Hard as it is for me to believe, I am about to have a one year-old. My kid's first birthday is only a couple of weeks away. And so, of course, I'm thinking about presents, and not just presents for my specific kid, but what make good gifts for this age group. I clearly remember all the times, pre-kid, when I would go shopping for a gift for a friend's child or a family member and look at all the possibilities and feel distinctly overwhelmed. So, I decided a blog post about first birthday gift ideas was in order.
And, lucky for me, I have an expert on hand to consult! My friend E., who gave me all that great advice about what I needed to have on hand for a new baby? She's back and better than ever, this time with advice about the best and most useful toys for those between one and two (her boys just turned two last month). And, as before, she's comprehensive, insightful, and all-around brilliant.
1. Musical instruments, especially percussion
I know a lot of people are shaking their heads already, and I won't pretend I'm not one of them. Just what my already loud kid needs, a drum! But the truth is that toddlers bang on things, and they might as well be getting early exposure to instruments in the process right? There are a million and one options in this category, but here are a few I like (click the picture to go to Polyvore for information on each item):
2. Music to listen to
I'm not at all well-versed in this category, but I have gathered a few recommendations:
3 Art stuff
I'm super excited about this category. There are lots of art supplies for which 1-2 is just too young, but some are safe for the younger set, as long as you don't mind a mess! Some ideas:
4. Vehicles or stuff with wheels
Another category I am excited about. I don't know if it's my internal gender stereotyping coming out or what, but I am super drawn to vehicle-type toys for E. And there are so many great options!
5. A big dishtub or something, for "washing" toys/dishes, and practicing pouring
This is one I never would have thought of, and I don't think it necessarily requires suggestions. My plan is a dish pan or two from the dollar store, or something re-purposed from around the house.
6. Tub toys, like boats
We're very into this category lately at my house, since the bath is E.'s favorite thing. We actually have a couple of these toys:
7. A couple of really cool alphabet, colors, seasons/weather, vehicle, family, and parts-of-the-body books - toward the end of year one, books about feelings are good, too.
This is category in which I can see certain of E.'s grandparents going a bit nuts! And honestly, I'm tempted myself. There are amazing books available for small children these days. These are just a few:
8. A couple of good stuffed animals/dolls.
A doll is something I never really thought about getting for E.--in truth, I'm a little bit creeped out by them--but he loves the ones in day care, so it's definitely on my list. None of the options I've seen thrill me overly much, but here are a few ideas:
9. A small stepstool, for looking out of windows or reaching things
We actually have one of these that was Mark's when he was a kid, which I love. It has his name on it and everything. That said, if you were on the lookout for one, these are some I'd consider:
10. Cards with pictures on them (not necessarily flash cards) - photos or drawings of people or animals. (These get destroyed, so don't get too attached to them or spend too much money on them.)
Isn't this a crazy good idea? This is the kind of thing I never would have thought of, but I can totally see the appeal. And the possibilities are so endless. Another smart thing my friend does is puts flashcards in those pocket photo albums, creating sort of flip-books for her kids, who love them.
Here are a few ideas:
11. Jars and bottles
Here's one I wouldn't have believed had I not seen it with my own eyes--babies/toddlers LOVE jars, bottles, tubs, and tubes! And you can just give them a cleaned out version from whatever you've got--water, jam, peanut butter, shaving cream...the sky's the limit! You can also fill a bottle with glitter, water, food coloring, small toys, or a world of other things for sensory play--there are a couple of these in E's day care and he loves them. Just make sure the cap it on tightly!
12. Scarves and hats
Dress up clothes! I swear, the joy of dress up clothes was one of my Top 10 reasons for having a baby. I am so very, very excited about them. But again, there's no need to spend a ton of cash here, or even buy anything--the kid will be just as thrilled with old stuff you've got around, or thrift store stuff. I cannot wait for E. to get interested in this type of thing.
13. Kitchen stuff (doesn't have to be toy-kitchen stuff - Tupperware containers, silicone spatulas, old pots and pans, empty spice containers)
Once again, your cast-offs are probably going to be the best of these toys. That said, who can resist play food and dishes? Some of my favorites:
14. Big balls and little balls/bean bags for throwing
Over the past few weeks, balls have become HUGE at my house. E. can even say "ball" now. And there are so many varieties of balls to choose from!
15. Walker or push toy
This is another category that is growing in popularity at my house, and again, so many great options available! We have the one I show here with the blocks in it, and it is much loved.
Once again, a popular choice at my house, and something of which there are endless variations. Also, fun for adults! Some I like (several of which we have):
Wow! Tell me that wasn't helpful!? I'm so excited to have this list to refer to, both for my kid and for future gift-giving. Thank you so much, E!