6 Great Presents for Your Soon-to-Be One-Year-Old

first birthday
Image via Flickr/ Justin McGregor

There are few things that bring parents such big, mixed emotions as their child’s first birthday. Most parents are proud, excited for all the things to come, and a little bit sad as they wonder how time has gone by so quickly. To honor their little one on The Big Day, many parents shower their tot in presents … only to find that they’re more interested in the boxes and bows than the presents themselves. If you’re looking for some great first birthday gift ideas that won’t break the bank and that your little one will use all year long , check out the list below!

1. A membership to the local zoo or kids museum
While you’re little one likely won’t appreciate the gift on the day you give it, they’ll certainly enjoy the many trips you take to the zoo or museum throughout the year. Gifts of membership are particularly good for younger kids because as they learn and grow they’ll have the opportunity to experience the fun at your location of choice in many different ways. 

{ MORE: 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate Your Tot's First Birthday }

2. Registration in a parent-child class
If they’re not already enrolled in daycare, you may want to begin getting your little one out and around other kids more now that a year has passed. Most communities have classes specially designed for parents and kids to enjoy together. Classes for one-year-olds are often music and movement based and as your little one claps along to the sound of your voice you’ll find that you’re having as much fun as they are.

3. Rain boots for puddle jumping
Likely, your little on has just begun or will soon begin walking. Once they learn to go on their own, they’re going to want to start seriously exploring the world around them. Instead of shooing them away from puddles in fear of soggy shoes, pick up a pair of rain boots and let them get to splashing. Many toddler rain boots are sold in tandem with a matching raincoat for maximum cuteness.

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4. Blocks
If you’re looking for something more traditional, blocks are a great way to go. One-year-olds love to play with toys that show cause and effect, so blocks that can be stacked up and knocked down over and over again are a perfect toy. As they build, your little one will also be developing important fine motor skills. Plus, as the year goes by and your toddler’s skills improve, you’ll be impressed at how tall their towers become.

5. Bath toys
Some kids love baths, other kids don’t. If your little one is a water baby (or if you’d like them to become one!) consider picking up some simple bath toys and wrapping them up for their birthday. Once you break out the bath toys, your little one will spend their time in the tub pouring, splashing, and laughing all year long. 

6. Sensory play items
If you’re on a budget and don’t mind a mess, consider creating some sensory play items for your child’s first birthday. A re-sealable tub of dried rice with a cup for scooping, a bowl of play sand with small (not choking sized!) toys buried within, or a set of finger paints with a license to get creative can all make for fantastically fun sensory experiences that your little one will appreciate throughout the year.

What’s your favorite gift that keeps on giving for little ones?

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6 Great Presents for Your Soon-to-Be One-Year-Old

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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