List of 15 Best First Birthday Gifts From Grandparents That Will Make Also the Parents Happy

Last Updated on February 16, 2021

If you’re looking for first birthday gifts from grandparents ideas, please take a look at my list here. 

I’ve tried to keep a balance between items that you can quickly order online and ideas that take a longer time to prepare. Some of the listed presents are the ones my boy or his cousins got when they were one-year-olds and some of them I’ve bought myself as they were essential for young toddlers. And some ideas (like “the gift of time “) are still on the wish-list:)

1. McQueen Racer Ride on (Check the latest price on Amazon)

A ride-on-toy is an excellent first birthday gift from grandparents. My boy got one from his great-uncle, and now, almost three years later, it’s still one of his favorite toys.

This Lightning McQueen Racer Ride On toy offers the perfect way for dad and his bundle of joy to have some fun together. It makes realistic sounds and has flashing lights that are sure to excite even older toddlers. The rear bumper prevents it from tipping backward, so it’s a safe toy. There’s one problem though. If you’re looking for a ride-on-car designed to last for a long time, you may be disappointed with the stickers. They come off quite easily. 

2. Annual Pass to a Zoo or Different Theme Parks

As a grandparent, you know the preferences of the lucky one-year-old parents. If they live near a Zoo, then an annual pass is a perfect first birthday gift from grandparents because most of them are giant parks easy to access with a stroller.

Parents have plenty of room to move around with their little ones, even if kids just started to learn to walk. Many zoos also encourage visitors to have small picnics there, and tiny toddlers love snacks.

A park with outdoor toys and one toddler in the foreground in the left on a play horse

Theme parks are also excellent options but are probably more interesting for older toddlers. These places are often crowded, so it’s quite hard to move around with a stroller (although parents can opt for a carrier).

And let’s be honest, one-year-olds aren’t typically very interested in such high-end activities. Show them an egg whisk, and they’ll be as ecstatic as seeing Mickey in Disneyland. Unless the parents themselves are big fans of a specific theme park, I recommend waiting two to three years before giving such an extravagant present because your grandchild will then enjoy it much more. The same goes for a bounce house, which often even has height limits that prevent younger toddlers from entering.

3. Soft Activity Book by Melissa & Doug (Check the latest price on Amazon)

With this Wonderful World of Peekaboo! Activity Book dad can instill a love of reading while playing a fun game with his baby. This means that it’s one of the best first birthday gifts from grandparents.

You can find five different animals in this book that will ‘play’ peekaboo with the baby. Additionally, you can also read fun stories. Each page features a few sentences of text; simple to read, yet engaging and perfect for starting conversations and sharing with babies or young toddlers. This book is made from soft cloth, so it’s a safe choice for babies. As a bonus, it’s machine washable for easy cleanup.

We got one soft activity book as a present (at the time, I was surprised at the whole concept of soft books), and it has found a lot of use. At first, we read stories to our one-year-old, but later, he very much enjoyed reading it by himself. At one point, it was the only thing that kept him in his bed before going to sleep. So if you’re looking for first birthday gifts from grandparents, this may be the one.

4. Gold Coin Which Commemorates the Year of Birth of Your Grandchild

My kids got each a lunar coin from their grandparents. These are based on the Chinese lunar calendar and feature different zodiac signs. Lunar coins are usually made of gold or silver, and there are different sizes available. So they can be the best first birthday gift from grandparents if you’re looking for something that will hold up the value. Studies published in the Economist have shown that gold price at least keeps up with inflation in the long run. Additionally, many coins also allow you to show some personality. You find many designs based on superheroes or popular films like Star Wars.

5. Reusable Swim Diapers by Nageurut (Check the latest price on Amazon)

You can’t expect new parents to think about everything. Reusable swim diapers are nifty things and an excellent first birthday gift from grandparents. And they don’t cost a fortune!

If you’re shopping for a dad (or mom) who loves to spend time in the water with his little one, you might want to get him Nageuret reusable swim diapers! They fit body sizes from 8lb to 38lb, so they grow with your baby. My boy has used them for three summers now.

Disposable diapers can be significant money wasters, making reusable swim diapers great options for all the frugal dads out there! Additionally, reusability makes this swim diaper eco-friendly, perfect for parents who want to keep their carbon footprints as low as possible! A word of warning though:) Swim diapers don’t hold solid waste for long, which means parents usually need to keep a second pair on hand to double up if required.

6. Lessons and Courses for Young Toddlers

I’ve written a whole post about different organized activities for toddlers. These are excellent for child development and often also fun for parents. You can find many perfect first birthday gifts from grandparents ideas from this single category alone. Let’s just hope that all the options are also available after-Covid-19-era.

  • Many concert halls and theaters arrange happenings for young kids, and tickets to these events are an excellent surprise.
  • Some museums have special tours for young toddlers to introduce them to the art world and let them show their creativity. Although tickets are available, you could also opt for an annual pass.
  • A gift card to a gymnastics class may be an ideal surprise for a one-year-old. And don’t forget that there are also gift cards for swimming lessons. Let your grandchild develop better motor skills and learn healthy habits. And parents will thank you as well. It’s so much easier to get a young kid to sleep after he or she has spent an hour running around.

7. Baby Music Classes and Musical Toys

If a father takes an interest in engaging with his baby, baby music classes might be the perfect opportunity to do so. Experimenting with the senses is one of the most joyful experiences for a baby and watching them do so is one of the most rewarding experiences for a father.

