If you’ve ever presented a gift to a 1-year-old, you know the box is often the best part. That said, you still want to buy them things they’ll enjoy and get good use out of.

At this age, kids are starting to show off their own personality and preferences. Whether it’s an obsession with CoComelon or a love of all things with wheels, chances are there’s something that’s just distinctly them.

They’re also fully on the move these days. From first steps to full on sprints, keeping up with them is a full contact sport. At the same time, their brains are working just as hard. They’re learning what words mean and how to say them, animal sounds and how to play pretend.

Related: 26 adorable holiday gifts for newborns

The best Christmas gifts for 1-year-olds take these developmental milestones into consideration. They offer open-ended opportunities to play and explore as they hone their motor skills. Sorting and sensory toys, blocks, even scooters and climbing toys will keep their interest while offering just the right amount of challenge. Musical instruments and toys that allow your little one to experiment with cause and effect are a great option as well.

If you have a little one (or are shopping for one), it can be hard to curate their holiday wishlist because 1-year-olds can’t quite tell you exactly what they want (yet.) But we’ve got you covered: We’ve found 25 fun, practical and educational gift ideas that will keep any toddler entertained—and engaged, which is most definitely the key.

Here’s our main criteria: Products that are functional, fun and durable enough to last for years to come. Bonus points if they’re attractive enough to leave lying around your house for long periods of time, because getting 1-year-olds to clean up is a challenge in itself!

Here are the best holiday gifts for 1-year-olds:

Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere Chair

Pottery Barn Kids


1. Anywhere Chair

A kid-sized throne that’s perfect for snuggling up with their favorite book and lovey! The PBK Anywhere Chair is a true classic that can be personalized with their name or initials. (As if they need more invitation to declare something “MINE!”)

wooden block set



2. The Block Set

The Lovevery Block Set is an entire system of 70 wood pieces, all designed to work together to create 20 stage-based challenges and activities, all in one beautiful wooden box. Build towers and bridges or work hand-eye coordination by lacing blocks with the wooden dowels and string. Four solid wooden people expand their imaginative horizons as they craft houses and buildings. Bonus: The included wooden box is not only ideal for neat and tidy storage, but also converts into a play car!

Micro Kickboard - Mini 3in1 Deluxe

Micro Kickboard


3. Mini 3in1 Deluxe

Yes, it’s true we’re full on Microkickboard stans. #sorrynotsorry. Designed for the tiniest groms, their 3in1 Deluxe isn’t cheap but worth every penny. At first, they can get the hang of scooting with the ride-on seat. As they gain their footing and balance, they can use it more traditionally with the o-shaped handle. Around age three, you can swap to the t-bar and let them glide til their heart’s content. The lightweight three-wheel construction is stable and easy to ride while the smooth wheels allow them to ride inside and out. A toy that can get daily use from ages 1-5? It’s an absolute no brainer!

TOMY Toomies Squeak Toy, Hide & Squeak Eggs

TOMY Toomies


4. Hide & Squeak Eggs

Once upon a time my 1-year-old and 6-year-old squabbled over these daily. It was annoying, but a true testament to the power of a simple toy. (And their commitment to a lifetime of bickering.) There are tons of different ways to play, from simply taking them apart and putting them back together, matching the inside color to the face, matching the shape on the bottom to fit into the carton and even staging egg hunts. If my experience is any indication, they’ll have a prominent spot on the playroom shelf for an impressive stretch of time. (And inspire sibling arguments for just as long.)

Lovevery Post & Play Peg People



5. Post & Play Peg People

Another simple toy that gets an impressive amount of mileage! The Post & Play Peg People from Lovevery are a traditional Montessori pick that invites little ones to make their own rules. They’re sized perfectly for little hands to take in and out as they match, line up and play pretend.

LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book



6. Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Introduce little ones to 100 words in both English and Spanish with the touch activated word book from LeapFrog. They’ll learn colors, animals, mealtime words and more with plenty to explore as they grow.

