Creative Gift Ideas for a One Year Old: From a Mama
As the trees start to bud, even though snow is melting outside right now, I am also soaking up these last couple of months with a baby who is still counted by number of months. You hear a lot of, "I can't believe it has been a year already," right around this time, but truth be told, it does feel like it has been a year to me. A fulfilling, memorable, loving, trying, joyous year. Perhaps it has been because I have had the privilege to stay home with her every second, of every day, of every week and month and been able to witness all of the changes. The teething, the figuring out if it is a tummy ache in the middle of the night or should we let her "cry it out," the waking up for feedings, starting solids, going from a leisurely day where she napped most of it to having stressful days of not being able to pee without her trying to crawl up the stairs or grab the remote control. I have truly been blessed and have soaked up every second of mommy hood so far. So as we approach her one year birthday, we look ahead to the milestones we have to look forward to, hello potty and convertible carseat, on top of the changes of adding a new family member. First though, we have a BIG milestone to celebrate, that being the first year birthday of this one very unique, full of personality, very stubborn and opinionated little Miss Remy! It's also a celebration for mama and baba that we survived it all- so far!
Not only is it my daughter's one year birthday, but it also happens to be a baby boom in my circle of friends, and I have at least four other babies turning one around here. So, as any blogger/social media person would do, I turned to the internet for research on the best gift ideas for one year olds. Thinking from a mother's perspective of my own daughter turning one, I tried to think of what she needs. I realized she already has a closet full of clothes for this summer and even some fall and winter ready to go, a couple coats and sweaters, and she is bound to be gifted some pretty cool toys, which she is actually in need of- bye bye baby rattles and tethers, but what else might she need at this stage? What do the parents of these little independent, opinionated, diaper wearing minions really want and need?
After reading through several blog posts, most likely sponsored by brands and not truly authentic, and reading through the lists on the usual suspects, Parents and Baby Center websites, I decided to agree on a couple things, scratch the rest, and add a few major things to my own edited list.
Things that were suggested around the web that I liked: donating or gifting to a child's 529 account for college. Things I chose to leave off the list, the stacking cups. We have them, she tosses them, daddy spins them like coins, and I end up picking them up and stacking them every night. Maybe she'll be into them later??? A couple things I semi agree on and am looking for better or best options on: the shape sorter and the push toy. I bought a cheap shape sorter and she broke the door off of it and isn't really into it. Maybe if she had a more unique one? Maybe if it made sounds? And the push toy idea I like, as she is not yet walking, but standing and sort of learning to take steps holding onto things, but the basic blue wood one from IKEA just doesn't do it for me.
So here's what I came up with. Here's the type of things I am looking to gift, or variations of them, for my one year old. It has a good mix of price points and interests on it, and they are all USEFUL and practical as much as they are cute. The best part is, they are not suggested, endorsed, or paid-for ideas; they are my own, from a real mama. Hopefully this helps those out there who were in my boat this time last year, sans baby, or who might have gone through it already but it's been a while. What have you gifted one year olds? Or if you are the parent of a babe yourself who is turning one, or has already went through this milestone, what were favorite gifts you received?
Oh, she already has bubble wrap. :)
Thanks for popping in!
From left to right:
1. Leggings! Yes, I know Remy has her own hashtag on Instagram, #whatremywore, and I LOVE dressing her and styling her, but let's be real. She doesn't wear this everyday. As I type, she is under the table in a pair of these, with crumbs and food all over her. Seriously though, leggings. The best fit and quality per price point I have found for her, she has long, and chunky legs, have been Baby Gap. I usually catch sales and have purchased all of them for $5 a pair or under. (similar here)
2. A splat mat for under the high chair! This is the age where she is beginning to fight momma feeding her and wants to feed herself, which means momma is on her hands and knees after every feeding. I was just telling my husband the other night that I want one of these so we can just lift it up and rinse it off instead of sweeping and wiping and crouching. This one above is by Prince Lionheart at $13!
3. Walking Shoes! She may be only standing as of today, but she is practicing balancing and I can see that it could be as early as this summer when she takes her first steps. Socks and cutesy baby shoes just won't do. NOW is the time to get those cute little shoes you thought you needed when they were as big as your forearm. You'll need GOOD shoes though, ones with support that allow baby to feel ground underneath them, and now pointy toes or odd shapes to stump their toe on. From what I hear, Stride Rite has a pretty darn good reputation for being one of the best baby shoe brands in the biz. I know a few moms who swear by them. I saw a baby wearing this adorable coral patent leather pair recently and loved them! They are the Stride Rite SRT Soft Motion. See a similar, newer version here.
