Best Birthday Presents for a First Birthday
Our favorites
Tags: Best First Birthday Presents, Presents for all Budgets, Big Ticket, Toddlers
Posted: 2009-09-03 12:59:48 By: Stephanie Oppenheim

 

Going shopping for a first birthday present can be hard--they're not ittsy bittsy babies anymore--but they are still very little.  Finding something that is just right can be challenging - especially when most of the cool things in store really require much more dexterity and gross motor skills. Avoid the temptation to buy toys that they will need to grow into--that can just create alot of frustration and even pose some safety risks.

Here are some of our favorite choices for every budget:

Big Ticket

 

 


2006 Award
Laugh and Learn Learning Home
(Fisher-Price $70 Score: ) For the get-about toddler, this “little house” is just the right size for active play and making things happen. It has a door that opens and shuts and is big enough to crawl through, lights that turn off and on, doorbell that rings, ball drop, and shape sorter, among other interesting activities. A great first birthday gift to enjoy throughout this year and probably next. It is a big toy, but if you have the room, it’s a good choice for solo or two-tot play! They say 6 months to 3. We’d say one and up would be a better bet. (800) 432-5437.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2006.

 

 

 


2008 Award
Haba Discovery Wagon
(Haba $230 Score: )

Beautifully designed for the get-about-toddler, this smooth handsome (pricey) wooden cart is less tippy than most push toys for beginners. There’s a seat in the front for Teddy Bears to ride on, a mirror and gem stones set into the back of the seat. There are spinners and a maze to move a little toy car about, as well as a fabric side pocket for storing a small grey fabric mouse passenger. Finished in natural wood and colorful panels, this is a toy that will go the distance. For toddlers there are few toys that get as much use as this sort of combo cart. Just right for that stage when kids are ready to walk but still like the security of holding on. This is weighted and the center of gravity is solid enough, even for tots who are just getting their land legs. This age varies, so you need to know the individual child. Some are ready at 12 months—more are not ready till 14-16 months.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Under $40

 

 


2009 Award
Infantino Drop & Slide Caterpillar
(Step 2 $35 Score: )

Drop the colorful balls into the chute and they slip down the ball run on this big caterpillar. Its feelers light up as the balls set off jolly sounds and music. Yes, there is a volume control or even a sounds-off option that is set when you put the batteries in to power up the toy with 3 AA batteries. For variation on the ball run, a little ;train-like" toy also slides down the run or put it on the back of the caterpillar and watch it go. This action moves fast, is uncomplicated, and gives children a powerful sense of making things happen. Most of all, toddlers love the repetitive action. A perfect 1st birthday gift!

Note: The company has just informed us that this will now be a Target exclusive and marketed under their own brand CIRCO.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.


 

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Under $25

 

 


2009 Award
Eric Carle Apple Playset
(Kids Preferred $20 Score: )

A cute red velour apple with a see though plastic side, a hole and yes, a Very Hungry Caterpillar inside. This is a fun fill and dump toy with lots of fabric fruits with rattles and squeakers to dump out and put back inside. The multi-colored dotted fabric that lines the apple adds to its visual appeal and recalls the colorful pages of the Eric Carle classic storybook that is now available in a cardboard version for little lap-sitters to enjoy. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2009 Awards
Sweet Chocolate Chime Ball
(Mary Meyer $20 Score: )

An eye catching 8" fabric ball with chime inside. Comes in pink and brown or blue and brown. The soft to the touch velour like fabric is printed with polkadots and stripes. It's just slightly understuffed so little hands can grab it better. Ideal for early back and forth social games of  "Roll it to Mommy!"  "Who has the ball?"  6 months and up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Under $20

 

 

 
2008 Awards
Lamaze Trotter the Pony
(Learning Curve International $18 Score: )

Here's a horse to bet on as a winner! It combines so many features that are sure to please the toddler in your life. It's a bright red horse with yellow muzzle and colorfully patterned legs. Small brightly colored satin ribbons are used to create a mane and trip for his legs. Trotter not only has big cloppy hooves trimmed with ribbons, he comes with built- in sound effects. He whinnies and hooves clop, clop as he is moved. Stand him still and no sounds emanate from his being. Forget all your preconceived notions about fabric toys. Fun for playing with baby and for growing independent play patterns for older tots.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITIES: Making things happen can be challenging, but not with this jolly little horse that makes a clop, clop sound as well as a whinnying sound as it is moved. This is a pretty magical animal, made of bright red plush with multicolored ribbon mane that kids will like to touch, For silly fun run this horsie up and down the child’s tummy as it goes clip clop.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2009 Awards
Taggies Colours Toss
(Taggies $19.95 Score: )

This 2007 Platinum Award winner has been updated with brighter colors that we absolutely love. The design remains the same - a big fabric ball with multiple patterns, ribbon taggies to grab, and a wonderful jingle inside is one of the best toys for babies. It’s covered with soft velour but slightly understuffed to make it easier to grasp. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2009 Award
Kids Preferred Nutbrown Hare or Peter Rabbit Hand Puppet
(Kids Preferred $15 Score: )

Choose either Nutbrown Hare Hand Puppet, the rabbit from Guess How Much I Love You or the ever popular Peter Rabbit hand puppet with velour blue jacket that has stitched gold buttons and safe stitched features. In silky plush, these are soft enough to be a huggable with the added value of being a hand puppet. Older sibs and parents can use these charming puppets for peek-a-boo games with baby or telling a story. From tracking to story telling, these make a great prop for interacting with babies and toddlers. They are ideal for language development and pretend play.  The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Infants, Toddlers, Preschool. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2005 Awards
Musical Stack & Play
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score: ) This cleverly designed elephant stacking toy has a place for dropping balls in its top. The balls come out at the base with some fanfare (lights/sound) but nothing over the top. Our testers also liked the soft fabric rings for stacking but really spent most of the time playing with the plastic balls. Marked 6 mos. & up, but will be most enjoyed by 1s and up.

