It’s nearly November, and if you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet or been asked by relatives and friends for some gift ideas, you will probably need to make some decisions very soon! This time last year as a first-time mum, it was very hard to know what my son would be interested in playing with over the next 12 months. However, if you get your list right you should be able to get through the next year without having to buy too much else. If you choose the right toys, your little one will still be playing with them for the next few years.
Duplo is a great example of a toy that is good quality and has longevity. My son initially started playing with Duplo at around nine months and enjoyed pulling any towers apart or anything else you would make for him, he then learnt to build a tower and now at 19 months is playing with Duplo cars, makes tunnels and is learning to sort the coloured blocks. We will still utilise our Duplo in the future as he learns to build proper structures. If you read the North Shore Mums forums many mums will say that their kids are still playing with Duplo at five or older so whilst it may seem expensive Duplo is a great investment. If you are lucky, your parents may have even kept your Duplo. It lasts the years. In fact, any kind of blocks are a good staple for your toy box.
2. A Cubby House
A cubby house is a great investment. Around the age of one, your little one will love to open and shut the door and windows and play peek-a-boo. It gives them the opportunity to be a little bit independent and then gradually they will become interested in playing cooking and games in their own space. Don’t feel like you have to buy a cubby brand new – there are some great deals on the facebook buy/sell/swap groups and gumtree. You should be able to pick up something second hand for around $100. Deals Direct have lots of great cubby houses, like the one pictured below. If you don’t have the space or budget for a cubby, a tent is a great alternative and can be used inside as well.
3. Books, Books and more Books
Books are a great present, and you will appreciate the variety as your little one becomes more interested in reading over the next year. If you are having trouble getting your little one interested in reading, sound books and lift-the-flap books are great (though not always cheap), so great to receive as gifts. Book Depository has great prices and free shipping to Australia! If you need ideas for books, you can check out North Shore Mum’s book recommendations for one year olds.
4. A Cozy Coupe or similar
You may have had a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe when you were young and they now come with a removable floor so you can initially push your little one around until they learn to drive themselves. All kids love these, and I am confident we will still be playing with this for a number of Christmas’s yet so again in the long run a good buy. This Christmas we will be adding the petrol pump and wagon, so lots of possibilities.
5. A Ride On
Its great to encourage outside play there are so many great options. One of my favourites is a YBIKE Pewi – It starts out as a walker and then becomes a bike. Light-weight and Scandinavian design, it can be found in most toy shops. A mini micro scooter with seat is also another option or a Rolling Coaster Children’s Ride-On Car, which cost around $24.95 from Deals Direct. Buy here.
6. A tea set and kitchen things
A tea set gives boys and girls hours of fun! Lots of pretend play and opportunities to interact and can later be used in the cubby. We have spent hours having tea parties with our teddies.
7. Little Helper Fun Pod
One of my favourite recent purchases is a little helper fun pod. It’s been great having my son at bench height to be able to chat and get him involved in preparing food knowing he is safe. Particularly now he is not so light anymore so the days of having him in a baby carrier are long gone. Again I am sure this will be used for years to come as we bake together. You can usually pick up on eBay for about $140 new.
8. Musical instruments and CD’s
Little people love to make music and dance, and over the next year their musical abilities will only improve. Percussion instruments and music CD’s are great presents that will stand the test of time.
If you still need clothes for the next year take the opportunity to ask family and friends to buy as Christmas presents. It’s one of your only Christmas’s where your little one won’t notice or mind.
10. Play-Doh, Paint and Crayons
Over the next year your little one will most likely begin to improve their fine motor skills and will be able to maintain interest for longer periods of time to begin showing you their artistic abilities. A lot of art supplies aren’t as cheap as you may think so its great to be given these now to put away. Even a paint canvas and some art books make great staples. And don’t forget an art smock!
11. Dwinguler Play Mat
Another one of my favourite purchases is our ‘My Town’ Dwinguler Play Mat. I wish I had purchased from day one. It’s so comfortable to play on, washes and vacuums so easily and the ‘our town’ pattern has so many possibilities for the future. My son already loves pointing out all the farm animals and vehicles in the picture. Whilst a bit pricey at over $200, again its something we will still be using in five years time. Purchase from Softmats.
12. Puzzles and a shape sorter
Puzzles and shape sorters are great educational toys. Some of our favourite puzzles are the sound puzzles. At the moment we’re loving the Melissa and Doug sound blocks, which have pictures that you rotate and once placed correctly reward you with a sound.
So that’s my top suggestions from my Christmas and Birthday shopping for a near 1 year old, and you may have noticed most of these don’t require batteries.
Now who is going to write my shopping list for Mr Nearly Two?