The Very Best Baby and Toddler Gifts of the Year

updated Nov 13, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
baby sitting by a Christmas tree amidst a pile of gifts
Credit: Shutterstock

This piece was created for Cubby, our weekly newsletter for families at home. Want more? Sign up here for a weekly splash of fun and good ideas for families with kids. Join us over on Instagram for more!

Cubby. Real solutions for unreal times.

Join us for a weekly dose of fresh, modern ideas for life at home with your kids.

While babies and toddlers don’t yet grasp the concept of gift-giving, there’s no denying that watching them tear through their presents is fun. During my daughter’s first Christmas, unwrapping presents lasted all day, and we had to stop twice for her to take naps. She just loved opening each present and playing with it right away.

But what do you buy for babies and toddlers? How do you know what they’ll like and what will never leave the box? We’ve done the legwork for you, picking out 30 gifts that are sure to excite any baby or toddler. From tummy time mats to toddler ride-on toys, you’re sure to find something here your little one will love.

1 / 30

Little ones will have plenty of activities to keep them occupied with this combination walker and busy board. The solid wood construction makes it a sturdy walker that won't be an eyesore in your home.

2 / 30
Manhattan Toy

Bring some excitement to baby and toddler bath time with this soft neoprene pirate ship toy set. When they fill the ship with water, they’ll learn about cause and effect, and older toddlers will become immersed in imaginative play.

3 / 30

There's nothing like music to support babies and toddlers as they develop. Let them create their own tunes or sing some of your favorites while they experiment with sound. The set includes a drum, washboard, cymbal, and xylophone.

4 / 30
Manhattan Toy

Your budding photographer will get some early practice with this wooden camera. It comes with three different lenses: clear, green, and kaleidoscope. As many parents know, sometimes the simplest toys are the most fun.

5 / 30
was $104.96

Rocking is excellent for gross motor development, balance, core strength, and more. To babies and toddlers though, rocking is simply fun. This rocking unicorn is soft and offers some back support. It even plays a song when kids squeeze its ear.

6 / 30
Skip Hop

Use the road side on this playmat when your kids want to play, and flip it over to the neutral pattern when you're tired of your family room looking like a playroom. The mat is also waterproof, so no need to worry about spills.

7 / 30
Skip Hop

Turn bathtime into a fun carnival with this ring toss game. The whimsical narwhal comes with three rings to toss onto its horn. No need to worry about getting the rings lost under the bubbles; all parts of the toy float.

8 / 30

As if having a new baby wasn't fortunate enough, add these booties and you've got the cutest fortune cookie around. Meaningful fortunes on the booties include "From small beginnings come great things" and "An amazing adventure awaits you."

9 / 30

The Mickey Mouse fan in your home will be enamored with this dump truck that can spin and do wheelies. The interactive truck has lights, sounds, and a fun reaction when the bumper runs into something.

10 / 30

Empower your little world changer with a silicone bib. Silicone pocket bibs were my go-to when my daughter was a baby because they're easy to slip on or off, and they make clean-up a breeze.

11 / 30
was $5.95

You don't have to worry about your baby or toddler tearing this book to shreds. These books really are indestructible. We've had many over the years that have been chewed on, crumpled, pulled at, and they're still perfectly intact.

12 / 30
was $16.99

This simple puzzle is made of sturdy cardboard that little ones won't bend. It's a fun fine motor activity combined with a gentle introduction to puzzles. Talk about colors, shapes, and sizes as you help your toddler match baby to parent.

13 / 30
was $182.00

Babies and toddlers aren't quite ready for the big kid playground, but that doesn't mean they need to miss out on the fun. This set has a mini rock wall, slide, and baby swing. It's small enough to set up inside, too — perfect for those cold winter days.

14 / 30
Pottery Barn Kids

Help baby celebrate their first Hanukkah (and all those after!) with this personalized dreidel. It also comes complete with a dreidel, coins, and a convenient bag to store it all in!

15 / 30

This functional little airport includes a plane, boarding gate, air traffic control tower, luggage, and more. Kids can also create their own unique structures with the large LEGO blocks. This is a great toy to teach toddlers about air travel before their first trip.

16 / 30
Melissa & Doug

These soft pull-back vehicles are perfect for babies who might fall on their toys or be tempted to use them as a teether. It won't take long for them to learn that the vehicles move on their own with a simple pull. The fabric surface is washable, and the wheels can be removed.

17 / 30
Fat Brain Toys

Whirly Squigz are mesmerizing for babies and toddlers. They stick easily to smooth surfaces, and they spin and twirl when manipulated. This toy is also designed to be a safe teether.

18 / 30

Make tummy time a bit more interesting with this sensory water mat. The play area includes pictures of sea creatures and floating toys for baby to move around.

19 / 30
was $29.99

Green Toys are made from 100% recycled plastic. This camper set includes three vehicles, two characters, and additional accessories. Whether they just like pretend play or are begging to take a trip in the camper, toddlers will enjoy playing with this set.

20 / 30

Create an amazing play world that requires very little setup with this play tent tablecloth. Throw it over the table and the adults can enjoy a meal while the kids entertain themselves underneath.

21 / 30

What a classic: the push toy corn popper. My toddler loves to get hers out to "vacuum" with me. This is such a simple toy that never fails to mesmerize babies and toddlers alike.

22 / 30
Uncommon Goods

Picky eater on your hands? Have you tried turning their fork into a forklift? This set turns eating into fun play that might just encourage them to get some of the food into their mouth.

23 / 30

The My First Watercolor kit comes with easy grip brushes that are ideal for little hands. It also includes a 188-page activity book, providing a springboard for over 100 creative paintings.

24 / 30

Water tables are a staple in my household; they can keep my toddler busy for an extended period of time. This one comes with all the bells and whistles: a waterfall mast, water cannon, dropping anchor, and more.

25 / 30
Pottery Barn Kids

Babies and toddlers will come back to this toy again and again, hammering the ball through the holes and watching it roll back out. The muted colors and wooden construction make it a favorite for parents, too.

26 / 30

Toddlers gravitate toward ride-on toys, especially those that take the shape of fun animals. The ears serve as handles as your toddler bounces away. This toy will help build core strength and balance.

27 / 30
Uncommon Goods

Give your budding guitarist some practice or use this toy as a fun prop for photos. The plush guitar vibrates when you pull the cord. The strings also provide fun textures for baby to explore.

28 / 30

This block set is as beautiful as it is fun. It comes with much more than your typical square blocks. The set comes with an activity guide that includes over 20 learning activities, which is ideal if you find yourself running out of ideas during playtime.

29 / 30
was $330.00

This stylish table and chairs combo is meant to be mixed and matched for a playful look, but its classic shape keeps it perfectly versatile for any kids space. We love that it's the perfect size for little ones, and offers plenty of space for them to create and play.

30 / 30
Smaller Things

This playful sleeper features the most memorable icons of the Big Apple for tiny urbanites, from taxicabs to the Empire State Building. The soft organic cotton fabric keeps their skin warm and snuggly, while the two-way zippers make midnight diaper changes easy-breezy. The colors are soft and gender-neutral for all your gifting needs. Check out all the other cute styles too — more cities coming!