Age: Toddlers. Award Year: 2005.

 

 

 

 
2008 Awards
Follow Me Fred and Crawl Along Leo
(Tiny Love $19.95 Score: )

Sadly, Leo has been discontinued. A fun toy for active floor play with a sitting up or crawling baby. Turn on the fabric headed dog (Fred) or happy faced lion (Leo of course) and they will slowly roll a few feet and stop. Touch the accordion center of the pooch or lion’s body and it rolls some more. Their bodies are of bright colored plastic with fabric tail. This “magical” motion toy invites little crawlers to follow or use them like a roly poly ball for back and forth fun with sitting up tots. Loaded with sounds, we prefer playing with the “mute” button on most of the time. Fred, a floppy eared dog is more realistic looking than Leo. They say 6 months, we’d say more like 8 months and up.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITIES:Motivating children to crawl is a lot easier with these easy touch activated toys. These little animals have interesting textures, colors and patterns to talk about. They do not move too quickly, so they are easier to play with than wind up toys that may roll away too quickly. Choose Fred the dog or Leo the little lion and play a game of “Got It!” Put the toy in easy reach and activate it with a touch. When it reaches your player, encourage him to send the pup back to you. Another game can be played with a box that you can turn into little tunnel. Who can make the pup walk through the box to the other side? Take turns getting the pup through the tunnel.

Age: Infants. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Under $15

 

 


2009 Award
Infantino Spiral Spin Top
(Step 2 $12.99 Score: )

Push down on the big orange button and the colorful balls inside the dome spin on the spiral. The balls make a whirring sound and the painted zigzag on the spiral spins to create a solid line. A good toy for eye/hand coordination, dexterity, and the notion of cause and effect. This is a classic form redone in bright eye- appealing colors. Sitting up babies will love activating this top and a sense of power in making things happen.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements.  We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 
 

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 

 
2009 Awards
Early Years Zippy Zoomer
(International Playthings $10.99 Score: )

Chunky soft vinyl trucks have a pull back and go action. Done in bright colors, the trucks scoot forward with a clicking sound.  We love the fire truck. We're often asked for vehicles that are safe for the 3 & under set...these are really great choice.
    The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.
 

SNAP IDEAS: Set up some destination for the little firetruck. Kids like to use their crayons or paint to make a garage out of a small box with cut out doorways. This can become the firehouse.  Use another box and put openings in two sides of a box to make a tunnel. Try to make the truck zoom in one side and out the other. Can you make the little truck run between the legs of a small table? Use lids of small shoe boxes to make a ramp for the truck to go up and down. These little games reinforce the meaning of such concepts as up, down, in and out, in between, etc. Playing together and using language in such informal ways builds concrete understanding of such language and concepts. 

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2009.

 

Under $10

 

 

 
2008 Awards
Munchkin Caterpillar Spillers
(Munchkin $6.95 Score: )

A well designed set of seven cups that are perfect for little hands to explore. Each is brightly colored and comes with a variety of openings for pouring fun in the bathtub. This is the perfect kind of take along toy in the diaper bag for a sitting up baby/toddler. Our one year old tester sat quietly while she enjoyed being about to pick up each cup by the easy to grasp handles. The caterpillar's green face has big eyes and the smallest cup has an fun spinner to activate. You can stack them up and let your baby enjoy knocking them down. A good example of a great toy that doesn't have any bells and whistle or an expensive price tag.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ACTIVITIES: Stacking and nesting are the least of what kids can do with these colorful cups that each have different cut outs that allow them to be used in the sand or tub…for watching water or sand slip through. These are also fun for children to knock down after they are stacked up tall. Use color words to refer to the cup the child is picking up and refer to them by size…that one is the smallest…or this one is the biggest.

Age: Infants, Toddlers. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

Board books (see our book section)


Comments: None posted
________________________________________________________
You are not logged in. To enter a comment you must login.

Forgot your password? Don't have an account?. Click here to create one!

 
Products for Infants
Products for Toddlers
Products for Preschoolers
Products for Early School Years
Products for Later School Years
Twitter   Facebook     YouTube 

Oppenheim Toy Portfolio - All Rights Reserved. Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, and Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Blue Chip Award are Registered Trademarks of the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio.


Instructions for submitting product to the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio for review.

 

 

Contact the Toyportfolio by phone at (212) 598-0502 or by email at Webmaster@Toyportfolio.com.

Copyright 1995-2013

 

Products reviewed by the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio are provided by the manufacturer at their cost. The Oppenheim Toy Portfolio does not require or accept fees for reviewing products.