Have you ever wondered which baby gifts are the best for a one-year-old? Or maybe you’re just looking for a change from the typical toy overload. If you’ve found yourself surrounded by a sea of toys in your toddler’s room, you’re not alone. The struggle of organizing an abundance of — often expensive — baby toys, only to see them quickly abandoned in favor of the cardboard box they came in, is all too familiar for many parents.

While baby gifts have their place in childhood development, sometimes practicality and usefulness can outweigh the allure of yet another plaything. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the best baby gifts, including gifts for newborns, one-year-olds and toddlers that go beyond the traditional toys. These gifts are not only exciting for little ones to receive but also serve a purpose beyond fleeting entertainment.

Whether it’s their birthday, a holiday or just a special occasion, these gifts offer a refreshing alternative to the typical plushie avalanche. Say goodbye to the clutter and hello to gifts that will truly be appreciated by infants to toddlers and parents alike.

Inspired gift picks for little ones: from newborn to toddler baby gift ideas

Best gifts for newborns

As loved ones in your life prepare to embark on the journey of parenthood, there’s no better way to show your support and excitement than with a thoughtful baby gift.

With the right gift, you not only extend your wishes for the new baby but also provide a helping hand to the overwhelmed parents.

  • Baby outfits or a baby essentials basket

Stack of clothes, shoes and toy on table

Looking to spoil a newborn with comfort and style? With new babies, you can never have enough cozy outfits for those precious early days at home. Opt for onesies crafted from gentle organic cotton, ensuring maximum softness and comfort for delicate skin. These versatile pieces mix and match effortlessly, providing both practicality and adorable style.

From tiny newborn sizes to slightly larger options, onesies accommodate babies as they quickly grow. Onesie bundles provide essential clothing and ensure that the newest addition to the family stays snug and stylish from head to toe—not to mention that a matching outfit for baby and mom will surely be a picture-worthy gift.

An additional idea is a basket with essential baby items like diapers, wipes, diaper cream and baby grooming supplies for a practical yet thoughtful gift.

  • Tummy time toys

Newborn baby has tummy time training at it's colorful baby gym

Looking for the perfect gift for a newborn? Consider a tummy time toy. These engaging and developmentally stimulating toys are not only adorable but also play a vital role in fostering early motor skills and muscle strength. From a colorful activity blanket with fun patterns to soft, plush toys with crinkly textures, there’s a wide range of options to choose from.

By gifting tummy time toys, you are providing entertainment but also supporting the baby’s growth and development right from the start. It’s a thoughtful and practical gift that both the baby and parents will appreciate.

  • Personalized items

The initial months with a newborn can feel like a whirlwind for parents, with time slipping away faster than expected. Personalized baby gifts or milestone books provide a wonderful opportunity for parents to pause and reflect on these precious moments — and baby will appreciate them in years to come.
For instance, consider a personalized baby keepsake box, ideal for storing treasured mementos from the child’s early years. Add a personal touch by customizing it with the baby’s name and birthdate, creating a heartfelt keepsake to cherish for a lifetime.
Additionally, help new parents remember each special moment in their child’s life with a beautifully crafted memory book that provides ample space for preserving everything from birthday photos and the baby’s first footprints to other significant milestones.

  • Extra tip: ask the parents

When searching for the perfect gift for a newborn, consider asking the parents about their needs to inspire a beneficial gift for their new arrival. Whether you’re looking for unique baby gifts or practical newborn gifts, taking the time to inquire about their preferences and needs can lead to a more meaningful selection. Understanding the family’s specific needs ensures that your gift will be appreciated. So, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask about their wish list for their new bundle of joy — it’s the surest way to find the perfect new baby gift.

Best gifts for one-year-olds

As little ones embark on this stage of growth, they begin to voice their first words, form strong bonds with cherished objects and delight in simple yet captivating games like peek-a-boo. In light of these milestones, gifts that foster language development and sensory exploration are always a hit. Think of toys that encourage interaction through repetitive actions — because, let’s face it, one-year-olds can’t get enough of that.

  • Toys that engage the senses

At this age, play is mostly focused on sensory exploration and motor development, so open-ended toys like colorful balls of different colors and textures, building blocks and stacking cups are excellent options, as they can play with them in multiple ways. Also, toys that invite small hands and mouths to grab and investigate are also good choices, as well as starter ride-on toys that offer the opportunity to roam and explore.
Very often one-year-olds are all about tossing, shaking or banging objects together, which can get very noisy, so also consider the parents’ mental health when you choose a toy that makes sounds.

baby girl playing stacking cups at home

  • Bath time toys

Transforming bath time from drama to delight is entirely possible with the right selection of toys. Go for options that not only entertain but also engage, giving little ones a reason to eagerly anticipate their time in the tub.

Take stacking cups, floating boats and squirt toys for instance: They encourage filling, pouring and splashing, perfect for honing motor skills and understanding cause and effect. Additionally, think about the excitement of bath pipes, effortlessly connecting to form water pathways for a thrilling splash fest. Or choose bath letters, floating and adhering to the tub walls and sparking the child’s curiosity while fostering letter, number and object recognition skills.

