1st Birthday Gift Ideas {Advice Needed}!

To distract myself from facing the reality that my baby is going to soon be a toddler (in 11 weeks, 2 days) I have been thinking about what to get Caroline for her birthday. She already has more than enough small toys to play with so we’re trying to decide on one big practical gift to splurge on.


Moms, I need your help! Out of all the ideas below, which gift do you think would be the best pick for Caroline’s first birthday?



First Birthday Gift Ideas

Water Activity Play Table: Originally I thought Caroline would be too young for a water table but the past few weeks her teachers have been bringing one in to the infant class and filling it with soapy water for the babies to play in. Caroline is obsessed and her teachers have sent us tons of pictures of her happily splashing around in the table.

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Trike: This ultimate grow-with-me trike offers 4 ways to ride to accommodate ages 9 months to 5 years by easily converting from a stroller to a steering trike, learning-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. This seems like a practical gift that Caroline would not grow out of too fast.

KidKraft Vintage Kitchen: The play kitchen in Caroline’s classroom is where I find her playing every afternoon at pick up. This is my favorite gift on the list for her and I think she would use it for a long, long time. However, the only place in our house we could squeeze a kitchen would be between two chairs in our living room…which is also where Baby M2’s swing will soon be. Sooo, there’s that minor drawback…

Radio Flyer Wagon:A wagon!! Every little one needs a wagon, right?! And this one just so happens to be fit for two! Also, I am kind of obsessed with the fact that you can custom build your own wagon (fabrics, storage, comfort, sun protection and nameplate options) through Radio Flyer here.

Fisher-Price Infant-to-Toddler Swing: This is the item that Matt is most excited about. He’s literally been talking about pushing Caroline in a swing in our backyard since before she was born. We also happen to have the perfect tree for a swing.

Little Tikes Cozy Coup: A classic toy that I remember having as a kid too. 


Those are the fun finalists in the running for Caroline’s first birthday gift. However, one more option…


Britax Marathon Car Seat: The last option would be to go super practical and save our pennies for car seats…ergh. Car seat recommendations also welcome…

Would love to know your thoughts, mamas! Best gift for a one year old? What would you recommend?




  1. Kate @ A Thought and a Half
    February 17, 2015 / 1:07 pm

    Ohh I had a wagon when I was younger! My parents used to put me in it and when we went on neighborhood walks after dinner, I'd get pulled in the wagon. One of my favorite things to do!

  2. Shannon @ Sweet Tea Sippin' on Mayberry
    February 17, 2015 / 1:23 pm

    I am not a mom, but I worked in childcare for 5 years and I think that the Water Activity Play Table would be great! It would also be great since her birthday is in a warmer month. All of those toys are fun for a toddler though. You can't seem to go wrong on any of them =)

  3. LHWinstead
    February 17, 2015 / 1:30 pm

    My nephew absolutely loves his wagon!! We love taking him for rides around the neighborhood or to the park!

  4. Jillian
    February 17, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    i had that yellow and red car when i was little and i loved it haha xo jillian – cornflake dreams

  5. Robin
    February 17, 2015 / 1:44 pm

    We got our son the Joovy tyicycoo for his first birthday after reading some reviews about the radio flyer one. We decided a practical gift that could grown with him would be good. We also have the Britax boulevard seat and we love it….it's huge but a good investment! Hope this helps!

  6. PolkaDottyPlace
    February 17, 2015 / 1:52 pm

    Fun selection!! I think Caroline would LOVE the three in one trike and the swing for her first birthday! We got both for our daughter and she loved and was able to use them right away. We are still using them and really enjoying them months later. We just got her the cozy coupe for Christmas at 18 months and she's is just barely learning to make it move so I'd probably hold off on that one for a bit. I think the water table would also be a fun option and we are thinking of getting one for our backyard this summer. As for convertible car seats – We love our Britax Pavilion in cowmooflage and found a great sale on buybuybaby http://www.buybuybaby.com/store/product/britax-pavilion-g4-convertible-car-seat-in-onyx/1042389224?categoryId=32030

  7. Amanda Bullard
    February 17, 2015 / 1:53 pm

    I am highly practical and when my kids and friend's kids turn one I don't get toys or anything like that. The kid doesn't know what is going on and seriously they could care less about a present (give them the box). So get something that you need for the child! The wagon would be great for you, Carolina and baby 2!

