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The best Christmas gifts for 1 year olds

Christmas with children around is always so exciting and cheerful. Seeing the look on their face as they open the gifts that Santa has brought them is one of pure joy, but thinking of what to buy for a one year old can prove daunting. 

At the age of one, a child is in a very important stage of development, and everything around them plays a part in learning to walk, talk and shape their little human character. But let’s face it, at that age; there is a high chance they may be more titillated by the wrapping paper than what’s actually inside, which means you don’t have to spend a fortune on a present that may not hold their interest for all that long. 

If you are buying for someone else’s child, you need to shop in the mind-set that you are buying for the parent as much as you are the child, so in some cases it’s better to play it safe. Educational gifts or books are always a winner, as they provide entertainment as well as aiding development and you don’t risk giving them something that their parents disapprove of. 

Clothing is also very much hit and miss, whether you’re buying for your own children or others. At that age, they’re likely to be growing rapidly, so there is no point in splashing the cash on fancy outfits that they’ll only fit into for 5 minutes. However, pyjamas or novelty items of clothing can be a cute and fun Christmas gift for both parent and child. 

But don’t forget that Christmas is all about fun and laughter. For gifts that babies will absolutely love, there are a whole host of toys and games on the market for Christmas that will provide hours of endless entertainment from brands such as Tomy or Fisher Price. Look out for well-loved character themed toys or animals that babies will enjoy interacting with, and games that allow them to practice coordination skills rather than have them glued to the TV screen. 

1. Tomy Thomas & Friends Aquadoodle

Hours of drawing fun without the clean-up

Specifications

Best for: No mess drawing
Type: Creative
Educational: Yes
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Encourages creativity
+
No mess

Reasons to avoid

-
Pen dries out sometimes 

If you want to encourage creativity but don’t fancy cleaning felt tip off your walls when your child’s gone rogue, then this Aquadoodle pad is the perfect solution. Simply fill it up with water and let them draw for hours with the stylus or their hands. The pen can sometimes dry out if the water needs topping up, but other than that this is a low maintenance toy that can be folded up and taken anywhere to create masterpiece after masterpiece. 

2. Galt Toys Classic Pop-up Toy

A simple but fun toy to encourage hand/eye coordination

Specifications

Best for: Simple play
Type: Wooden
Educational: Yes
Power required: None

Reasons to buy

+
Improves responses
+
Simple yet effective

Reasons to avoid

-
Springs pack a punch 

This little wooden toy can keep little ones occupied for hours by bobbing the little heads up and down. Most parents have said how their children found it very funny and entertaining and it really helps with their hand/eye coordination during a vital period of development. The only thing to watch out for is once your child gets stronger you could find they start launching these wooden pegs all over the shop as the springs are rather powerful. Hours of fun, but ensure any valuables are removed from their periphery. 

3. TOMY Pic ‘n’ Pop Walker

Get your child moving with this fun walker

Specifications

Best for: learning to walk
Type: Walker
Educational: Yes
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Gain confidence 
+
No batteries required

Reasons to avoid

-
 Makes a clicking noise 

Once children begin to gain balance, they’ll have so much fun running around with this little walker that they’ll gain confidence in no time. It also has plastic balls that they can shoot out of the front and then scoop back up by pushing the walker over them. It does make a somewhat annoying clicking sound when in motion, but it’s a great toy to be used indoors and outdoors to wear your kids out before nap time!

4. Fun Time Spinning Popping Pals

A fascinating ball game full of colour

Specifications

Best for: Playing alone
Type: Plastic toy
Educational: No
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Brightly coloured
+
Easy to use

Reasons to avoid

-
 A little limited 

Watch your child’s eyes light up as they play with this Spinning Popping Pals game. Although it seems limited, the bright colours and motion of the balls is enough to keep their eyes glued to this cylinder for hours. This is an affordable game that can keep children entertained on their own which means it’s great for keeping them occupied while you have some down time or get the chores done. 

5. Jellycat Tumblie Sheepdog, Medium, Grey/White

A cute toy for soft cuddles before bedtime

Specifications

Best for: Snuggling
Type: Soft toy
Educational: No
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Unisex
+
Comforting

Reasons to avoid

-
Can get grubby 

Every child has a soft toy they love, and this Jellycat Tumblie Sheepdog is a super soft, plush toy that little boys, girls and even adults seem to love. It would make a great companion for nap times and for comfort when out and about, the only trouble you might have is giving poor Jellycat a wash as I’m sure no little one will want to part with their new best friend. 

6. BRIO My First Railway Beginner Pack

Build a wooden train track and play conductor at your station

Specifications

Best for: Building
Type: Wooden toy
Educational: No
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Imaginative play
+
Sturdy pieces

Reasons to avoid

-
 A bit basic 

Train lovers will enjoy building their own railway track with this wooden set. It comes with 11 pieces of track that gives kids the opportunity to build their own route with ease. The initial set is a bit basic but this toy will grow with your child as you can add new pieces to the set to make it more complex and interesting as they grow older. A worthwhile investment for the toy chest this Christmas. 

7. In the Night Garden Pull Along Ninky Nonk Wobble Train

A cute pull along toy from the well-loved children’s show

Specifications

Best for: Fans of In the Night Garden
Type: Wooden toy
Educational: No
Power required: None

Reasons to buy

+
Encourage walking
+
Cute design

Reasons to avoid

-
 Pieces sometimes fall apart 

If your children are fans of In the Night Garden, then they will love this cute pull-along Ninky Nonk Wobble Train featured in the show. The toy can encourage children to practice walking and is also a toy that encourages imaginative play. It is very well made; the only thing that can become slightly annoying is that the detachable parts come undone if you hit a bump in the road. However, it does also mean they can be separated when playing with others. 

8. VTech Chase Me Casey

An interactive Monkey for your cheeky monkey

Specifications

Best for: Movement and Sound
Type: Interactive toy
Educational: Yes
Power required: 4x AA Batteries

Reasons to buy

+
Sings and dances
+
Teaches letters and numbers

Reasons to avoid

-
Requires batteries 

Get your kids moving with this interactive monkey toy that encourages engagement with numbers and letters. Chase Me Casey uses a sensor to detect when your child is near and then he responds with sounds and movement. Yes, we know this could get annoying after a while, but for the most part, Chase Me Casey is amusing for all the family and really encourages children’s speech and movement. 

9. Soft Book for Babies Crinkle Cloth

Start education early with this interactive book

Specifications

Best for: First book
Type: Book
Educational: Yes
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Soft to touch
+
Gift box presentation

Reasons to avoid

-
 A little pricey 

This soft touch book is great for little ones who are learning to read. It features different materials that can be touched and associated with the words to encourage learning. It’s a really nice book for parent and child to read together, or for kids to play with on their own as they discover new sounds and materials. Although it’s pricey for a book that may not be relevant for too long, it does come in a nice presentation box making it the ideal gift if you’re looking to buy a gift for someone else’s child. 

10. John Lewis Baby Fleece Dressing Gown

Wrap your little one up warm this winter with this snuggly fleece

Specifications

Best for: Keeping warm
Type: Clothing
Educational: No
Power required: none

Reasons to buy

+
Cute
+
Warm

Reasons to avoid

-
 Grow out of it quickly 

This little fleece robe is adorable and would look good on any little boy or girl this winter. It’s a great gift that they will enjoy wearing on Christmas day and it can keep them warm in the mornings and evenings. Sizing is suitable for 12-18 months, but even if they grow out of it quickly, it is a common tradition to get pyjamas for Christmas and both parent and child can enjoy the novelty of how cute they look in this little dressing gown.