If there aren’t any classes in your area, musical toys are a great alternative. It’s thrilling to see your child slowly discovering music and experimenting with your senses. It is a moment for every parent to remember and cherish for years, making it one of the best first birthday gifts from grandparents. Although giving your grandchild drums for a birthday may not get a big applaud from the parents. We were lucky to receive a poorly constructed instrument (usually not a great thing), which broke rather quickly. 

Infantino Percussion set (also sold on Amazon) is a popular choice among parents.

8. First Aid Kit by PreparaKit (Check the latest price on Amazon)

Kids are bundles of joy, but the way they throw themselves around isn’t so joyful, especially when they get hurt. For an adventurous father, a kid’s first aid kit might be one of the best birthday gifts from grandparents.

The stylish PreparaKit compact first aid kit is small enough to carry around on adventures and big enough to be able to take care of any minor injury a kid could get. As I’ve explained in my article about first aid kits, I love this particular product because it comes with all the essentials parents need to care for the most common injuries. Additionally, it’s affordable, but you can check the latest price by clicking the link below.

9. The Gift of Time

Grandparents don’t often recall how little sleep or alone time they got when their kids were young. As one of my friends put it: “I haven’t slept in two years… “

If you want to make the parents happy, offer to take care of the little birthday kid on a specific day. You could book seats at a restaurant so parents can enjoy (first time in a year) eating in peace or point them to a good movie.

Two people with a glass of wine sitting outside in a restaurant

And don’t forget that this is also one of the best first birthday gifts from grandparents to the little bundle of joy. You can spend some quality time with your grandchild, which helps to bond. My boy was a bit afraid (to put it mildly) of my mother when he was younger. We decided to spend a couple of weekends with my parents. She called him to help as often as possible and played with him. As a result, my boy can’t now wait the next time we’ll visit them. He tracks my mother like a shadow:) Although I’m sure that him getting older and wiser is equally “at fault” (my mother makes killer pancakes, after all).

10. iPlay Sun Hat (Check the latest price on Amazon)

 What dad doesn’t enjoy a little fun in the sun with his baby? The iPlay sun hat has a wide brim and a flap that extends from side to back, which is great for protecting baby’s skin from intense sunlight. Another great feature this hat has is an adjustable toggle, which helps to customize the fit and keep the tie strap in place. The quick-dry material is equipped with a 50+ ultraviolet protection factor(UPF). But don’t put it in the dryer as this may affect UPF durability. The iPlay sun hat comes in various classic colors and contains a wicking liner, making for comfortable wear. Young children shouldn’t stay in the direct sunlight without a hat, so this is one of the most practical first birthday gifts from grandparents.

11. College Savings Plan With the First Deposit

I’m not a financier advisor, so please take my advice with a grain of salt:) According to Forbes, 529 college savings plans are one of the best options if you want to start saving for education. This is definitely a meaningful first birthday gift from grandparents as you can directly contribute to your grandchild’s better future.

Morningstar has listed top plans, but it’s also a good idea to talk with your financial advisor before any final decisions. 529 plans are popular thanks to the reasonable tax breaks, but you should also take your state laws into account. And don’t forget that you can contribute every year and the sums don’t have to be huge:)

12. Night Light by Vava Home (Check the Latest Price on Amazon)

The chances are that your grandchild already has one, but if not, then a night light is an excellent first birthday gift from grandparents. Although the darkness doesn’t usually bother babies nor young toddlers, circumstances may rapidly change. Having a night light ready will help parents a lot in case this happens. Our boy used to sleep in his bed without any complaints but gradually developed a fear of the darkness. I had to buy a night light to make him feel safe again in his room, but things would have gone more smoothly if I had been prepared beforehand.

13. Activity Center by Battat (Check the Latest Price on Amazon)

If you’re looking to buy a toy for your grandchild and they have some extra room around the house, then an activity table is one of the best first birthday gifts from grandparents. I’ve written a whole article about the pros and cons (there aren’t many) of buying this type of toy. Activity centers help to develop cognitive skills and fine motor skills, among other things. At first, one-year-olds enjoy playing with different shapes and colors and learn the cause- and effect. Later on, these toys provide opportunities to learn the names of a variety of animals and colors. Parents also love activity centers because kids don’t need supervision, and they get some alone time. A wooden activity center by Battat is one of my favorites because it’s so colorful and has a lot of tiny details. 

14. Photo Shoot for the Family

Photo shoots tend to be quite expensive, and young parents may not want to spend money on something like that. But having a beautiful portfolio of family pictures taken by professional photographers is a lovely thing to have. Professionals have an eye for exciting angles, and they know all about processing. Additionally, studios have different settings and interesting props to make your photos stand out. And parents can concentrate on getting their little one smile at least once. One of my friends goes every year to a photo studio with his family because he enjoys the whole experience. All in all, photo shoots are excellent first birthday gifts from grandparents. Many studios offer gift cards, and don’t forget to insist on getting that special child-grandparent photo.

15. Protect his or her new Home (our Earth)

It’s probably no news to anyone that our planet is in a dire state. If your grandchild is in a lucky position of not needing new diapers, clothes, or toys at the moment and you’re absolutely out of ideas, consider donating in his or her name to a charity.

You can find some nonprofit organization which collectively buy forests to protect them. Additionally, many charities concentrate on funding green-technology research. The last couple of years have been quite bad for rainforests. As a result, the Rainforest Alliance is one of my favorite nonprofits because they try to protect rainforest with different measures so that our grandchildren also have clean air to breathe.

To Sum Up

I hope my list of best first birthday gifts from grandparents helped you to find an excellent present idea for the little bundle of joy.

If you’re interested in finding other fun toys for your grandchild, think of toddler blocks and play kitchens. Both are excellent options, and I’ve written two articles about the best option out there. Click to read more about best toddler blocks or best play kitchens.