  8. Casi @ MooreSprinklesPlease
    February 17, 2015 / 2:03 pm

    Definitely the water play table! It will be a huge hit especially during summer

  9. Heidi Ernst
    February 17, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Water table! My son is two and LOVED the water table last summer! And play kitchen, this way you have indoor and outdoor activities covered!

  10. Meghan
    February 17, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    We have many of these items… A kitchen, water table, car, and wagon. The most used is definitely the kitchen! That would be my suggestion! We got the ikea kitchen but the one you found looks so cool! And then other people can give her the extra food and pots and pans. Melissa and Doug make some really great options!

    • Pam
      February 18, 2015 / 12:41 am

      Ditto! We have the same stuff and the kitchen gets played with most, although the water/sand table is popular in the warm months. We have Britax seats and are pleased with those, too!

  11. Traci
    February 17, 2015 / 2:08 pm

    Well, I'm not a mom BUT my nephew had that same swing & he loved it! I think I'd go with the wagon though. It's been used for so many different things. Friday it was decorated to look like Mario's Kart for their school Mardi Gras parade. He's 5 now so it's something that will grow with her.

  12. Jess at Just Rainbows and Butterflies
    February 17, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    Sawyer and I love the Radio Flyer 4-in-1. It makes trips to the park and around the neighborhood easier for me and more enjoyable for him because he has a "cool ride." But if you have another little one coming soon, maybe the wagon so they can both enjoy it together?

  13. Deanna H
    February 17, 2015 / 2:10 pm

    Here's my feedback on all the items:I don't think you could go wrong with either the trike, wagon or swing. Kimber received all three of these as gifts for her first birthday and she loves them. We probably used the trike the most last summer walking up & down our driveway almost every single night (we live in the country). And the nice thing is they can use it for several years as it converts to a regular trike. The swing was a big hit, too. As long as you have somewhere to hang it. We use the wagon more when we go place, amusement parks, parades, etc. So for every day use – we use the trike more. She also received the water table for her first birthday, but didn't play with it as much as I would have thought. I have a feeling she'll love it this summer more. So maybe save it for her 2nd birthday? We gave her the kitchen playset for Christmas this year (at 18 months) and she still doesn't play with it much unless her cousins are at our house to play with her. So again, maybe a gift for when she's older?We actually have the cozy coupe in a box in our garage – I found it on sale this winter – and it'll probably be part of her 2nd birthday gift. She did play with it a lot at daycare last summer/fall. As long as she's walking, it would be a good gift but if she's not it might be a better gift for when she's older. Hope this feedback helps!!! Enjoy the birthday party planning!!!

  14. Jessica
    February 17, 2015 / 2:23 pm

    The kitchen is darling, but I would hold off on it until she is a bit older – it would be a PERFECT Christmas present! Caleb got the little red wagon from his grandparents, and we bought him a Little Tikes car. Out of both of those, he definitely used and liked the wagon the most at 12 months old. He did not start using the Little Tikes car much until recently – he started to really enjoy it around 18 months. But at 12 months, he just LOVED going for walks in the wagon, putting all of his toys and sippy cups in the cupholders, bringing his blanket with him in it and more. And, it definitely helps that it can be used for baby #2 too – practical and fun:) I also think the water table would be a fun option:) Could that maybe be a suggestion for a gift from a grandparent or other family member?

  15. Christina @ Still Lucky
    February 17, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    The water table or the swing! You'll get SO much use out of the water table come the warmer month, it will keep her happy and occupied outside! A swing is also so much fun and I bet she'd love having her own, and you'd spend time outside again!

  16. Ashleigh Schofield
    February 17, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    We have all of those and the wagon and wing are our favorites for sure – especially when the weather gets warm.

  17. KatiePerk
    February 17, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    The water table is one of our faves. SS is 3 and we still play with it! The wagon also came in handy for us for cruising around our 'hood.