  • Books for one-year-old children

small child playing with soft book

Interactive books like “100 First Animals,” “Where Is Baby’s Belly Button?” or “Baby Touch and Feel” books provide an engaging reading experience as they seamlessly incorporate fun with learning.

These books engage young readers with interactive elements, making them perfect for one-year-olds. Dive into picture books like Jane Foster’s “Colors” and “Animal Sounds,” featuring bold visuals and bright colors that captivate children’s attention and foster a love for reading from an early age. Books with tactile elements like furry textures, shiny surfaces and scratch-and-sniff are also favorites in this age category.

Derrick Hathaway, sales manager at VEM Medical, confirms that books and personalized gifts will bring joy for both kids and their parents. “The best gift I ever received for my child was a personalized storybook that featured their name and character throughout the adventure. It not only sparked their imagination but also created cherished bonding moments during bedtime storytelling,” he said.

Best gifts for toddlers

From gifts that spark curiosity and learning to play equipment that encourages physical activity and outdoor exploration, and imaginative toys for pretend play that inspire creativity and social interaction, these toddler gift ideas got you covered.

  • Educational gifts

Consider toys that promote learning and development, such as shape sorters, building blocks or interactive toys that teach letters, numbers and colors. “Brands like LEGO Boost or Osmo Genius Starter Kit combine traditional building concepts with technology, offering an engaging and educational experience. These sets incorporate interactive elements, encouraging children to explore coding or robotics alongside the joy of building. The shift towards tech-infused play enhances cognitive development, ensuring a thoughtful and contemporary twist on the cherished childhood gift,” said Durgesh Maurya, marketing manager of IGP, an online gift shop.

  • Outdoor play equipment

little boy and toddler girl riding scooters in summer park, kids sport baby gifts

Outdoor play equipment provides an excellent opportunity to encourage physical activity and developmental growth in children. A small slide offers thrilling yet safe adventures, allowing toddlers to climb and slide while refining their coordination and balance. Ride-on toys, such as tricycles or scooters, promote gross motor skills and spatial awareness as children navigate their surroundings.

Additionally, a playhouse sparks imaginative play and social interaction, serving as a versatile backdrop for creative adventures.
By incorporating these toys into outdoor playtime, children engage in physical exercise but also enhance their cognitive and social development while basking in the fresh air and sunshine.

  • Toys for pretend play

Toddlers are naturally curious about the activities their parents engage in, whether it’s working from home, cooking or cleaning. Pretend or imaginative play provides an avenue for children to explore different roles and scenarios.

This type of play can involve make-believe games or dressing up, allowing children to immerse themselves in various imaginative experiences, from cleaning their play area to cooking an imaginary meal or pretending to go to work. Playsets designed for real-world play can further enhance developmental skills such as social connectedness and critical thinking.

For children whose parents work from home, providing them with a playset can satisfy their desire to mimic adult activities. These playsets feature interactive elements such as a sliding mouse, buttons to push on a keyboard or toy laptops.

Baby gifts to avoid: Toddler presents that can drive parents crazy

When it comes to choosing the perfect gift for a toddler, it’s essential to consider not only their interests but also their safety and the sanity of their parents. Melissa Terry from VEM Tooling advises steering clear of toys with small parts or long strings that present a choking hazard, as well as prioritizing items that are durable and easy to use. Additionally, it’s wise to consult with the parents regarding any specific concerns they may have.

Daniel Szczesniak of All Gifts Considered shares some valuable insights, emphasizing the hazards of certain popular gifts. He ranks slime as the ultimate worst, citing its tendency to create messes that leave unsightly grease marks on surfaces.

Child play slime at home in the kitchen. Little toddler boy squeeze and stretching green slime sits at a kid's table. Child having fun and being creative plays

He also warns against toys that make excessive noise, as they can quickly become a source of irritation for parents.

Similarly, David Bakke from Dollar Sanity cautions against gifting noisy toys, noting that they have a knack for driving parents up the wall. He also advises against giving pets as gifts to toddlers, highlighting the significant responsibilities that come with pet ownership. Lastly, he mentions the potential pitfalls of gifting Play-Doh, which can lead to messy situations and even pose health risks if ingested. “Play-Doh is innocent as a gift, right? Actually, it isn’t. It can turn into a general mess; the kid can eat it, which makes you legally liable for their medical bills,” he said.

Worst baby gifts

When choosing a baby gift, it’s crucial to keep these insights in mind to ensure that your gift brings joy rather than headaches to the recipient and their family.

As you navigate through endless options for baby gifts, it’s important to consider not only the excitement they bring but also their practicality and longevity. Sometimes the most cherished gifts are those that serve a purpose beyond mere entertainment.

Whether you’re celebrating a newborn, a one-year-old, or a toddler, this baby gifts list provides thoughtful alternatives that both children and parents will appreciate.

Are you a parent seeking toy storage solutions? Take a look at our article discussing how to organize toys.


Theodora is a real estate writer and lifestyle editor for StorageCafe and has a background in advertising and brand management. With a BA in Communication & PR and an MA in Social Media & Online Marketing, she is now focused on bringing her creative approach to the world of real estate. When out of the office, she can be found having an outdoor adventure.

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