Little One is a huge fan of musical instruments. He loves nothing more than hitting a drum or tapping on the piano keys. Halitit do a fantastic range of baby musical instruments and toddler music band sets. Little One got the xylophone and he will sit and hit the keys for ages. The Halitit xylophone is available from Amazon.
I love wooden toys. I think they have a certain charm about them and are often more durable than plastic toys. The Hape walk-a-long crocodile is simple and colourful a great toy to encourage walking. If your toddler is already walking they will love taking him for a little walk. Because of the string, I make sure I put the crocodile out of reach when not in use. It is also available from Amazon.
The Stack and Drop Froggie is available from the Early Learning Centre. I'm always a fan of toys which have more than one use and we have found that it can be played with in a few different ways. The idea is to stack the pieces to create a Froggie tower, and post the balls into the top and watch them cascade down to the bottom. The balls are great fun to play with on their own too, as two of them rattle and one lights up. We have great fun rolling them across the floor for Little One to crawl to and throw back to us. Once toddlers have got the hang of dropping the balls down the tower, they can then start to learn to stack the tower themselves.
Shape sorters are always a good bet for 1st birthdays. Although most one year olds won't yet understand how to sort the shapes, they will have great fun handling the objects and placing them into a bucket. The Wooden Noah's Ark makes a lovely gift and comes with a wooden boat with the holes and into which you can place the different pairs of wooden animals. Little One received one for his birthday and he seems to love playing with it; emptying the animals and putting them in a bucket or handing them to me.
Personalised clothing is another great gift idea if you're stuck for inspiration. We were recently gifted a lovely printed T-shirt from a Yorkshire based family run business called Silk Screen UK. They can print a wide range of designs and wording onto clothing such as T-shirts and they have just introduced a new baby vest range. Each vest can be personalised up to 14 characters and at just £8.99 per vest including printing, these are very competitively priced in comparison to some other sites offering personalised baby clothes.
The Peter Rabbit Library by Beatrix Potter makes a lovely gift and a perfect keepsake. It comes with 10 beautifully illustrated books presented in a box. Alternatively, the smaller Classic Tales such as The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck and The Tale of Tom Kitten make a beautiful, simple gift.
Little One isn't walking unaided yet, but he is well on his way thanks to his Little Tikes Push and Play Turtle. At £29.99 it's a little more expensive than some of the other ideas mentioned above, but it has already had so much use, both inside and in the garden. It has definitely helped him become more confident with his steps and the shape sorter in the top keeps him entertained for ages. This would make a super gift for babies and toddlers, walkers or crawlers/bottom shufflers alike and is suitable for up to the age of 3.
We have had a revelation recently with shoes so I thought I'd include a shoe gift idea. Little One has always hated having any shoes on and would always pull them off as soon as we put them on... until we found out about the soft leather pre-walker shoes from companies such as Little Chatterbox (available in TKMaxx) and Mini Feet Shoes. Ranging in price from around £6.99 to £8.99, these 100% baby friendly leather/suede shoes are soft, pliable and perfect for pre-walkers. They come in a range of absolutely beautiful colours and designs. I did find that the Mini Feet shoes in 6-12 months are quite a bit bigger than the Little Chatterbox shoes also in 6-12 months, so do double check baby's foot size. Here are a pair of leather shoes from Mini Feet featuring Frank the Frog. They come in an organza gift bag.
The Smart Trike is a gift which is in a slightly higher price bracket, with prices ranging from around £34.99 upwards. It's meant to be one of the most popular gifts for 1st birthdays, and I can see why. We have really enjoyed using it so far (when the weather has been good) and I can see that we will get lots of use out of it over the coming 2-3 years. The only problem we have is that without a proper shed or garage, we struggle to store it, so it just sits by the front door. Not ideal, and worth bearing in mind, but at least it means we use it regularly and it won't be left to gather cobwebs and spiders. the Smart Trike is available from many big retailers including Argos. Below is the Smart Trike 4-in-1 in Vanilla. Click here for an in depth review and more photos.