4. Board books! Remy gravitates to her books most these days so I want to encourage that. She is not quite ready for picture books, even though I have a fantastic wish list of my favorites going, but for now, she is at the stage of wanting to turn pages herself and investigate pop up tabs and roll on her back pretending to read herself. This requires, pages that can withstand a toddler grip. I really loved these BabyLit books that I ran across at Tattered Cover when I was pregnant with Remy. The classics, in baby condensed version. The complete set is $120 at Juniper Books, but a couple favorites would be plenty, like Romeo and Juliet. This boxed set by Eric Carle would be a great gift too!
5. A bike seat! Well this is more for mama than Remy, but we'll BOTH really enjoy it! I take walks with her a lot now, but I miss riding my bike! I would really like to get back out on the road this spring/summer, before I get huge, and I'll have to have a seat for my girl! And a helmet of course! Both can be found at Walmart in a variety of brands and options. Do any of you have this or used one? Any suggestions? UPDATE: We have since bought and currently use a child seat by Bell on my cruiser, but if you want a higher end seat and have more to spend, this one is nice!
6. Bath products! This is sort of a spin on a largely suggested gift item, bath toys. She has plenty of bath toys, too many in fact, but what's more useful is all the products that go along with bath time. The year mark is right around the time you run out. At least we have made it thus far without having to buy any until now. We use the Aveeno baby body wash every bath! We could always use a spare bottle as they are dumping the bottle into the tub often!
7. College funds! Probably THE most useful in the future. I just discovered something called UGift, from my recent research, and apparently people can print off coupons for their gifts and donations to your child's 529C. Brilliant! We currently have one set up for both of our children and make monthly contributions. Always nice to have grandparents gift here when and if you can!
8. "Cookbook for Weaners," no, not the kind you get at the ballpark. Remy is breastfeeding less, a lot less, at this stage, and as I mentioned above, liking pureed foods less and less too. Baby/toddler nutrition has been the most confusing, scary and challenging parts of raising a child, and I breastfed! There is no manual for solids! No gauges to know when they are getting enough of this or that. I researched medical journals and articles and e-mailed my pediatrician, it just seems like there is no formula, no pun intended. So maybe a few books could help assist all these transitions in Foodland. This book, Sage Spoonfuls, looks like a good one too!
9. Diapers! YUP, she's still in 'em, and most likely all other one year olds out there are too, which means mommy and daddy still need these, at least for another year! If you are in the disposables like we are, find out the weight of baby and brand, for sizing. A box in their current size or even a box of the next size up would be greatly appreciated from any parent- trust me! It adds up! We have used the Target brand, Up & Up and love them. Get them online and have them shipped!
10. A Plate of her own! This one is cute and makes feeding time fun- so you hope! Another fun aid to transition into solids and allowing her to feed herself more. I love the idea of non-skidding, but not the suction cups...also this may be a personal preference, but I don't like the tray style, promotes separation of foods and has potential to create picky eaters, in my opinion, so I like one large plate, like this.
11. Reusable swim diaper! We JUST bought one on one of our last trips to Target. Ours was just like this for $9.99. I have only taken Remy swimming once, to try it out, and we didn't have one at the time, don't tell. It wasn't much of a secret then either with how big her disposable swelled up! Man can those Target diapers hold a lot of water though! Next time I will be ready. Everyone wants to gift a summer baby a swimsuit, but you really only need one, be unique and helpful and get this.
12. A push toy! There are a million to choose from! Well, maybe hundreds. Form the super modern and stark like the one at IKEA for $20, to the plastic, and probably most loved by tots, to the lawn mowers, to the noisy, to the wooden....see a full range on The Find. I found this one when searching for a push toy vacuum, and voila, guess V Tech makes one and it's only $22! Remy LOVES watching me vacuum! I think this one is definitely at the top of our list. This one is cool too!
13. Travel utensils! I saw this in a catalog from Right Start and had to have it. Well, I still need to get it, but a travel container for the utensils. I can't tell you how many times I have fed Remy on the go and then had a sticky, dirty spoon wrapped in a paper towel hanging out at the bottom of my bag. Yuck...Love this spoon and carrier by OXO Tot. Or these!
14. Here's the "shape sorter!" So I searched and found this unique wooden one with animal cut outs by Melissa & Doug, looks fun to me...I think it might be worth a try!
15. A zoo membership! We are fortunate to live in a wonderful place that even has a zoo. The Denver Zoo is also one of the best zoos in the country. We try to attend as many free days offered that we can, weather permitting, but it sure would be nice to be able to go whenever it was nice out!
Hope you got some helpful tips and got the wheels turning for your next gift buying adventure. Oh and don't be afraid to search the net! Sometimes you just can't find what you want in stores. A lot of sites do free shipping and can do rush shipping. Of course the best gifts of all are the ones with thought, love and generosity put into them. Keepsakes, anything homemade or artistic, and personalized items like books with your child's name or monogrammed blankies of course top lists, and mine too. The most special gifts need no mentioning or hyperlinks. Last, have fun with it!