When we were getting closer to Miss H’s first birthday, I was really struggling with what to buy her. We’re typically not extravagant gift givers in our house, but I did want to do something special to mark the occasion. We also knew a handful of LO’s also turning 1 around the same time, so needless to say I was doing a lot of research for first birthday gifts!

Here’s the Hopscotch guide to first birthday gifts, for things we’ve gifted and favorite gifts Miss H received:

1. Table and Chair Set: My parents (the awesome grandparents that they are!) wanted to get Miss H a table and chair set. I researched these like crazy, trying to find something that wasn’t terrribly expensive but was good quality. We settled on this KidKraft table set. It is perfect! It looks great and the chairs are really sturdy. It’s fun to have chairs that are just Miss H’s size so that she can practice sitting at it. Of course, this is something that she will “grow into” and it will be a little bit longer before understands the concept of sitting in the chair and eating a snack or coloring at the table.

2. Musical Instruments: After a lot of deliberation we bought Miss H some musical instruments – she loves music and these seemed like great interactive toys for her. We opted to buy a drum, a ukulele, and a tambourine. She absolutely loves the drum and the tambourine! We of course keep a close eye on her with the drum stick, but so far she is great about just using it with the drum (and not, you know, on the furniture or to poke herself in the eye). The ukulele comes out for special occasions and she’s not left alone with it. She loves Mr. H’s guitar, so it’s fun to see her with her own “mini guitar,” so to speak.

3. Books: And, of course, books! Miss H received a lot of books for her birthday and these are always the best gift. Because some of the same books seem to be gifted over and over again, a couple of our favorites that are a bit off the beaten path are: Hippopposites and the scanimation book Waddle! (there’s a whole series of these scanimation books and they’re so much fun).

4. A Packed Backpack: We have absolutely loved gifting these adorable backpacks made by Skip Hop. So far we’ve gifted the bee (of course!) and the giraffe, and we bought the zebra for Miss H. These are the perfect gift! In addition to being cute (duh!), they’re easy to pack with fun stuff for a LO. They have coordinating bibs, plates, and sippy cups if you want your gift to have more of a theme, or you can pack them with other fun stuff – books, snacks, toys, etc. Right around 12 months seems to be when LOs like filling up containers and dumping them out, over and over again. The backpack is great for this. And, it’s the perfect size for us to pack with Miss H’s “stuff” on days she goes to the nanny – food, sippy, sweatshirt, etc, so our nanny isn’t digging through the diaper bag for these things.

5. Art Supplies: One of the most fun gifts Miss H received is a beginner art set. They included an adorable little art smock, construction paper, drawing paper, easy-to-grip crayons, water colors, and easy to grip brushes. And, they packaged it all up in (what else!) this adorable 3 Sprouts Bee bag. When it’s time to get out art supplies for projects, everything is kept together.

6. Charm Bracelet: My sister gifted Miss H one of the most thoughtful, sentimental gifts – a charm bracelet! She included charms such as a baby carriage, a birthday cake, a California charm (to represent Miss H’s first trip), Miss H’s first initial, etc. And, as Miss H grows we’ll be able to add onto it. It’s obviously a gift Miss H won’t be able to wear for a long time, but it’s such a great opportunity to create something special for her over the years.

7. Water and Sand Play Table: My parents wanted gift ideas, so I had them pick out a water and sand play table. It’s the perfect height for Miss H and now that the weather is finally warm, we’re excited to put it to good use. We will hold off on sand, though, for the time being.

First birthday gifts can be a bit tricky because you want to do something special (it’s LO’s first birthday!!), but it can be difficult to navigate what might be age appropriate. At 12 months they’re a little bit baby and a little bit toddler! These gifts are a great mix of gifts they can play with right away and gifts that will be perfect over the next few months.