We have the wonderful (and stressful) issue of having the twins’ birthday in late November, right near Chanukkah and Christmas. They already have to share their birthdays with each other, so we are going to try our best to make the holidays special while still not going overboard on gifts.
As I was mentally getting ready for Audrey and David to turn one, I started thinking about what kinds of gifts might be good for this age. While this is an exhaustive list, please don’t think that they will be getting everything on here! These are simply the highlights:
1. POTTERY BARN ANYWHERE CHAIRS – These are fantastic, soft chairs that are wonderful for this age, especially if you have active toddlers or bookworms (we have one of each, so it’s perfect). Audrey climbs on them (and scooting off of them was how she learned to walk), and David loves to sit and read his books. Because they don’t have any hard parts, I don’t worry about them hurting themselves. Audrey has fallen off a couple times, but because it is relatively low to the ground, no big injuries (knock on wood). While they are a little pricy, I think they are worth the money, especially because I hear parents rave about using them for years.
2. KITCHEN AND WORKBENCH – We chose this set from IKEA, because we loved the simplicity of them, plus the fact that they were wooden. While they may be a little advanced for a recently-turned 1-year-old, they are something that will be used for years and years as well. Plus, the low prices from IKEA is ideal!
3. BALL FORT – We absolutely love our ball pit and tunnel from Right Track Toys. It is collapsible and comes with carrying cases, yet when opened up, it is huge! Plus, it comes with 100 balls! If the twins need to get out a little extra energy, this is a great way to induce exhaustion instantly! Here’s a trick from this neat-freak mama: wash the balls in a mesh drawstring clothes hamper in your washer. Set them out to air dry overnight, and you are good to go!
4. RADIO FLYER WAGON – We have the side-by-side and tandem Baby Jogger double strollers, but you don’t always want to put your
babies toddlers in a stroller. Sometimes, it’s easier to be in a wagon. We absolutely love this wagon because of all of the extra features it has, and we can’t wait to use it once the weather gets warmer.
5. LOLLACUP – As huge fans of Shark Tank, we became excited about the Lollacup long before we had kids. Now that Audrey and David are starting to drink out of sippy cups, we may be ready to upgrade to straw cups. Once we do that, we can’t wait to use these.
6. ADEN AND ANAIS DREAM BLANKET – These aren’t swaddle blankets, but they are great for cuddling in the winter months (or even sleeping under in their crib). They are incredibly soft and could be the perfect next step, now that Audrey and David can have blankets in their cribs.
7. BOBLES – From the moment I saw one of these in a friend’s house, I thought it was the coolest playroom accessory! While they look like foam animals, they are actually crafted to help build motor development and strength throughout many ages: stomach play, rolling/creeping/crawling, standing up, jumping, and balance. Each of the animals has multiple uses for growing babies, toddlers, and children.
8. BLOCKS and STACKING TOYS – I love good, sturdy toys, and right now it seems so easy to find wonderful wooden toys that will last the test of time (and toddlers). Wooden doesn’t necessarily mean expensive, either! You could even make your own wooden blocks with some cuts and sanding down lumber from your local hardware store!
9. MEGA BLOKS or LEGO DUPLO – While a 12-month-old is a little young to stack and build with these toys, our twins have started to figure out how to take them apart, and Audrey will even try to stack them, although usually she will put like-sides together and wonder why they don’t stay attached. I know that these will stay a favorite for years to come (my husband and I have as much fun with them now as any other toy), so it’s a good investment to make.
10. WOODEN PUZZLES – Oh, how we love puzzles! At a year old, my twins are just starting to put things together, and we were fortunate to receive multiple wooden puzzles for them at their birthday. I can’t wait to see them put them together and work on those cognitive skills throughout the next few years! Chunky wooden puzzles are great because when the pieces go in mouths, they won’t fall apart like cheaper cardboard puzzles.
11. SAND/WATER/RICE TABLE – Once your child starts standing, it’s never too early to get a sand or water table. We were lucky to get this one from STEP2 from a neighbor, and I am excited to pull it out once the weather warms up a bit more. I haven’t decided if we will put water, sand, or rice in it (we will have to see if the twins are still putting everything in their mouths in the spring), but I am thrilled for the hours of imaginative play.
12. TEETER POPPER or BILIBO – These are award-winning imaginative toys that kids can use in a multitude of different ways. They are perfect for developing a great imagination for your toddlers. They don’t have specific purposes, which means that there are a multitude of possibilities!
13. MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS – This was another must-have item on our birthday wish list, and we got a great set from a teacher friend. There are many different sets you can pick from: MELISSA & DOUG BAND IN A BOX, HOHNER KIDS TODDLER MUSIC BAND (our personal favorite), B. PARUM PUM PUM DRUM, or the HOHNER 6 PIECE RHYTHM INSTRUMENT SET. We would recommend having a drum, xylophone (or ding-ing instrument), maraca, and bell-type instrument, as these tend to be our current favorites.
14. BOOKS – I can’t tell you enough the power of books. As long as it’s a board book, it really doesn’t matter what the book is! Just get it in your child’s hands. We keep a number of their books on a shelf right at their level, and David’s favorite activity is to pull out a book or two and just read, read, read. It all started with his first favorite: CLARE BEATON’S ANIMAL RHYMES (he just laughs and laughs at the monkey page). He has even started “reading” out loud to us. He comes by it naturally (both my husband and I are bookworms), but he takes it to a new level when his actual first words are “up” and “Pop,” telling us he wants us to read Hop on Pop for the 14th time that day.