One Megacoolmama…

…with fun and healthy ideas for kids!

“One-derful” first birthday gifts

first birthday gifts


In our family, we LOVE a good party!  Lately, there have been a lot, especially with all of these babies turning one!  Next up on the list is my little guy, who will be turning one very soon– oh, where does the time go?

Recently, we had the pleasure of attending our nephew’s first birthday party, and I knew right away what I wanted to gift him.  Since I have had three kids, I know what we have enjoyed receiving, and I know what things have made their way to the basement after a few days.  It occurred to me that not everyone knows right away to give to a one year old.  They are in a weird stage where they are too old for rattles, but too young for some of the more popular toys.  And if you don’t have kids or it has been a while since you have had one that small, it may be difficult finding just the right gift.

The list below is sure to make any one year old (and their parents) happy.  Of course, only you know the personality, beliefs and background of the family, but I have either personally received for my children or given all of the gifts below, and they were a hit!


1. LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

We have owned a set of these for 8 years now (the same one)!  Having one for that long and having it still work is something to attest to its durability.  This has been one of our favorites because it keeps the baby close to me in the kitchen since it goes on the fridge, and I am ALWAYS in the kitchen.  Also, toddlers and preschoolers are reminded of the sounds that go with each letter.  One of my favorite all-time gifts, EVER!


2. VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker

This walker was my oldest son’s first birthday gift from my aunt and uncle and has remained a favorite for all three of my children!  I love the versatility of it- it can be used as a walker or the front can be taken off and put on the ground as a floor toy.  Lots of activities to keep them busy, too!


3. Cloth blocks

I LOVE big cloth blocks!!  The little ones love stacking, but really love knocking things down!  These Melissa and Doug blocks are perfect for stacking, knocking down, throwing, chewing, and learning something in between!  Obviously, a big plus here is that there are no sharp edges or heavy blocks to hurt the little ones while they play.


4. Big chunky puzzle

Little hands love big pieces!  And this one is adorable!  Three chunky pieces with big knobs is perfect for the one year old.  And the bright colors are catchy!  Make this even more educational by practicing the sounds and names of the animals as your little one places them in the puzzle.


5. Forward facing car seat

Right between the ages of one and two is when most parents start transitioning their children to forward facing car seats.  This Graco one (shown above) is one of the highest rated ones and would make an excellent gift for parents (especially first-time parents who don’t already own car seats from previous kids).  I would love to get one of these for my kid’s first birthday!  Check out my post on the best and highest rated forward facing car seats on the market.


6. Play kitchen

This Step 2 Play Kitchen is one that we have owned for four years now.  My kids starting playing with it from about 1 1/2 years of age, and they are still playing with it at 7 and 5.  The baby, who will be one very soon, even joins in on the fun!  He loves the sounds that the stovetop makes (frying and bubbling) and all of the doors and compartments.  My older two love pretending that they are working in a restaurant, frequently serving up bread, veggie soup, and sandwiches of all sorts!


7. A Radio Flyer Wagon

During the spring and summer months, a wagon is a very nice piece of equipment to have, especially if you want to frequent any outdoor places like zoos and parks.  This Radio Flyer wagon is FIVE stars on Amazon, and with good reason.  It provides shade for your toddler, comfortable seating, and storage space.  Everything you need for a nice ride with your toddler!


8. Little Tikes Junior Play Slide

This is probably one of the best investments we have ever made in a toy– no joke!  We have had this miniature slide for going on eight years now, and it is still going strong!  As a matter of fact, it has endured the elements of all seasons, and we can just wipe it clean in the spring and be ready to use it!  This provides tons of fun for your little one, obviously VERY supervised and on a softer surface (grass worked just fine for us!).


9. Water table

A water play table is sure to provide hours of fun for your little one.  I am not sure what it is about the simple fact of putting water out to play, but little ones love it!  And this table makes water play a much more interactive experience, with all of the twists, turns, and loops that the water could take.  This has been useful as a hot-day toy, filled up with the hose outside.


10.  Gift card

Amazon Gift Card in a Tin

Everyone loves Amazon because there is just SO MUCH selection!  If you know that the person is an online shopper, an Amazon gift card is the way to go.  And, they have so many cute little tins that you can choose from to hold the card, too!