  18. Mindy
    February 17, 2015 / 2:46 pm

    Ok, so Ella already has 4 out of your 6 options because she is super SPOILED! My parents just got her the water table for her birthday and we haven't used it yet, so I can't really comment on that one yet. We got her the kitchen for her birthday and she LOVES it so far (and we haven't even bought her any play food/accessories yet, whoops!)!! I got the swing on Ballantyne Bargain (on Facebook, didn't know if you were in that group?) for like $10 and I found the Cozy Coupe on Craigslist for $20! So you could always check those places too and get her more than one thing!! If I had to pick one thing though, I'd go with the Cozy Coupe…I actually listed it as one of my favorites this month on my blog πŸ™‚

  19. Jen
    February 17, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    We got my daughter a wagon for Christmas (she's 1) and she ADORES it… so much so that it is still in our living room, and she plays in it every day. πŸ™‚ I love it, too, because I know it will be so useful come Spring and Summer, walks, trick or treating, two kids down the road, etc. Wagon is my vote!

  20. Simply LKJ
    February 17, 2015 / 2:54 pm

    Coming from a mom of now adult girls, but who teaches 2-3s now, you can't go wrong with a play kitchen (even the boys love it), the cosy coupe (mine were so sad when they outgrew theirs). Wagons are great and so are water activities, but they require mom and dad to pull/play with.

  21. Colleen Sullivan
    February 17, 2015 / 2:55 pm

    The water table or kitchen would be toys she'll play with for at least a few years. Our son got a water table for his 1st birthday and he's 3 now and still loves it in the summer. As for car seats, we went with the Britax Marathon per recc's from lots of friends and reviews online, but it's the only one we've ever had so I can't compare it to anything. We like it and he seems comfortable in it from short rides to 6 hours long road trips.

  22. Kristen [Playground Prepster]
    February 17, 2015 / 2:56 pm

    If vote for the wagon or swing – although since she loves the water table at school it may be a good idea too. The rest you can save for when she's older (Christmas or next birthday). There's always Easter too! I love Britax car seats – I've owned quite a few brands and Britax are the easiest to install and have the best customer service. I bought out next one (our old one is expiring πŸ™ ) during an Amazon lightening deal it was over $150 off. Maybe you can score a deal too!

  23. Angelica Louis
    February 17, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    We got Beckett both a water table and the Cozy Truck (the more boyish version of the little tikes car!) and he LOVES them both. They take up a lot of room, but we have the water table in the living room and he plays with it all the time, which makes me really excited for the warmer weather so we can fill it with water! We also splurged on the britax boulevard clicktight xe convertable car seat and we LOVE it. we still have our 26lb boy facing backwards and it fits great in my jetta. we were able to use the 20% off coupon at buy buy baby as well! good luck and happy birthday caroline!

  24. Natasha
    February 17, 2015 / 3:16 pm

    my vote would be either the cozy coupe or the radio flyer trike 3-in-1… we have both and use them ALL the time… great for outside play, too!!

  25. Jennifer Miller
    February 17, 2015 / 4:03 pm

    Scooter or swing. I love the independence of a scooter…. We have an indoor 'nice' one and backyard messy one. Swing is classic….. Maybe one now & one later in the year as a ' big sister' gift?? Enjoy choosing! πŸ™‚

  26. Jennifer Miller
    February 17, 2015 / 4:05 pm

    Ps. There s a great German company that makes wonderful animal scooters…. Very well made. Costco carried them. Kitchen sooo cute, but might be better for a lil bit older.

  27. allyson
    February 17, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    We have 2 marathons and love them! So much nicer than anything others we've used.

  28. Leslie
    February 17, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    I got my daughter a water/sand table a couple months before she turned one. She LOVES both the water and sand and the table wasn't very expensive at all (maybe $60?). Definitely one of the most used larger items we have. She also got that same trike for her first birthday. She does like it, but she prefers the Step2 push car (which she also got for her first birthday).

  29. Sara
    February 17, 2015 / 5:09 pm

    Water table!!! My little guy (who was 1 ) played with it all the time last summer. Plus it's an outdoor toy and won't be taking up valuable space indoors.

