Gift Guide :: First Birthday Gift Ideas!



About a month ago, my most amazing cousin and her husband started fostering-to-adopt a sweet 13-month-old girl. She’s rocking it as a brand new mom! As questions have come up, we’ve talked on Skype about sleeping, eating, playing, etc. Last night she asked me about toys: how many to have, how to set up a rotating toy library, what things a 13-month-old would enjoy, etc.

Well, here you go, cuz! An all-out gift guide, inspired by your new little girl and my almost-one-year-old son (in two weeks!!!). By the way, I keep a running Amazon wish list to help me remember good recommendations, and that’s an easy place to reference before birthdays and Christmas. My cousin liked that idea, so I thought I’d pass it along.

Without further ado, the first birthday gift guide:

1. Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site is a bestselling picture book these days, and it would be a fun gift for a little boy as he learns to love and understand stories in his second year of life. (Also, this is what Elliott and I will be giving Gil for his first birthday. But shhh, don’t tell him!)

2. Polka dot dress for a little girl in your life. Babies will start walking around their first birthday, so dresses will no longer be dragged or caught under girls’ knees anymore while crawling. A dress would be a fun way to celebrate this developmental milestone.

3. A wooden alphabet puzzle encourages so many skills, particularly fine-motor and language. Lena loved our wooden alphabet puzzle. When she was about 21 months old, we finished that puzzle about five times a day, and as a result she knew all her letters by her second birthday.

4. Stacking towers are ubiquitous, and I saw why when Lena was about 16 months old. She played with her wooden stacking tower every single day multiple times a day all by herself. Order wasn’t important, but the accomplishment of stacking every piece on the stick gave her so much joy.

5. This ride-on toy will mostly be used as a walker for a brand new one-year-old, but after that it will be greatly enjoyed around the house for years. Every child who comes to our house immediately hops on this bumblebee and zips around. Plus… so cute, right?!

6. A tugboat for bath time! It’s made out of recycled plastic and sure to be a favorite for both girls and boys.

7. A stylish little romper. I am completely smitten with Boden, and Mini Boden is about as beautiful and adorable as children’s clothing can get. Gil received one of their rompers for Christmas, and it’s one of my favorite items in his wardrobe.

8. Dear Zoo is definitely Gil’s favorite book. He gets a smile on his face when we sit down to read it each evening, and he loves opening the flaps and looking at each animal. Lena couldn’t get enough of lift-the-flap board books at this age.

9. Rainbow stacking tower if you want to be more creative than the traditional ring tower. It is made out of wood and looks like an heirloom!

10. These Tegu blocks are wooden but have magnets inside them, which makes them super fun for babies, kids, and adults. This 8-piece set would be perfect for traveling because the pieces will stick together instead of getting lost! (Or at least I hope so… hah.)

11. A little toy airplane for a handsome little boy.

12. Fast track game. Put the wooden cars in the top and watch them flip and fly all the way down!

And now it’s your turn, moms and lovers-of-children. Do your kids (or did you!) have some favorites that I should add to this list?

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20 Responses to Gift Guide :: First Birthday Gift Ideas!

  1. Alica January 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm #

    Goodnight Moon was one of our favorite books…and as the kids get older…Duplos and then Legos are way high on our list! They can be as simple or as complex as they want to be, and they never out grow them! Really.

    • Becca January 14, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Yes, the kids really started to get into Duplos when we were visiting my parents in the fall! I bought a big bag of Duplos for $3 that were too big to bring back to Sicily, so they just have them there to play with. I’d like to get some of our own soon… and can’t wait till they are old enough for Legos! Those entertained my siblings and I for hours.

  2. Lucy January 14, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I Love that little ride-on bumblebee. I’m so very glad your ‘cuz’ has you!

    • Becca January 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      I’m very glad I have her!

  3. Kim Colmer January 14, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

    Hmmm….its been awhile but one can never go wrong with books! My Ethan loved puzzles….the alphabet, the wooden ones w knobs….he did them ALL THE TIME! Plus its a great pre reading skill….maybe that’s why this 14 year old ALWAYS carries 2 books w him (in case I finish the first one mom!). My Hannah liked blocks and wooden food-I ate a lot of wooden fruit. Of course her baby went everywhere. It was small and stuffed so it could go thru the wash-A LOT! Her other favorite-a photo album of her and momma and poppa-simple but she loved it! Good luck! (BTW…is this KT & hubby who adopted?)

    • Becca January 14, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

      Haha, all these things sound familiar… and I hope that means it is leading to kids who take two books with them everywhere! That’s what my siblings and I always did, and I am so grateful for that. My husband and I still take books with us everywhere, even we our chances of getting to read are pretty low with two little kids, haha. And yes, it’s KT and her hubby. :-)

  4. Suzanne January 15, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    As my mother-in-law says, “NEVER buy someone else’s child a toy that makes noise.” Love your picks, Becca!

    • Becca January 15, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

      Hah! That is wonderful advice! Reminds me of, “Always give a hostess something she can use up, like a fancy soap or candle.” But funnier. ;-)

  5. Katie @ The Surly Housewife January 15, 2014 at 4:08 am #

    I love a good gift guide! I have three week old twin nephews so I need to start thinking about birthday traditions I will be doing with them. Their birthday is December 21 so I’m afraid all their gifts will probably be lumped together :( I adore the idea of books. Especially as they get older, it’s easy to forget they need new books. We might have to go with homemade gifts since we don’t have much money around that time of year. Now, just to think of an idea . . . .

    • Becca January 15, 2014 at 11:01 pm #

      A lot of these gifts are pretty expensive, so that’s why we wait for birthdays and Christmas and wink-wink-nudge-nudge to the grandparents! The gift of a book, though, is one that keeps on giving, even when it is given away eventually to another child.

  6. Suzanne January 15, 2014 at 3:59 pm #

    Hi Becca, this is Charlotte and McNair’s sister. Love this list! We sell a number of these things where I work here in San Francisco. The store is called Sprout San Francisco. My favorite is the wooden rainbow set-so beautiful!

    • Becca January 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Suzanne, so good to hear from you! I would LOVE to work in a baby boutique… except that I would probably spend my whole paycheck there! I realized that the photo I used of the wooden rainbow set doesn’t do the colors justice. It’s so beautiful!

  7. Bethany January 15, 2014 at 5:06 pm #

    Thanks for these great gift suggestions, Becca! I was JUST reading the “Goodnight, Construction Site” book over the weekend to my two-year-old twin niece & nephew. Hadn’t seen it before!

    • Becca January 15, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      Aww, so sweet! Can’t wait to read this book to Gil. :-)

  8. TJ January 15, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    Oh goodness, all of these gifts are so adorable! It makes me want to have a baby just so I can buy these ;)
    xo TJ

  9. Becca January 15, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    I know! It makes me want to spend the Amazon gift cards I got for my birthday entirely on toys! Which… will probably happen…


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