18 Best Presents for 1 year old UK

Looking for the best presents for 1 year old in the UK may seem overwhelming, so we have compiled the 18 best ones just for you. These are tried and tested presents or toys, which our toddler received as gifts, plus a few which we bought ourselves. 

At this age, young toddlers are going through a big development phase. Physically they are just learning to walk, to stack and to pick up small objects. Mentally, they absorb languages like a sponge, starting to respond to simple instructions and uttering a few words in response. There are also budding skills in make-believe and recognizing colours and shapes.

Therefore, giving 1 year old presents that help them to learn and master these skills are essential, not too different from gifts for babies too!

Best presents for 1 year old
Best presents for 1 year old. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Presents for 1 year old UK – Educational

Push car/walker wagon

Some young babies are starting to pull themselves up and getting ready to launch off in their two little feet around this age. They are soon to be full-fledged toddlers.

A push car will make a perfect present for 1 year old for them to practice their budding walking skill. 

The push car will become the toddlers’ prize possession as they get to move around independently once they figure it out. 

My son used it only for short periods initially, but after he got the hang of it, he cruises around it with lots of fun. Later, it serves as a carrier for them to transfer things around the house or push their baby dolls around. 


Haba Walker Wagon

Wooden hammer ball toy

This is one of the educational gifts to give a 1 year old. This toy is perfect as it will be used right away and up to 2 years and beyond as their skills grow.

At first, the child can only push the balls through the hole. Slowly he will build the skills to insert the balls into the opening themselves. 

Toddlers can practise their hand-eye coordination here with the hammering. Besides, it also helps them to release some of their toddler energy.


Plantoys Hammer Ball Toy

Rocking horse

A rocking horse is a classic present for a 1 year old. Not only does it encourage the child to learn about their body movement, but it also strengthens their core strength and balancing skills. 

Get a rocking horse that allows the child to get on and off independently. Once they have learnt it, you and your child can both rejoice in their independence; the toddler can decide when and how many times he/she wants to play with it!

It is also safer during play or rocking when children know how to get on and off safely themselves.


Hape Rocking Horse

Lego Duplo

Everybody knows Lego, and Duplo is the range for young children. They make great gifts for 1 year olds, with many varieties of models to choose from. It is only one of the very few plastic toys I will recommend. 

My son started playing Lego Duplo with the farm set from his father’s time. At barely 1 year of age, he loved to open and close the many doors and play hide-and-seek with the chickens. 

Later I presented him with some loose blocks in a basket to start learning to build. Closer to 2 years old, he began stacking them into a simple tower. 


Duplo My First Alphabet Truck

Best presents for 1 year old boy UK

Vehicles, cars, trains

I try to avoid labelling gender to any toys, but if you ask me what toys my son is obsessed with, they are vehicles. He loves vehicles of any kind ranging from construction vehicles to city vehicles. Any vehicle size will also excite him, matchbox sizes or large 1:16 scaled ones.

Following are the vehicles that are a big hit for my son, and they are great as a present for any 1 year old boy!

Miniature versions of various vehicles are useful for small-world play and for bringing around in general. Be aware of small parts, so only allow play under supervision. Siku brand, which can be found in the UK, is one of the quality brands for small vehicles.


Siku vehicles

For large vehicles, I recommend getting from Bruder with a scale of 1:16 model, which I find perfect for toddlers. They are big and tough enough for their rough play but not too big for them to manoeuvre. 


Bruder Tractor 1:16

Best gifts for 1 year old girl UK

Real baby doll

Risking sounding cliche, I must say, a real baby doll is one of the best gift for a 1 year old girl. Girls love their baby dolls very much. I have often seen them bringing their baby doll out to the park or playground. 

Girls also like to imitate their mother from a very young age, and a baby doll helps them to role-play caring for another. They can bath the baby or carry it around in a pram or a baby carrier.

I must say though my son also loves to play with his doll. So do not confine this present to just girls. 

I love to recommend Miniland baby dolls because it is inclusive and diverse, coming in all shapes and colours!


Miniland Baby Doll Asian

Birthday present for 1 year old

Ball tracker/marble run

This timeless marble run toy was a my son’s first year birthday present from his grandparents.

This educational toy promotes whole-body coordination and hand-eye coordination during picking up and setting the ball down to the track. It also trains concentration as the child watches the ball moving down. Larger ball trackers help a younger child to track as the balls move slower.

At 1, my son placed each ball at a time onto the track and then watched it roll all the way down. Later on, he started to go all out and especially loves to launch one after another as quickly as possible to create a massive traffic jam. It is still well-loved at 2 years old when I take it out on occasion during our toy rotation.


Giant Marble Run

Balance bike / trike

At 1 year old, not only are they starting to toddle around, but they are also learning everything about their body. Movement play is at the top of their list at this stage. 

Puky Wutsch makes a perfect first balance bike birthday present for a 1 year old. This four-wheeled ride-on toy allows them to explore movement independently. It also helps them to learn navigation and balancing. 

Initially, it took some time for my son to get the hang of it. He started to have fun with it from 18 months onwards, doing all sorts of manoeuvres. This Puky Wutsch also sets them up for a real balance bike when they edge towards 2 years old.