  30. s0uthern blonde
    February 17, 2015 / 5:30 pm

    My daughter, Lily Kate, turns 1 in May too and I am planning her birthday stuff as well. So I loved this post. πŸ™‚ We are getting her that same kitchen for her birthday (I have heard nothing but great things on this kitchen for 1 year olds and up, so it will last a long time.) We are also going to get her the water table so that she can enjoy playing outside in the summer time as it is hot here in Florida with a kiddie pool. πŸ™‚ I have been debating on whether or not to get her the 3-in-1 trike as well or wait until Christmas when I think she will be able to use it a little better with the pedals. As for the wagon, we got her the pink wagon for Christmas and she LOVES it!!! We take her on a walk in it almost every night and she just laughs and looks all around, we have also taken it to outdoor events and the benches lay down so she can lay in it as well. Also, it is perfect since we are due with baby girl #2, Annabel, in June, they both will be able to ride. Her grandparents also bought her the cozy coupe (pink truck version) at Christmas and she likes to sit in it and get pushed around, but I think as she is walking more she will enjoy it a lot more, since she will be able to move it herself. So this you could also wait until Christmas time for as well. We have the swing too and its great for nice nights outside and she loves to sit in it and swing. Also, they are pretty cheap and definitely worth having. I would recommend the wagon and kitchen the most though! πŸ™‚ Sorry I made that so long!!!

  31. Laura
    February 17, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    Oh, you can't go wrong with a little girl and a kitchen! That's good for years of entertainment!We love our Britax Marathon. It's the only carseat our little guy has ever used. I wanted something that we could use from birth til he's ready for a booster seat. It's easy to install, fits perfectly in my truck and my hubby's CX9, and it's easy to clean.

  32. Steel Magnolia
    February 17, 2015 / 6:15 pm

    We did not go crazy for Freddy's first birthday because – hello, he'll never remember – and it was six weeks before Christmas. And of course we have all kinds of toys (clutter??) at home already anyway. But I'm a sucker for a play kitchen!! Although she will probably be more shocked/excited with the kitchen for a 2nd or 3rd birthday gift. I love the swing – useful, fun, lots of great memories outside, and you can use it for all of your kids.

  33. brittany @ g squared
    February 17, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    Have you looked at the Clek Foonf car seat? I am already looking for a big girl one for my 5 month old and this one is escp epically sturdy and cute while still being thin enough to fit up to three in a row in most cars. I loved everything I read about it on Amazon and theanufacturers site.

  34. Samantha @ Cotten Tales
    February 17, 2015 / 6:42 pm

    My daughter received the Cozy Coupe for her first birthday, and still can't figure out how to make it move forward. The wagon is always a good choice (and will be good for carting two babies!). However, we bought our daughter a play kitchen for Christmas last year and she ADORES it. I really thought she would need to be older than 14 months to care!

  35. Mel
    February 17, 2015 / 7:30 pm

    water table! my son got one for his first birthday and plays with it all year round. the kitchen I would say wait until her second birthday or Christmas when shes a little older.

  36. April of A. Liz Adventures
    February 17, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    Just because of Matt's dream of swinging her, I say SWING! Sooo sweet. πŸ™‚

  37. Brittany Kirkland
    February 17, 2015 / 11:01 pm

    My children are ages 5 and 6 and have had each of the items on your list except for the 3-in-1 trike. However, we had a friend who had the trike and loved it. So I think all of the items are awesome gifts that she would love and I don't think you could go wrong! I will mention that out of all the items my children still play with the kitchen to this day and I don't see them giving it up anytime soon… Which is why I think she would get the most use out of the kitchen. I hope this helps!

  38. Marie Luciano
    February 18, 2015 / 12:52 am

    The water table and the wagon will probably be the two she will use the most right now. Kayden LOVES his water table. We got the kitchen for him and after a month or two he was over it, I think it might be something he'll enjoy when hes a little older though.

