Picture this: you’re at a first birthday party for a niece or nephew, or the child of a co-worker or some distant relative you’ve barely met. There’s a gleeful, cake-smeared baby sitting at the head of the table, whose enthusiastic young parents are greeting guests and pointing them towards the heavily laden gift table.
You eye the perfectly wrapped books, toys, and baby clothes sitting on the gift table, then glance down at the Jamba Juice gift card that you brought and wince. It’s not that bad—babies can drink smoothies, right?
If you, like most of us, have found yourself in this situation, don’t fear! No more awkwardly wandering the toy store, wondering if a one-year-old is old enough to ride a tricycle. No more awkward smiles and strainedthank yous from parents confused by your bizarre gift.
In this post, we’ll go over some great birthday gifts for the one-year-old in your life, as well as some tips for making gift shopping as painless as possible.
You’ve heard it countless times: kids are little sponges, and it’s never too early to help them start learning. One-year-olds are growing and developing rapidly, and stimulating their minds is extremely important at this age.
This doesn’t mean that you need to buy them a science textbook or encyclopedia—go with something that can function as both a fun sensory experience and a stimulating mental exercise. A baby book or educational toy is an excellent option for an easy, relatively cheap, and parent-approved first birthday gift.
Subscription boxes have become extremely popular recently, and for good reason—it’s the gift that keeps on giving (literally). Paying for a few months of a subscription service geared toward babies is an excellent first birthday gift that both parent and child will be grateful for.
Panda Crate is a baby subscription box that focuses on educational toys for children up to two years old, and includes activity cards, puzzles, books, and more.
If you want to focus on books, Little Fun Club offers a monthly book subscription for children up to twelve years old, and you can decide whether you want to give two or three books each month.
If subscription boxes aren’t your thing, or if you’d rather pay for one gift and be done with it, there are plenty of other options for educational toys that won’t break your bank. Colorful flashcards or a baby book that teaches letters or numbers is a great idea for a fun gift that will also give the little one a head start on kindergarten.
For a change from the usual books and puzzles, go with a gift that will help the baby embrace their creative side, such as a children’s musical instrument or art set.
For some reason, children love toys that mimic chores adults usually hate to do—for example, toy vacuum cleaners, mini kitchen sets, those creepy hyper-realistic dolls that can be fed and burped. These are also great options for when you want to stimulate their mental development while also providing them with a hands-on activity to do.
Of course, at the end of the day, if you don’t feel like scrolling endlessly through Amazon to find the perfect educational gift, no worries. Babies enjoy a nice stuffed animal or toy train just as much as they would like a book or musical instrument.
Sensory stimulation (bright colors, sounds, movement, etc.) is just as vital to their development as mental stimulation is, and there are plenty of gifts that can address this.
A plush toy or dollhouse will provide hours of entertainment, allowing the baby’s parents to catch up on some much-needed sleep. You can even get stuffed animals that will play music, or for an extra personal touch, a custom voice recording.
If you’re willing to splurge, a child-sized toy car that they can scoot around in is guaranteed to be a hit that they’ll use for years to come. If a toy seems a bit cliché, art or furniture for the nursery is a great bet. It doesn’t have to be super expensive—think a cute framed animal print for the wall, or maybe a soft throw blanket for the crib.
Go for an Experience!
But what do you get for that baby who seems to haveeverything? They have all the latest toys and books, the newest fashion in baby clothing, and a dollhouse the size of your apartment. Get them an experience, something that can’t be replicated, and will help them and their parents make memories that will last even after they’ve outgrown the clothes and forgotten about the dollhouse.
For example, buy them a session at a portrait studio so that their parents will have countless pictures of their adorable child—as any parent can tell you, you can never have too many pictures!
Alternatively, try gifting a zoo or amusement park membership. A fun day out with the entire family is a priceless gift that will lead to many cherished memories. Aunt Susan may have gotten the baby a $200 custom stuffed elephant, but your zoo membership gift allowed the baby to see a realliveelephant.
Don't Sweat It - You Got This!
As cliché as the saying might be, at the end of the day, it’s the thought that counts. Don’t stress out too much about picking out the perfect gift—babies are far from picky, and regardless of price, a thoughtful gift is sure to be appreciated and well-loved.When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a classic, like a cute plushie, some colorful blocks, or a fun baby book.
We hope this article was a helpful guideline that will come in handy the next time you’re invited to a first birthday party and find yourself panicking over what babies like. Go with something simple and fun, and you’ll be fine!
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