As Lately’s first birthday approaches, that desire to make it special and perfect begins to set in. We are so blessed to have received so many gifts and hand-me-downs over the years, that neither of our children want for anything. But, of course, when the big day rolls around, it’s tough to resist finding that perfect present that you know they’ll just love. Since I’ve worked with young children for a while and now have two of my own, I often have friends ask me for gift suggestions for their own children or for a friend’s child, so I thought it would be fun to put together a list of things that I think any one year old would love as I scout out Lately’s first birthday present myself.
1. These blocks are the usually the first thing I recommend to pretty much anyone with a young child. Knox received them as a gift from my parents on his second Christmas and it has been something that he has played with almost daily ever since (and Lately already enjoys them, too). Pretty much every child who has visited us has played with these blocks, including my 12 year old nephew who visited recently! I remember playing with these type of blocks growing up and I feel like they will be a long-lasting gift that have many uses, not to mention the rich educational value they hold.
2. Music-related gifts are always a safe bet for this age group (and beyond). Music is one of Lately’s favorite things, and we have quite a few things she loves to play with already including a mini piano, egg shakers, castanets, triangle, jingle bells, rhythm sticks, whistles and, the most used - drums. I have looked at a few different types of drums for her to add to the collection. Michael Olaf sells a great percussion set (although we have many of the items in it already, it would make a great gift for someone just starting out their musical instrument collection). I told Tarrell maybe we should just get her an iPod for her birthday (ha!).
3. Puzzles are the perfect gift for toddlers. Engaging, fun, educational and usually pretty, too! I’m looking at this set or this puzzle for Lately, but there are so many puzzle options. Keep in mind when picking one out, that knob puzzles are best for this age group.
4. Books. Of course, we can’t forget the most popular, everlasting gift of a great book. Our shelves are overflowing and still books are one thing I will never have enough of for my children. I have my eye on a few in particular for Lately, but I think the best books for 1 year olds are tactile books and books with real (or realistic) pictures. I love the DK Touch & Feel Books, which you can find pretty much anywhere, and there are SO many to choose from! Knox and Lately also both love this book, which seems to be a great book for toddlers. You also can’t go wrong with a good bedtime story. I love this bedtime book that someone gave to Knox as a baby. He still loves it and if I were being honest, I might tell you that I cry every time we read it.
5. Art supplies are tricky for 1 year olds because they are still in an oral stage. Lately loves to eat play-doh and clay, and, even with strict supervision, she still ends up with it in her mouth, so I don’t think that’s a good choice, but she has recently started trying to color and paint. Bathtub paints might be a fun option for a young toddler, or large crayons for little hands, which are easy to make like this. There seem to be plenty of simple recipes online (like this one), so this would be a great handmade gift. I love the idea of upcycling for an eco-friendly gift! It also means so much to me to receive a handmade gift - there’s just a touch of love that a store-bought gift can’t quite achieve. I’m not much of a crafter, but I try my best to make gifts when possible.
6. Push and ride toys are great for this age because their walking skills are emerging. We have a few different ones that were gifted or handed down to us, but I love this zebra toy for a child who is learning to walk. A similar option would be a wagon, which will last years and could be shared by siblings. I love the classic metal Radio Flyer wagon, but I think one with seats would be great as they get older, too.
7. Lately has also begun putting cars onto her ball tracking toy (also a great gift for a 1 year old) in hopes they will race down like the balls do, so I thought she might enjoy something like this.
8. Lastly, Lately has recently starting showing an love for dogs. She really likes the bunny puppet she got for Easter, so I thought of adding this cute puppy puppet to her little collection. I like the realistic quality of this brand of puppets.
9. I’m also hoping to begin some more practical life activities with Lately as she gets older and becomes more able to participate. A lot of materials needed for these types of activities are found in my house somewhere already, but there are also materials that can help toddler practice skills such as folding, dressing, cooking, washing, etc. This lock box is fun, or a cooking set of some kind. We’re also working on a garden this year and getting ready for some baby chicks to join our little family, so I’ve been on the lookout for something she can use to help out with those responsibilities, too.
10. I think dolls and stuffed animals are almost always a safe bet when it comes to little ones. This may be the one thing that actually motivates me to learn to sew (or crochet?). I desperately want to be able to make a beautiful doll or a cute stuffed animal, I just think it would be so fun to create something like that for a little one. Meanwhile, I swoon over all of the Etsy dolls knowing I’ll never fork over the dough they’re asking for!
So, there you have it. A little list of ideas in case you have a little toddler-to-be on your shopping list this year. Do you have anything to add? I would love to hear more ideas!