ABC by Xavier Deneux

Xavier Deneux


7. TouchThinkLearn: ABC

This sturdy board book has extra-durable pages and tactile cut-outs for little fingers to explore to their heart’s content. The hyper-graphic designs also appeal to art lovers big—and small.

Piccalio Mini Chef Helper



8. Mini Chef Convertible Helper Tower

A learning tower allows your child to be at counter height in a secure environment so they can help you cook (or pretend cook!) or do the dishes or work together on a craft project. One of our favorite styles is the 2-for-1 design from Piccalio. When they’re done at the counter, it converts to a kid-sized table and bench to sit and enjoy the snack they’ve helped prepare. It adjusts to three different heights as they grow and even comes with a free wooden mini cutter to keep them safely busy. It’s a super versatile gift that’ll be used for years to come.

Wooden name puzzle



9. Personalized Wooden Name Puzzle

A personalized wooden name puzzle makes for a thoughtful gift—and will not only keep them playing by trying to put the correct letters in their place, but you can also start teaching them their name, the letters in their name and how to spell it.

Haba Wooden Walker



10. Walker Wagon

This walker wagon is ideal for those early stages of walking and let your kiddo can take their favorite plush toy (or sibling) for a stroll. Its award-winning design is minimalist and durable. Friction can be increased for early walkers who require a slower pace making it totally customizable for your kid’s needs.

Cassaro Kids jumbo waldorf rocker



11. Waldorf Rocker

It’s safe to say we’re a bit obsessed with the gorgeous grow-with-me rockers from Cassarokids. At once a place to play, relax and imagine, they can be used from age one all the way through childhood. When used as a rocker they can be outfitted with one of Cassarokids gorgeous tufted pillows to become the coziest place to read or snooze. Flip it over and it’s a super fun play structure that can support up to 200 pounds! And if you really want to create a space that’s made for play, it pairs perfectly with their equally stunning collection of pikler triangles and ramps. Prices start at $299

IZIPIZI kids sunglasses



12. Kids Sunglasses

These teeny sunglasses will make any kiddo look cool, but more importantly, they will keep their little eyes protected from UV rays year-round. Because baby things are easy to lose (they have a way of jumping out of strollers and bags, right?) they come with a sunglasses cord and carrying case. Sized from 1-4 years old.

Fat Brain Toys The Dimpl

Fat Brain Toys


13. The Dimpl

It doesn’t get much more classic than this—and if you haven’t heard about it, just know that they will for sure obsess over it, mama. It’s super portable and great as a sensory activity. The dimples can be popped in and out and come in various bright colors to keep little ones engaged.

Baby Einstein Hape Piano

Baby Einstein & Hape


14. Magic Touch Piano Wooden Musical Toddler Toy

This little piano teaches kids how to play classic songs. Each tune plugs into the keyboard and if you get all the keys right, it plays it back to you. Even better? Kiddos can let their imagination run wild create their own music.

Top Bright Wooden Ramp Racer

Top Bright


15. Wooden Race Track Car Ramp Racer With 4 Mini Cars

This toy race track is made of high-quality wood and is BPA-free. My son loves watching the cars zoom down each of the tracks “racing” each other as they go. The four cars are big enough for kids ages 1 and up to handle.

LL Bean Kids' Pull Sled and Cushion Set

L.L. Bean


16. Kids' Pull Sled and Cushion Set

A true winter childhood classic, the heirloom quality wooden sled from L.L.Bean offers a cozy ride around the backyard or through the woods. Truth be told, it’s also a great place for an outside winter snooze while the bigger kids get their snowball fight on.

Boon BUNDLE Building Toddler Bath Tub Toy with Pipes, Cogs and Tubes



17. Building Bath Pipes Toy Set

Bath time with a side of STEM-based play? Yes please. This engaging set of tubes, pipes and spinning cogs will thrill your tot as they experiment with the cause-and-effect action of pouring water through the tubes to watch the spinners start and stop.

