Gift Edit

The Best Toy to Give a Kid On Their 1st Birthday

published Jan 4, 2023
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little girls standing on small slide outside
Credit: Step2

This feature is part of Cubby's Gift Edit, our editor-curated collection of gift ideas. Need more inspiration? Check out all our guides here.

The first birthday is an important milestone for kids and parents. It officially marks the transition from babyhood to toddlerhood. However, it’s also a tricky birthday to buy presents for. Kids this age may grow out of baby toys quickly, and it’s hard to know what they will become interested in as their personality rapidly develops.

The answer to this first birthday gift conundrum? A slide! It’s a timeless gift that is almost guaranteed to be a hit. Almost every kid loves a good slide, and they help one-year-olds who are learning to walk and climb develop their gross motor skills. Here are some ways slides are beneficial, and why they’re one of my go-to gifts for one-year-olds: 

Slides help develop gross motor skills.

Slides are great for helping kids build strength in their lower body and core. They also help them develop the gross motor skills they need to meet milestones such as walking, climbing, jumping, and running. As they use their arms to help climb and get positioned on the slide, they’re developing upper body strength as well. 

Slides activate the vestibular system.

The vestibular system is a sensory system that helps us be aware of where our bodies are in space. It’s responsible for balance, coordination, and bodily awareness. When kids slide down a slide, their vestibular system kicks into gear. Getting vestibular input can also be calming and regulating for many kids. 

Slides help kids burn off energy.

One of my favorite benefits of slides is that they’re a fun and easy way to help kids get their energy out. You can use them inside or outside, and they’re great to set up in the basement on a rainy day. They give kids an outlet to move their bodies and work their large muscle groups even if they’re confined to a small area. 

Slides have longevity.

Slides are such a classic open-ended toy that kids play with for years. They never go out of style, and they’re not subject to fickle interests. Even smaller slides can still be fun once kids outgrow them. Some ways my kids like to play with slides include racing cars down the slide, climbing up the slide, and pretending it’s a plank on a pirate ship. 

Of course, every child develops at a different pace, and not all one-year-olds will be ready for a slide right when they turn one. If your child isn’t quite ready to climb or slide, help them learn with close supervision. 

If you’re thinking of getting a slide for a one-year-old’s birthday, we rounded up some of our favorites to help you find the best option. 

Credit: StairSlide

Here are 5 of our favorite slides: 

If you don’t have much space, this slide is ideal because it’s made of cardboard and folds flat when not in use. It’s also one of the most cost-effective slides you’ll find, making it ideal for people on a tight budget or people who live in an apartment or other small space. It’s available in three designs and only weighs one pound. 

What kid doesn’t dream of sliding down the stairs? You can make their dream a reality with this slide that is designed to go on your stairs. The slide assembles and disassembles easily, so you don’t need to worry about your stairs becoming a permanent slide. Set up a comfy landing with pillows and blankets, and your kids will be set for hours. 

This is a great one for one-year-olds. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it can be used indoors or outdoors. The slide also folds up for storage. It’s not too high off the ground for one-year-olds, so even if they slip and fall, they won’t have far to go. 

I’ve had this slide for about four years, and it has held up really well. The little yellow slide packs a surprising punch, and my kids enjoy the added element of the basketball hoop. This is a good option if you want something a little more than just a slide. 

This climber doubles as a play tent, and as one-year-olds begin to dapple in pretend play, they’ll enjoy pretending to go on a camping trip. It’s a good size for younger kids. It also has two different ladders: wooden slats and metal rungs, which gives kids practice climbing on different surfaces. 

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