Shopping for babies can be tricky. After all, the must-have items for baby are constantly shifting. Whether you’re shopping for the holidays, a birthday or just because, you want to get your favorite baby a present that’s cute, engaging and something they (or their parents) will actually use.
To help you on your shopping, we’ve compiled a list of the best baby gifts for 2021. From educational toys to classic cars, this list will help you find the perfect baby present.
In this article:
The Best Baby Gifts of 2021
When you’re thinking about baby gifts, there are a few categories. There are items babies will love (think: toys or craft items); practical items (like blankets or accessories); and keepsakes (like figurines or photo albums).
To choose between them, think about what you’d like to accomplish with your gift: do you want to help baby have fun, support mom and dad, or introduce a treasured heirloom? If you’re not sure what you’d like, keep reading for our favorite ideas.
The Best Baby Gifts for a 3-Month-Old
At 3 months old, babies are starting to grow curious about their surroundings. They love looking at faces best and may be interested in tracking toys, animals, or books with their eyes.
This is a great age to gift a baby with a book (even young babies can benefit from being read to!), experiment with music, and of course, an adorable teething toy to get ready for what lies ahead: teething.
Best for Soon-to-Be Teethers
Arnold the Avocado Teether
This non-toxic, fully natural teether is just as adorable as it is functional. We predict lots of guacamole in your future together, and that's a beautiful thing. Just, you know, be sure to remove any pits from the real deal once you get to that stage.
Best for Babies who Love Music
Baby Einstein Take Along Musical Toy
Sometimes the best gifts come in small (and inexpensive) packages, and that’s certainly the case with this Baby Einstein Take Along Music Toy. The toy is lightweight, making it easy for a three-month-old to grasp, or a parent to toss in the diaper bag or car seat. When baby pushes the large, easy-to-find center button the toy plays a simple tune, introducing the idea of cause and effect to even the youngest babies. Best of all, the toy comes with volume control and the musical choices are pleasant enough that they won’t grate on mom and dad’s ears. This toy is convenient and practical, and it will keep a three-month-old entertained during tummy time or car rides well into toddlerhood.
Best Book for Babies
Friendly Faces on the Farm Sensory Book
What's better than a book for baby? A fold-out, accordion-style, 8-page book full of fun sounds and textures to explore, of course! This book has it all: crinkly sounds hidden in the pages, fun and friendly faces to "meet" around farm-inspired scenes, high-contrast images that help stimulate your baby's cognitive development. And best of all? It's non-toxic and machine-washable.
The Best Baby Gifts for a 6-Month-Old
Six-month-olds are all about exploring the world around them: crawling, scooting, rolling–if there’s a way to move around, they’ll find it.
So, at this age, encourage their love of discovery and moving around with toys that will help them stay active. Movement and play are how babies learn about the world around them at this age.
For Future Bookworms
Nancy Tillman’s “You Are Loved” Board Book Box Set
When it comes to baby books, Nancy Tillman’s are among the best. They marry poetic prose, whimsical illustrations, and beautiful messages about the worth of everyone. That makes this three-book set a perfect sentimental, yet practical gift for six-month-olds. At this age, babies are beginning to listen to more books, engage with colors and even experiment with page turning. That means it’s time to expose them to three of Tillman’s classics: “On The Night You Were Born,” “Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You,” and “The Crown On Your Head.” The boxed set also comes with a picture frame that reads “You are loved,” ensuring that this is a gift that conveys your deepest feelings for baby.
Best for Busy Babies
ALEX Toys My Busy Town Activity Cube
At six months, babies are beginning to sit independently and interact more with their toys. Some little ones may even be pulling up by this stage. That makes it the perfect time to introduce an activity cube. Babies can build their fine-motor skills by opening, spinning, and sliding the features on this cube. The bright colors will engage baby, but with no noise-making options the cube is a more traditional play option and a good alternative to toys with flashing light and music. This particular cube is a nice size – big enough to engage baby, without dominating a room. It measures 16”x12”x12”. With a solid wood construction, this is a toy that baby will be able to use for years, and then pass down.
