I never know what to ask for when my only child has birthdays until well after the celebration and after her months are advancing. Since I didn’t know for what to ask, we received a lot of books, stuffed animals, and clothes. All of which is greatly loved and well used! But should you be looking for something “outside the box” for a 1-yr-old birthday, here are the top five items I wish I would have known to request when my daughter turned one.
Bizzy Buckle Toy – Between $20-24
I follow many mommy yard sale groups on Facebook and this is an item I never see come available for free or for cheap. To purchase it brand new appears fairly expensive for what seems to be such a simple and relatively small toy, but it has been worth it. So it is my first recommendation as a gift for those turning one. The Bizzy is a perfect toy for families who love to be busy. We keep it in the car and take it on airplanes, and it captures her attention longer than another other toy we own. She enjoys the puzzle of matching the colors, figuring out how to open and close the latches, and making animal sounds (the reverse side has animals on it). She started playing with it between 16-17 months and now, at nearly two years old, is still enamored by it. It requires parental involvement for the first month or so while they learn to buckle the latches. At 21-months, I can now throw it in the back seat with her and she navigates it like a pro.
Craft box – $7-$40
I really underestimated my child when she turned one. I didn’t realize how early she could grasp coloring and crafting. I think I failed to acknowledge this because of her being an only child and most of the craft items labeled 2+ or 3+ years on the coloring box. Thanks to a talented lady who helps keep our daughter when we are working, I learned that children really are capable of so much more at such a young age. I recommend giving a craft box for a birthday gift for a one-year-old that includes the following:
- tupperware box that snaps (so the kids can’t open it themselves)
- Craft paper
- Washable markers
- Washable paint
- Play-Doh with tools
Even though my nearly two-year-old is using spoons and plates, she still makes a mess. I find this makes “friends-with-out-kids” nervous when we are over at their homes sharing a meal. The Summer place mat has been perfect for all our needs. We keep it rolled up in the diaper bag, and we use it at restaurants, friends’ homes, and even at our own dinner table at times. Many of our friends use disposable mats that stick to the tables, but then you have to monitor your stock and some people may be concerned about the sticker leaving residue on their wood dining tables. The Summer place mat instead has suction cups on the bottom that are gentle on all surfaces and a lip that hangs off the edge of the table and catches food.
Push toys – $15-30
I never bought my daughter those push toys to help her learn how to walk. I was too frugal and thought that kids 100 years ago learned how to walk without them. Sure enough, she did learn how to walk without it, but once she was walking – even running – I discovered she still loved push toys. So I’ve listed other ideas that transcend the learning-to-walk phase and will entertain them throughout the entire mimicking phase of the one-year-old and beyond. (Plus these are quiet and don’t have buttons that make loud noises like those learn-to-walk toys… I think it’s just cruel to gift noisy toys unless the family is specifically asking for one.)
- Toy Lawn Mower
- Baby Doll Stroller (the kids like to push each other in it)
- Little Tikes Grocery Cart (The nice thing about this one is that it is just tall enough that they can’t crawl into it and crush it, but if they were to figure out how to, it is sturdy enough to handle tough love!)
Wagon – $70-$200
I see moms posting ISO (in search of) requests on Facebook for wagons all the time. I never understood why until we went and bought one for my daughter. Why can’t kids just ride in a stroller for a walk? But I learned why. Once my daughter had a wagon, her attention span and interest for walks entered an entirely new level. I think it has something to do with being able to pile in baby dolls or milk and snacks in the wagon with her, and the sense of independence with getting to chose whether she faces forward or backward. This winter, she has even pulled the wagon out of the storage room and will play and sit in it for half an hour or more. I wish I had thought to ask for this when she had turned one, but I didn’t! We went with the cheap Step2 wagon and have thoroughly enjoyed it, but if you have someone who will splurge on your kids, I hear people raving about the Radio Flyer wagon (shown below).