Now that Noam's first birthday has come and gone, I've been able to decompress a little. I spent a lot of time preparing for the big day and party - from sending invitations, to organizing decorations and making sure we had all the fixings to celebrate right.
Of course, I did not forget to prepare the first birthday gift, either! I know this topic may be a little contentious since one-year-olds won't remember what they received for their birthdays and celebrations shouldn't be focused on gifts. And yes, those are both true and I agree.
But one-year-olds certainly benefit from toys that encourage their creativity and development, so I've rounded up some gift options that do just that.
Portable toys like this Melissa & Doug fold-up wooden farm or the Melissa & Doug soft shape sorter make car or plane rides both fun and (hopefully) a little easier. Also, while not totally portable (though it does fold up nicely for storage), we love the Fisher-Price Little People farm.
Encourage pretend play by creating a space that inspires. The IKEA play kitchen or Pottery Barn play kitchen are both great options to do just that. If you're looking for something that takes up less space, the Melissa & Doug cleaning supplies - like this set, this set or this vacuum - are great.
Hard and soft books encourage literacy and language and improve tactile development. I love Bitte's selection of books and especially like Baby's First Soft Book and Nature's Day. Some other favorite books of ours are: What Do You Do With An Idea?, This Moose Belongs To Me, and Sam and Dave Dig A Hole.
Though they're on the larger side of toys I like to buy, activity cubes offer a lot of different, well, activities in one place which is great for kids who get bored easily. I love the wooden activity cubes by Hape, B. Toys and EverEarth.
They may not seem like gifts that toddlers would necessarily like, but there are few things more entertaining to them than loading and unloading containers. Some beautiful boxes and bins that provide toy storage and double as toys are this toy crate from Little Sapling Toys and Pehr Designs bins.
Noam really loves to stack objects, so stacking toys are a big hit around here. Some favorites are this stacking pyramid, these stacking cups, this colorful stacker, this playful bunny stacker and these colorful ABC nesting blocks.
What's kid-friendly clothing, you ask? It's clothing that doesn't take itself too seriously, that has a sense of adventure and whimsy about it, that is made for kids. A few brands that I think have figured out how to do kid-friendly clothing right are Izzy and Ferd, Childhoods Clothing, Fin and Vince and Mabo. Also, Noam received this Adventure t-shirt for his birthday, and I just love it so much.
Now that they're most likely close to walking (or are already!), it's time to protect their feet. Soft-soled shoes will do just that while helping them learn to walk and give their feet room to move. I especially love the shoes Little Pine Outfitters, Amy and Ivor and Minimoc make.
While not quite ready for a 'big boy' room, I have thought about starting to move away from the more nursery feeling of Noam's room, especially as I begin planning the rooms in our new house. Room decorations that are a little less baby-y and a little more playful are perfect. I love this Explore pennant, this fun alphabet poster and this house-shaped shelf.
Personalized puzzles are a really sweet way to go that extra mile with a first birthday present. I love this one from Smiling Tree Toys.
Right around now is when dolls or stuffed animals really start to get some attention (as opposed to just acting as decor). I love Hazel Village dolls because of the personality they have, and think Petit Pippin and Walnut Animal Society are also sweet and beautiful options.
Train sets may be a little premature for a one-year-old to play with accurately, but I think they're a fun toy to start setting up now. IKEA makes a great, inexpensive train set that comes with lots of different add-ons.
Plush seating for your toddler's room (or any room in the house) will give them their own special place to go to read books or play. We have the Anywhere Chair from Pottery Barn Kids, which are the perfect size and come in tons of color and fabric choices. I also love Land of Nod's Nod Chair.
Going along with a space of their own, an A-frame tent or similar structure is a great way to give them a more permanent space of their own. I love ours from Such Great Heights, but Land of Nod, RH Baby and Child and Etsy all have great options.