In my life, 2011 was the year of the weddings. Which conveniently brought us 2014, the year of the babies. Therefore, it brings us to 2015, the year of the first birthday party. The first birthday is a very exciting time—a true celebration of a year a parenting in the books and a celebration of life for the little one. Therefore, I try to be thoughtful in the gifts I select.
I am often tempted to buy the cutest, brightest, most monogrammed little romper I can get my hands on–this is Texas after all. However, I resist. Instead I try to choose gifts that have some educational and entertainment value, but will also hold a little one’s interest for the course of toddlerhood.
When picking toys I like to use the 90-10 rule. This rule is that the uses for the toys should be 90% coming from the baby’s movement and creativity and 10% from the toy’s built in parts. This means we keep the batteries, lights, and buttons to a minimum. Here are a few of my favorite first birthday gifts at every price range:
These animal magnets provide endless fun. You can use them to teach language through the names of animals and animal sounds. It is also fun to tell stories about the animals, or to match the animals with similar ones we find in books. Lastly, they provide a great fine motor activity putting on and taking off the magnets from a board.
For an extra $5, you can throw in a magnet/chalkboard which are readily available at Jo-Ann Fabrics or Michaels.
The rainbow people mover is a simple toy that is popular with children of all ages. Putting the peg people in the holes is a great early activity for little fingers. As they get older they can use the variety of colors for sorting, sequencing, and matching.
The kind people of North Star toys have offered a 20% discount for DMB readers through May 31, 2015 with the coupon code “DMBREADER”.
I prefer musical toys that require the child to make music, rather than a push-button electronic. This beginner drum set offers a variety of different sounds for an infant to experiment. The sounds that come out of the set are pretty easy on the ears—by no means reminiscent of drum sets from my childhood.
Every burgeoning toddler needs activities for open-ended, pretend play. A simple, gender neutral house like this can be also used as a farm, a shop, or anything else the little one can dream up. This toy will provide years of high quality entertainment.
What are your favorite gifts to bring to a first birthday party?