Etsy gift card

This is one that I got for my sister-in-law, the trendsetter!  She loves everything small business and custom-made and purchases tons of clothes and accessories for her baby on Etsy.  With an Etsy gift card she can find something unique and that she really loves.


11.  Subscription box service

I have used the subscription box service for BluumBox, and I have absolutely loved it!  All of the items I received in the box were awesome quality and unique (Some items I have received– a cute tuxedo bib, a keyring/board book for infants, full size Playtex bottle, dishwasher rack for bottle parts, pacifiers, soft washcloths, etc).  There was such variety, and I loved being introduced to products that I may not have discovered otherwise.  This is the perfect gift for any parent/toddler, especially ones that enjoy discovering new things but just don’t have the time to go searching around for the newest and best of everything!


Hopefully, you can find at least one option of the above that will make your special one year old (and their parents!) happy.  Happy shopping!





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Best forward-facing car seats

If you have a little one between the ages of one and two, the inevitable discussion has ensued as to when you will put your child forward-facing in the car.  My husband and I have been talking about this a lot lately, as our littlest guy is about to turn one in February.

Our youngest has been fairly big since about two months of age, and he outgrew the infant car seat right around nine months old.  My husband and I failed to realize that the infant carseat weight limit was 20 lbs., and our little porker was 21 lbs. by the time we actually figured out that there was nothing wrong with the carseat, he was just chubby!

Parents decide to put their little ones forward-facing for a variety of reasons, including the following:

-child has reached two years of age (age recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics for beginning forward-facing)

-child is at least one year old and big for his/her age

-child is at least one year old, average size, and absolutely HATES facing backward in the car

In our case, we had an extra convertible car seat from the older two kids that was bigger, so we put the baby in there, rear-facing.  However, some parents may want to go right to the option of buying a forward-facing seat, and there are plenty of affordable and durable options.  Here are five car seats that are highly rated from a variety of brands:


1. Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat, Matrix


  • #1 Best Seller on Amazon
  • weight limit from 20-100 pounds
  • 5-point harness system with LATCH
  • offers three positions
  • cup holder and storage pockets
  • machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Ideal in every way, except for the crotch strap (too short).


2. Evenflo Chase LX Harnessed Booster Car Seat, Reese


  • 4. stars on Amazon
  • weight limit from 22-110 pounds
  • 5-point harness system
  • integrated cup holders
  • machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Great price for the 5-point harness, but not for the above average in size toddler.


3. Britax Pioneer 70 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Kiwi


  • Base with SafeCell technology, keeping your child significantly safer in a crash
  • weight limit 25-70 pounds
  • converts to a booster that holds up to 100 pounds
  • 5-point harness
  • integrated cup holders, storage and armrests

What do the reviews say?  Super easy to install, but a little difficult to find the lever to adjust the harness at first.


4. RECARO Performance SPORT Combination Harness to Booster, Knight


  • CoolMesh air ventilation to keep child cool
  • reinforced side wings to keep child safe during impact
  • weight limit 20-65 pounds in harness mode; 30-120 pounds in booster mode
  • twist resistant HERO harness technology
  • side pocket cup holders/storage
  • comes in a TON of different colors!

What do the reviews say?  No-tangle straps and safety/durability are unmatched (made by a company that makes seats for race cars and fighter planes); car seat is a little heavier than others.


5. Graco SmartSeat All-in-One Car Seat, Rosin


  • Convertible from infant to toddler to forward-facing booster
  • Weight limit 5-40 pounds in harness, 20-100 pounds in forward-facing booster
  • Smart-LATCH equipped (one-time install in rear and forward-facing modes)
  • 5-position recline and cup holder
  • Machine-washable cover

What do the reviews say?  Extremely easy to install, nice materials; a little bulky.


All of the above car seats are available for purchase on Amazon (clickable links through the name of seat and the image).  And, don’t forget that if you form a baby registry with Amazon, you receive 15% off all items not purchased 60 days from your baby’s due date (or 10% if you are not part of the Amazon Mom program).

Shop Amazon – Create an Amazon Baby Registry

Shop Amazon Mom – 20% Off Diapers



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