  39. Daisy
    February 18, 2015 / 12:56 am

    All of your gift ideas are good choices! I'm a bit of a carseat nerd, and we just bought a Britax Boulevard Clicktight. If you go Britax I'd highly recommend getting a Clicktight model (Boulevard and Advocate will allow for rear facing longer than the Marathon) due to its ease of installation and extended rear facing limits. The "older" Britax models will max out rear facing by heigh much earlier than the Clicktight models. Other great seats to consider would be a Chicco Nextfit or a Clek.

  40. The Grass Skirt Blog
    February 18, 2015 / 1:12 am

    The kitchen!!! My son and daughter both love theirs, and I really don't see them out-growing it for years and years to come.The Grass SkirtThe Mini Skirt

  41. Samma
    February 18, 2015 / 1:39 am

    I am going to be super boring and practical and say the carseat. You will end up having to buy another one for baby #2 before Caroline is out of hers (we're dealing with that now- 2 new big carseats $$$$$!!!). She will know what's going on for future birthdays so let her enjoy the cake and new carseat. Ha- Morgan always reminds me to set the bar low- don't want to start out too high!

  42. Sarah Schulte
    February 18, 2015 / 1:49 am

    We gave our daughter the wagon for her 1st & she loves it!!!

  43. The Mama Duck Blog
    February 18, 2015 / 2:37 am

    We use our swing every day assuming it's not icy out! Ha! My friend Faith actually told me about it being on sale at Aldi for under $20 so keep your eye out for that once spring really comes. My mom got BG the cozy coupe for his first birthday and that car has logged more miles than mine has! Definitely recommend that!!! Lastly, we have and love the Marathon.

  44. Crystal
    February 18, 2015 / 3:33 am

    I'm very practical but feel kids deserve a treat on their day, even if just one treat.. I would say any of them are great. My one year old has a coupe car and really likes being pushed around in it. We also have a kitchen and a water table(it's inside filled with confetti) but she doesn't walk yet so she doesn't play with those. Get her something that her teachers say she plays with a lot.

  45. Aileen Johnston
    February 18, 2015 / 8:54 am

    We got the trike for my daughters 1st birthday and in all honesty I could probably count on one hand how often it has been used and she is now coming up for her 3rd birthday. It does depend on your child and your habits but we just found it to be lacking something. I also think that when you have your 2nd child unless you carry them, you wont be able to push Caroline along in the trike if you are by yourself. Personally I would go for the water table as it's nice to have outdoor toys for their birthday when they are in the warmer months and then perhaps get the kitchen for her Christmas? xx

  46. Caley-Jade Rosenberg
    February 18, 2015 / 9:18 am

    These are all great gifts my friend but the most practical for me would be the water table (especially as you are now going into Summer) and the 4-in-1 trike – SJ loved both these items and I know Ellie will too. The trike will give you hours of wear especially because it grows with them as kiddies… The swing and kitchen may be a bit young for her to enjoy (rather for a 2nd birthday) and she will outgrow the wagon and coup. Can't believe our babies are going to be ONE!! x

  47. Logan Fowles
    February 18, 2015 / 2:21 pm

    The carseat. The swing is only like $30 at target… I'd get one of those now – just for your sanity! So many witching hours spent on the porch swinging.. You'll be so glad u just got one! Can't recommend the Clek Fllo car seat enough! If you're going to have multiple kids in car seats… They're only 17inch wide so you can fit 3 across your backseat! Ideal for lots of littles! πŸ™‚

  48. Elda Larrazabal
    February 18, 2015 / 3:50 pm

    I would the water table or the coup! My son is 3 and still loves the truck version of the coup. I think she may be too young for the kitchen…i would wait for her second birthday or Christmas!

  49. Michelle C
    February 18, 2015 / 5:10 pm

    We have the Britax Marathon for our 21 month old and the Britax ClickTight Marathon for our 3 month old and I think it's a sound investment! The ClickTight (as is the previous version) is super easy to install and adjust to growing children. Be forewarned that it's heavy, so it's not one you want to have to swap around in several cars.

  50. Casey
    February 18, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    Hands down, water table!!!

  51. The Wanna-be Southern Belle
    February 18, 2015 / 5:51 pm

    Honestly you can't go wrong with any of them but with summer coming up i say water table too! and britax carseat all the way, don't go cheaper its the best and well worth the money!