ECR4Kids SoftZone Indoor Climbing Pad



18. SoftZone Tiny Twisting Foam Corner Climber

Got a tiny climber on your hands? This set of foam pads turns any humble corner into a veritable play gym. We love the small footprint of this set and the fact that the mini slide can transform into a car ramp in a jiffy.

Sarah's Silks - Set of 5 Enchanted Mini Playsilks

Sarah's Silks


19. Set of 5 Enchanted Mini Playsilks

Play silks are a perfect vehicle for open-ended play—and one that your kiddo will keep coming back to. Turn them into flags when exploring new lands, a cape for saving the day or a quick cover for a simple game of peek-a-boo. These Montessori faves are costly upfront, but so worth the price.

Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone



20. Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone

This xylophone set isn’t one of those toys that’ll get deserted in record time, thanks to the fact that it features more than one way to play. Your kiddo can use the hammer to tap the balls through the holes to create a melody on the xylophone below, or they can slide out the xylophone and pound out a solo.

MOBO Cruiser Wobo Rocking Horse Ride On & Baby Balance Bike



21. Cruiser Wobo Rocking Horse Ride On & Baby Balance Bike

The MOBO Cruiser is the all-in-one balance bike your baby is probably dreaming of, especially if they’re already always on-the-go. Start out on the rocking horse stage, then transition to a cruiser and balance bike with light-up wheels.

Manhattan Toy Playdate Friends Harper Machine Washable and Dryer Safe 14 Inch Doll with Companion Stuffed Animal

Manhattan Toy


22. Playdate Friends Harper Doll

We love these soft little plush doll friends that clean up well—they’re fully machine-washable and dryer-safe, meaning your little one can tote their new pal along anywhere and everywhere.

Melissa and Doug Fruit Cutting Set

Melissa & Doug


23. Cutting Fruit Set

For the kiddo who’s already fascinated with everything food-related, this velcro-fruit cutting set will delight all their senses. The wooden knife can be used to chop and slice a range of fun fruits.

Doona Liki Stroller & Trike S3 - Gray Hound



24. Liki Stroller & Trike S3

The Doona Liki is a super versatile stroller-trike hybrid that lets your little one *feel* like they’re in control, though you’ve still got the wheel. It grows with your kiddo up to age 3, thanks to the four functional stages (ranging from classic stroller to solo tricycle.)

Paper Cape Pajamas

Paper Cape


25. Classic Pajamas – Red

These beg the question: What could be more adorable than your li’l bundle o’ joy dressed in these classic pajamas on Christmas morning? Personalize this perfect present with a monogram on the chest.

Honeysticks 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons (12 Pack)



26. 100% Pure Beeswax Crayons (12 Pack)

Little hands will love coloring with Honeysticks, which are big enough to get a whole palm around and smell like honey. The non-toxic beeswax formula will mean you can rest easy if they end up getting gnawed on, mama.

Hape Shape Sorting Box



27. Shape Sorting Box

Busy babes will love this wooden shape sorter that helps promote hand-eye coordination and motor skills. We love that there’s only one shape per side and four blocks total, which helps keep little ones from getting overwhelmed. Elastic strings across the bottom keep all the blocks tucked inside while also providing chubby hands easy access to start all over.

Le Toy Van Activity Table

Le Toy Van


28. Activity Table

We can’t get enough of this wooden activity table that comes fully loaded with tons of options. It’s sure to keep the most discerning tot engaged for (what feels like) hours.

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks With Wooden Storage Tray (60 pcs)

Melissa & Doug


29. 60-Piece Natural Blocks Set

You can’t go wrong with a classic block set. The timeless toy can be transformed into a tall tower, train station, busy city, castle and more—all you need is a little imagination.

A version of this story was published October 28, 2021. It has been updated.