My job is a full-time photographer, but I'm also a full-time mom to our baby girl, Vera. She had her first birthday in September and we got so many awesome toys that she LOVES to play with. I know firsthand, especially with your first child, it can be so hard to know what to gift (or gift ideas for family/friends). They are growing and learning so much at this age, it can be overwhelming! I'm here as a communicator of what (I think) Vera would tell you about her favorite toys to give you some ideas for the upcoming holiday (or birthdays) for gifting a one-year-old.
1. Fisher Price Parade Car | $40
This car is so great. They keys on the front play lots of fun songs and the buttons are fun for babe to push. The seat also is hinged which is fun as they get in the "put things in and out of" phase. Vera was not yet walking by her first birthday (started at about 13 months), so this car was a great toy that she would walk behind to help learn to walk. Note, the wheels on it are a bit 'fast' especially on a wood floor, so it's something that I had to supervise Vera with until she was steadier standing/walking so she wouldn't face plant.
2. Kid Kraft Vintage Kitchen | $67
I was hesitant about getting Vera a kitchen for her first birthday, I worried it was too old for her, but boy was I wrong and I'm SO glad we have it. First, the retro design of this particular kitchen is so darn cute, and I got white since I knew it would be in our main living area (doesn't stand out so much). This kitchen is much shorter than other models I have seen, which was great for our shorty babe. She LOVES opening and closing the doors (which is great to keep her out of our real kitchen trying to open drawers), and she can even reach the microwave! I expect this has many years of play it in as she transitions to more 'pretend' play.
3. Fisher Price Laugh & Learn Kitchen | $40
This is a circulating hand-me-down toy in my family, but boy is it cute. I especially like when toys are not annoying, but have catchy tunes. This does just that. It is also super small measuring just over 1 foot in height, making it great for babies who sit well, and is a great kitchen option if you don't have the space for a full size kitchen.
4. Melissa & Doug Learn to Play Piano | $58
What parent doesn't want to hear their baby pound obnoxiously on a piano? But for real, it's for sure a favorite in our house. My three-year-old niece also has one and still plays with it, so I know we will get lots of use out of it. It's surprisingly heavy and sturdy for anyone who has a baby who may try to climb it (speaking from experience).
I think it's true that grandparents just have 'the touch' when it comes to gifting toys. My parents arrived with this in hand (I believe they found it at Fleet Farm) and Vera loves it. The toy has a counting mechanism that I imagine will be good for later on, but right now those fake cookies simply putting them into the jar is the best entertainment around.
Since I knew Vera was being gifted her play kitchen, I piggy backed along to that theme and wanted to get her a shopping cart. I love this cart specifically because it has fun interactive buttons on the top which is great for babes at this age (the popcorn pops, it's so darn cute, seriously watch the video on it!) I also love that the interactive 'top' to the cart comes off. So you can have that on the floor for a sitting baby, and then the toy transitions to a regular 'cart' for older pretend play.
Vera loves playing with the puppy and carrying around the carrier. It comes with super cute little accessories, and the buttons on the side of the carrier make lights and sounds which we know are a hit at this age. I also like that this is a smaller toy and doesn't take up much space.
Now, I hate posting something without a link, but it's an older toy that isn't readily available to purchase new. I got it as a STEAL at a second hand shop and it is seriously amazing. So keep your eyes open for this on Craigslist or local kids second-hand shop, because it has the cutest lights and music, a mirror for checking out your best dance moves, and it is super sturdy with that wide base that make it great for babies learning to pull up to standing.
Would you believe me if I said I have had an inflatable kiddy pool in my living room for months? Well, it's true! I bought the kiddy pool this past summer thinking I might take it outside and fill it with water, but instead, my mom dropped by with a bag of ball pit balls, and it turned into a hit in our living room. It does take up some space, but balls are such a favorite at this age, they give so much entertainment. Recently, we put a diaper box in the living room and Vera will fill the diaper box with the ball pit balls. Win!
Now after seeing this list, you can only imagine what my living rooms looks like with all these toys. I think the real question is, what on earth should Vera get for Christmas already having all these amazing toys!? Oh boy, the hunt is on for what a 16-month-old wants! Wish me luck :)
(Here's a photo from Vera's first birthday party so you can see our sweet one-year-old!)
*This blog post contains some affiliate links. All opinions are my own.*