Being part of a baby’s first birthday party can be a pretty special privilege. From curious cake investigations, choosing a birthday party theme, to gleeful present opening, the whole event is bound to be pretty darn cute. But to truly celebrate the little one’s first trip around the sun, you’ll also need to come prepared with a delightful birthday gift.

So, how do you give a first birthday gift that excites the baby and their parents?

From a fun-filled gift that supports their development, to presents the baby’s parents will find meaningful and useful, you have no shortage of options. With a few ideas to inspire your shopping, you’ll be ready to celebrate in a jiffy.

1. Inspire Storytime with Baby Books

Fun fact: by their first birthday, most babies can turn pages of books by themselves.1 However, those cute little fingers might still struggle with delicate pages.

To encourage a love of reading in the birthday baby, consider giving durable picture books. You can find children’s books made with cardboard, plastic, and cloth, or even other textured materials for some sensory storytime fun. A hardy design means children can touch and engage with the stories they love without any ripped pages.

Here are some ideas to help you find a book they’ll love.

  • Ask an expert – Bookstore employees can help you find which books are popular (and age-appropriate) for one-year-olds.
  • Pick a book about baby’s favorite topic – Does the one-year-old love trucks? Dinosaurs? Adorable baby animals? Chances are, you can find a children’s book about their favorite topic.
  • Pick a classic – Is there a book you loved as a child? See if it’s still in print—if you loved it, they probably will too.

For an extra special touch, you can inscribe a special message on the inside of the book. The baby may not be able to read it now, but it will make the book a meaningful keepsake in the years to come.

Dress you baby for comfort and style. Start shopping today!

2. Bring on the Barnyard with Animal-Themed Toys

Did you hear an oink, a moo, or the squeak of a mouse? It might have been the birthday baby imitating their favorite animal sounds. Around the time babies turn one, they start imitating the noises animals make.1 You can lean into this new interest and spark some extra fun playtime by giving them an animal toy, like the Musical Lili Llama by our friends at Manhattan Toy.

When considering the best animal toy for the soon-to-be one-year-old, consider these options:

  • Stuffed animals – Not only are they incredibly cute, but stuffed animal toys make an extra-cuddly option that will fit right in at bedtime.
  • Toys that make animal sounds – The little one will delight in a toy that teaches them even more animal calls and noises.
  • Waterproof animal toys – Whether the baby enjoys playing with their animal toys in the bath or the backyard becomes their playground, choosing toys that wash off easily can keep the fun going even longer.

    3. Spark Imagination with Toys that Encourage Pretend Play

    At their first birthday, many babies begin to enjoy games of pretend play and make-believe as they watch, learn from, and mimic the world around them.1

    To encourage their imagination, consider giving the birthday baby some of the best toys like:

    • A play kitchen set
    • Pretend foods and utensils
    • Toy musical instruments
    • Toy trucks
    • Dolls

    At this developmental stage, they’ll probably enjoy any toy that helps them mimic what they see their parents, other adults, or older kids doing.

    4. Big Toys that Encourage Walking

    By the baby’s first birthday, most toddlers can either walk by themselves or by holding on to something.1 To help them build those walking skills and practice balancing, give the birthday boy or girl a big toy that encourages more time on their little feet.

    A few options to inspire glee include:

    • A wheeled toy they can push
    • A play structure they can stand in
    • An activity table where they can pull up and practice standing

    Whatever you choose, toys like this help the birthday baby have fun while using their new physical skills.

    5. Gift Them a One-Year-Old-Worthy Wardrobe

    That little bundle of joy is growing fast—and they’re probably starting to spend more time on their tiny feet. You can help to celebrate all their new moves by gifting them some new clothing to suit their one-year-old skills.

    Here are some ideas to gift the one-year-old some style:


  • A dress bundle – If the one-year-old is already kicking up their heels and bouncin’ to the music, gift them some style with a Let’s Dance Dress Bundle. These organic cotton dresses offer a full circle skirt and just enough stretch—not to mention a whole range of delightful patterns.
  • A romper – Want to gift an outfit that looks oh-so-grown-up but still complements the cuteness of those chubby cheeks? A baby romper could be the perfect fit. A polo collar and buttons add some prep to this outfit’s seriously adorable style.
  • Pajamas – At 12 months old, the little one has long since outgrown those newborn PJs. A pair of one-piece baby pajamas offer tons of snuggles with an easy-on zipper and convertible fold-over feet. Plus, you can personalize these PJs with an embroidered initial.
  • Sweatshirts - You’re never too young to start layering. These organic cotton baby sweatshirts come in a variety of oh-so-cute prints and colors!

    Say Hurrah to Baby’s First Birthday with Monica + Andy

    No matter which of these baby's first birthday ideas you choose, the 1-year-old’s birthday celebration is certainly something worth looking forward to. As you show your support with a giggle-worthy gift, take a moment to honor just how far the little one has come—and how much they have yet to grow.

    Whether you’re a parent or the honorary aunt or uncle of a bouncing baby, you know that every choice from shoes to toys can help them be healthy and well in this world. We get it. In fact, Monica + Andy was founded by a mom who wanted ethical, organic, and safe baby clothes for her baby. Today, we offer baby essentials so soft that they’re the next best thing to snuggle skin-to-skin.

    Celebrate the little one every day with essentials designed to love them almost as much as you do—explore more at Monica + Andy today!


    1. Medline Plus. Developmental milestones record - 12 months.