Best for Crawling Fun
Little crawlers adore the fun and excitement of tunnel play. One of my babies thought it was so fun to haul all his toys and books inside and then pretend to be stuck. We have had many laughs thanks to our play tunnel.
The Best Baby Gifts for a 9-Month-Old
A 9-month-old baby is discovering how to learn his or her motor skills in new and exciting ways: from working on their hand-eye coordination, to finessing their pincer grasp, to exploring the fascinating world of cause-and-effect.
Choose toys for a 9-month-old that will help encourage those motor skills: musical notes that will delight them, cubes they can stick, and playful toys that will build up their development.
Best for Making Parents Really Happy
LOOIKOOS Toddler Musical Instruments Set
Babies at this age love learning about cause and effect, engaging with different noises and refining their movement skills. This set has 16-pieces covering10 different types of instruments, from maracas to sleighbells and a hand drum. With so many options, parents can introduce their baby to a new sound every day, or rotate what’s available so that little ones never bet board. Parents will appreciate that the entire set has an all-natural, non-toxic finish (because all the instruments will no doubt go in the baby’s mouth). The storage bag makes it easy to keep the instruments in one place, and maybe even hide them away when you’ve had enough of your little musician.
Best for Stacking Fun
Woodland Friends Stacking Cubes
Any experienced parent will tell you that oftentimes, kids’ favorite toys are the boxes that their actual presents come in. Of course, this set is much more engaging than packing boxes. Each of the 10 cubes is illustrated with a colorful animal theme and numbered. Nine-month-olds will adore stacking the boxes and knocking them over again and again (and again), using them to hide other toys, or nesting them inside each other. Parents will love that the cubes are easy to store, although they’re so cute that you won’t even mind when they inevitably get strewn all over the playroom floor, yet again.
The Present to End All Presents
Balu Organics Large Ball Pit
I honestly can't think of anything more fun for baby's first Christmas than this magical ball pit set. Not only does it look downright adorable (just imagine those holiday photos!), but it will provide tons of entertainment for your baby, even as they grow. Plus, this isn't your old-school plastic ball pit: this thing is upgraded with safety features for modern parents, including a pit made of soy-based foam with a 100% organic cotton outer and chemical-free, BPA-free LPDE plastic balls.
The Best Baby Gifts for a 1-Year-Old
At 12 months old, most babies are now officially toddlers. That means you’ll want to look for a gift that offers plenty of opportunity for active fun.
Toddlers are all about being on the move, discovery, and playing in a very (very) active way. Our gift selections below promote lots of on-the-move toddler fun, from a couch that doubles as a fort (or whatever their imagination holds), to finger paint that can actually be eaten, to a walker wagon for those first unsteady steps.
Best for New Walkers
Classic Wagon Walker from Radio Flyer
Radio Flyer has been a classic Christmas gift for decades. We particularly love the classic wagon walker as it acts as a sit to stand toddler toy, early walker assistance, and book or toy storage when it is parked.
Best for Budding Artists
Eco-Finger Paint Set
These eco-friendly paints are made from organic fruit and vegetable extracts. While they’re not designed to be munched on, they’re perfectly safe if they get in baby’s mouth. The set comes with four food-inspired colors: watermelon red, blueberry blue, orange and cabbage green. To use the paints, you mix powder from the tubs with a small amount of water. Then sit back, relax and watch your little one enjoy getting messy, without needing to worry about toxicity.
Best for all the Fort Fun
The Foamnasium Blocksy Mini
How about a squishy fort that doubles as a comfy couch? Put a little function in your fort with The Foamnaisum Blocksy Mini. Once your child is done creating their fort or secret cave, these pieces can be converted to a not-so-secret couch that will look fabulous in any room. This is a smaller play set, but don’t let its size fool you because it still encourages kids to imagine big and get actively creating with its folding base and two wedge cushions. This is also great option for parents who want to support their kiddo’s creativity through fort building, but don’t want a giant double-decker fort that takes over the entire home. The cushions are made of lightweight foam so they’re easy to move and stack in plenty of different ways.
