cool classic gift for a one year old
May 12, 2008 9:18 PM   Subscribe

Next Sunday is my friends son's 1st birthday, what can I get the little tyke that would be a great gift for about $50, it hopefully would be something that is not a stuffed animal, that will last until the time he has the ability to remember it.
posted by kanemano to Human Relations (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What about a quality toy box? That might be beyond a $50 investment, however.
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:25 PM on May 12, 2008

Best answer: Some sort of ride-on toy, along the lines of this.

I'm in my 20s and still have fond memories of playing on my bright, plastic, (noisy!) ride-on toys.
posted by phunniemee at 9:26 PM on May 12, 2008

I really don't have any recommendations except to say that people should never, ever buy their children (or other people's children) anything that makes lots of noise. You'll be doing everyone a favour, trust me.
posted by turgid dahlia at 9:49 PM on May 12, 2008

Financial gifts, while not immediately exciting, can be really cool to give young kids because they actually appreciate in value over time. There are all kinds of ways to do it: open an online high-yield savings account, buy a savings bond, open a Roth IRA, buy stock(s), etc...

I really wish someone had done this for me when I was a kid!
posted by ISeemToBeAVerb at 9:56 PM on May 12, 2008

Best answer: My favorite gift for any child from 1-6 years of age is a harmonica. I think you'd have a hard time finding one for $50 but I'll tell ya, it's always a crowd pleaser. And I've never had a parent object.
posted by susandennis at 10:00 PM on May 12, 2008

The classic gift in our family for the first birthday is a set of mixing bowls and wooden or plastic spoons. They start out being noisemakers but then lead into pretend cooking and eventually into real cooking. Just put the child's name on them in indelible ink because otherwise they will get mixed with Mommy's. (I'm pretty sure my blue mixing spoon and yellow ladle belong to my now 21 year old son but Grandpa didn't label them.)
posted by metahawk at 10:16 PM on May 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

A wooden train track that they can piece together is a great investment! While the kid is still young, the parents make a track the child can use. When he grows up a bit, he'll love making his own tracks. My three boys have loved their train tracks and it's amazing how imaginative they can get with it. It is something you can always add to at Christmas or other birthdays. The main kinds are Brio and Thomas the Tank Engine.
posted by carmelita at 10:16 PM on May 12, 2008

ya know, don't get me started. since i act and feel like a 1 year old, a stuffed animal who can be my friend and who i can hug, gawd, does it (ever) get better than that? s/he doesn't care about an investment or what will last, s/he cares about his own comfort in the present. i can't think of a better gift than a stuffed animal who s/he wants to be his friend. don't overthink it. plus, hint, hint, stuffed animals have souls, and when befriended, they complete their circle of life.
posted by america4 at 10:25 PM on May 12, 2008

How about a Raggedy Anne or Raggedy Andy doll? I loved mine for years - and you can make them new outfits!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:06 PM on May 12, 2008

A nice, soft, colorful, quilt blankie.
posted by wv kay in ga at 11:31 PM on May 12, 2008

Unless I know they already have one, I always give a Shape-O at this age.
posted by rhizome at 12:21 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding the harmonica - my 17 month old daughter recently discovered ours and loves running around the house "playing" it. A bigger toy that she absolutely loves is what she calls her "car car car", the Little Tikes Cozy Coupe.
posted by ellenaim at 4:04 AM on May 13, 2008

there is a really cool product called MOON IN MY ROOM

The box says ages 6 and up, but don't worry about that, the kid never actually touches it.

It's basically a battery powered nightlight that gets hung on the wall. it looks like the moon, and has a remote. when my son was this age, we would turn it on when he went to bed, and it cycles through the phases of the moon a few times, then shuts itself off. very relaxing, comforting. We kept the remote high on a shelf, so only we could operate it.

