Hi, mamas. I have an 8 month old son and we've been mulling over ideas for his first birthday. We'd like to just get him one or two nice things for his birthday, but we'd like for it to be something he can use for a long time and for multiple purposes. I was thinking about getting a set of playstands, but I wonder at a year old, how much he would be able to use them?
Does anyone have any other ideas? (Or, even, feedback about the playstands as a toddler gift.) Would maybe a "set" of nice things be better, like an outside kitchen area, or a basket of art supplies?
I'm rather stumped and since it's my first child and his first birthday, I want to make sure we make a good decision. :)
(NB, I guess I'm posting this here b/c we're a Waldorf-inspired family. Obviously, we'd prefer something made of natural materials, high quality and is open-ended in nature.)
Thanks, in advance, for any ideas!
I think both of these ideas are great. He'd get a lot of mileage out of a set, or gift basket I think. For the kitchen, you can buy (or build, if you guys are handy and DIY oriented) a basic kitchen set, then outfit it with dishes, fabric fruits and veggies and wooden pantry goods. There's so much to learn in a set like that - colors, numbers, grouping things, cooking, etc.
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I don't think at 1, my DS would have gotten much out of a play kitchen. He's closer to two, now, and he's just starting to get it. He's also not into art things yet (he puts things in his mouth still).
He's been into the stacking rings (still spends hours with those) and nesting things since about his first birthday. He's also uses play silks off and on, but is just starting to get more creative with them. Any sort of cart would be a hit... DS loves something he can get in, load up with all his toys, and push around. That never gets old and can grow with them.
When my first son turned 1 we got him a set of tree wood blocks and a radio flyer push wagon. They both have been huge hits and continue to get a ton of use. Ds1 is almost 4 and a half now and ds2 is 10 months old. They both play with these toys quite a lot and they've held up beautifully.
I think a play kitchen would be a good idea too. Ds1 got his kitchen when he was almost 1 and a half and he enjoyed opening and closing the doors on it. Ds2 play with it now and enjoys banging the pots and pans together and putting things in the pots then dumping them out. Ds1 didn't actually "play kitchen" until he was closer to 3yo, but he still played with his kitchen if that makes any sense :)
My one-year-old also got a water table for her birthday and it has seen a LOT of use over the past year. I think setting up the outside for play would be perfect for this age (water table, sandbox, very simple kitchen area with old pots and pans, a big pile of seashells, a swing or a hammock, etc)
I also think a simple but special doll is important at this age, for boys and girls. A basket to put the doll in, a blanket to tuck him in to sleep....
At this age they do not play with much. My 14 month old plays with socks, shoes, toilet paper rolls, boxes, nesting cups and measuring cups (taken from my kitchen cabinets), along with blocks, & her ride-on truck. In addition, she loves to empty the indoor play kitchen, but does not play with any of food, just makes a mess. If he does not have blocks or a "ride-on" car or truck, then look into one of those.
As for playstands (we never had any) but all my kids were climbers. So I am not sure if you want to waste a lot of your energy keeping him from using it as a ladder.
Also when you get a chance, go ahead and buy some "rock crayons" but nothing else. He may start using them around 18 months, if you use them with him. All of my kids used them at an early age, if fact my 14 month old is trying to use them now since she is watching her older sisters. The rock crayons are nice since they do not roll off the table.
Also you may not want to spend a lot of money on an outdoor kitchen. We went to a garage sale and picked up a real set of pots and pans (they are kind of large for a 1 year old but my 14 month old still bangs the lids together and puts rocks and stuff in them), cookie cutters, measuring spoons and measuring cups for an outdoor kitchen for cheap. For counter space, we placed a board over some tree stumps (we had a large tree taken down a couple of years ago). My kids love the set up and it gets extremely dirty with all the mud, weeds, sand, crabapples, etc. For an outdoor water table (or sand table) you could use a shallow Rubbermaid storage container that you can buy for under $10 and place it on a milk crate instead of the more expensive Step 2 or Little Tikes brand. All my kids love the water table and sand table even the 14 month old. Just do not place them next to each other since the water table could get real icky from the sand. We have them on the opposite sides of the yard.
Instead I would spend my money on items that will last for many years of play such as indoor play kitchen, wooden animals/figures, wooden cars, wooden trains, and wooden or knitted play food. However do not buy too much since you do not know what his interests will be when he gets older. So if you could afford a variety maybe (2) wooden animals (look at Jalu), (1) wooden car (Palumba has some reasonably priced), and a few pieces of food (also at Palumba) like an apple, knitted cheese sandwich, eggs,& a couple of plates. By two years of age my oldest was really into the play food. My second child really liked the wooden animals and cars by the age of two. My third ????? At two my nephew was really into trains, while my cousin’s son loved garbage and construction trucks. It is not like they only play with one thing, but you may not want to spend a lot of money on things such as an indoor play kitchen that may not get played with.
Here are a few ideas from Magic Cabin and Nova Naturals:
The rainbow tunnel set is a toy that he can play with for years and in many different ways.
A classic toy that is always very popular.
This looks a great toy that can be a push toy and a bike.
This was a first birthday gift for our little girl and we STILL use it. She has loved all its various incarnations. I love toys that grow with children and are beautiful at the same time. I can't say enough good things about it. Hard to put together for the first time, but worth it. Personally, I would hold off on a kitchen until the age of two or three, when pretend play happens more often.
This looks a great toy that can be a push toy and a bike.
Mothering an Autumn (08) , a Spring (11) , and another Autumn! (Nov. 2013)
Taking what works and leaving the rest
Have you ever thought about color changing mug as a birthday gift?
You can decorate this mug as you want. May be you can print your son's photo on it. When you add some hot liquid in it, printed photo will be visible.
and each add to through the years of your lives. I'm
thinking of a large paper size pad that would be the first of
many. Maybe at his birthday you help him put a footprint
on a page and you add words of love and/or if you paint,
a portrait of him... maybe a very rough one to begin with
if you wish to start learning to paint or draw.
Next year or maybe more frequently finger painting
from him and something from you, maybe just words
about how you feel that day or more or less and through
the years. If you've been to a Waldorf high school function
perhaps you've seen how powerful the art of a teenager
schooled in the importance of aesthetics can be and see
that growing insight in his art in the journal and maybe in
yours as well as the years past. Perhaps as the years past
he adds his own poetry next to yours.
I also hope you might leave little notes to each other in
this journal/diary wherein maybe as a teenager or as a man
he would relay to you (and you to him) troubles or feelings
that might otherwise not have such a now natural way for him
to reach out to you and maybe it continues till, if he has children,
they, your grandchildren, paint and draw with you and your son
as well and maybe someday, when you are gone, a long, long
time from now, a young man or woman paints or draws and
leaves a little note, "Miss you grandma."
"Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make
for our children." ~ Tatanka Iotanka
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