My mother-in-law recently asked me what she should get her granddaughter for the holidays and her first birthday, which closely follows. I wanted to provide her with a list, so she could choose the item(s) she liked the best and make it feel a little more special than just telling her one thing to buy. I also wasn’t sure what price range she wanted to spend, and while I certainly didn’t want her to spend a lot, I also didn’t want to offend her by only including small, inexpensive items. So I spent some time thinking about some good gift ideas within a range of prices and here’s what I came up with.
(Note: These are affiliate links, meaning that at no cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase – more info at the bottom of this post.)
VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker
A favorite among many moms I know, this toy is great for babies learning to pull to stand or take their first steps. The front also comes off for babies to be able to play with on the floor before they can stand.
LeapFrog Learn and Groove Musical Table Activity Center
A few different companies make these and they’re probably all pretty similar. This one seemed to have the best reviews and the fewest negative reviews (for issues like getting fingers caught in parts or the table falling over when a baby pulled to stand), so I chose this one.
Hape Pound & Tap Bench with Slide Out Xylophone
This looks like one of those toys that parents probably hate but babies love. I’m a little wary about just handing over a wooden hammer to my baby, who loves to fling things about, but I do want to foster her love for music, so I’m willing to give it a try. At the very least, I’ll pull out the xylophone and play a little Twinkle Twinkle with her.
Hape Little Drummer Kid’s Wooden Drum Music Set
After seeing how much my baby loved pounding on a drum in a music class once, I’ve thought it would be fun to get her a little drum of her own. With the Hohner 4 Piece Baby Band set we already own, we’ll be able to get a pretty good jam session going.
Hape Shape Sorter Wooden Pull Turtle Toy
(Clearly I got on a Hape kick – love their wooden toys.) Living in a space-constrained NYC apartment, I’m big on toys that serve double duty. A pull toy and a shape sorter in one? Yes please.
Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube
Another option for a space sorter that contains 12 different shapes and a few colors. We can work on red, yellow, green and blue while learning circle, square and triangle. (We’ll save trapezoid and hexagon until she’s at least 13 months and ready for the big leagues.)
Munchkin Mozart Magic Cube
These musical cubes are pretty great – fun for the baby and actually pretty pleasant to listen to (as opposed to most toys you’ll just deal with because your baby loves is). They’ve even managed to coordinate the sounds so that if the baby presses more than one instrument in a row, they chime in at the right part of the song (whooooaaaaa).
VTech Busy Learners Activity Cube
As opposed to the Munchkin Mozart cube, this one is not so pleasant to listen to and you will get the little songs stuck in your head for days (“The cube…is fun…for everyONE!”) But my baby loves it and it will hold her attention for a pretty long time, so the tradeoff for going slowly insane seems worth it. They also make the VTech Sort & Discover Activity Cube which is a little bigger with more things to do – but I was afraid that one would make me go insane much more quickly, so I opted for the simpler one.
Lakeshore What’s Inside Soft Feely Box
This looks like one of those toys that’s slightly overpriced but also really awesome. Meaning that I’ll probably use the holidays or her first birthday as an excuse to buy it if my mother-in-law doesn’t choose this one. It’s also like 10 toys in one, sooo it’s probably worth it.
KidKraft Deluxe Activity Cube
Wooden activity cubes are another item of which there are many and it’s hard to choose. I looked into a bunch of them and thought this one looked the best for craftsmanship, stability and the activities on the side (gears, the alphabet, a maze AND an old-school abacus? I’m giddy just thinking about the learning possibilities). A few other favorite cubes among my mom friends are Anatex Deluxe Mini Play Cube (which actually looks very similar to the KidKraft one and is a close contender), Hape Country Critters Wooden Activity Cube, and ALEX Discover My Busy Town Wooden Activity Cube.
Rockabye Poof the Lil’ Dragon Rocker
At a baby friend’s first birthday party recently, our little lady got to try out a rocker and loved it. So of course I need to get her one now, even though I have no idea where we’ll put it in our apartment. This brand Rockabye makes a lot of cute ones – owl, dinosaur, elephant, butterfly, even a pirate ship and motorcycle – so you basically just need to pick your favorite photo op. As big Game of Thrones fans, I think we’re going to have to go with the dragon.
Step2 Push Around Buggy
This is a super fun (and pretty adorable) toy for young toddlers and babies who can sit up stably on their own. It also has a small footprint for apartment living, which is a must for those of us who live in Manhattan. Plus, you can take them on a short walk to the neighborhood farmer’s market in it and load up the hood with your bounty. Or if your baby wouldn’t be caught dead around town in a red and yellow buggy, there is also a small ride-on Mercedes Benz Push Car.
Schoenhut 25 Key My First Piano II
As part of my goal to get my baby interested in taking piano lessons before the age of 5 (apparently a key age for developing a child’s musical aptitude), I want to get her a toy piano to start banging around on. 25 keys is actually a decent amount to be able to play some simple songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and good old “Chopsticks.” And just the thought of her sitting at a tiny piano? OMG. I need this.
If anyone has more favorite toys to add, feel free to add them in the comments and I’ll check them out!
The links contained in this blog post are affiliate links, meaning that if you click through and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. But rest assured, I did not get any of these products for free in exchange for promotion, so they are truly my own personal recommendations.