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First Birthday Gift Ideas

8 min read | 01 October 2023

The first year of a baby's life is filled with moments of joy, growth and wonder.


As that little one in your life reaches their very first big milestone – their first birthday – the occasion calls for a gift that's as special as they are. Finding the perfect present can be both exciting and challenging, as you strive to find something that suits their emerging personality and that will resonate with both the child and their parents.

It can be helpful to understand where a one-year-old is at developmentally when trying to decide what to buy for their first birthday. By the time children reach 12 months of age they are considered to be ‘toddlers’, and at this time most are sitting comfortably on their own and some are starting to move – whether that’s scooting, crawling, pulling themselves up or even walking. They’re also getting better at using their hands and fingers to pick up and hold things. One-year-olds are figuring out how to communicate with those around them through pointing, nodding, waving, grunting and babbling. A birthday present that gives them the chance to use and further develop these emerging skills is sure to bring a smile.

In this guide, we’ve listed some of our favourite present ideas that blend thoughtfulness, fun and practicality. Whether you're a proud parent, a fun aunt or uncle, or the friend who’s practically family, we’ve found memorable first birthday gift ideas that strike the perfect balance between adorable and useful.

What to Buy For Their First Birthday

Clothing & Accessories for Toddlers

At 12 months of age a baby’s growth starts to slow down, but it’s still a good idea to size up if you’re considering gifting clothing or accessories for their first birthday. One-year-olds are bundles of energy, so dressing them can be challenging! Look for clothing and accessories that are easy to put on and take off.

  • Swimwear

    : A new pair of

    bathers with a UPF50+ rating

    is a great gift for warm-weather birthdays. We love styles made from chlorine resistant Repreve fabric, which is created using recycled post-consumer products and other landfill.

  • Jacket or Raincoat:

    For those celebrating birthdays during the cooler months, a

    cosy jacket or waterproof coat

    is a practical first birthday gift which will keep them snug and dry during outdoor playtime.

  • A special outfit

    : Parents often spend their time (and money) stocking up on practical clothing for their little one, so a first birthday is great excuse to spoil them with a

    gorgeous outfit for an upcoming special occasion

    .

  • Accessories:

    Stylish and functional

    toddler accessories

    – think sunhats, beanies, sunglasses and hair accessories – make for thoughtful and fun first birthday gifts that don’t break the bank.

Toys for Toddlers

When it comes to toys for one-year-olds, look for quality pieces made from safe and sustainable materials. We love durable toys that can withstand the test of time and can be passed on to siblings and friends when they’re no longer needed.

  • Push or Ride-On Toys:

    Toys like balance bikes, ride-on cars, walkers and rocking horses help promote physical activity and exploration in one-year-olds learning to walk. They also help to build gross motor skills, muscle tone, coordination and body awareness.

  • Problem-Solving Toys:

    Simple puzzles, shape sorters, peg benches and other educational toys help stimulate baby’s cognitive and fine motor skills, while also promoting letter, shape and colour recognition.

  • Musical Toys:

    Toys that make sounds or play music, including maracas, bells, tambourines, drums and mini pianos, introduce toddlers to the joy of sound and rhythm, sparking their interest and enhancing sensory development.

  • Toys for Open-Ended Play:

    Wooden blocks, stackers and play silks nurture toddlers’ creativity and imagination, allowing them to explore and play freely.

  • Interactive Toys:

    Toys with buttons, lights and interactive features can engage a little one’s curiosity and encourage exploration.

  • Art Supplies

    : Crayons, washable textas and large sheets of paper allow little ones to explore their creativity and expression and develop their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

  • Soft Toys:

    Soft toys

    offer comfort and companionship to one-year-olds, especially those who might be starting to get a little bit of separation anxiety. They also stimulate their tactile senses, making them both a comforting and entertaining gift.

  • Outdoor Toys:

    Many one-year-olds are fascinated by the great outdoors, and love spending time playing and exploring outside. A sandpit, swing set, outdoor table and chairs or a cubby house can provide hours of outdoor fun and physical activity.

  • Learning Tower:

    A learning towner is a practical gift that helps toddlers safely reach and explore new heights, fostering independence and learning.

Books for Toddlers

Reading and storytelling helps toddlers learn about communication and stimulates their imagination. Look for simple stories with bright and colourful pictures, rhymes and repetitions and interactive elements like flaps and pop-ups.

  • Classic picture books:

    Classic picture books

    are a timeless gift that introduce the joy of reading and storytelling to little ones.

  • Board Books:

    Board books with colourful pictures

    are fun and durable, making them perfect for active toddlers.

  • Bath Books:

    These soft and waterproof books make bath time fun and educational, combining play and learning.

  • Flash Cards:

    Flash cards are educational tools that can help with early learning and language development.

  • Sensory Books

    : These books engage the baby’s senses with textures and interactive elements, providing a multi-sensory learning experience.

Not sure? Give a Gift Card!

If you’re not sure what the little one in your life wants or needs, it can be a good idea to check in with the parents before purchasing a gift. You can also give them a gift card or provide a gift receipt with your gift to allow them to choose something more suitable.

It can also be a nice idea to surprise the parents with a small gift to celebrate the occasion – after all, it’s a big milestone for them too! A restaurant gift voucher, a bottle of wine or even the offer of some babysitting is always appreciated by parents of little ones.

Discover more first birthday gift ideas for under $25, under $50 and under $100 at Purebaby.

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