The Best Baby Gifts for a 2-Year-Old
Look out, it’s the terrible twos! Except they can be a whole lot terrible and a whole heck of a lot more fun with these toddler-friendly gifts.
Two-year-olds just want to have fun and these gifts will keep them busy all day long–so when bedtime (finally) comes, everyone can rest easy.
Best for Learning Letters
Crate & Barrel Janod Alphabet Baby Puzzle
This puzzle is the perfect choice for a kiddo who wants to learn their ABCs. It’s also ideal for moms that love minimalistic and modern toys. The natural wood tray and light pastel color palette bring a Scandinavian touch to your home. The back of the puzzle tray doubles as a simple chalkboard for more functionality. You can even display the chalkboard side once your child is finished learning their ABCs. One reviewer raves that this puzzle is “a daily staple in our play and looks lovely on display! Wonderful, saturated colors!”
Best for Kids who Love the Spotlight
Kaleidoscope Play Camera
This pretend wooden camera is a huge hit in my house. Not only does my 2-year-old love it, but my older kids do too. It comes with an attached carrying strap so your budding photographer can go on many different adventures, a shutter button that really presses down, and an eyepiece to peer through for a kaleidoscope surprise. Plus, the front of the camera lens can be swapped out with a second, attached magnetic snap-on lens for a whole new view. No pieces to lose, no electronics to break--it's the perfect present.
Best for Active Tots
Strider - 12 Sport Balance Bike, Ages 18 Months to 5 Years
This is one of the most popular balance bikes on the market and for good reason. At just under seven pounds, it’s super lightweight so it’s easy for kids to control, and also has narrow handlebars and small grips for toddler-size hands. This bike also has footrests so your child has a place to put their feet once they have figured out how to glide, and parents rave about how easy this bike is to assemble.
Best 2-in-1 Present
Easy Playhouse Classic Cardboard Playhouse
This cardboard playhouse is reversible, so your little one can paint, draw and decorate one side and play in the house for weeks, before flipping it over and starting again. The house comes with fun, but simple features including two doors, four windows and two mail slots. It is easy to assemble using the pre-cut slots. The house is about 35 inches tall and 29-inches on each side, making it big enough for your toddler but small enough to be unobtrusive in most rooms. Although the cardboard is fairly durable, this isn’t a toy designed for long-term use, but it will provide tons of fun while it lasts.
The Best Baby Gifts for Grandchildren
Best for Keeping in Touch
“Under The Same Moon” Recordable Story Book
This recordable story book allows loved ones near and far to get involved with everyday moments. Suzanne Berry’s 16-page book uses animal characters looking at the night sky and thinking of their loved ones. The recording features allows you to read the book to your grandchild, ensuring that they hear your loving voice every day, even when you’re not able to connect by phone. Knowing that your grandchild can have you read to them any time will be a gift that both of you can treasure.
Best for Tiny Savers
Personalized Piggy Bank
A piggy bank to encourage saving is a classic gift from grandparents: it’s a way to show that you are already planning the brightest future for your grandchild. These days, piggy banks come in endless shapes, sizes and color that give the gift a decidedly modern feel. This 6-inch cube bank is hand painted with your grandchild’s name and a design ranging from forest animals to floral patterns. The box is handmade from solid birch wood and decorated with non-toxic paint, giving it a sleek, artistic design that will look fantastic in any nursery or playroom.
Best for Kids on the Move
Little Tikes Cozy Coupe
You might remember getting your own son or daughter a Cozy Coupe car when they were young. Guess what? These toys are still favorite for babies and toddlers. The best thing about the Cozy Coupe is that it lasts for years. New walkers will push the Coupe around, while toddlers will pretend to drive or get gas and preschoolers climb in over and around the car. Parents will like that this toy is suitable for inside or outside, and that its hard-plastic surface is easy to wipe down or sanitize. With a honking horn, open-and-closing gas tank and mobile steering wheel, the Cozy Coupe will let your grandchild dive into their own imagination. What better gift could you give?
Finding the perfect present for your favorite baby can feel stressful but remember, gift giving should be fun.
Pick a gift that you feel shows your love—and don’t be afraid to enjoy it together!
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