  52. WyoGirl
    February 18, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    I would check out "Car Seats For the Littles" on Facebook for car seat recommendations. They can make a recommendation based on knowing that you'll soon have 2 littles to accommodate, Caroline's height/weight, the vehicle(s) you drive and your budget.

  53. Laura
    February 18, 2015 / 6:31 pm

    I agree that the water table, the tricycle, and kitchen are all great ideas, but possibly even better later on. We gave my daughter a riding toy that she could ALSO push/walk behind. It gave her the support she needed as an early walker. She played with it for many years, and so did her sister! Good luck, and Happy Birthday!

  54. runtspickins
    February 18, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    I would say gift #1 or #2. My son got a Lego table for his first birthday (a month ago – WAH!) and he absolutely loves it! My niece has one of those push bike things (#2) and my son loves hers. We almost got him one until we remembered his birthday is in January and it'd be awhile before got to use it (outdoors anyway).As far as the car seat, the Britax Boulevard has higher weight and height limits (it's basically the updated version of the Marathon) and you can get it for the same price, so why not, right? :]RuntRuntruntspickins@yahoo.comwww.runtspickins.wordpress.com(If responding, please email or comment a blog post of mine.)

  55. Tassles and Fringe
    February 19, 2015 / 12:40 am

    The water table is a mess at home. It attracts mosquitos and gets really dirty if you don't constantly wash it. The trike is a pain, because every time Carolina would hold and "steer" it, you have to keep turning it in the opposite direction so you are going straight. I agree with a one-year old present… like a little car to sit on and be able to push as well. She would be able to practice walking and playing with it, and then scoot around on it when she is about 16 mos-3 years old.

  56. Tylersmom51304
    February 19, 2015 / 4:28 pm

    Coup, b/c they can use it for a long time! Even my son who is now almost 11 pushed that thing around until he was 5-6 pushing the cat in it, his toys etc. The water table is a good idea in theory outside but it does attract bugs etc..

  57. Elizabeth
    February 20, 2015 / 12:42 am

    First-time commenter here:) We got our very active, outdoors-loving 14-month old the Cozy Coupe for his first birthday in December, and the Radio Flyer wagon for Christmas. Both were absolute hits…of all the things he received over the holidays, these were hands down the best, and I think he'll enjoy both for a long time. In fact, we were outside playing with both today despite the cold! As far as carseats go, we have the Chicco NextFit, and as a secondary, the Britax Roundabout. Love both.

  58. Cat W
    February 20, 2015 / 2:14 am

    Well, we have more than gotten our money's worth out of the cozy coupe so that gets my vote! And we have a Britax marathon 70 and it is an awesome car seat. We have an eddie bauer one for my husband's car which we hardly ever need to use but the Britax one is so much easier to use in terms of adjusting the buckles, how it installs, etc and we just love it.

  59. Morgan
    February 20, 2015 / 3:46 am

    For a first bday I'd go with the water table and swing. My daughter is 2, and loved those things (still does!). Some of the other toys didn't spark her interest til a bit later.

  60. Morgan
    February 20, 2015 / 3:46 am

    We also loooove our Britax Boulevard. πŸ™‚

  61. Liz | Ellie and Addie
    February 21, 2015 / 4:53 am

    We are looking for first birthday gifts too! I'm thinking a water table, the cozy coupe, or a ball pit/tent are going on our list. And we just bought the Britax Boulevard! We haven't installed it yet because he still fits safely in his baby seat.

  62. Karli | September F A R M
    March 11, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    if your gal is sturdy on her feet i say the water play table…hands down. anything that encourages independent play! (i'll be getting one this summer for my gals! (kaye will be almost three and sawyer almost one.) fun for all ages = won't outgrow it quickly. the bike / wagon / baby swing will all be outgrown…then again, you'll have them for your second muffin. kaye also loved her little tikes slide at that age…now we put the slide portion into her pool for extra excitement. girlfriend is wild.

  63. nancy john
    April 15, 2015 / 5:10 am

    I love the idea of giving books instead of cards at baby showers. I also give books to kids as gifts other times of the year like Christmas and birthdays. My daughter loves getting new books.wedding gifts

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