Corbis Photography/ Veer
Lions, Tigers and Bears
"I think that since most one-year-olds have PLENTY of toys, a great gift alternative is a membership to a local zoo! My kids absolutely LOVE going to the zoo to see all of the animals, plus it's a great learning experience and you can go as often as you like."
--Tori Figueiredo Piper
"My cousin was taking cake-decorating classes and told me she wanted to make my girls' birthday cake. Great! Less money I had to spend on the party. She came in with an awesome pink and purple polka-dot fondant cake, with chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache! Oh, so yummy, beautiful and thoughtful."
--Stacy Standifer Gray
"My mentor gave my 2-year-old a Porcelain Butterfly Print Tea Set, and she loves it. When my daughter turned one she gave her her first pair of pearl earrings. My mentor always gives my little lady things little girls should have."
"I went all out for my little one who just turned a year old the day after Christmas. I want her to be the do- all girl; she loves being in the kitchen with Mommy and in the workshop with Grandpa, so I got her the best of both worlds! I found a full Black and Decker tool bench with everything and a beautiful full mini kitchen with crown molding, fridge, stove and everything else. I set it up in her room so she can play. I can't get her out of that corner; she's always building and cooking."
Fancy Photography/ Veer
"Several of our extended family members were expecting last year so I had a blanket made for each new baby with his or her name on it (great for daycare or feeding time). All the big sisters and brothers got one, too."
--Kimberly Ann Will
"I had saved all of my daughter's baby clothes (the dress she left the hospital in, her first birthday dress, her Halloween costume, etc.). I couldn't bear to give them away, but as time passed, I had so many clothes. I took a piece of each outfit and have started a quilt. I plan to give it to my daughter when she gets older. Now I can keep a piece of each outfit and when I look at the quilt, it will be full of wonderful memories."
--Shannon Bicknell Shaw
With Strawberries, Blueberries or Syrup?
"A waffle iron. Sounds crazy, and at first I was, like, what?! But I love having my son ask for Mommy's waffles, and making a whole bunch and freezing them to pop in the toaster later makes an easy morning. I got it for my first Mother's Day along with breakfast in bed."
--Stephanie Smith Parisi
OJO Images/ Veer
Around the Block
"My sister and her fianc? gave my 2-year-old a beautiful, shiny pink, black and chrome Schwinn tricycle, complete with handlebar bell. Prettiest tricycle ever! She loves her bike!"
--Leahbeth Parker Walker
"My son just got a book for Christmas that I plan on buying for birthdays coming up. It's Tickle Monster, by Josie Bissett. It's the best book I've ever seen and it really entertains my son."
--Regina Urban Kubica
Sleeping Next to Mommy
"The best baby shower gift I received was a Safety First Baby Bed for the parents' bed! It fits beside Mom or Dad, or perfectly in-between! I absolutely love using it for the first two or three months. The baby is right beside you, but safe within the raised sides of the little bed, so there are no worries about rolling over on the baby, and he stays on his back. An amazing gift!"
Image Source/ Veer
"One of my standby gifts is a storage tote filled with new washable crayons, markers, coloring books, construction paper and drawing paper. I figure that every child can always use some new art supplies, and the storage bin is a great way to keep it all nice and organized. It's also a 'green' gift because I put it all in the bin and stick a bow on top -- no wrapping paper!"
--Courtney Deakin Regan
"Last Christmas we got our 3-year-old an iPod and downloaded educational apps. He loved it. This year, we went for books. We got him the LeapFrog Tag reader for the 4-to-7-years stage. He won't put it down. He's learning new words and starting to recognize the words and say them out loud. I think it's a great way to help children learn how to read."
"For my 5-year-old, a new journal with crayons and pencils; she got it right before Christmas and she's been writing little stories and illustrating them! It has given her the opportunity to use her imagination, practice her writing and create, and has allowed her to see what she is capable of."
"I think the best gift my son has received is the VReader. He's 4 and he LOVES it, and he's already showing improvement in his reading. He comprehends the books, too. He knows how to use the entire thing already, even connecting it to the computer, and he got it just this past Christmas. I love that it is showing him how to do so many things!"
"I've given fun umbrellas to kids at their birthday parties. If the umbrella has a favorite character on it, it's a hit with the kid, and the parents always appreciate something that's practical. Who has too many umbrellas?"
"Musicians Out of the Box, a string quartet that has recorded children's stories (Jack and the Beanstalk, Three Little Pigs, etc.) accompanied by classical music. It's a great way to introduce little ones to classical music and literature. Love it for the car."
--Emily Muscarella Guthrie
"For my baby shower, we asked everyone to donate a favorite childhood book from their own collection (or if they preferred to buy a book, that was great, too.) This began my son's own little library and for his first birthday he received a ton of books to expand it! He's 15 months old now and LOVES to read (or at least flip through on his own), and he listens intently when we read to him. I'm planning on doing the same with our daughter. I always give books as gifts because I feel that there's no greater gift than the gift of knowledge -- even if it's a book about Spot."
"Each year my son will receive an album full of pictures from the previous 12 months! It's very meaningful and he will love it as he grows and gets to see everything we have put together for him."
--Cynthia Muniz Perez
"My mother-in-law gave our daughter stock -- her first share was in Disney! We save all the earnings toward Ellie's college fund. One day we'll use them to teach Ellie important lessons about math, savings and the stock market."
Courtesy of BWinks