Puky Wutsch

Wheely Bug

In comparison to an outdoor balance bike, this cute little ride is perfect for indoor movement play. Alternatively, it is also one of the best birthday present for a 1 year old for movement and balancing play. 

The child can take his sweet time at home to learn about moving forward and backwards and turning around the house. They also find themselves learning about navigating in their very home. 


Wheely Bug

Play kitchen

A play kitchen is one of the most popular role-playing toys and also one of the few that is suitable for just 1 year old. It is a perfect “big” birthday present for 1 year old which will be cherished for many years to come. 

Young toddlers start playing with their play kitchen immediately, with the many things one can do there – opening and closing doors, opening and pouring out containers. Later on, they will do more role-playing by pretend cooking and offering food to their parents.


New Classic Toys play kitchen

Christmas presents for 1 year old

Wooden building blocks

The set of wooden building blocks is a classic present for a reason. It makes a really beautiful Christmas present for a 1 year old to start their construction toys collection. 

These wooden building blocks are open-end, and the child can play with them freely and creatively. At the younger age of 1, toddlers enjoy knocking down the towers we built, but later on, they will slowly stack one block at a time, first horizontally then vertically.


HABA Building Blocks

Wooden nesting / stacking Boxes

Another set of open-ended toys that make an appropriate Christmas present is the nesting boxes. Getting wooden sturdy ones are recommended because they feel more natural to touch and carry. 

A 1 year old will love this Christmas present, which they can use to discover sizes or to build a tower. Stacking the boxes encourages body coordination skills and sizes recognition. 

Older kids will use these boxes more creatively, such as a garage for cars or houses for dolls. 


Grimm’s Wooden Stacking Boxes on

Wooden pulling toy and push toy

For a smaller Christmas gift, a pulling or a pushing toy can never go wrong. Once the toddler is more sure-footed, they love to challenge themselves as they practice their newfound walking skills. 

My son played with his pull and push toys non-stop once he learnt how to manipulate them. It just gives him the satisfaction to practice until he masters them. Both pull and push toys offer challenges in very different movements, so they are both a must-have!


Hape Push Along Toy

Animal figurines 

Schleich figurines are one of the best animal figurine toys as they are true to size and form. They make a good smaller budget Christmas present, which can fit any collection that the toddler might have. They are also easily found in the UK. 

The Schleich animals are one of the first toys I introduced to my son when he turns 1, and he loves to bring them around with him all the time. Later, we used them to learn names and then play matching games with books and flashcards.


Schleich animals

Unique gifts for one year old

Wooden Grimm’s Rainbow

This beautiful rainbow wooden toy from Grimm’s will make a unique gift for a 1 year old. It is no coincidence why this is one of the most popular toys from Grimm. This rainbow can be played in many ways and is known as one of the must-have for open-ended play. 

A quick search on the internet will show you many inspirations for playing with this rainbow. The child can stack it, use it as enclosures, as a marble run or even as a “horse” to ride (my son taught me that one!).

Not to mention they are just simply lovely to add to the play area, and young children enjoy beautiful things too!


Grimm’s Rainbow

Pikler triangle

Another unique gift for a 1 year old would be a Pikler triangle. Not many may know about this useful play material created by Dr Emmi Pikler. In short, it is a toy that gives children a safe space to learn to climb. 

Having a space to learn to climb, which they have a great urge for when they are young, allows them to practice their coordination skills and build confidence. 

Coupled with a slide, it will bring hours of fun to the child. You will also find children using it creatively; the slide as a car ramp or the Pikler as a cave.


Pikler Triangle

-> Check out Pikler Triangle UK – All you need to know about this climbing frame


Practical gifts for 1 year old

Books!

What can be a more practical gift for a 1 year old than books? It is never too young to start reading, and at 1, it is the best time to introduce them to the wonderful world of books. 

Soon they will be exploding in language acquisition, and big picture books will help them along. Read the books repeatedly with your toddler so that they can start to learn the names and later grasp the story’s concepts. 

Following are a few books that our 1 year old son loved.

Goodnight Moon
This is definitely a classic book for its own reason. The repetition helps the child stay interested. I can’t tell you how many times my son have me read it!

Dear Zoo
The peek-a-boo flap excites my son from early on and it is fun to learn the names of the animals. The story is also engaging for this age group.

A Very Hungry Caterpillar
Every child remembers and loved this book! The story is short and sweet and the art is also very beautiful. My son loves to flap through the fruits quickly and then stare for a long time at Saturday's feast! A must read for ever 1 year old.

Mama Mama / Papa Papa Board Book
A lovely book that features a pair of animal in each section - the mother and the baby. My son already chirped in “mama mama” at each page turn at this tender young age, much to my delight. The pictures are also realistic and the rhymes keep them engaged!

Finger paint

There may not be many practical gifts for 1 year old, but finger painting is one. 

They are useful as first art materials for the child to venture into this world of creating and making marks. Finger paint is also suitable for sensory play, as the child feels and smudge them around with their fingers, hands and sometimes even their arms! 

What better and more practical way than playing with colours to set them on the path to painting and writing.