by Brittany Ryan Mathiowetz
July 29, 2018
Our youngest child recently turned one year old. This year has brought so many changes for our family. Ezri just finished kindergarten. The daycare provider we had since her birth retired. I left behind my full-time corporate career and threw myself into family businesses and non-profits. And of course little baby Kai is now entering toddlerhood just as his big brother is about to start preschool! So in a way, his birthday marks a celebration of all we've accomplished this year.
With my first two kids, I didn't struggle to come up with birthday gift ideas. But now that we already had many of the "typical" things handed down from Kai's older siblings (and the gift of experience in knowing what gifts were completely useless!), I found myself at a loss. I can't be the only one with this problem, so I'm sharing my knowledge with all of you :) Read on for my top picks for 1 year old birthday gifts:
After three kids, we have quite a library in our home. But there's always room for more! There have been so many great books recently published that it certainly garners a trip to your local bookstore, but a few of my faves include personalized books, books that embrace diversity, and also this 100 First Words for Little Geeks book. Ha! I have found so many books I want to add to our bookshelf I started a Reading List for Little Minds here.
This is one item I had not seen before with my older two kids. It's basically a board (or cube) with all sorts of locks, zippers, gears, latches, switches, bells, etc for little ones to fidget around with. What toddler doesn't love pressing buttons, opening and closing latches, and zipping zippers? I found so many cute options on Etsy, from smaller "travel" boards, to cubes, to pretty large boards that include everything your little one's heart desires!
This is a big one for us during any gift-giving occasion. We want our kids to value experiences over things. The zoo, children's museums, water parks, the aquarium are all great places to spend a child's first birthday!For Kai's birthday, we took a day trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota. I was worried there wouldn't be much for a one-year old to do here, but he had so much fun exploring everything! We found several interesting exhibits for each one of the kids, and of course us adults too! In fact, I lost my husband more than once only to find him completely enthralled in an presentation or activity.
As I mentioned earlier, we have more than enough "stuff" and nearly every age-appropriate toy for one year olds. I want Kai to have something just for him. I went with Smiling Tree Toys' new Elephant Push Toy. It's perfect for him! He is really into anything on wheels (especially his big brother's toy cars). The felt ears and different colors are great for his sensory development, and he loves the contrasting textures of the wood and felt, too. My Year of Firsts keepsake block is another favorite of mine. It's a beautiful way to capture and display exactly when your child reached each milestone during his first year of life: when he first rolled, first tooth, first word, you get the picture!
Kai is definitely an outdoorsy little man. He loves the water table and ride-on car we got Roa when he turned one, so I decided to add to our collection of toys for the backyard. A playhouse was just the ticket (not *quite* as cool as the treehouse Justin built, but it is a close second :)! As with so many kids items, I knew that there had to be a local family looking to unload their own. Why buy new when you can do the earth and your pocketbook a favor by getting one gently used? Not only do you keep a perfectly good toy out of a landfill and conserve the resources that would have been used producing a new one, but you also save yourself from assembly too! I scored big this year and got a great playhouse AND a child-sized picnic table for $50! Keep an eye out on Facebook Marketplace, Craig's List, and good old-fashioned yard sales to score your own.
I come from a rather large extended family, all of which ask for gift ideas too. Thanks to this little research project, I had plenty of ideas to share!
Kai had an incredible birthday and I felt good gifting him items I knew he'd use for years to come. There is nothing more depressing than taking a look at your kid's toy box and adding up how much you've invested in things they never play with, right? Hopefully some of these ideas bring joy to your little one that lasts long after the day of his party!
by Kathleen Smith
August 06, 2018
In our house, we love to read, so we often take story time to the next level by incorporating something that relates to the book we're reading. This can mean baking a special treat, creating a piece of art, or, in today's case, introducing a special toy while we're paging through a book!
by Brittany Ryan Mathiowetz
July 17, 2018
by Kathleen Smith
June 16, 2018