When your baby reaches one, it is a magical time. Your baby is officially now a toddler! Perhaps you are ready to celebrate your little angel’s milestone with a huge birthday bash with family and friends. Or you may decide to keep it low-key, with a small, intimate celebration within your own family only. However you want to celebrate it, you probably will be thinking about what special gift your one-year-old will want to receive.
A good guideline to use when deciding what birthday present to buy for a one-year-old is to consider the common development milestones at this age.
Development Milestones for One-Year-Olds
Your child should start being able to stand alone, even if just for a few seconds.
Some one year olds also start walking around this time. However, don’t fret if your child prefers to crawl and does not show any interest in walking yet at this point. There is a lot of brain and muscle development benefits that come from crawling and there is no need to rush it. If you haven’t childproofed your home yet, it’s time to do so!
Hand and finger skills
Your child’s finger dexterity and hand skills should reach a stage where he or she can pick things up like crayons, turn pages and manipulate toys.
Increase in attention span and memory
Your child’s attention span should continue increasing and he or she will be able to sit still for longer when you are reading a story together. If you try to hide a toy openly in front of your child, your child should also notice that you did so and try to search for it.
Your kid may start to say more words but his or her understanding of what is said will be a lot more extensive than his or her amount of vocabulary. Your 1 year old may use gestures and sounds instead of actual words to communicate with you.
Desire for independence and mastery
Your child will show an increasing desire for independence and mastery. He or she may try to feed himself or herself or drink from a cup.
Your child will show more and more interest in copying you. Common examples include mimicking your sounds and pretending to talk on a telephone.
Your child may start to exhibit tantrums as he or she tries to juggle his or her wants against physical limitations and limitations that you set.
Stranger anxiety and separation anxiety
Your child’s wariness of strangers will most likely continue at this point. Some children experience greater separation anxiety than others. Not fun times but it is normal if your child is super clingy.
Contact Your Child’s Pediatrician If…
According to the CDC, you should talk to your child’s pediatrician if your child still hasn’t done the following by one year:
- Stood alone without support
- Said simple words like ‘mama’ or ‘dada’
- Pointed to things he or she wants
- Searched for things you have hidden openly
- Copied simple gestures like waving.
Characteristics of Great Toys for One-Year-Olds
You probably have already noticed that your child will play with almost anything; food, your pots, and pans, your smartphone! In some ways, it may be easier just to hand your child a ladle while you are trying to cook. However, there is an advantage in purchasing certain toys to give to your one-year-old.
Here are some characteristics of great toys:
- Great toys are often designed to be safe and appropriate for a child’s developmental stage.
- Quality toys tend to last longer and don’t have small parts that can break off easily to become choking hazards.
- Well-designed toys encourage your child’s curiosity to interact and learn. They will promote sensory growth and also engage your child’s attention for a longer period of time.
Great Toys for One-Year-Olds
Here are some examples of popular toys that tend to be fabulous for one year olds.
Talking Interactive Toys
As you know, one year olds tend to have very short attention spans. Toys that speak words and phrases are helpful as it can assist with language development. Toys that light up, play music or create interaction in some way are also fantastic and will keep your child interested for longer.
Toys that allow your child to practice walking such as push walkers are definitely recommended.
Daily Life Toys
Toys that allow your child to copy or imitate adults such as toy telephones, mini playhouses and laptops are also great.
Gross & Fine Motor Toys
Toys that encourage the development of your child’s physical, gross and fine motor skills are a great idea.
If you want to create a future pianist, engineer or some other type of useful skill, there is no harm in choosing toys that can help start your child off on their own journey.