text' "Come to my party, Igglepiggle," said Sophie." a picture of Iggle Piggle, the pontipines and the red ones
Example pages from the Penwizard INTG birthday book


Little loves being entertained with puppets, whether they are acting out a story or playing a game of peekaboo. Hand or finger puppets are another toy which will last some time as the child moves on from watching the puppet show to putting one on themselves.

A small elephant hand puppet and a bright yellow duck puppet on the end of arms on a blue fabric background
Hand puppets

Ride Ons

Most babies are used to sitting in a wheeled vehicle and being pushed around so it must be hugely exciting when they learn they can sit on one and move themselves around. I love this elephant from Yetizoo! as it’s a beautiful piece of design. Little hasn’t quite got used to sitting on it, but she pushes it around as a walker and it has a space underneath which she can put things in (when the cat isn’t hiding in there). The wheels move really easily in every direction which makes it very easy to manoeuvre and it’s fabric free so really easy to clean.

A bright red plastic stylised ride on elephant
Elephant ride on from Yetizoo!


A playhouse is great fun for a 1 year old. They can hide, sleep in there and as they get older use it for role play. We have a Little Tikes play house in the garden, but for inside I think the pop up tents are perfect. They can stay up for as long as you want them then stored away taking up very little space. M used to love her ikea circus tent when she was little, but I have recently discovered these beautiful tents from PopIt. I love that they are decorated to encourage play, they fold away really small and they are a sensible price. Other designs include a dinosaur cave, a ballet studio, a garage and a farm.

A pale blue pop up playtent with trees and woodland animals on the wall and floor
Enchanted Forest Pop Up Play Tent

NB Not all these toys will be recommended by the manufacturer as suitable from 1 year. Parents must make an assessment about whether they are suitable for their child to play with and should never leave a child unaccompanied with a toy if below the minimum age range.


  1. Couldn't agree more re the Happyland - my daughter still plays with hers now and she's 3!

  2. Some really good toys! I definitely agree with the happyland toys my daughter loves them!

  3. I really like the rain cloud and that it can go in the dishwasher and been cleaned without the horrible mould which means you have to throw a lot of the bath toys away. I hpe little one had an amazing birthday.


  4. I hope your little one had a good birthday. Although eleanor is only 4 months old I'm taking notes so I know what to buy her later in the year!

  5. I love the tent! Such a good idea to have it as a pop up - then it can be hidden out of the way rather than take up half of the room!

  6. Some good ideas here. I've taken note of a few as Ischia will be 1 in a few months time!

  7. Great post - I've just added the little tikes water table to our list!

  8. Ooh some great ideas here! I also love that you have the same challenge as me of stopping the 5 year old playing with the baby's toys! Why do they do it?!


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