I know — it blows me away a little to type “toddler” as opposed to “baby”…but our mini man is without a doubt, on the move, pulling up, getting into everything…and we have a long winter of being indoors ahead of us!
With his first birthday only a couple weeks after Christmas, we’ve been giving some thought to gift ideas for Crew, without going overboard. A baby (and household!) only needs SO many toys, and while some still made the list, we’re excited about the idea of gift ideas that offer experiences versus things for the long winter months ahead, as he continues to develop and learn about the world around him.
I’ve started an Amazon wish list for additional ideas if anyone is holiday shopping for someone in the one-year-old category, but a few highlights (plus some non-Amazon ideas) are below as well!
- Swim classes at Aqua Tots. Offered on a month-to-month basis, this chain of heated pool facilities specializes in more than what some of the Y and other “water babies” classes have to offer, including hands-on instruction for parents as you continue to help your child develop his/her water skills. Friends of ours who’ve been through the program loved how much they really got out of it, and that it was more than just “splashing around”. Crew LOVES the water, and aside from the fact that this would be a great get-out-of-the-house winter activity, we want to capitalize on the fact that he doesn’t yet mind getting his face in the water!
- Ball pit balls. We have a perfectly good pack ‘n’ play sitting around that is just begging to be turned into a ball pit, with the addition of a pack of these 100 balls. Crew is obsessed with any small ball that fits in his hand right now, and loves to bang them together, throw them, roll them…and with his love of “swimming” in the tub…swimming in a makeshift ball pit would make for a great winter indoor activity!
- Little Tikes toddler trampoline. This seemed advanced to me, until I learned on a local Facebook moms group that many of their kiddos, even prior to really walking, grasped the concept of hanging on to this and bouncing. Perhaps it’s the next phase of Crew’s infamous “Jolly Jumper” days?! I’m seeing it as a fabulous way to tire out an active nearly-walker!
- Classes at The Little Gym. Speaking of tiring out, many friends of ours have recommended our local branch of The Little Gym, a facility with classes based on age/ability levels, with play structured around physical activity. You get the theme here by now — get out of the house, burn off some energy, stay out of the negative outdoor temps.
- Britax Boulevard Car Seats. Yes, that’s plural. And nope, he’s probably not going to have much fun in these, but they are a necessity to keep him safe, so they make the list. Crew is quickly approaching the height limit for his infant seat (the Britax B-Safe which we LOVED!) and this next seat will get him to age 3 and hopefully further, depending on how he grows. Times two on the list, since we alternate drop off/pick up and need one in both cars. It’s a splurge, but I can’t think of a more important place to spend my budget.
- Books. Crew loves to be read to, and is constantly crawling into our bookcases to pull books out on his own and look at them. I can always justify money on books, and while we’re focusing mostly on board books yet (Crew appreciates a good TASTING read), The Day the Crayons Quit (and its sequel!) are making the list, as well as a copy of one of my favorites from my nannying days, Goodnight Gorilla, among other titles. It’s so dangerous to start shopping for kids’ books…and hard to stop!
- Kindermusik classes. (or Music Together, depending on what’s in your area.) Crew gets a little music exposure through a library Book Babies program we go to, and he absolutely loves it. Any time we turn on music he loves to bop along, and he is all about clapping and watching intently if I sing (possibly off key). I know some people buy more into it than others as far as how much babies get out of it on a long-term basis, but at the very least I figure it’s fun, he loves it, and it helps me learn more about fun ways to keep him busy and engaged at home.
- Sleep sacks. It’s not a toy, or an experience (unless you call good sleep for Mom and Dad an experience!) but for a babe that rolls around constantly throughout the night, it’s impossible (and not very safe) to keep a loose blanket securely around him. But without anything, pajamas alone aren’t warm enough and he seems to wake more during the night. We’ve been using these sleep sacks religiously but (sob!) he’s ready for the next size up – depending on brand, either a Large/Extra Large, or 12-18 months. I had always wondered how these worked for babies who were standing and walking – would they be unsafe? Turns out Crew manages just fine in his as far as walking around the perimeter of his crib in one — and we simply zip it off in the mornings when he’s ready to get out and move around.