Even when a child doesn't fully grasp the concept of their first birthday, there is still much to celebrate. And honestly, a first birthday celebration is for the parents as much as the baby. THEY MADE IT! So mom and dad, congratulations— you made it to your baby's first birthday!

Babies have had a fantastic year of developmental milestones at one year old. Their language skills are expanding. They hold up their plastic forks, respond with a cheerful "Cheers" with their sippy cup, and blow kisses to mommy and daddy. They may have even figured out how to take their first two steps. It's gone by fast. And now it's happy birthday time! We've curated the best first birthday gift ideas for the little ones (pun intended) in your life. Plus, we've included some of the best first-birthday gift ideas that include memories instead of things. Warning: these great gift ideas might cause jealousy from older toddlers and older kids!

What do you buy a child for their first birthday?

Some of the most popular developmental toys and gifts for 1-year-olds are push-and-pull products, children's books, flashcards, fun sensory toys, educational and social skills toys, hand-eye coordination games, and many other stimulating play toys. Before you start shopping, here are a few things to consider that the parents will thank you for:

  • Think about choosing gifts to help children develop into the following milestones of fine motor skills and vocabulary
  • If there are older kids at home, try to choose a gift that won't cause jealousy
  • Consider the parent's lifestyle and try to buy a gift they'd appreciate being in their home
  • Consider the parent's home. Do these gifts make for easy storage?
  • If there's a baby at home, is this birthday gift idea still a good idea?

Without further due, here are the great gifts and the best toys that a one-year-old will love playing with for months and years to come.

Best Arts and Crafts Gifts

  1. My First Doodle Board by Crayola
  2. Non-Toxic Finger Painting Art Set by Jar Melo
  3. 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons by Honeysticks

Best Good Ole' Fun Gifts

  1. Organic Crawl Tunnel by Lovevery
  2. Alligator Wooden Push Toy by Melissa & Doug
  3. Ride on Bumper Car by Kidzone

Best Water Play Gifts

  1. Fish 'n Splash Water Table by Little Tikes
  2. 3-1 Sprinkler Splash Pad by SplashEZ
  3. Stacking Cups by Mushie

Best Sensory Play Gifts

  1. Busy Toddler Sensory Board by Esjay (an excellent gift for families that travel)
  2. Pull Strings Learning Ropes by LiKee
  3. Shape Sorting Toys by AiTuiTui

Best Musical Gifts

  1. Musical Llama by Manhattan Toy Company
  2. Allegro, a Classical Musical Journey Board Book
  3. Touch Piano Musical Toy by Baby Einstein

Best Gifts for Being Outside

  1. 4-1 Tricycle by Joovy, the #1 versatile tricycle
  2. All Terrain Cruiser by VEER
  3. Bubble Lawn Mower by Lydaz

Best Montessori Gifts

  1. Placemat & Utensils Set by Lovevery (set is BPA free)
  2. 5-1 Object Permanence Box by Adena Montessori
  3. Tike the Spike Learning Activity

Best Subscription Gifts

  1. The Play Kit by Lovevery
  2. Stargazer Book Box by Literati
  3. The Panda Crate for Little Scientists by KiwiCo

Best Thoughtful Gifts the Parents Will Love

  1. Baby Board Book by Artifact Uprising
  2. Matching Sleep Set by Kyte Baby
  3. Gender-Neutral Gift Set by Pipette

Best Gift Card Gifts

  1. REBELSTORK and Gift Gently Used Baby Products & Gear
  2. Ready Set Judy and Gift Preparedness
  3. At-Home Spanish Music Program by Mi Casa Es Tu Casa

What can I get a 1-year-old besides toys?

Shopping for a first birthday gift can be something other than a physical item, especially if the parents are more minimalist. If you are interested in something other than buying birthday gifts, consider buying an experience. Here are some ideas for adventures:

  1. Botanical garden membership
  2. Science museum membership
  3. Disney Land or Legoland (or a similar) pass
  4. A day pass or membership to a local zoo
  5. Space or air museum pass
  6. Trip to a local farm
  7. Tickets to a show like Disney On Ice

You can Google these experiences based on where they live, and we're confident you'll discover a fabulous first birthday gift experience!

How can I celebrate my one-year birthday at home?

It's easy to create fun ideas at home. And remember, they're one, and you don't need a lot of 'stuff' to keep the baby entertained. Here are some ideas on how you can celebrate their first birthday from home:

  1. The Smash cake. Create a homemade cake and film your baby digging into it! Pro tip: Place a paper sheet on a table and ensure minimal cleanup!
  2. Ballpit. You can rent on or purchase an affordable option on Amazon like this.
  3. Paint Tees. This is a fun arts and crafts idea. You can have each guest or each little paint a shirt!

What are some 1st birthday themes?

Below are some of the most unique and fun first birthday theme ideas:

  1. One In The Sun. This is the perfect summer play birthday theme for outside.
  2. One-Derland First Birthday. This is a play on words for 'Wonderful.'
  3. One in a Melon. You can have lots of individual fruit cups with a variety of melons! This could also be a Cocomelon-themed first birthday party!
  4. Hole in one. Does the dad love to play golf? Then this is the perfect theme for you!
  5. Wild One. This can be centered around the Wild Things book.

Why is a baby first birthday is important?

A baby's 1st birthday is a milestone for parents as well. After all the struggles, sleep regressions, memories, and more— everyone in the home deserves to be celebrated! Why not make it a fun day for everyone?

We hope your baby's first birthday is one to remember!