My grandson Zeke turned a year old last month, and for a while before, I scanned websites and haunted stores looking for truly memorable birthday gift ideas. I'm going to share with you what I found.
I think we did really well gift-wise. For one thing, we didn't overdo. Which is some kind of miracle since he's the first grandchild on both sides of the family. His other grandparents gave him a shiny red tricycle with a special baby's seat and a push-handle tall enough that mom or dad can squire him around without requiring back surgery. Noting Zeke's interest in tunes - he tries to climb into the lap of the guitarist at music class - we bought him a toy piano supposedly indestructible even for a one-year-old (so far so good).
Given his reaction to both these gifts, I'm going to put them at the top of my list. And I'll add some others that I found in my travels.
About.com has a good roster of toys for one-year-olds. Zeke has several of the items on the top 10 list and they're some of his favorites. Like the O Ball, at $7 about the cheapest good time you will find. It's a ball made of mesh, which stops it from rolling crazily to the other end of the house. Zeke and I play catch with it, and he loves squishing it. Another toy on this list that I might just have to acquire before he comes to visit next time is the Playskool Busy Ball Popper. I loved watching my daughter push around one of those old-fashioned poppers, and this is the newest rendition apparently. You watch the balls disappear down a chute and then pop out the top. I know it'll be a hit with Zeke as he has a purple elephant that does the same thing.
No surprise, Parents magazine has wonderful toys for a first birthday. My top pick (though I'd have to get permission before I brought it to Zeke's house) is a noisy set of colorful musical instruments - a half dozen in all to drum, shake and chime.
Last of all, I checked Amazon, the great department store in the sky. I was delighted to see Uncle Goose Classic Embossed Alphabet Blocks on their roster of fun toys for a one-year-old, which Zeke received as a shower gift. He never tires of knocking down the towers I build with these traditional wooden blocks, but so far he hasn't consented to stack more than three himself.
Those are the best lists I've found, from sources with similar offerings for two and three year olds too. Where do you find your best birthday gift ideas for your grandkids? I'd love to know.