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Eleanor’s first birthday is drawing nearer – I know! Wasn’t she just born?! Anyway, whilst I cry a river of tears that she will soon be a toddler (a toddler!!!) thoughts have turned to what to buy the little miss for her first ever birthday. While I have been compiling a list of ideas on my phone (I did the same for her first Christmas, handy for sieve brain mummy) I got to thinking about her absolute favourite toys, the workhorses in her toybox that get pulled out time and time again to be turned over, looked at, poked and prodded and let’s face it, eaten/licked/bitten…
There are the classic favourites: her nesting rings, stacking cups and blocks. She also loves her doll ‘Emma’ (it came with the name from my mum!) mainly due to her woolen hair I think. Anything with a different texture or interesting bits to grab are a winner. Rattles have always been popular, since she’s been able to grasp things easily, and obviously anything with noise gets the tick of approval, especially bells! As Eleanor is growing into a real little person who ‘pretend plays’ and mimics, some play food or tea set will be called for. Cars and trucks have found their way into her toy box lately too. Her ice-cream truck is often first to be grabbed, it’s a great size for her little hands and she loves to spin the rubber wheels. The police car puzzle is fantastic to keep her busy little mind amused – it’s a car, it’s a puzzle, she can’t quite figure it out and loves to play with it’s different parts, banging them together, you can almost hear the cogs turning as she thinks “I know something is meant to happen here! Go back together silly police car!” I can see that she will be more engaged with puzzles as she grows, she has one at the moment which she loves, so wooden puzzles will definitely be on the birthday/Christmas gift list.
And books! Oh books, how she loves books! At the moment I’m only game enough to leave her with board books, paper pages only under supervision. But Eleanor will happily sit and turn the pages of her board books for quite awhile, easily entertained turning the pages and looking, looking again, turning back and forth, starting again. And you can never have enough books.
Most all of the toys in Eleanor’s toy box are hand-me-down’s from her big cousins, to be honest I’ve never really bought her any toys (other than her activity thingymabob which she got for Christmas as her special Santa present, this one here is very similar). I don’t intend to be gifting her with very much for her first birthday either, I can atest to the fact that she plays a lot better with less toys. She is more engaged, less confused and overwhelmed by all the stuff and generally happier if she just has 2-3 toys out at one time. I also rotate her toys a little bit too, she’ll spend a few days with a third of her toys out to play with, then I’ll put them to the bottom of the pile and bring some ‘new’ things out.
But a few special gifts will be bought for her first birthday, especially as she grows and the way she interacts and plays changes a lot as she enters toddler years. Here’s what is on the ‘Eleanor’s first birthday list’ bouncing around in my head…
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The key I think is to get her something that will last her the next 12 months (or ideally more years than that!) not just what she’ll really enjoy right now. I did that with her activity thingmabob she got at Christmas, when she couldn’t yet sit up, but I knew it would be well loved in the coming months, and it has been a good ‘investment toy’. So although our blossom is still refusing to put any (like, any!) weight on her teeny feet, I know she will one day walk (right?!) so push or pull along toys or a walker are on the agenda. A xylophone for some music (am I crazy?!) nesting boxes to stack high and whack down, and I am also intent on getting her some non-toy items, just things that are on the ‘oh-must-grab-that-for-Eleanor’ list so might as will be a birthday gift, ie. some melamine plates, an insulated lunchbox, some new shoes for walking (!!!)
And honestly? Eleanor is just as happy banging Mummy’s silicone spatula on an ice-cream tub than any other toys. Keep it simple and invest in toys which will last the years, that’s my plan anyway, hope it works! Experienced parents, tell me I’m on the right track?
What did you buy your children for their first birthdays?
What are the work horses in your children’s toy box?
Do you rotate toys too?