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Somehow your sweet Montessori baby is already turning 1! Can you believe it?
Whether you are looking for gift ideas for your child, or want some ideas to share with family and friends - we've got you covered with this list of Montessori aligned first birthday gift ideas.
This is perhaps one of the most bittersweet moments for parents of young children. You don’t want that tiny baby to disappear, yet you’re also so excited for everything that toddlerhood has to offer.
We know that the only gifts your 1-year-old really wants & needs are your love, time & attention. But that's not to say there isn't a place for some other special birthday gifts, to help celebrate the big day!
Young toddlers are so capable and absolutely love being involved in hands-on activities. Any gifts from this category are sure to be well used and long-lasting:
Learning tower/kitchen helper
A staple in many Montessori homes, this child-safe stool allows your child to access higher surfaces, typically kitchen counters, so that they can join in with activities like food prep, dishes or cleaning up.
Low table & chair
A space that your toddler can independently access for play, reading, art activities, eating and more! We love this multiuse weaning table and chair set.
Child sized apron
Perfect for helping in the kitchen as well as art and water play. We prefer a cotton fabric kid's apron with pockets to hold all their tools!
A great choice for introducing your child to cutting and food preparation. A small, holdable cutter knife made of stainless steel is best.
Child size cleaning equipment
Brooms, mops and dustpans & brushes with lighter, shorter handles are perfect for those little hands. This kids broom and mop set is a classic!
Plant care is a great practical life activity for toddlers and adding water will make the task irresistible to your little one. A small watering can just for your child can make this work practical and exciting for your little one.
Language & listening skills
Any device your child can use to listen to music or stories without a screen is great, but we recommend finding an audio player that your child can interact with independently. Popular choices are the Yoto player and Toniebox, both of which easily allow them to choose what to listen to and start, stop and change the audio as they wish.
If you haven’t already discovered, toddlers love to make noise! Instruments are great options to develop children's listening skills, awareness of patterns and rhythm, gross motor skills, confidence and creativity. Look for wooden percussion sets, harmonicas, tambourines or other single use instruments to avoid overstimulation from multi-sound or electric toys.
Books are always a classic gift. When choosing those best suited for your 1-year-old, look for realistic photos or illustrations and a variety of real-world experiences and storylines. Our favorites are books on opposites, body parts, and animals. Don't forget about those books on Montessori for yourself as well!
Gross motor equipment
Gross motor development is huge between 12 and 24 months, as your child moves from their first steps to walking, climbing, kicking and throwing with increased control and coordination.
When choosing gross motor equipment for your 1-year-old, look for items that provide maximum freedom of movement and exploration. All of these items below will help increase your child’s balance, coordination, and body awareness.
Climbing Triangle & Arch
A climbing triangle, often called a pikler triangle, helps children improve their gross motor skills, explore their body limits in a safe manner and encourage their independence.
Ride on Bike
Your child can start riding a bike as soon as they are able to walk! You can pick a scoot around bike to test their mobility and develop active motor skills or a balance bike to start learning balance for an eventual two wheel bike.
Toddler love to push things. Combine this push cart with its removable blocks and it is a match made in heaven for your new one year old!
The wobble board is great for pre-walking and walking toddlers! It stimulates the vestibular system, which is important in learning balance, posture, and general cognitive development.
A tunnel is great for practicing big gross motor movements with games like hide-and-seek, peekaboo, and chase.
Keep that gross motor movement up using a variety of balls to play catch, chase, and explore cause and effect.
Cognitive & fine-motor development
Shelf work is primarily used in the Montessori world to increase a child’s cognitive focus and fine motor skills. When looking for shelf work, it is important to find materials that are not too complicated and have a single purpose. Multi-purpose items often overstimulate a child and end up defeating the original purpose of concentration and development.
Here are some of our favorite shelf work items suitable for a 12 month old. All of these items will help your toddler with problem solving, perseverance, concentration, fine motor skills and hand eye coordination.
Pop Up Toy
This classic pop up toy helps introduce color matching and fine motor movement.
Another classic is this hammer bench with a mallet. Your toddler will love making noise by banging each peg, while they work on their hand-eye coordination and gross and fine motor skills.
Stacking may seem like a simple skill to us, but a ring stacker will challenge your child and create meaningful work for their concentration and development.
Basic shape puzzles are a great first introduction to matching colors and shapes. As your child grows and develops their abilities, you can increase the number of shapes and sizes of each piece to eventually help them begin regular puzzle making.
Coin boxes will help your toddler develop the important pre-writing pincher grasp and connect that hand-eye coordination.
We are a huge proponent of experience over items for a child of any age!! Tickets or memberships to attractions such as children's museums, science centers, sanctuaries, water attractions, parks or play areas are a fantastic gift idea for your curious and fun loving almost 1-year-old.
Experience gifts can help to reduce the number of toys or 'things' they receive for their birthday, helping reduce clutter and overstimulation in your home. And the added bonus is you get to create more wonderful memories with them!
Your child won't remember which, if any, of these gifts they receive for their first birthday - but if you or your family and friends do wish to purchase gifts, you can rest assured that choosing from this list will support their development and boost a wide range of skills.
We hope you and your 1-year-old have a fantastic day celebrating together!
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