Now my son is four, and he loves this thing even more as he gets older. we will look out the window and set our moon to match the phases of the actual moon. I HIGHLY recommend this product
posted by Mr_Chips at 4:09 AM on May 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Building blocks or lego.
posted by orange swan at 4:57 AM on May 13, 2008

Beer of the month subscription, to commence when the kid turns 21.
posted by Dec One at 5:39 AM on May 13, 2008

A collapsable tunnel. We bought a blue collapsable 10-foot tunnel (at Ikea, I think) and it was the most-used toy by my kids for about a decade. It started out as just a cool thing to crawl through, then became an intrinsic part of every fort ever built. And it folded up in seconds to go in the car so we took it everywhere.
posted by lpsguy at 5:40 AM on May 13, 2008

kanemano, you're putting too much pressure on yourself. Many of these recommendations are either unsafe or inappropriate for a one-year-old. My son's favorite gift when he was one was ... a balloon. A close second was ... a piece of cake. Scale back your expectations and just enjoy the day.

If you really want to get him something that he'll remember and use later, I think SpacemanStix's toybox idea was great. I still have fond memories of the wooden one that my dad built and painted himself. Just make sure that it's got safety hinges that won't allow the top to drop and pinch any fingers. Your son may not give it a second glance during the party, but he'll use it plenty later. What a wonderful promise of things to come!
posted by Shoggoth at 5:51 AM on May 13, 2008

Apologies, kanemano -- just noticed it's not your son, but your friend's. I still think the toybox is a good idea, but if you don't go that route, just keep it simple. You can never go wrong with books (in this case, board books). Good luck!
posted by Shoggoth at 6:51 AM on May 13, 2008

I like the wooden train track idea. I have a Brio set for my daughter, and she's spent many hours over the past couple of years playing with it. She also gets new pieces for it with each birthday/Xmas so it's continually expanding.

I also think something like this window prism would be fun.
posted by Ostara at 7:11 AM on May 13, 2008

A few bedtime story books. You're giving the gift of quality parent-child time for many years to come!
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:27 AM on May 13, 2008

A "Radio Flyer" classic red wagon.
Doesn't make noise, endless utility, childhood classic.
$71.50 at Amazon.
(So it's a bit more than fifty bucks, but trust me on this...)
posted by Dizzy at 7:30 AM on May 13, 2008

I'll 2nd the toybox idea. Mine is a TV stand now.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:52 AM on May 13, 2008

The Winnie the Pooh books, and instructions for the parents to read them to the kiddo.
posted by booth at 8:04 AM on May 13, 2008

Many of these gifts, he will be able to use later, but he won't really remember getting it as a gift, or a gift from you.

For $50, you can buy a $100 savings bond, which will hopefully provide a future lesson about the power of compound interest, which I've noticed many people my age don't seem to have figured out.
posted by yohko at 8:08 AM on May 13, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks all, the kids parents are a School Teacher and a Librarian, I think he will get enough reading to, so I was looking for something fun, and it's down to the ride on toy or the harmonica.
posted by kanemano at 9:28 AM on May 13, 2008

For something that will be used for a long time and will truly be enjoyed, you can't go wrong with a... wooden stool. Little children really, really love stools.

It may sound dull, but a one year old will use it all the time. Stools are just the right size to hold on or sit on or turn upside down and bang things on. As the kid grows older, it will actually be useful. Brushing teeth. Washing hands. Looking on top of the dining room table.

You can get one pre-decorated at any baby furniture store, or if you want to make it more personal, decoupage some pictures on your basic hardware / WalMart / Target stool.

One-year-olds are either very new walkers or just learning to walk. Stools give them a tool to explore beyond their normal physical limits while still being safe.

Trust me. Stool.
posted by nedpwolf at 9:47 AM on May 13, 2008

Thanks all, the kids parents are a School Teacher and a Librarian, I think he will get enough reading to, so I was looking for something fun, and it's down to the ride on toy or the harmonica.

For 50 bucks, you could easily get him both and be the most popular guest there.
posted by phunniemee at 10:15 AM on May 13, 2008

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